The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday reported a Fiscal Year 2007 spending bill that includes an obligation limitation of $39.086 billion for the federal-aid highway program and $8.8 billion for transit.
The highway funding level corresponds to the authorizations contained in the Safe,
Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
(SAFETEA-LU) reauthorization act and the level passed by the House and recommended by
the President. [SAFETEA-LU, pronounced safety-lew, might be the worst acronym ever created.]
The figure includes some $842 million in Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) funding for highways, which is subject to the obligation limitation. The bill also appropriates $20 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System and $20 million for the Delta Region Transportation Development Program.
For transit, the committee approved $7.264 billion for formula, bus, research and
administrative programs, the levels contained in SAFETEA-LU. However, the bill falls some $100 million short of the level that is authorized for new starts, with only $1.466 billion proposed to be provided from the General Fund. This also reflects the President's budget proposal.
The appropriators exceeded both the President's proposal and the House bill in the
$1.4 billion appropriation for Amtrak. According to reports some $750 million of that funding is designated for capital programs, and is contingent upon the submission by Amtrak of a capital improvement program. Total funding for the Federal Railroad Administration is some $1.59 billion; $84 million above the FY06 enacted level and $510,000 above the AdministrationÂs request. [Amtrak? We're still spending money on this?]
In aviation, the bill provides a total of $14.225 billion in budgetary resources for the FAA, an increase of $476 million over the AdministrationÂs budget request. Of this amount, $8.36 billion is provided for Operations. The bill would increase the Airport Improvements Grant program to some $3.52 billion, a substantial increase over the President's request but some $180 million less than proposed by the House bill. The Essential Air Services program would be funded at the same level as in the House, a total of $117 million. The FAA's facilities and equipment program would be funded at $2.55 billion.
The committee approved the SAFETEA-LU authorized level of funding for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, some $517 million. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration overall level would increase by $5 million over FY 2006 spending, reaching $811 million.
Where does one ever start to assess the appropriateness of a $39B bill? As I am sure there are great and appropriate items in the bill, I am equally sure that there are lousy and inappropriate items. Government is just way to big as so inefficient that it just continueses wasting money.
Stasi radio monitoring department, hard at work, 1980s
15 minutes ago