How Are the FY19 House and Senate Appropriations Bills Keeping the $10 Billion per Year Infrastructure Promise?

June 15, 2018

The February 2018 bipartisan budget deal increasing discretionary appropriations totals for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 was accompanied by a “deal memo” between Congressional leaders promising that at least $20 billion of that increase – half in 2018 and half in 2019 – would be appropriated “to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects, and surface transportation.” The money was to be measured against the fiscal 2017 enacted levels as a starting point.

The Appropriations Committees are trying to claim the FAST Act’s scheduled increases in obligation limitations on Highway Trust Fund contract authority as part of this infrastructure increase – but the bipartisan budget deal did not give the Appropriations Committees one dime of permission to increase that type of spending. The budget deal only concerned itself with appropriations of discretionary budget authority, so this analysis only looks at that type of spending.

“Infrastructure” is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, and ETW does not know enough about federal support for energy, public buildings, public housing, and other types of federal programs that may or may not be considered to be “infrastructure” to be able to count those programs. But based solely on extra discretionary appropriations for transportation and water infrastructure, plus the HUD Community Development Block Grant program and the Economic Development Administration, totaled $10.3 billion in 2018, in excess of the generalized $10 billion per year promise.

The 2018 total would have been $1.4 billion higher had we included procurement of boats for the Coast Guard as being infrastructure, as the mammoth Congressional Budget Office infrastructure study does – the study defines infrastructure for “water transportation” as “waterways, ports, and the equipment used to support sea-borne traffic (such as Coast Guard vessels).” But we don’t have House or Senate FY 2019 numbers yet for the Homeland bills so it is not fair to include 2018 numbers in an overall comparison.

The totals for the House bills for 2019 for these types of infrastructure program are $10.2 billion, only slightly above the 2018 numbers and still over the leadership $10 billion promise. But the Senate totals for 2019 infrastructure have been shorted to pay for increases in operational accounts, and only total $9.5 billion.

When other types of infrastructure are included, the Senate 2019 totals probably exceed the $10 billion per year infrastructure promise as well. But their numbers look to be at least $800 million in the aggregate below the House numbers thus far.

The $10 Billion per Year Infrastructure Promise

More/Less than FY 2017
Millions of dollars. FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2019
Enacted House Bills Senate Bills
Agriculture Department
Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program 479 57 377
Broadband Loan and Grant Pilot Program 601 555 428
Commerce Department
Economic Development Administration 26 26 30
Defense Department
Army Corps of Engineers
Investigations 2 7 2
Construction 223 447 299
Operation and Maintenance 493 671 603
Mississippi River System 80 68 5
Environmental Protection Agency
State and Tribal Assistance Grants
Clean  Water Act State Revolving Funds 300 150 300
Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Funds 300 150 301
Small/Disadvantaged Community Water Infra. 20 0 15
Other Infrastructure Programs
WIFIA Program 53 65 53
Housing and Urban Development Department
Community Planning and Development
Community Development Fund 305 305 305
Interior Department
Bureau of Reclamation
Water and Related Resources 176 228 226
Transportation Department
Office of the Secretary
TIGER/BUILD Grants 1,000 250 500
Federal Aviation Administration
Facilities and Equipment 395 395 145
Airport Improvement Program 1,000 500 750
Federal Highway Administration
Federal-Aid Highways 2,525 4,204 3,300
Federal Railroad Administration
Amtrak – Northeast Corridor 322 322 322
Amtrak – National Network 125 125 125
Magnetic Levitation Technology 0 150 0
Consolidated Rail Infra/Safety Grants 527 82 187
Federal-State SOGR Partnership Grants 225 475 275
Rail Restoration/Enhancement Grants 15 -5 5
Federal Transit Administration
Transit Formula Grants 834 800 800
Capital Investment Grants 232 201 140
Maritime Administration
Replace Training Vessels at State Academies 300 300 300

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