ADMINISTRATION REQUESTS $68 BILLION FOR TRANSPORTATION, PROPOSES SHIFTING FUNDS FROM TRANSIT TO HIGHWAYS
For Immediate Release:
Feburary 5, 2008
For More Information Contact: Jan Lars Mueller 202-662-1883
WASHINGTON, DC - On
February 4, 2008, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters released the
2009 fiscal year (FY) budget request for the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) to fund construction, maintenance, and operation
activities for the nation’s roadways, railways, and air
transportation. The proposed $68.2 billion total
represents a $2.13 billion decrease from the FY 2008 appropriations
bill enacted in December 2007. Moreover, proposed budget rescission
measures totaling $3.89 billion would further reduce the budgetary
resources available to DOT in FY 2009 to $64.31 billion.
The Administration’s proposed budget request includes $40.1 billion to fund highways and bridges through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a
decrease from the $41.2 billion total appropriated to FHWA for FY 2008,
including the $1 billion supplemental appropriation for bridge repair.
The requested amount also is below the $41.2 billion authorized in
“SAFETEA-LU” (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005).
The proposed budget requests $10.1 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to fund rail and bus transit needs. This
represents an increase of $644 million over FY 2008 funding for FTA,
but the amount is $202 million below the amount authorized by
More significantly, the Administration is proposing to transfer $3.2 billion
from the Mass Transit Account to the Highway Account, which is
estimated to have a negative balance of $3.2 billion dollars in FY
2009. The Administration says these funds will be repaid to the Mass
Transit Account through provisions in a future transportation
Of the $10.1 billion
in total spending proposed for FTA in FY 2009, the Formula and Bus
Grants program will receive $8.3 billion, which is the amount of obligation limitation authorized by SAFETEA-LU and is a $593 million increase over FY 2008.
Other major FTA program accounts are funded from the general fund, not
the Highway Trust Fund, and are subject to more budgetary discretion.
The largest general fund transit account is the Capital Investment
Grants program (formerly known as New Starts), which would receive $1.6 billion under
the proposed budget. This is $51 million above the FY 2008 level but
below the $1.8 billion authorized by SAFETEA-LU for FY 2009. Overall,
the Administration’s budget requests $202 million less than the amount
authorized by SAFETEA-LU for general fund transit accounts.
The Administration is again proposing dramatic cuts in federal support for Amtrak.
Congress appropriated $1.3 billion for Amtrak in FY 2008 with $850
million going to capital and debt service and $475 million to operating
subsidies. The Administration's budget proposes a total of $800
million, a cut of $525 million or 40 percent. The Administration
proposes $525 million for capital and debt service grants and $275
million for "efficiency incentive grants" which would replace direct
operating subsidies and give the Secretary of Transportation discretion
in how the funds are used.
Other highlights in the Department of Transportation (DOT) budget include:
- Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) – $1.8 billion.
CMAQ supports transportation projects that assist in meeting and
maintaining national ambient air quality standards.
- Clean Fuels Grant Program – $51 million
to support transit operators in transitioning to cleaner and more
efficient buses and fuels, an increase from $49 million appropriated in
- Transit Planning —$113.5 million
to support the activities of regional planning agencies and states to
plan for transit investments, an increase from $107 million
appropriated in FY 2008.
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