The House Appropriations Committee June 4 advanced a $137.1 billion FY 2020 spending bill covering transportation and housing. The bill would provide $86.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), a slight increase over current funding levels.
The measure was approved in a 29-21 vote, mostly along party lines. The Trump administration had requested an $11 billion reduction in spending. A comparison of this bill to the previous year’s spending levels on highway, transit, and aviation construction programs can be viewed below.
A bipartisan duo, Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), tried and failed to strike three riders that Womack said would “place an unacceptable burden on the trucking industry.” One would prevent U.S. DOT from establishing uniform hours of service rules for truckers, another would require U.S. DOT to publish trucking company safety violations, and the third would prohibit changes to the 30-minute rest break rule. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) also offered an amendment unsuccessfully that would remove a provision from the bill preventing U.S. DOT from taking back funds from California’s high-speed rail project.
House Democrats say they will put a roughly $1 trillion package of five unrelated annual spending bills on the floor next week. The remaining bills, including the transportation measure, are likely to be considered by the full House later this month. Republicans say the appropriations bills should not move forward until the House, Senate and White House agree on top-line spending levels for FY 2020, the approach the Senate has thus far taken.
ARTBA will continue advocating for FAST Act authorized funding levels and increased General Fund spending as this process moves forward.