APPROPRIATIONS FOR FY2000: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND RELATED AGENCIES
CRS Report for Congress
Appropriations for FY2000:
Department of Transportation
and Related Agencies
Updated February 4, 2000
Duane Thompson and Robert S. Kirk
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Appropriations are one part of a complex federal budget process that includes
budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills,
rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills. The process begins with the President’s
budget request and is bounded by the rules of the House and Senate, the
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (as amended), the
Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, and current program authorizations.
This report is a guide to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Related
Agencies appropriations bill for FY2000. It is designed to supplement the information
provided by the Subcommittees on Transportation of the House and Senate
Committees on Appropriations. It summarizes the current legislative status of the bill,
its scope, major issues, historic funding levels (by agency and major programs), and
requests for the upcoming fiscal year, and related legislative activity. The report lists
the key CRS staff relevant to the issues covered and related CRS products.
It will be updated following each major legislative stage, especially following
legislative action in the committees and on the floor of the House and Senate.
NOTE: A Web version of this document with
active links is available to congressional staff at
Appropriations for FY2000:
Department of Transportation
and Related Agencies
On October 9, 1999, the President signed the Department of Transportation and
Related Agencies Act, 2000 (P.L. 106-69). The Act provided $50.2 billion for the
Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT had requested funding similar to the
level enacted in P.L. 106-69. However, the FY2000 Consolidated appropriations
act, P.L. 106-113, calls for an across-the-board rescission of 0.38% from each
agency’s discretionary budget authority and obligation limits. This will result in a
reduction of approximately $179 million from the level enacted in P.L. 106-69. The
Federal Highway Administration (-$105.3 million), the Airport Improvement Program
(-$54.4 million), the Federal Transit Administration (-$17.6 million), and the Coast
Guard (-$1.6 million) together absorb all but about $0.5 million of the DOT
reductions. Even with the rescission, the amount provided represents a nearly 6%
increase over the FY1999 enacted level.
Reflecting the continuing impact of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st
Century (TEA21), both the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal
Transit Administration (FTA) received increases of 7% above FY1999 enacted levels.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received a more modest increase of just
under 3%. The FY2000 Act funds the entire FAA budget out of the airport and
airway trust fund. Historically, a significant portion of the FAA operations budget has
been provided from general fund revenues.
Much of the debate over the Department’s budget focused on allocating
resources raised by user fees and deposited in specific transportation trust funds. A
debate arose between those in favor of a unified budget vs. those seeking to protect
individual programs either by taking them off budget or using fiscal boundaries or
“firewalls” to ensure a minimum level of financing. This policy of creating
discretionary spending guarantees originated with the provisions of the Transportation
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21), legislation that placed “firewalls” around
certain categories of the Federal Highway Administration’s programs. The House
version of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, H.R. 1000,
proposes also changing the budgetary treatment of the airport and airway trust fund
by taking the fund off budget.
For the highway trust fund, TEA21 provided for the disposition of actual
receipts above those forecast and authorized. The Revenue Aligned Budget Authority
(RABA) provisions require additional trust fund receipts to be redistributed to
individual states based on the formula used to apportion highway dollars. The
enacted version of H.R. 2084 narrows the scope of RABA distribution to certain
core highway programs, thereby reducing the allocations to a number of smaller
TEA21 programs and increasing the funds flowing to the states.
Key Policy Staff
Area of ExpertiseNameCRSDivisionTelephone
Airport Improvement Program/FAA ReauthorizationRobert S. KirkRSI7-7769
Automotive SafetyDuane ThompsonRSI7-7252
Federal Aviation AdministrationJ. Glen MooreRSI7-7033
Federal Highway AdministrationWilliam LipfordRSI7-7764
Federal Railroad Administration and AmtrakStephenThompsonRSI7-7771
Federal Transit AdministrationWilliam LipfordRSI 7-7764
Highway and Truck SafetyPaul RothbergRSI7-7012
Surface Transportation BoardStephenThompsonRSI7-7771
Transportation Infrastructure PolicyJohn FischerRSI7-7766
U.S. Coast GuardMartin LeeJames MielkeRSIRSI7-72607-7007
Technical Information Specialist, TransportationHussain HassanRSI—
Technical Information SpecialistJohn WilliamsonRSI
Management Assistant, TransportationClare BrigidiniRSI
Division abbreviations: RSI = Resources, Science, and Industry Division.
