U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced President Obama’s $98.1 billion Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). The budget reflects Secretary Foxx’s ambitious 30-year vision for the department to take the U.S. “Beyond Traffic,” toward a transportation network that matches the changing geography of where people live and work; fosters innovation and adapts to evolving technology; and provides cleaner options and access to opportunity for people and communities across America.
Beyond Traffic demonstrated that the population of the U.S. is expected to grow by 70 million over the next three decades, creating pressures that cut across modes and infrastructure — roads, rails, airspace, ports and pipelines.
“Meeting future challenges will require a long-term vision for the transportation sector that includes more and cleaner options, and expands those options to communities across the country,” stated Secretary Foxx. “This budget brings us closer to that vision.”
The budget addresses the U.S. DOT’s top priority, safety, with high impact investments in the safe integration of emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which have the potential to transform transportation systems, save lives and reduce carbon emissions. Importantly, this budget charts a path towards fundamental changes in the way the government balances and integrates surface transportation options.
The budget fully supports the authorized funding levels in the recent surface transportation authorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, but also moves to a regionally-focused approach to transportation funding that reflects the changing shape of the Nation’s communities and prioritizes spending on projects that will have the most benefits.
Some FY 2017 Budget Focus Areas include:
Enhances clean transportation options for American families: Over a 10-year period, the budget invests an average of nearly $20 billion per year in new investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide new ways for families to get to work, to school and to the store. The budget would expand transit systems in cities, fast-growing suburbs and rural areas; make high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying in major regional corridors; modernize our freight system; and expand the successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program to support high-impact, innovative local projects.
Supports investment decisions toward a “21st Century Regions” approach that reflects a changing demographics and economy: Increasingly, Americans are choosing to live in metropolitan areas and megaregions that often cross state lines, yet the majority of federal transportation funding flows via formula, through the states. This Budget balances that funding stream, by directing billions of dollars through regional governments, such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations, empowering them to play a stronger role in decision-making. Over a 10-year period, the budget invests an average of $10 billion a year towards a series of new, innovative programs that improve the balance of funding and decision-making and will accelerate the move towards smarter, cleaner and more integrated communities.
Fully supports FAST-authorized funding levels for surface transportation programs, aimed at keeping the system safe and in a state of good repair. In addition to the proposed increases for surface programs, the budget fully funds FAST Act levels for FY 2017, which include: $44 billion to invest in the nation’s critical highway and bridge systems; nearly $10 billion to support operations of public transit systems across the nation; roughly $730 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to research and develop new, life-saving technologies and programs; and over $640 million to support nationwide motor carrier safety through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Supports rail safety through research and development and implementation of positive train control (PTC): The Budget includes $213 million to support the Federal Railroad Administration’s rail safety and development programs, including implementation and enforcement of PTC, as well as related track and bridge safety activities, and another $53 million for additional safety research. This includes $12.5 million to analyze and demonstrate the safety and environmental benefits of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brakes.
Modernizes permitting and project delivery: The budget supports investments that ensure we are making 21st century investments through 21st century delivery mechanisms. The budget expands the Administration’s progress to expedite permitting and approval processes while protecting safety and the environment.
For highlights from the budget, click here.