Washington, DC – June 9, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, under consideration by the House today:
“By cutting waste and setting priorities, this bill keeps federal spending in check while making smart, responsible investments in our nation’s transportation and infrastructure,” Rooney said. “The air travel, highway and rural transit programs in this bill will help promote economic growth and job creation in Florida’s heartland, while the savings we’ve produced keep our promise to balance the budget.”
The bill includes the following funding and language requests made by Rep. Rooney as a member of the Appropriations Committee:
• Improvement funds for small airports: Provides Airport Improvement Funds through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reduce noise exposure, mitigate environmental impacts and improve runway safety for smaller commercial and general aviation airports. The Punta Gorda Airport and Okeechobee County Airport are both eligible to apply for grants under this program.
• Rural and urban public transportation and highway construction: Funds public transportation projects, including highway construction, in all 10 counties in Florida’s 17th District.
• Flood insurance education and mitigation: Directs HUD to coordinate with FEMA to educate homeowners in flood-prone states, including Florida, on flood risks, associated premiums, mitigation options, and potential federal assistance for mitigation projects. Also directs HUD to identify eligible home improvement activities covered by HUD’s 203(k) rehab mortgage insurance program that concurrently meet FEMA hazard mitigation standards for reducing flood risk and potential damage.
Additional Bill Highlights – “Keeping Our Economy Moving”
Federal‐aid Highways Program: Makes critical investments in our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels, providing $40.3B from the Highway Trust Fund (equal to the FY15 level and subject to continued authorization).
Federal Aviation Administration: Ensures smooth U.S. air travel by providing $15.9B for the FAA ($159M above FY15). Maintains full funding for air traffic control and safety personnel. Modernizes our air traffic control system by funding NextGen at $931M and Contract Towers at $154M.
Federal Railroad Administration: Supports a safe and efficient rail system by providing $1.4B for FRA. Funds Amtrak operations, including $289M for operations (equal to last year) and $850M for capital grants.
Federal Transit Administration: Helps local communities build, maintain, and ensure the safety of mass transit systems by providing $10.7B for FTA ($161M below FY15). Includes $1.9B for New Starts—fully funding existing grants and all small starts.
Investing in the Safety of Our Infrastructure: Keeps FRA Safety and Operations funding constant at the FY15 level of $186.9M ($2.3M above FY14). Increases funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by $6.5M above FY15 ($837M total). Boosts funding for the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration by $6.9M above FY15, totaling $227M, to help address safety concerns including the transport of energy products. Holds funding steady for National Transportation Safety Board ($104M total).
Caring for our most vulnerable: Provides $461M for Housing for the Elderly ($41M above FY15) and $152M for Housing for Persons with Disabilities ($17M above FY15).
Ending veterans’ homelessness: Supports 77,000 VASH vouchers in circulation.
Spending Money Responsibly: Requires overtime limits on Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs. Reduces lower‐priority programs, such as TIGER Grants ($400M below FY15). Includes no new fees across the bill. In total, the bill reflects an allocation of $55.3 billion in discretionary spending – an increase of $1.5 billion above fiscal year 2015 and $9.7 billion below the President’s budget request. However, given reduced offsets – primarily caused by a $1.1 billion decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts – the bill actually represents an increase of only $25 million above the current level. Within the legislation, funds are targeted toward transportation, infrastructure, and housing programs of national need and significance that have the biggest impact on Americans and communities across the country.
For the text of the bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-fc-ap-fy2016-ap00-thud.pdf
For the text of the report, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-thud.pdf