Most Recent Developments........................................1
The Transportation Appropriations Framework.........................1
Changes in Transportation Appropriations as a Result of TEA21........2
Key Policy Issues................................................4
Major Funding Trends........................................5
Comparison of FY1999 and FY2000 Enacted Funding................6
Government Wide Recission...................................6
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)..........................10
Railroad Safety and Technology............................11
High Speed Rail and Maglev..............................12
Amtrak .................................................. 13
Amtrak Reform Council..................................13
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)........................14
The TEA21 Funding Framework...........................15
FHWA Research, Development, and Technology Programs.......16
Motor Carrier Safety Operations...........................17
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)...........................18
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)..........................20
Operations ............................................ 22
Facilities and Equipment (F&E)............................22
Research, Engineering and Development (RE&D)..............22
Grants-in-Aid for Airports................................23
Research and Special Programs Administration....................23
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)...........24
Incentive Funds for 0.08 BAC Laws.........................26
For Additional Reading..........................................29
CRS Issue Briefs...........................................29
Selected World Wide Web Sites................................29
List of Figures
Figure 1. U.S. Coast Guard Appropriations...........................9
Figure 2. Federal Railroad Administration Appropriations................11
Figure 3. Federal Highway Administration Appropriations...............14
Figure 4. Federal Transit Administration Appropriations.................19
Figure 5. Federal Aviation Administration Appropriations................21
Figure 6. Research and Special Programs Administration Appropriations....24
Figure 7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Appropriations...25
Table 1. Status of Department of Transportation Appropriations for FY2000..3
Table 2. Department of Transportation Appropriations:
FY1988 to FY2000 Enacted...................................5
Table 3. Department of Transportation Appropriations...................6
Table 4. Department of Transportation Allocated Rescissions..............7
Table 5. Total Budgetary Resources of Selected Agencies and Selected Programs
Appropriations for FY2000:
Department of Transportation
and Related Agencies
Most Recent Developments
The President signed the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies
Act, 2000 (P.L. 106-69), hereafter referred to as the FY2000 Act, on October 9,
However, the FY2000 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-113), mandates
a government wide rescission equal to 0.38% of discretionary budget authority
provided (or obligation limits imposed) for all government departments.
Approximately $179 million will be cut from the DOT funding levels provided for in
P.L. 106-69. The largest reductions are faced by the Federal Highway
Administration (-$105.3 million), the Airport Improvement Program (-$54.4
million), the Federal Transit Administration (-$17.6 million), and the Coast Guard
(-$1.6 million). Even accounting for the rescission, the final funding level represents
nearly a 6% increase over the appropriations level of the FY1999 Act.
The Transportation Appropriations Framework
Transportation is Function 400 in the annual unified congressional budget. It is
also considered part of the discretionary budget. Funding for the DOT budget is
derived from a number of sources. The majority of funding comes from dedicated
transportation trust funds. The remainder of DOT funding is from Federal Treasury
general funds. The transportation trust funds include: the highway trust fund, the
transit account of the highway trust fund, the airport and airway trust fund, and the
inland waterways’ trust fund. All of these accounts derive their respective funding
from specific excise and other taxes.
Together, highway and transit funding constitutes the largest component of DOT
appropriations, and can account for 60% to 70% of total federal transportation
spending in any given year. Most highway, and the majority of transit, programs are
funded with contract authority derived by the link to the highway trust fund. This is
very significant from a budgeting standpoint. Contract authority is tantamount to, but
does not actually involve, entering into a contract to pay for a project at some future
date. Under this arrangement, specified in Title 23 U.S.C., authorized funds are
automatically made available at the beginning of each fiscal year and may be obligated
without appropriations legislation. Appropriations are required to make outlays at
some future date to cover these obligations.
