On May 28, the White House sent to Congress the President’s $6 trillion budget request for the coming fiscal year. For the Department of Transportation (DOT), the budget proposes a total of $47 billion for surface transportation programs – a reduction of $2 billion that is equal to the general fund revenues appropriated on top of authorized amounts in FY 2021.
Allocations include $1 billion for the newly named Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program for surface transportation infrastructure grants, which replaces the BUILD grant program and would provide the same level of funding as in FY 2021. For aviation, the budget proposes $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, as authorized by the FAA Act of 2018.
The FY 2022 Budget request also includes new details on the American Jobs Plan (AJP), which would provide an additional $621 billion for transportation infrastructure and resilience. Of this amount, $540 billion would reside in DOT programs, allocating $387 billion over five years for surface transportation improvements. This proposal is in addition to the base amounts included in the FY 2022 budget request.
What happens next?
The President’s budget request outlines his spending priorities for FY 2022, meaning that Democrats and Republicans will negotiate final funding decisions over the next few weeks. How to pay for the AJP will be an uphill battle, as Republicans are unlikely to support the President’s proposed tax increases. If the votes aren’t there, Congress would have to pass a budget resolution requiring the House and Senate committees to come up with new spending and tax changes, and package that into a reconciliation bill. If budget reconciliation happens, Congress will also have to pass a separate bill reauthorizing surface transportation programs including new Highway Trust Fund contract authority, general fund transfers, and earmarks.