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The 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill: Funding American Transit


The 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill: Funding American Transit

A large portion of the money used for capital improvement across the United States is provided by legislation passed through the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. In July 2017 the committee approved the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill for 2018, which will provide funding for capital improvement projects in every region of the country and create new bidding opportunities for third-party vendors at state, local and federal levels.

The Many Roads of DOT

Under the Bill, money will be allocated to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to pay for a variety of air, highway, maritime and rail infrastructure projects. These projects will be managed by various government departments and agencies, including [i]:

        • the Federal Aviation Administration
        • the Federal Highway Administration
        • the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
        • the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
        • the National Transportation Safety Board
        • the Federal Railroad Administration
        • the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
        • the Federal Transit Administration
        • the Surface Transportation Board
        • the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
        • the Maritime Administration
        • the Federal Maritime Commission

(Source: H.R.3353. 115th Congress. Legislation. 2017)

Improving Roads and Highways

A large focus of the 2018 Bill is ensuring that proper funding is available for projects that will improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of transportation infrastructure across the U.S. In recent years, greater attention has been paid to the condition of America’s roads and highways, especially after the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the nation’s infrastructure a near-failing grade in both 2013 and 2017. Federal and local agencies have been steadily addressing these infrastructure issues as funding becomes available and posting bids for the goods and services needed for each improvement project.

As part of the 2018 Bill, $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund will pay for maintenance and improvements via the Federal-Aid Highway program. The Bill also frees up additional money for needed infrastructure improvements by allowing state DOT agencies to use unused funds from past projects for new initiatives. [ii]

The Federal Transit Administration will receive just over $12 billion to assist local governments in the construction and maintenance of their mass transit systems.  As well, approximately $10 billion will fund transit grants that align with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) act, a program started in 2015 that is focused on repairing and maintaining surface transportation networks throughout the U.S. [ii] Under the FAST act, more procurement opportunities have appeared for vendors looking for transit related bids, because the Act allows states to partner together to purchase goods and services through cooperative interstate procurements. [iii]

City rail service transportation systems will also receive financial attention thanks to the 2018 bill. Improvement and maintenance funding is included for rail transit, along with a 50 percent funding-match program for “New Start” projects that include rapid rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail. [iv]

Land, Sea and Air

In addition to city rail infrastructure, approximately $2 billion is earmarked for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), $1.6 billion of which will go to Amtrak to help pay for the Northeast Corridor and National Network. Money will also be made available for safety research and enhancements, including $92.5 million to fund Consolidated Rail grant programs for infrastructure and safety improvements; $35.5 million for restoration of passenger rails; and $26 million for ‘State of Good Repair’ grants. [ii]

The Maritime Administration will also receive $577.6 million for productivity and safety initiatives. $300 million of the funds are earmarked for the Maritime Security Program, which was developed to protect U.S. waters and ports. Funding will also be directed to the State Maritime Academies (SMA) and the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel, used by SMA to train the nation’s merchant marine workforce. [ii]

Thanks to the nearly $17 billion in funding the 2018 Bill provides for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), all of America’s nearly 40,000 air traffic control personnel (including engineers, maintenance technicians, safety inspectors and air traffic controllers) will remain employed. An additional $1.1 billion will go towards the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transport System (NextGen), a technology and procedure program intended to enhance safety and efficiency in U.S airspace. [ii]

Funding Opportunities across the United States

The 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill provides funding for a wide range of programs throughout the United States. As money is awarded and assigned to local and national projects, third-party vendors will begin to see new bid opportunities become available. By staying up to date about federal appropriations and keeping an eye out for new bids, vendors will be able to capitalize on the improvements planned for the nation’s transit infrastructure.

Kevin McClintock | BidNet.com

 [i] n.p. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. Washington, July 17 2017. 2017. Appropriations.house.gov. Web. 15 Aug 2017

 [ii] n.p. United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. Committee Advances FY2018 Transportations, HUD Appropriations Bill 2017. Appropriations.senate.gov. Web. 15 Aug 2017

 [iii] n.p. Federal Transit Administration. FAST Act 2017. Transit.dot.gov. Web. 15 Aug 2017

 [iv] n.p. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. Washington July 10 2017. 2017. Appropriations.house.gov. Web. 15 Aug 2017

 

 

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