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Legislation that would fund federal transportation programs in fiscal 2023 was recently approved in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Members of the chamber on July 20 passed the legislation, which would back safety initiatives, infrastructure grants and operational expenses throughout the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Specifically, the bill would dedicate $90.9 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, an increase of $9.9 billion above the enacted level. The bill was included in a legislative package that would dedicate funding for other federal agencies and operations.
“As hardworking Americans struggle with rising costs of living, high taxes and stagnant wages, House Democrats and the Appropriations committee are once again supporting families all over America by lowering the cost of living, creating American jobs, lifting up working families, and supporting small businesses,” said Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). “Instead of catering to the biggest corporations and the wealthy, our funding bills provide the critical funding America needs. At the same time, we tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges by combating climate change, bolstering mental health services, supporting our veterans, and building safer communities with less crime and violence and more security.”
“The bill upholds the commitment to respond to transportation needs across all modes, including highways, transit, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian projects, and ports,” said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.). He is the chairman of the House transportation funding subcommittee.
“The bill also provides robust funding for our transit infrastructure, including $3 billion for capital investment grants to create new transit routes nationwide and $646 million for transit infrastructure grants to help transit agencies innovate and improve public transit,” Price added.
For the functions at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the appropriations bill would dedicate $367.5 million for safety operations and programs. For the agency’s safety grants the bill would provide $506.1 million. The House funding levels for FMCSA match President Joe Biden’s request for fiscal 2023.
Additionally, the transportation legislation would provide $61.3 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $18.7 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $17.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $3.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On trucking policy, lawmakers approved a provision to deny funding for the enforcement of an electronic logging device rule pertaining to transporters of livestock and insects. Additionally, House lawmakers called on FMCSA to complete an annual hours-of-service safety data analysis and provide an update on the implementation of a workforce apprenticeship program for truck drivers under 21 to operate interstate.
Lawmakers also are asking FMCSA for updates with regards to a large truck study as well as details about its information technology operations.
Most House Republicans opposed the bill during its floor consideration. “At a time when Americans are struggling to pay for gas and groceries, the federal government should be reducing spending,” argued Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), ranking member on the Appropriations panel. “We should prioritize core responsibilities, such as our national security, and we must cut extravagant social programs.”
While the House bill advanced to the Senate, funding leaders on the other side of Capitol Hill have yet to schedule votes on their companion legislation. Federal funding authority expires Oct. 1. The fiscal 2023 bills are instrumental for averting a shutdown of certain operations at USDOT and other departments.