WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously
voted 31-0 to approve the fiscal year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill, providing a total
of $71.4 billion in discretionary budget authority – $1.1 billion more than in
fiscal year 2018 – including nearly $10.9 billion in new infrastructure
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member
of the THUD Subcommittee, led efforts to secure additional resources for
critical transportation projects, programs that encourage economic growth, and
core housing, homelessness prevention, and lead-based paint remediation
programs. Reed worked with Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) to secure
unanimous approval by the THUD Subcommittee earlier this week.
“This bipartisan bill provides federal funding
to improve our transportation and housing infrastructure and connect more
Americans to jobs and opportunities. It will help strengthen our economy,
create jobs, and make critical investments in our roads, bridges, airports,
ports, and transit systems,” said Reed.
Reed noted that the bill directs over $26
billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) in order to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency
of our transportation networks. These investments will allow for the
development of transformative projects across all modes of transportation and
will make significant strides to address the deferred maintenance backlog in
our airport, highway, rail, and transit systems.
“I am pleased we were able to secure major
increases to help states repair and replace aging bridges. It is
imperative that the federal government partner with states to upgrade existing
bridge infrastructure to prevent more costly repairs and emergencies down the
road,” noted Reed. “We must make smart investments to improve the safety
and efficiency of our transportation network, which is the backbone of our
The bill also provides over $49 billion in
programmatic funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) and resoundingly rejects the President’s proposal to eliminate rental
assistance for hundreds of thousands of households through attrition, as well
as the proposed administrative reforms to HUD’s rental assistance programs that
would increase rent burdens on already financially-burdened tenants.
Furthermore, the bill restores funding for critical housing production and
economic development programs, which were proposed for elimination in the
President’s budget request. This includes sustained investments in the
HOME program and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which
give local governments needed resources to develop their communities, support
businesses, create jobs, and ensure the availability of decent, affordable
“The Senate THUD bill provides needed
investments to expand affordable housing opportunities and offers a strong,
bipartisan blueprint we can build on,” continued Reed. “I am also
committed to maintaining strong support for programs, such as CDBG and HOME,
which are critically important to families and communities. I look
forward to continuing to work with Chairman Collins and our colleagues to get
this bipartisan bill across the finish line and provide Rhode Island with a
significant bump in housing, transportation, and community development money.”
Highlights of the bill include:
Department of Transportation
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER): The bill
includes $1 billion for the popular TIGER program, which is now also referred
to as the “BUILD” program. The bill rejects the President’s proposal to
eliminate this competitive grant funding, which allows for communities to make
transformative investments in their transportation infrastructure. Since
2010, Rhode Island has been awarded $108 million in competitive TIGER grants,
including a $20 million grant awarded earlier this year for repairs and
upgrades along Route 37 in Cranston and Warwick.
Airport Improvement Program (AIP): The bill provides
an additional $750 million in general fund resources for the Federal Aviation
Administration’s (FAA) AIP grants for airport safety, construction, and noise
mitigation, for a total funding level of $4.1 billion. Overall, the bill
includes a total of $17.7 billion in budgetary resources for the FAA in Fiscal
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): The bill includes
$3.3 billion in general fund appropriations and $46 billion in obligation
limitation for a total of $49.3 billion for FHWA activities. This level
of funding is $1.8 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level and $3.5 billion
above the budget request. The proposed general fund increase to the FAST
Act authorized level includes $2.4 billion in FHWA formula funds, $90 million
for railway-highway grade crossing safety, and $800 million for bridge repair
and replacement, generating an estimated 42,900 jobs. The $800 million
formula bridge program will provide grants to states and the District of
Columbia based on the percentage of bridges in poor condition. According
to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, nearly a quarter of Rhode
Island’s 1,162 bridges across the state are structurally deficient.
Transit: The bill includes a total of $13.514 billion
for transit-related activities, of which $2.55 billion is for Capital
Investment Grants, $150 million is for WMATA, and $800 million is from general
fund increases to FAST Act formula programs. This level of funding is $33
million above the fiscal year 2018 level and $2.4 billion above the budget
request. Within the $800 million increase to formula programs, $362 million is
for State-of-Good-Repair formula grants, $400 million is for Bus and Bus
Facilities grants, and $30 million is for High Density State Apportionments.
