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Senate Appropriations Committee Restores TIGER Grant Program

Unlike the House Appropriations Committee's DOT budget that reduces spending by almost 4 percent from current levels and eliminates the TIGER grant program, its Senate counterpart increased transportation spending, including the TIGER grant budget.
July 28, 2017, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Julie Clopper

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 31-0 on Thursday to increase transportation spending by $978 million, or 5.5 percent above current levels. It also increased the budget for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program by 10 percent to $550 million.

"Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the Senate subcommittee on transportation and housing, said it was important to increase funding for the grant program given the poor condition of the nation’s infrastructure," reports Melanie Zanona for The Hill. 

She was heard on a hot mic earlier in the week calling the administration’s approach to its budget proposal “incredibly irresponsible.”

Another difference with the House Appropriations Committee, which passed its transportation budget on July 17 by a 31-20 vote, was the level of funding committed to the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program administered by the Federal Transit Administration. While both committees decreased spending for this vital program, the House did so by $659 million, or 28 percent, to $1.7 billion.

The Senate bill provides a total of $2.133 billion for the the CIG program, "fully funding all current 'Full Funding Grant Agreement' (FFGA) transit projects, which is $280 million below the FY2017 enacted level," according to Chairman Collins.

"Amtrak: The Senate bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate long-distance routes and provides Amtrak with the fully-authorized level of $1.6 billion, $105 million more than fiscal year 2017," notes the minority news release. The House committee had authorized $1.42 billion which is $67 million less than the FY2017 enacted level.

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees rejected the 13 percent DOT budget cuts in Trump's budget and fully fund the Essential Air Service program that provides air service in small and rural communities, which which proposed for elimination.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in The Hill
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