Spending bills differ greatly on DOT and Amtrak funding

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Thursday, June 27, 2013

Separate House and Senate bills that control the checkbook for transportation differ greatly on DOT discretionary grants, Amtrak and overall spending levels. In fact, they’re $10 billion apart.

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill calls for about $54 billion for transportation and housing in the 2014 fiscal year. It includes funding for Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s discretionary spending program known as TIGER, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

The House Appropriations Committee sees things differently, budgeting $44 billion for 2014 while cutting high-speed rail and axing $500 million from the TIGER program. The House bill falls $7.7 billion short of 2013 spending levels, but House leadership says that’s necessary to get the budget closer to a balanced level.

Both versions emerged from their respective committees on Thursday, June 27, and advance to their respective chamber floors for consideration.

For a bill to advance to the president’s desk, both chambers will have to agree on final language.

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