House Panel Approves DOT Funding Cut of Over Half a Billion Dollars

A House panel approved legislation that would cut funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT) by over half a billion dollars.

After a swift meeting, the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, housing and urban development advanced a spending bill by voice vote to provide $17.8 billion in discretionary funding for the DOT in the fiscal year 2018.

That figure is $646 million less than current levels — a 3.7 percent decrease — but is $1.5 billion more than what President Trump requested for the agency.

“The Chairman was dealt a very difficult hand, and as a result, we are not investing enough in our housing and transportation infrastructure to maintain it, let alone expand it,” said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), ranking member on the panel.

The spending measure would entirely eliminate the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which was created by the Obama administration but never actually authorized by Congress. It’s a popular funding tool among cities and states because of its wide range of eligibility.

House Republicans have long targeted the program for cuts, and Trump proposed killing TIGER grants in his budget request. The House DOT appropriations bill would zero out the $500 million a year program.

The rest of the DOT spending bill would allow $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-Aid Highways Program, provide $1 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration’s modernization program and prohibit funding for high-speed rail in California.

The bill also includes $100 million in new funding for automated vehicle research and development, which Congress has been increasingly focused on.

Read more from The Hill