Last week the House Appropriations Committee voted to move ahead with a budget for the remainder of FY2011 that includes cuts to some transportation and housing programs. As reported in The Hill, spending on high speed rail, Amtrak, and the HUD Community Development Fund would be reduced.
Meanwhile, President Obama announced his budget proposal for FY2012 that included significant increases in transportation spending. Spending on transportation programs would increase from $77 billion in 2010 to $128 billion in 2012 (The Infrastructurist). The proposal includes a six-year $556 billion surface reauthorization plan (Reuters, Streetsblog). Transit spending would go up 127%, while funding for road and bridges would increase 48%. The plan would consolidate 55 different programs into 5 core programs: the National Highway Program, Highway Safety Improvement, Livable Communities, Federal Allocation, and Research, Technology, and Education (Streetsblog). It would create an Infrastructure Bank, Livability grants, and $2 billion in TIGER grants for FY2012 (Streetsblog, The Journal of Commerce). NRC Capitol Clips provides more detail about how transit is affected by the proposal, and the Department of Transportation released highlights of the plan.
As the president released this blueprint for the transportation re-authorization bill, the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee began a 10-state tour to gather information for the bill (The State Journal).