Many of the Cuts in the House FY24 DOT Bill Were Requested by the Administration

The just-released appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation for fiscal 2024 (House of Representatives version) contains $7.1 billion in proposed cuts to the regular appropriations that fund USDOT each year. (The bill does not propose any cuts to the majority of USDOT funding, which is provided by authorization legislation, or to the advance appropriations made by Division J of the bipartisan infrastructure law.)

However, not all of these proposed cuts were thought up by the new Republican majority in the House. Many of them were actually proposed by the Biden Administration in its fiscal 2024 budget request.

The discretionary side of the budget request for USDOT was, essentially, a giant two-way swap:

  • The Administration proposed to cut $5.5 billion in Congressional priorities that had been in the fiscal 2023 enacted law, and then…
  • The Administration proposed to add $4.6 billion in spending increases for what were, mostly, its own priorities.
  • The net result was a proposed $891 million cut in gross regular appropriations, versus the 2023 enacted law.

As far as the $5.5 billion in cuts goes, the Administration started out by asking to kill the $2.6 billion in earmarked funding for legislators. The House of course rejected this, but that $2.6 billion 2023 total included both House and Senate earmarks, and the new bill only has House earmarks, so it looks like an $850 million cut to earmarks overall but the Senate will certainly add more than that in their bill next week.

The House went along, by and large, with the rest of the proposed cuts and went almost $1.2 billion further in proposed cuts for the Amtrak Northeast Corridor account. What had been $5.5 billion in proposed cuts from the Administration turned into $5.1 billion in cuts in the House bill.

Proposed major savings vs FY23 omnibus Request Change House Bill
Zero out all earmarked funding from FY23 omnibus -2,595.2 +1,745.0 -850.2
Eliminate GF competitive airport grants plus-up -275.0 0.0 -275.0
Eliminate extra GF highway bridge formula funding -1,145.0 0.0 -1,145.0
Eliminate extra FHWA PROTECT resiliency grants -150.0 0.0 -150.0
Eliminate extra Appalachian highways from GF -100.0 0.0 -100.0
Eliminate other FHWA GF plus-up programs -160.0 +50.0 -110.0
Eliminate extra GF FTA bus grants -140.0 0.0 -140.0
Eliminate non-earmarked FTA GF plus-up programs -41.5 0.0 -41.5
Eliminate non-IIJA appropriations for RAISE grants -800.0 0.0 -800.0
Reduce funding for Amtrak Northeast Corridor grants -33.0 -1,127.8 -1,160.8
Reduce funding for CRISI rail grants -50.0 -280.4 -330.4
Total proposed savings vs FY23 omnibus -5,489.7 +386.8 -5,102.9

Then, the House bill almost completely ignored the $4.6 billion in spending increases proposed by the Administration. The big exception was the FAA Operations account, where an $826 million increase was proposed and a $815 million increase granted. The House also agreed to $50 million of the proposed $94 million increase in NHTSA vehicle safety and a few odds and ends here and there.

But the House ignored all the other requests for significant funding increases, and also made giant cuts to mass transit Capital Investment Grants and to the Amtrak National Network account as well. The end result was that, instead of $4.6 billion in spending increases proposed by the Administration, the House bill delivered an additional $2.0 billion in cuts.

Add the two together, and you get $7.1 billion in cuts instead of $891 million in cuts.

Proposed funding increases vs FY23 omnibus  Request Change House Bill
OST Salaries and Expenses +49.4 -43.5 +5.8
OST new non-IIJA appropriation for MEGA project grants +1,200.0 -1,200.0 0.0
OST Thriving Communities Initiative +75.0 -100.0 -25.0
FAA Operations +825.8 -11.1 +814.6
FAA Facilities & Equipment +517.0 -489.1 +27.9
NHTSA Vehicle Safety +94.1 -44.1 +50.0
FRA Amtrak National Network +648.0 -1,064.6 -416.6
FRA Fed.-State Partnership for IPR Grants +460.0 -560.0 -100.0
FRA Grade Crossing Grants +250.0 -250.0 0.0
FRA Restoration/Enhancement Grants +50.0 -50.0 0.0
FTA Transit Research +30.0 -30.0 0.0
FTA Capital Investment Grants +215.0 -2,457.8 -2,242.8
Miscellaneous net increases throughout the bill +184.9 -298.9 -114.0
Total funding increases vs FY23 omnibus +4,599.1 -6,599.1 -2,000.0
Gross discretionary in FY24  is less than FY23 omnibus by: -890.5 -6,212.4 -7,102.9

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