On February 5, 2007, U.S, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters unveiled a $67 billion fiscal year (FY) 2008 Budget to fund the nation’s roadways, rail and air transportation. The proposal includes $9.4 billion for transit, $40.3 billion for highways, resources for cleaner buses, reduced support for Amtrak passenger rail and a $175 million initiative to reduce traffic congestion.

Key provisions in the Department of Transportation (DOT) Budget include:

The Administration has requested $9.42 billion for transit programs for FY 2008, an increase from FY 2007. But this is less than the $9.73 billion authorized in the transportation law “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy For Users" (SAFETEA-LU, P.L 109-59). Last year, Congress failed to complete work on FY 2007 Appropriation Bills resulting in transportation programs for being funded at FY 2006 levels by a continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 103) due to expire on February 15. Congress plans to complete work on FY 2007 spending by passing a new continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year. The House recently passed its version of this year-long joint resolution (H.J Res. 20) which includes $8.975 billion for transit – a record, funding it at SAFETEA-LU levels for FY 2007. The Senate will act on this continuing resolution this week.

* Formula and Bus Grant Programs - The budget request for Formula and Bus Grant Programs, which fund transit in urban and rural areas, as well as transportation needs of the elderly and paratransit, is $7.872 billion, matching SAFETEA-LU authorized levels. 

* Clean Fuels Grant Program – Once again, the administration has requested separate finding for the Clean Fuels Grants Program at $49 million, up from $45 million in the FY 2007 request. This request matches levels authorized in SAFETEA-LU ($238.1 million over five years). The Clean Fuels Grants Program will be a critical resource for promoting clean bus deployment through the funding of advanced technologies and fuels in buses.

* Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) - $1.6 billion is requested for the CMAQ program, which supports transportation projects including transit, that help meet air quality standards.

* Amtrak – Administration support for the nation’s passenger rail service Amtrak continues to be weak. DOT is proposing $900 million in funding. The proposal includes $300 million for Amtrak’s operating budget, $500 million for Northeast corridor infrastructure rehabilitation and a new $100 million grant matching program for states to prioritize capital investment for Amtrak projects. Amtrak was funded at $1.29 billion in FY 2006. The House version of the year-long joint resolution (H.J Res. 20) funds Amtrak at $1.294 billion (FY 2006 levels), pending action from the Senate. 

* Congestion Relief - The DOT proposal includes $175 million for the new National Strategy to Reduce Congestion initiative. $100 million will be available for partnerships with select states under the Value Pricing Pilot Program, $25 million for Corridors of the Future investments, $25 million for the Real-Time System Management Information Program and $25 million for expansion of congestion-related research under the Intelligent Transportation Systems Research and Development Program.