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Conference Recap - Baton Rouge, LA

May 24: Legislative Update

May 24: Legislative Update

May 24, 2019: Legislative Updates

From the House Appropriations Committee:

Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill (THUD)

On May 23rd, The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies approved by voice vote its fiscal year 2020 bill. In total, the legislation provides $137.1 billion in budgetary resources, an increase of $6 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $17.3 billion above the President’s budget request. The bill next heads to the full Committee for markup.

The bill provides a total of $86.6 billion in total budgetary resources for DOT - $167 million above the 2019 enacted level and $3.7 billion above the President’s budget request.  Of this amount, the bill includes:

  • $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD), $100 million above the 2019 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request.
  • $48.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $404 million below the 2019 enacted level and $1.7 billion above the President’s budget request.
    • $1.75 billion for discretionary Highway Infrastructure Programs, $1.5 billion below the 2019 enacted level and $1.45 billion above the President’s budget request.
  • $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, $96 million above the 2019 enacted level and $877 million above the President’s budget request.
    • $350 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, $95 million above the 2019 enacted level and $20 million above the President’s budget request.
    • $350 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair, $50 million below the 2019 enacted level. The President’s budget request proposed eliminating this program.
    • $2 billion for Amtrak, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the President’s budget request.
      • $700 million for Northeast Corridor Grants, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $375 million above the President’s budget request.
      • $1.3 billion for National Network Grants, equal to the 2019 enacted level and $681 million above the President’s budget request.
  • $1.1 billion for the Maritime Administration, $63 million below the 2019 enacted level and $395 million above the President’s budget request.
    • $300 million for the Maritime Security Program, equal to the 2019 enacted level and the President’s budget request.
    • $225 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, $68 million below the 2019 enacted level. The President’s budget request did not include funding for this program.
    • $300 million for schoolship construction, equal to the 2019 enacted level and $95 million above the President’s budget request.

A summary of the bill is here. The text of the bill is here.

 

On Tuesday, May 21, Senators Grassley (IA), Blunt (MO) and Hawley (MO) introduced 2 new bills to address ongoing issues with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bills prioritize the Corps’ management priorities on the Missouri River to focus on flood control and navigation.

The Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control Civilian Advisory Council Act would create an advisory council, appointed by the President in consultation with the Senate, with two members from each state in which the Missouri River flows. The council would be responsible for making recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on how to prioritize flood control and navigation in the master manual. The legislation would require that the council include representation from agriculture and other river commerce industries. The council would be responsible for submitting a report with its recommendations to the USACE and Congress after one year.

The Missouri Flood Control Prioritization Act would require the USACE to make flood control management the highest priority purpose on the Missouri River system. Under the legislation, fish and wildlife would no longer be an authorized purpose and therefore cannot be given priority over levees and other flood control systems that protect landowners and communities along the Missouri River system. Additionally, the Chief of Engineers would revise the Missouri River Master Manual to reflect making flood control the highest priority of the operations of the Missouri River system and the policy change must be enacted within 90 days of the bill’s passage.