May 11, 2009
Administration Releases FY 2010 Budget Proposal
On May 7, the Obama Administration released its detailed budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2010 for all federal programs, including federal surface transportation programs. This more detailed budget assumes current baseline program levels for public transit and highway programs under the SAFETEA-LU authorizing law, which expires September 30. The budget proposal essentially assumes that any funding growth will be made in the new authorizing bill.
For Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs in FY 2010, the Administration proposes total budget authority of $10.336 billion, which is essentially flatline funding from FY 2009 authorized levels, and a small increase over the FY 2009 appropriated levels (exclusive of stimulus funding). Capital investment grants are proposed to be funded at a level of $1.827 billion, and formula and bus grants at a level of $8.343 billion.
The proposal includes a higher level of support from General Fund resources for both transit and highway programs currently funded principally from the Highway Trust Fund. In an effort to explain that its proposals on FTA and Federal Highway Administration programs are really preliminary baseline proposals that will be modified in the authorization process, the Administration budget submission repeatedly states the following:
“The Administration is developing a comprehensive approach for surface transportation reauthorization. Consequently, the Budget contains no policy recommendations for programs subject to reauthorization, including highway programs. Instead, the Budget displays baseline funding levels for all surface transportation programs.”
With regard to General Fund provisions of federal transit programs, the budget states that is not indicative of “recommended funding levels or a budgeting approach for the upcoming reauthorization” but is intended to provide an accurate picture of the current fiscal condition of the Highway Trust Fund/Mass Transit Account.
Additionally, as previously announced, the budget recommends $1 billion for Capital Assistance for High-Speed Rail Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service. This would be the first year of a five-year proposal following-on the $8 billion in “seed money” for this program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The budget also recommends a small increase in funding for Amtrak from $1.490 billion to $1.502 billion.
Finally, the budget submission recommends a reduction in funding for the Rail and Public Transportation Security Grants program to $250 million in FY 2010. The program received $400 million in FY 2009 appropriations and an additional $150 million through ARRA for a total of $550 million in FY 2009. Moreover, the program is authorized to be appropriated at a level of $900 million in FY 2010 under the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act.