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Congressional Research Service Reports
Redistributed as a Service of the NLE*

IB10032 - Transportation Issues in the 108th Congress (pdf)

3-May-2002; David R. Peterman; 18 p.

Update: September 23, 2003

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

On September 17, 2003, the Senate Committee on Finance passed a five-month extension of authority for trust fund expenditures on surface transportation programs (S. 1548). The bill would also make changes to Highway Trust Fund revenue sources, adding about $2 billion a year to the Fund. The same day, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure introduced two bills that would extend the authority for trust fund expenditures on surface transportation programs, one for five months (H.R. 3087), one for six months (H.R. 3088).

On September 17, 2003, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure reported out a bill (H.R. 2572) reauthorizing Amtrak for 3 years (FY2004-FY2006) at $2 billion each year, with no changes to Amtrak€s structure.

On September 9, 2003, the House of Representatives passed their version of the FY2004 Transportation, Treasury, and IndependentAgencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 2989) by a vote of 381-39. The bill provides $54.9 billion for transportation programs. The major difference between the House and the Administration request was an additional $4.4 billion for highway funding (another major difference, the deletion of the $3.4 billion Airport Improvement Program, was the result of a technicality; the program is likely to be restored in conference).

On September 4, 2003, the Senate Committee onAppropriations ordered reported their version of the FY2004 Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill (S. 1589; S.Rept. 108-146). The Committee recommended $58.9 billion for transportation programs, an 8.6% increase over the Administration request. The major difference was an additional $4.5 billion for highway funding.

On June 11, 2003, the House passed H.R. 2115, Flight 100 € Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, which calls for spending $58.2 billion over 4 years. The next day the Senate passed is version of H.R. 2115, as amended by S. 824, proposing spending $43.5 billion over 3 years. Conferees reached agreement on July 24, 2003; however, the conference report is not yet available. Opposition to several aspects of the agreement in both houses has thrown its approval into doubt.

Previous release: /NLE/CRSreports/03May/IB10032.pdf
/NLE/CRSreports/03Apr/IB10032.pdf
/NLE/CRSreports/02Dec/IB10032.pdf
http://cnie.org/NLE/CRSreports/IB10032.pdf
http://www.cnie.org/nle/crsreports/transportation/trans-21.pdf
http://www.cnie.org/nle/crsreports/transportation/trans-21.cfm

Abstract: This issue brief identifies key transportation issues facing the 108th Congress.

Transportation Budget. The Administration requested $54.3 billion for the Department of Transportation for FY2004, 2.5% less than comparable funding for FY2003. The House of Representatives has approved $54.9 billion; the Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended $58.9 billion. With the end of the fiscal year approaching, and several appropriations bills still unsettled, a Continuing Resolution is likely.

Surface Transportation Reauthorization. Authorizing legislation for the existing federal highway and transit programs will expire at the end of FY2003. Provisions in that law will shut down or significantly limit DOT€s largest programs after September 30, 2003, if not amended. TheAdministration€s proposal, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA, H.R. 2088/S. 1072), calls for only minimal increases in program spending over the next six years, and calls for a decrease in year-over-year spending in FY2004. The committees of jurisdiction have not yet introduced their proposals; both houses want more funding than proposed bytheAdministration€s plan. Bills to extend the programs for 5-6 months have been introduced.

Aviation Reauthorization. The authorization for key functions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will expire at the end of FY2003. The FAA€s bill, theCentennial of Flight AviationAuthorization (FLIGHT-100), provides for essentially flat funding during the next four years. On June 11, 2003, the House passed H.R. 2115, Flight 100 € Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, which calls for spending $58.2 billion over 4 years. The next day the Senate passed is version of H.R. 2115, as amended by S. 824, proposing spending $43.5 billion over 3 years. Conferees reached agreement on July 24, 2003; however, opposition in both houses to aspects of the agreement have delayed its consideration.

Transportation Security. Transportation security continues to be a key policy issue for Congress. The overarching concern is what reasonable security actions can be taken in each transportation mode without excessively impeding commerce and travel. Congress continues to consider legislative proposals to strengthen aviation and surface transportation security. Amtrak Issues. Amtrak has said it needs $1.8 billion for FY2004. The Administration requested $900 million; the House has approved $900 million, while the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $1.3 billion. Amtrak€s authorization expired at the end of FY2002; Congress is considering reauthorization. In doing so, it may consider altering the shape of the railroad, including Amtrak€s long-haul routes.

Airline IndustryTurmoil. The economyand world events have dramatically affected the airline industry. The airlines lost record amounts of money in 2002, which followed what had been the previous record loss experienced in 2001. Congress has proposed providing some short-term relief for the ailing airline industry.
[read report]

* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.