The House of Representatives and Senate reached a long-awaited agreement on a fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations package to fund the federal government this week – a package that finally honors full first-year transportation funding levels established by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
The $1.5 trillion, 2,741-page funding measure – which the House passed late on March 9, followed by the Senate on March 10 – provides spending authority, or obligation limitation, that finally allows the implementation of Highway Trust Fund programs authorized by the IIJA.
The legislation finally allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to start implementing new programs authorized in the IIJA that had been on hold due to a prohibition in the stopgap funding measure prior to the omnibus package.
Additional General Fund “plus-ups” are also in the measure, to provide funding above levels guaranteed by the IIJA for various transportation trust fund and other programs.
[Editor’s note: A broad collation of organizations including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials repeatedly called on Congress to pass full-year appropriations for fiscal year 2022 as Continuing Resolutions or CRs passed since late 2021 to keep the federal government operating did not allow full access to increased transportation funding from the IIJA.]
Congress also issued a 269-page “joint explanatory statement” to explain further its intent for the portion of the funding package covering USDOT and the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.
According to analysis by AASHTO, the omnibus bill provides USDOT with $141 billion in total budgetary resources, composed of $76 billion in obligation limitation for contract authority programs, $27.1 billion in regular appropriations, and $900 million in mandatory budget authority.
Those funding levels are on top of $36.8 billion in “advance appropriations” provided to USDOT for FY 2022 under the IIJA, AASHTO said.
For each USDOT modal agency, funding highlights include:
- The Federal Highway Administration gets $58.2 billion in Highway Trust Fund obligation limitation, with $9.5 billion in IIJA appropriations and a further $2.4 billion from the General Fund. That includes $1.1 billion for its bridge deck formula program, $847 million for earmarks, $250 million for PROTECT discretionary grants, and $100 million for Appalachian Development Highways.
- The Federal Aviation Administration gets $3.4 billion in obligation limitation, $5 billion in IIJA appropriations, and $15.1 billion from the General Fund.
- The Federal Transit Administration gets $13.4 billion in Highway Trust Fund obligation limitation, $4.3 billion from the IIJA, $2.9 billion from the General Fund, and $2.2 billion for Capital Investment Grants.
- The Federal Railroad Administration gets $13.2 billion from the IIJA, $3.3 billion from the General Fund, $2.3 billion for Amtrak, $875 million for its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements or CRISI grant program, and $100 million for Federal-State Partnership grants.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets $967 million in obligation limitation, $321 million in IIJA funding, and $200 million from the general fund.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gets $856 million in obligation limitation and $135 million in IIJA funding.
- The Office of the Secretary of Transportation gets $775 million to fund the next round of Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity or RAISE discretionary grants.