Senate Appropriations Committee Marks Up FY15 THUD Bill

murray_collinsSen. Patty Murray (D-WA), left, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee. Picture courtesy of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

This week, the Senate FY15 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in a 29-1 vote. The bill proposes funding levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (USDOT) and other related agencies for fiscal year 2015.

This comes on the heels of the House Appropriations Committee passing their version last month. Overall, the Senate bill would provide $54.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for THUD agencies, as opposed to the $52 billion from the House bill. Despite the funding differences between the two bills, the final funding decisions will likely be determined in an omnibus appropriations package later this year.

The breakdown of proposed funding for relevant programs in the Senate bill is as follows:

Department of Transportation
The Senate bill provides a total of $71.7 billion in gross discretionary resources for USDOT in FY15, which is $1.3 billion more than the House bill provides and $536 million more than the FY14 enacted level.

The popular TIGER grant program, which funds innovative transportation solutions that are frequently hard to fund under existing formula programs, would receive funding at $550 million. This is $50 million below the enacted FY14 funding, but is significantly higher than the $100 million allocated for the program in the House bill. The Senate bill does not place any new restrictions on the types of projects eligible to receive TIGER funds—something the House bill does by making transit, rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects ineligible. Also, the Senate sets aside $35 million in TIGER funding for planning grants to develop innovative transportation solutions.

Amtrak would receive $1.39 billion under the Senate bill, which would keep funding at its currently enacted level for FY14. This is $200 million higher than the funding proposed in the House bill.

Funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs comes in at $11.1 billion, which is $310 million above the FY14 enacted levels and $600 million above the House bill. This includes $2.163 billion for the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants, which includes the popular New Starts and Small Starts grant programs. This represents an increase of $221 million over the FY14 enacted levels and a difference of $472 million over the House’s proposed amount of $1.691 billion.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Senate bill would provide HUD with a total of $45.8 billion in discretionary spending, which is $3.2 billion more than the FY14 enacted amount and $5.5 billion more than the House bill’s proposal.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a flexible funding program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of development needs, would receive $3.02 billion, which is nearly equal to the current funding of $3.03 billion and just above the $3 billion proposed in the House bill.

The HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provides formula grants to states and localities to fund affordable housing projects, receives $950 million in funding, falling $50 million below the FY14 enacted level but $250 million above the House proposal of $700 million.

Choice Neighborhoods, which provides support for struggling neighborhoods and aids in community revitalization, would receive $90 million, which is equal to the FY14 enacted level and $65 million above the House proposal of $25 million.