$98.1B Slated for FY2017 USDOT Work


U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has shared detailed information on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s budget for fiscal year 2017 in a series of recent statements.

According to Foxx, the DOT has a budget of $98.1 billion to work with in 2017 under President Obama’s budget proposal, with $3.5 billion of that intended for expansion of transit options.

“Meeting future challenges will require a long-term vision for the transportation sector that includes more and cleaner options, and expands those options to communities across the country,” Secretary Foxx said of the full DOT budget in his Feb. 9 statement to the press. “This budget brings us closer to that vision.”

‘Beyond Traffic’

The FY2017 DOT budget takes into account Secretary Foxx’s vision—shared in his 2015 report, “Beyond Traffic”—for the DOT to help move the country, over the next 30 years, toward a transportation network that more adequately meets the changing needs of drivers, encourages innovation and adaptations to evolving technology, and provides cleaner transportation options and access to across the country. 

The population of the U.S. is expected to grow by 70 million over the next three decades, creating pressures that cut across modes and infrastructure—roads, rails, aviation, ports, and pipelines, the report said.

This budget takes steps toward a modernized approach to transportation funding that acknowledges the need for a regionally focused approach and prioritizes spending on projects that will have the most benefits for the American people, the DOT’s budget fact sheet says.

In addition to refocusing the flow of federal transportation dollars to investments in regional economies, the budget gives priority to multimodal investments like transit and high-speed rail. These options are featured because they not only offer cleaner transportation alternatives but also deliver more access to opportunity, the DOT says.

Surface Transportation and More

Among the focus area for clean surface transportation options Foxx says the budget delivers full support for the funding outlined in the recently passed FAST Act, aimed at keeping surface transportation systems safe and in a state of good repair.

The budget fully funds FAST Act levels for FY2017, which include programs aimed at keeping the system safe and in a state of good repair:

  • $44 billion to invest in the nation’s critical highway and bridge systems;
  • Nearly $10 billion to support operations of public transit systems across the nation;
  • Roughly $730 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to research and develop new, life-saving technologies and programs; and
  • More than $640 million to support nationwide motor carrier safety through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The Budget also provides discretionary resources to fund air, maritime and pipeline and hazardous materials transportation activities, including:

  • $15.9 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to invest in the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world;
  • $295 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to facilitate the safe transportation of hazardous materials through pipelines, rail, roadway, air and waterways;
  • $428 million for the Maritime Administration to implement programs that promote the economic competitiveness, efficiency and productivity of U.S. maritime transportation; and
  • $36 million for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), to operate and maintain the U.S. portion of the binational St. Lawrence Seaway, and promote environmental management and regional economic development.
© iStock.com / IPGGutenbergUKLtd

The budget also includes $295 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to facilitate the safe transportation of hazardous materials through pipelines, rail, roadway, air and waterways.

Additional information is available in the DOT’s Budget Highlights download.

Creating ‘Ladders of Opportunity’

President Obama’s FY2017 budget recommends $3.5 billion be used to advance the construction or completion of 31 rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects in 18 states.

Foxx highlighted these projects, competitively funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, in a separate statement issued the following day, Feb. 10, saying they are expected to create thousands of construction and operations-related jobs and help communities expand transportation choices that offer new “ladders of opportunity” for residents.

“Since 2009, the Obama Administration has funded nearly 100 new and expanded mass transit projects in numerous cities and metropolitan areas across the country,” Foxx explained.

“These projects transform communities, improving mobility and access to jobs, education and other important opportunities for millions of people. Public transit is an important ally in the effort to ensure that hard-working Americans are offered a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

Transit Investments

According to Foxx, the FY2017 budget includes first-time funding recommendations for 15 specific transit projects:

  • The Downtown Riverfront Streetcar Project in Sacramento, CA, which would connect Sacramento and West Sacramento and serve major destinations in both cities, improving transit options for residents and encouraging transit-oriented development along the route;
  • The Red and Purple Line Modernization Project Phase One in Chicago, which would reconstruct four Chicago Transit Authority stations and track in order to relieve crowding and congestion in one of the transit system’s busiest corridors; and
  • The Red Line Bus Rapid Transit Project in Indianapolis, which would provide fast, reliable bus service for residents in a key corridor serving the downtown areas. India

“FTA is proud to partner with communities across the country to bring more transportation options to residents and help accommodate our nation’s growing population,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan.

istock/james Anderson
© iStock.com / James Anderson

The FY2017 budget recommends $3.5 billion be used to advance the construction or completion of 31 rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects in 18 states.

The FTA’s CIG Program is the federal government’s primary grant program used to finance major transit capital investments that are locally planned, implemented and operated. These can include new and expanded heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects.

The program includes funding for three categories of eligible projects, as defined by the FAST Act: New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity.

Funding recommendations for FY2017 include:

  • $1.4 billion for 10 New Starts projects already under construction in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, Orlando, Honolulu, Boston, Charlotte and Portland, with additional funds recommended to accelerate completion of these projects;
  • $950 million for seven New Starts projects not yet under construction in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, National Capital Area in Maryland, Minneapolis, Fort Worth and Seattle;
  • $458 million for 10 Small Starts projects not yet under construction in Tempe, Sacramento, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Kansas City (Missouri), Albuquerque, Everett and Seattle, Washington;
  • $599 million for four Core Capacity projects to improve capacity on existing, heavily used transit lines in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York City and Dallas; and
  • $75 million for the Expedited Project Delivery for Capital Investment Grants Pilot Program—a new pilot program outlined in FAST that allows FTA to select up to eight projects seeking 25 percent or less in Federal funding and using a public-private partnership approach.

Tagged categories: Budget; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Infrastructure; Maritime Administration; Mass transit; North America; Pipeline; Program/Project Management; Public Transit; Rail; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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