Emergency Appropriations Package Includes $2.7B for Transportation and Infrastructure

December 21, 2018

2018 has seen hurricanes, typhoons, massive wildfires, and a volcanic eruption affect communities in the United States. A package of emergency supplemental appropriations to address the consequences of these natural disasters was inevitable – the only question was how much, and in what legislation the money would appear.

The continuing resolution passed by the House last night, funding the government through February 8, 2019, added $5 billion for funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, but it also added $7.8 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the effects of those disasters. Of that amount, about $2.7 billion is for transportation and infrastructure accounts, including $1.65 billion for the Federal Highway Administration emergency relief program.

That money may get stripped out of the CR along with the border wall money, either before or after a government shutdown, but the disaster money (unlike the border wall) is popular with both parties, and even if it does not get enacted by the end of the 115th Congress on January 3, some iteration of this funding is likely to be enacted in January or February 2019.

Since the House, by custom, originates all appropriations, one can expect a disaster package originated by House Democrats in January to be bigger and have a wider emphasis. This statement from incoming House Appropriations chairman Nita Lowey (D-NY) yesterday is telling: “the disaster supplemental attached to this bill shortchanges nutrition needs in Puerto Rico – needs that were apparent 16 months ago. And Republicans have continued their pattern of denying science by grossly underfunding mitigation and resilience against future disasters caused by climate change.”

The $2.7 billion for transportation and infrastructure accounts breaks down as follows:

  • FAA Operations. The bill redirects $18.0 million of the $35.0 million emergency appropriations for this account provided in a February 2018 law specifically for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and declares that the $18.0 million “shall also be available for necessary expenses related to the consequences of major declared disasters occurring in calendar year 2018.”
  • FHWA Emergency Relief. The bill appropriates $1.650 billion from the general fund of the Treasury to the FHWA emergency relief program, to be fungible with all previous appropriations and to be available for any past, present or future emergency,
  • FTA Public Transportation Emergency Relief. The bill appropriates $10.5 million for the mass transit emergency relief program, “for transit systems affected by major declared disasters in 2018,” with a 0.75 percent administrative oversight set-aside.
  • Corps of Engineers – Investigations. The bill appropriates $50 million for “high-priority studies of [future] projects in States that were impacted by Hurricane Florence.
  • Corps of Engineers – Construction. The bill appropriates $250 million “to construct flood and storm damage reduction, including shore protection, projects which are currently authorized or which are authorized after the date of enactment of this division, and flood and storm damage reduction, including shore protection, projects which have signed Chief’s Reports as of the date of enactment of this division or which are studied using funds provided under the heading ‘Investigations’ if the Secretary determines such projects to be technically feasible, economically justified, and environmentally acceptable, in States that were impacted by Hurricane Florence.” The bill also provides that this money can have a higher federal share of total project cost than can normal Corps appropriations.
  • Corps of Engineers – Mississippi River System. The bill appropriates $250 million “for necessary expenses to address emergency situations at Corps of Engineers projects and rehabilitate and repair damages to Corps of Engineers projects, caused by natural disasters.”
  • Corps of Engineers – Operations and Maintenance. The bill appropriates $245 million “for necessary expenses to dredge Federal navigation projects in response to, and repair damages to Corps of Engineers Federal projects caused by, natural disasters.”
  • The bill appropriates $1.5 million from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund “for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and Typhoon Yutu.”
  • Clean Water Act. The bill appropriates $5 million for EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grants for “grants under section 106 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act… to address impacts of Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, Typhoon Yutu, and calendar year 2018 wildfires, notwithstanding paragraphs (b), (e), and (f), of such section.”
  • Coast Guard – Operations and Support. The bill appropriates $47.0 million for this account “for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricanes Michael, Florence, and Lane, Tropical Storm Gordon, and Typhoon Mangkhut.”
  • Coast Guard – Environmental Compliance and Restoration. The bill appropriates $2 million for this account for expenses related to Hurricanes Michael and Florence.
  • Coast Guard – Procurement, Construction and Improvements. The bill appropriates $194.8 million for “necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricanes Michael, Florence, and Lane, Tropical Storm Gordon, and Typhoon Mangkhut.”

A table showing the total appropriation amounts added to the new CR is below.


Title I – Agriculture and Rural Development $1,438,442,000
Title II – Commerce-Justice-Science $512,306,000
Title III – Defense $600,000,000
Title IV – Energy and Water Development
USACE Investigations $50,000,000
USACE Construction $250,000,000
USACE Mississippi River and Tributaries $225,000,000
USACE Operation and Maintenance $245,000,000
Interior Central Utah Project $350,000
Interior BuRec Water Resources $15,500,000
Total, Title IV $785,850,000
Title V – Homeland Security
USCG Operations and Support $46,977,000
USCG Enviro. Compliance/Restoration $2,000,000
USCG Procurement, Constr., & Improve. $194,755,000
Total, Title V $243,732,000
Title VI – Interior and Environment
EPA Leaking Underground Storage Tanks $1,500,000
EPA STAG – Clean Water Act SRFs $5,000,000
Other Interior/Environment $1,113,771,000
Total, Title V $1,120,271,000
Title VII – Labor-HHS-Educztion $90,500,000
Title VIII – Legislative Branch $4,000,000
Title IX – Military Construction & Veterans Affairs $285,400,000
Title X – Transportation-HUD
FAA Operations $18,000,000
FHWA Highway Emergency Relief $1,650,000,000
FTA Public Transpo. Emergency Relief $10,542,000
HUD Community Development Fund $1,060,000,000
Total, Title X $2,738,542,000
TOTAL, DIVISION C $7,819,043,000
The $18 million for FAA airport grants is not a new appropriation, it just redirects earlier appropriations to make aid for more recent disasters eligible.

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