Federal highway, transit and airport grant programs notched small gains and high-speed rail won a surprisingly large $4 billion in a fiscal 2010 transportation and housing spending bill that the House passed on July 23. The $123.1-billion measure includes $75.8 billion for the Dept. of Transportation, a 13% gain over DOT’s 2009 funding. The bill also has $47 billion for the Housing and Urban Development Dept. The Senate Appropriations Committee is slated to take up its version of the DOT-HUD bill on July 30.
The House bill would set the 2010 highway obligation ceiling at $41.1 billion, up 1% from 2009. With the Highway Trust Fund in trouble and no new reauthorization in place, the House highway figure is “a place-holder that keeps things current until the next authorization,” says David Bauer, American Road and Transportation Builders Association senior vice president for government relations (see story, p. 10). “Really, that’s the best we could hope for.”