Where most federal programs require new budget authority as part of the annual
appropriations process, transportation appropriators are faced with the opposite
situation. That is, the authority to spend for the largest programs under their control
already exists and the mechanism to obligate funds for these programs is also in place.
Prior to the FY1999 Appropriations Act changes in spending in the annual
transportation budget component had been achieved in the appropriations process by
combining changes in budget/contract authority and placing limitations on obligations.
The principal function of the limitation on obligations is to control outlays in a manner
that corresponds to congressional budget agreements.
The authority to set a limitation on obligations for contract authority programs
gave appropriators considerable leeway in allocating funds between the various
federal transportation activities in function 400, which includes agencies such as the
Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition, the inclusion of
the highway and transit programs and their trust fund generated revenue streams in
the discretionary budget provided appropriators with additional flexibility as part of
the annual process by which available funds were allocated amongst the 13 standing
appropriations subcommittees in the House and the Senate.
Changes in Transportation Appropriations as a Result of TEA21
TEA21 changed this budgetary procedure in two ways. First, it created new
budget categories and second, it set statutory limitations on obligations. The Act
amends the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to create
two new budget categories: highway and mass transit. The Act further amends the
budget process by creating a statutory level for the limitation on obligations in each
fiscal year from FY1999 to FY2003. In addition, TEA21 provides a mechanism to
adjust these amounts in the highway account, but not the transit account, to
correspond with increased or decreased receipts in the highway generated revenues
(see revenue aligned budget authority – RABA– under key policy issues).
The net effect of the creation of these budget categories is a predetermined level
of funding for core highway and transit programs, referred to in TEA21 as a
discretionary spending guarantee. These categories are separated from the rest of the
discretionary budget in a way that prevents the use of funds assigned to these
categories for any other purpose. These so called “firewalls” are viewed, in the
TEA21 context, as guaranteed and/or minimum levels of funding for highway and
transit programs. Additional funds above the firewall level can be made available for
highway and transit programs through the annual appropriations process.
TEA21 changes the role of the House and Senate appropriations and budget
committees in determining annual spending levels for highway and transit programs.
The appropriations committees are precluded from their former role of setting an
annual level of obligations. In addition, it appears that the House appropriations
committee is precluded, at least in part, from exercising what some Members view as
their traditional option of changing spending levels for any program or project.
The TEA21 firewalls appear to diminish the flexibility of the committees on
appropriations to meet the goals of the annual budget process, because they can only
adjust the DOT agency/program budgets outside the firewalls. Hence, any reduction
in spending for Function 400 must be allocated to these agencies/programs. This has
raised special concern for supporters of the FAA, the Coast Guard, and Amtrak,
which are the largest DOT functions without firewall protection. See the key policy
issues section for further amplification.
On June 15, 1999, the House completed action on H.R. 1000, the Aviationst
Investment and Reform Act for the 21 Century (AIR21). H.R. 1000 contains
provisions that take the aviation trust fund off budget. Off budget differs from
firewalls and would give the trust fund status similar to the Social Security trust fund
as far as the annual budget debate is concerned. The Senate-passed version of H.R.
1000 contains no changes in the budgetary treatment of the aviation trust fund. A
conference version of the bill failed to emerge from conference before the end of the
first session of the 106th Congress. However, the conference remains open and action
could occur in the second session.
The budget treatment of the aviation trust fund has become a particular issue in
the 106th Congress. The aviation trust fund is expected to have large unobligated
balances in the years ahead unless spending from the fund is increased or the fund’s
tax revenues are decreased. This situation, combined with the belief in some quarters
that protected spending within the TEA21 firewalls constrains FAA spending in the
annual appropriations process, has heightened interest in providing some sort of
budgetary protection for aviation.
