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Legislative Update: FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill

Promised Highway Funding Increases Included In FY17 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Last night, the text of the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill was released.  The bill includes $43,266,100,000 in obligation authority for FAST Act highway programs in FY17, an increase of $905 million over FY16 levels.  The amount is consistent with the FAST Act and delivers on Congress’s promise under the FAST Act of annual increases in highway investment.

In addition, appropriators agreed to provide $500 million extra for discretionary “TIGER” grants, available through 2020, to be awarded by the Trump Administration.  TIGER projects may be used for both road projects and other transportation modes and a wide variety of agencies (including but not limited to State DOTs) may apply for these funds.

Since October 1st, states were receiving portions of their highway budgets at the annualized FY16 levels under the terms of “continuing resolutions”.  Once the Omnibus bill passes, budget distributions already provided to the states back to October 1st, 2016 will be adjusted upwards to the new, higher FY17 levels and the full budget through September 30, 2017 will be available.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats both claimed victory over the details of the larger Omnibus bill, which was notable for increasing defense spending (although not as much as President Trump requested) and did not include the funding requested by the President for a new wall on the border with Mexico).

Voting may proceed in the House as early as Wednesday and the President is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.  The Highway Users lobbied hard for full funding of roads and bridges.  We thank our members and allied organizations for their individual and collective lobbying efforts.

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