This increase in resources will assist transit agencies with purchasing
buses and rail cars, building maintenance facilities, and addressing the
nation’s $90 billion transit state-of-good-repair backlog.
Rail Funding: The bill provides $2.769 billion for the
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which is $323 million below the fiscal
year 2018 level, $1.76 billion above the budget request, and $917 million above
fiscal year 2017. The appropriations for rail safety and infrastructure
grants are consistent with the authorized level of funding, and $467 million
more than fiscal year 2017. The Committee also set deadlines for grant
awards in order to ensure timely expenditure of funds.
Positive Train Control: The bill provides $10
million for oversight of PTC implementation at FRA.
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grants: The bill provides $255 million for CRISI grants, which is $338
million less than fiscal year 2018 and $255 million above the President’s
budget request. CRISI can be used for a broad number of eligible activities
that address safety and infrastructure needs, including deployment of railroad
safety technology, such as PTC, and capital projects, such as stations or
platforms, rail line relocation or improvement, highway-railway grade crossing
improvement projects, and planning and environmental work.
Federal-State Partnership for State-of-Good-Repair (SOGR): The bill includes $300 million for SOGR, which is $50 million
above the fiscal year 2018 level and $300 million above the President’s budget
request. These grants support capital investment and maintenance projects on
Amtrak State-supported routes.
Restoration and Enhancement Grants: The bill provides
$10 million for Restoration and Enhancement Grants. This level of funding is
$10 million below the fiscal year 2018 level and $10 million above the
President’s budget request. These grants support operating assistance for new
or improved passenger rail service.
Amtrak: The bill includes $1.94 billion for Amtrak,
of which $650 million is for the Northeast Corridor, consistent with fiscal
year 2018. The bill includes $50 million for safety technology on state-supported routes where PTC is not
Maritime Administration: The bill meets the
national security demands of the Maritime Security Program, providing $300
million for fiscal year 2019, as authorized. Other notable funding increases
include: $18 million for capital improvements and maintenance activities at the
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, $300 million to fully fund the replacement of the
second of six state maritime academy training school ships, $20 million for the
Small Shipyard grant program, and $7 million for the Marine Highways grant
program. An additional $8 million is also provided for state maritime academy
ship sharing agreements in order to help with the operating and logistics needs
of transporting students between academies to ensure that students are able to
perform their required sea time for Coast Guard licensure.
Department of Housing and Urban Development & Related
Youth Homelessness: The bill includes $80
million in the Continuum of Care program to address youth homelessness, as well
as an additional $2 million to assess the incidence and prevalence of youth
homelessness nationally. This level of funding builds on the more than
$162 million in combined investments provided since fiscal year 2016.
This funding will allow for Continuum of Care grantees to develop and evaluate
new housing and supportive service interventions for youth experiencing
homelessness. The bill also continues to waive third-party documentation
requirements for youth in order to rapidly connect those experiencing
homelessness to HUD housing and supportive services. Additionally, the
bill continues investments in the Family Unification Program by providing an additional
$20 million to support 2,500 new rental assistance vouchers for youth aging out
of foster care.
Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence: In November 2016,
HUD expanded housing protections beyond public housing and Section 8 to include
all HUD-assisted housing programs and required communities to develop emergency
transfer plans to assist victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Building on past investments, the bill provides $50 million in new
targeted funding to help communities facilitate emergency transfers for victims
fleeing domestic and dating violence, and experiencing homelessness. This
level of funding will make grants available to non-profits and local
governments for rapid re-housing projects, supportive service projects, and
coordinated entry activities through HUD’s Continuum of Care program in order
to assist more than 3,750 survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, and
stalking in fiscal year 2019.
HUD-VASH Vouchers: The bill rejects the President’s proposal to
eliminate new resources for this program and includes $40 million to provide
5,100 new incremental rental vouchers for veterans experiencing homelessness.