Supporters of the Coast Guard are also concerned about the new transportation
appropriations environment. The Coast Guard is not funded by a trust fund, and
hence cannot claim a user-fee base to support an argument for its own budget
firewalls. The Coast Guard has a unique status within the transportation budget
category because of its wartime role in national defense. It is not unusual for the
Coast Guard to receive some funds from military appropriations during the annual
appropriations process. It is possible that the Coast Guard will seek additional
funding from the military side of the budget in the years ahead if additional funds
from transportation appropriations do not become available. Amtrak does not have
a similar option.
Table 1. Status of Department of Transportation Appropriations for FY2000
Markup House House Senate Senate Conference Approval
2084S. 1143106-180106-55355P.L. 106-69
Key Policy Issues
The debate over FY2000 DOT appropriations included the major issues of: (1)
allocating funds among competing DOT programs and (2) seeking a compromise
between the concept of a unified budget versus specifically earmarked, “off budget”
activities. Competition for funds stems from various transportation interests and from
the modal administrations themselves. Monies have been allocated for a diverse array
of purposes, for example, to pay for the expenses of the U.S. Coast Guard, to
improve safety throughout the various modes of transportation, and to help finance
various infrastructure needs. In the DOT and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,
monies are also provided to support the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB), the Surface Transportation Board (STB), and several other
transportation-related independent agencies.1
The perennial question of priorities surrounds the appropriations process.
Throughout its budget request, the DOT continues to emphasize several priorities
including: safety, infrastructure, innovative financing, environmental enhancement,
technology, and national security.
Much of the appropriations process must take place within the framework
created by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21), signed into
law on June 9, 1998 (P.L. 105-178, H.R. 2400). The Act authorized appropriations
for key surface transportation programs through fiscal year 2003. The general sense
of Congress appears to be that, although transportation trust funds are not sacrosanct,
proceeds from the Federal fuels taxes must be targeted toward the capital and
recurring needs of the vast U.S. highway and transit network and not viewed as a
source of general revenue. Although attempts to move highway and transit programsth
off budget prior to the 106 Congress were unsuccessful, Congress did insert
language within TEA21 to protect specific funding by creating firewalls around
selected programs. The firewalls effectively created minimum funding levels for the
selected programs. However, their creation has caused a congressional debate
between the authorizers and appropriators over who should exercise ultimate
authority for spending levels. Firewalls established by authorizing committees
guarantee minimum funding for selected programs, but in the process, are seen by
some as reducing the funding that might have been allocated to other (unprotected)
programs. Thus, unprotected programs must compete for finite amounts, generally
capped by the budget resolution. A similar initiative is underway for air transportation
through H.R. 1000, although it drops the firewall provision while retaining off-budget
TEA21 also contained a provision (Section 1105, Revenue Aligned Budget
Authority — RABA) that authorizes DOT to redistribute trust funds, in excess of
projected receipts, to the various states for Title 23 highway programs. According
1 DOT has proposed each year since FY 1997 that the Surface Transportation Board (STB)
be fully funded by user fees. The STB and its predecessor, the Interstate Commerce
Commission, have never been fully funded by user fees. For further information, see CRS
Report 96-67, The Surface Transportation Board (STB): An Overview and Selected Public
Policy Issues, by Stephen Thompson.
to RABA, the additional revenues are to be allocated to the states using the formulas
spelled out in the law. However, the FY2000 DOT request proposed redirection of
these funds from highway programs to other DOT initiatives, predominantly
environmental activities associated with the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
(CMAQ) program and transit. In the end, the FY2000 DOT appropriations act (P.L.
Major Funding Trends
Table 2 shows Department of Transportation actual funding levels for FY1988
through FY1998 and enacted funding for FY1999 and FY2000. The major portion
of these funds are contract authority.2 Total DOT funding almost doubled from
FY1988 through FY2000 (enacted). Totals may not include some user fee
collections; thus, program totals may vary from other figures cited in the text.
