Appropriations subcommittee backs transportation spending bill

Appropriations subcommittee backs transportation spending bill
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A Senate subcommittee on Tuesday swiftly approved a $56.5 billion transportation spending bill, sending the legislation to the full panel.

During a brief markup, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation and housing unanimously backed a measure that would provide $56.5 billion in discretionary spending to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies in fiscal 2017.

The figure is $2.9 billion less than the president’s budget request and $827 million less than the current level.

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Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLooking to the past to secure America's clean energy future Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike MORE (R-Maine), the panel’s chairwoman, asked that members hold off on offering amendments until the full committee markup on Thursday. This is usually one of the less contentious appropriations bills in Congress, and ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE (D-R.I.) applauded the subcommittee’s bipartisan work.

“You’ve done an extraordinary job, and you have worked to include priorities for members on both sides of the aisle, reflecting the bipartisan tradition of this committee,” Reed said to Collins.
 
The appropriations bill contains $16.9 billion for the DOT, which is $1.7 billion below the current level. The legislation prioritizes programs to make transportation systems safer, more efficient and reliable, according to a summary.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would get $16.4 billion, or about $131.6 million more than the current level.

Lawmakers emphasized that the bill would grant $1 billion for the FAA Next Generation Air Transportation Systems and fully fund air traffic control, contract towers and aviation safety oversight facilities.

“This legislation assists families in need, funds grants to help reduce homelessness, increases the safety of our nation’s highways and airspace, and supports transportation infrastructure and community development projects that will help grow our economy,” Collins said.