This level of funding is consistent with the fiscal year 2018 enacted
Public Housing Capital Fund: The bill rejects the
President’s request to eliminate this program and instead includes $2.775
billion in order to enable public housing agencies to perform the annual
routine maintenance and rehabilitation of the nation’s 1.1 million public
housing units. This level of funding is $25 million more than the fiscal
year 2018 level and will allow PHAs to perform environmental interventions for
lead-based paint hazards in approximately 1,500 public housing units in order
to meet HUD’s new blood lead level standard. This increase to the lead
set-aside builds on the $25 million provided in fiscal year 2017, where more
than 80 PHAs have identified unmet needs.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): The bill rejects
the President’s proposal to eliminate the CDBG program and includes $3.3
billion. The bill also provides $65 million for the Indian CDBG program.
HOME Investment Partnerships Program: The bill rejects
the President’s proposal to eliminate the HOME program, the only federal
program dedicated solely to the construction of affordable housing, and instead
includes $1.362 billion, consistent with fiscal year 2018 enacted. This formula
program will help states and local
governments to leverage an additional $5.2 billion in public and private
investment in order to produce and preserve approximately 35,000 affordable
housing units, as well as to provide rental assistance to an additional 10,500
low-income households in fiscal year 2019. Additionally, this investment
will result in the creation and preservation of nearly 24,000 jobs.
Choice Neighborhoods Initiative: The bill rejects
the President’s proposal to eliminate Choice Neighborhoods and includes $100
million for neighborhood transformation grants. This level of funding is $50
million below the fiscal year 2018 level. Choice Neighborhoods is a critical
resource for community-led transformation and a key tool for state and local governments to improve local
infrastructure by redeveloping severely-distressed HUD-assisted housing.
Lead-Based Paint Hazard Remediation: The bill provides
$260 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, which is
$115 million more than the budget request and $30 million more than fiscal year
2018. This funding level includes up to $170 million for Lead-Based Paint
Hazard Control grants, no less than $95 million of which is reserved for those
communities with the highest lead-based paint abatement needs. The bill also
provides $45 million for the Lead Safe Communities Demonstration program, which
will examine the effectiveness of intensive multi-year investments in
lead-based paint remediation activities in five low-income communities. This
heightened funding is intended to reduce the per unit cost of lead-based paint
remediation by creating greater economies of scale and lowering grantees’
administrative expenses. This total funding level will support lead-based paint
hazard reductions in up to 15,600 units, providing safer homes for over 55,600
low-income families and individuals, including more than 14,450 children under
the age of six. An additional $45 million is also provided to address other
health hazards, including radon and mold, in low-income housing.
Housing for the Elderly: The bill provides $678
million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, which is $77
million more than the President’s budget request and consistent with fiscal year
2018. This funding will meet the renewal needs of the program, as well as
provide $51 million to produce over 370 new units of housing for the elderly.
Additionally, the bill includes $10 million for new grants to modify or repair
the homes of low-income seniors in order to enable that population to age in
place more successfully.
Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity: The bill provides a total of $54 million for the SHOP, Section
4, Rural Capacity Building, and Veterans Home Rehabilitation and Modification
Pilot programs, consistent with fiscal year 2018. The subcommittee rejects the
President’s request to eliminate these programs. These programs offer
homeownership opportunities for low-income families through “sweat equity,” provide
technical assistance to improve the capacity of local organizations to carry
out community development and affordable housing activities, and repair or
modify the homes of low-income and disabled veterans to make them more
accessible. The $4 million provided for the Veterans Home Rehabilitation
and Modification Pilot program will repair or modify the homes of over 260
low-income and disabled veterans.
NeighborWorks America: The bill provides $147
million for NeighborWorks, $7 million more than fiscal year 2018, and rejects
the President’s proposal to terminate operations over a two- year period.
This funding will support NeighborWorks’ network of nearly 250 local and
regional community development organizations, which provided housing and
counseling services to over 455,000 families and individuals and created or
maintained 43,600 jobs in fiscal year 2017.
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH): USICH, the only federal agency responsible for preventing and
ending homelessness, is funded at $3.6 million, consistent with fiscal year
2018 and more than $3.1 million greater than the President’s budget request,
which proposed to completely eliminate the agency. Established under the
Reagan Administration as part of the landmark McKinney-Vento Homeless
Assistance Act of 1987, then expanded as part of the Homeless Emergency
Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009, USICH has worked across
the federal government and private sector to coordinate homeless assistance
Now that the bill has been approved by the
full Appropriations Committee it must be voted on by the full U.S. Senate
before it may be reconciled with a separate version making its way through the
U.S. House of Representatives.