I've had a blast providing you with short, plain-English stories about federal transportation policy and funding, answering your questions, and helping you navigate the mysteries of the federal government. I will continue to be involved in transportation issues, and writing about it.
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Posted On 4/04/2011 12:26:00 PM by Larry Ehl |
Posted On 3/21/2011 10:49:00 AM by Larry Ehl |
"Freshman Democrat Joe Manchin: Obama has 'failed to lead' on budget," Politico
Posted On 3/08/2011 07:54:00 AM by Larry Ehl |
The President also signed into law a bill (HJR.44, PL 112-4) that continues funding for federal agencies through March 18. Congress enacted this two-week funding bill to provide more time to negotiate the wide differences between the Senate and House bills. The bill cuts nearly $1 billion in transportation programs and earmarks.
The House continues to press for a bill that would cut FFY 2011 spending by $61 billion. The Senate has revised its bill to reduce spending by $10.5 billion. The Senate will take a couple of test votes this week, which will show there's insufficient support for either of the current proposals.
Negotiations will continue, but it's very possible another short-term spending bill will be needed. If no compromise is then reached, both sides may be willing to suffer through a government shut down to help determine once and for all what the public will support.
Transportation hearings scheduled for this week:
House Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment: the President's FFY 2012 budget request for federal water infrastructure programs, 11am (Pacific).
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation, full committee hearing: USDOT's FFY 2012 budget request, 11:30am (Pacific).
House Appropriations, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development: FFY 2012 Army Corps of Engineers civil works budget request, 11am (Pacific)
Senate Environment and Public Works, full committee hearing: USDOT's FY 2012 budget request for the Federal Highway Administration, 11:15am (Pacific).
Senate Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing: USDOT's FFY 2012 budget request, 6:30am (Pacific)
House Transportation and Infrastructure -- Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials: increasing private sector participation in passenger rail service, 7am (Pacific).
Posted On 3/07/2011 03:09:00 PM by Larry Ehl |
Will USDOT Shut Down This Friday?
WSDOT, USDOT Finalize $590 Million For Passenger Rail
Budget Map Compares Transportation Spending To Rest Of Budget
Columbian's Coverage of Mica Session
Twitter Coverage of House Transport Listening Session
Federal Officials Will Hear Suggestions for SAFETEA-LU Reauthorization, and National Export Initiative
House Transportation Committee Sponsors Native American Roundtable
Conference: National Safe Routes To Schools
Patty Murray Statement on Securing $590 Million for Passenger Rail Service
Lahood Statement on Investing $590 Million In WA Passenger Rail Service
Posted On 2/28/2011 07:30:00 AM by Larry Ehl |
One issue will dominate the week, a proposal to continue 2011 spending for two weeks and avoid a government shutdown. The situation is very fluid, but at this point it appears the House and Senate have agreed on a two-week continuation of 2011 funding that will avoid a government shutdown. the harder negotiation will be determining the spending level for the remainder of the fiscal year. See Will USDOT Shut Down This Friday? for more details.
One other issue this week is of high interest to transportation stakeholders: a likely vote to extend SAFETEA-LU through September 30th, 2011. The bill would continue current funding levels, and includes no policy changes. The current extension of SAFETEA-LU expires at midnight this Friday (March 4).
Congressional transportation committee leaders continue to gather input and draft a multi-year authorization bill. Meanwhile, the President released a broad and general proposal for a six-year $551 billion plan to replace SAFETEA-LU. The proposal does not include a funding mechanism, and it is unclear if and when more details might be released. The President’s plan is focused on “fix-it-first” instead of adding capacity, and would consolidate over 55 highway programs into five programs and merge five transit programs into two programs to expedite project planning and delivery. The House Transportation Committee held field hearings and listening sessions across the country last week, including Vancouver.
The House’s proposed 2011 spending bill contains a number of cuts to transportation programs. Most of the spending reductions come from eliminating 2010 funding for passenger rail, TIGER, and transit New Starts programs that has not been contractually obligated, and eliminating proposed 2011 funding for those programs. Proposed 2011 transportation earmarks were also eliminated, including approximately $221 million designated for 57 projects in WA State.
Status Reports on legislation:
Posted On 2/27/2011 10:14:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
The House proposal reduces spending by about $60 billion compared to 2010, and by about $100 billion compared to the President’s proposal. Senate Democrats oppose such steep cuts, and will propose a bill that reduces spending more moderately. The differences are significant, both sides are dug in, and many Members are predicting negotiations will break down. That would result in federal agencies and programs shutting down until a final spending bill is approved.
The situation is very fluid, but we should know by Wednesday afternoon if the two-week spending bill is going to pass or get hung up.
A report to be issued Monday by Moody Analytics frames the challenge facing Congress. The House proposal would cut an estimated 700,000 jobs through 2012. But the report also notes that reducing deficits down to sustainable levels will require cutting about $400 billion a year through the rest of this decade, even when assuming an economy recovery.
Posted On 2/27/2011 09:22:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments