House passes two funding bills

News ARTBA March 25, 2004
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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved two separate six-year TEA-21 reauthorization proposals

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved two separate six-year TEA-21 reauthorization proposals. One bill (H.R. 3994) would invest $375 billion in highway and transit improvements, while the other (H.R. 3550) would provide the $275 billion dictated by the House GOP Leadership.


During the debate on the $375 billion measure, T&I Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) said that although the committee would not send out the measure, he remains committed to pursuing a needs-based highway bill. Highways, Transit and Pipelines Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Bill Lipinski (D-Ill.) said the $375 billion bill could not be moved because of White House opposition and noted, "It is ironic the White House would oppose a jobs bill when the single greatest challenge to the President's re-election is job creation."


After passing H.R. 3994, the committee took up H.R. 3550, which calls for $275 billion over six years. T&I Committee Ranking Democrat James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said the Committee "downsized the money in the bill, but not the policy." Oberstar also described a provision in the bill that would require Congress to revisit the funding in the bill in the near future. The provision would require Congress to enact legislation by Sept. 30, 2005, to ensure states receive a minimum rate of return of 95% on their contributions to the Highway Trust Fund by 2009 or face a shut down of the federal highway program.


According to the T&I Committee, the $275 billion in guaranteed funding provided by H.R. 3550 would consist of $217.4 billion for the core highway program (not including the portion of the program that is exempt from annual spending constraints), $51.5 billion for transit and $6 billion for behavioral and motor carrier safety. The annual core highway funding breakdown would be: FY 2004–$33.6 billion; FY 2005–$34.6 billion; FY 2006–$35.7 billion; FY 2007–$36.7 billion; FY 2008–$37.8 billion; and FY 2009–$38.9 billion.


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