Table 2. Department of Transportation Appropriations:
FY1988 to FY2000 Enacted
(in millions of dollars)
Fiscal Year aAppropriation b
FY1998 Actual 42,381
FY1999 Enacted 47,224
a “Actual” amounts from FY1988 to FY1998 include funding levels initially enacted by
Congress in the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies appropriations bill
as well as any supplemental appropriations and rescissions legislation enacted at a later
2 Starting in the early 1990s, about $300 million of the funds shown in Table 2 were
transferred from the DOD Appropriations budget to DOT. These monies are used to support
Coast Guard activities. The amounts requested for FY2000 are provided in Table 5 at the end
of this report.
date for that fiscal year. “Enacted” figures for FY1999 and FY2000 were mostly taken
from the conference report tables (H.Rept. 106-69).b
Amounts include obligations, limitations, DOD transfers, and exempt obligations.c
The across-the-board rescission mandated for FY2000 required a reduction of roughly $179
million from the $50.174 billion provided in P.L. 106-69. This reduces the FY2000
enacted level down to just under $50 billion.
Comparison of FY1999 and FY2000 Enacted Funding
On October 9, 1999, President Clinton signed the Department of Transportation
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2000 (hereafter referred to as the FY2000
Act or the Act). With total funding of $50.174 billion, the Act provided for an overall
increase of roughly 6% over FY1999 enacted levels. Table 3 sets forth a tabular
comparison of the FY1999 and FY2000 funding levels for a selection of agencies’3
Table 3. Department of Transportation Appropriations
(for selected agencies, in millions)
Enacted Final Percent
Agency FY1999 FY2000 +/-
Federal Highway Administration26,82328,833+7.5
Federal Aviation Administration9,75410,027+2.8
Federal Transit Administration5,3905,779+7.2
United States Coast Guard (FY19994,4844,022-10.3
includes supplemental appropriations)
Federal Railroad Administration778735-5.5
National Highway Traffic Safety361368+1.9
Office of the Secretary8176-6.2
National Transportation Safety Board57570
Office of the Inspector General4445+2.3
Surface Transportation Board1617+6.3
Government Wide Recission
The FY2000 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-113) mandates a
rescission of an amount equal to 0.38% of discretionary budget authority provided (or
3 The allocation of the 0.38% government wide rescission across DOT’s organizational units
is reflected in these totals.
obligation limits imposed) for FY2000 provided by any act for each department,
agency, instrumentality, or entity of the federal government. This required that the
amounts provided in the FY2000 DOT Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-69) be reduced
by just over $179 million.
Although DOT had substantial discretion in how the cuts were distributed within
the department, the legislation did establish some limitations. The language of the
rescission legislation limited the amount that could be cut from any activity, program,
or project to 15% and exempts any military personnel accounts.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin no. 00-01 includes
criteria for allocating the reduction. The criteria state that:
!reductions should be taken from the least critical funding available to
!reductions should be considered from enacted funding above the
!wherever possible, no reductions should be taken that would require
!agencies should make targeted recommendations rather than an
across-the-board funding cut.
Reductions could only be made from discretionary budget authority and
The allocation of the reductions, pursuant to P.L. 106-113, is set forth in Table
4. In implementing the OMB criteria DOT included reductions to amounts earmarked
in the language of the FY2000 appropriations reports.4
Table 4. Department of Transportation Allocated Rescissions
Organizational UnitReduction ($000)
Federal Highway Administration105,260
Federal Aviation Administration54,362
Federal Transit Administration17,624
U.S. Coast Guard1,600
Federal Railroad Administration179
Office of the Inspector General170
Surface Transportation Board58
Saint Laurence Seaway46
Office of the Secretary28
4 Table is based on OMB figures provided by the House Committee on Appropriations. All
allocated rescission figures in the report are from this source.
The Coast Guard appropriation is constrained, and its management challenged,
by increased responsibilities for drug and illegal immigrant interdiction on the high
seas as well as by its aging fleet of water craft and aircraft. The Administration
requested $4.1 billion for Coast Guard discretionary funds in FY2000. Compared to
the total $4.5 billion appropriated in FY1999 (including emergency and supplemental
appropriations), the FY2000 request would have been $358 million, or 8%, less than
all FY1999 funds.5 In addition to these discretionary funds, there were mandatory
funds of $64 million for State Boating Safety grants. In passing H.R. 2084 on June
23, the full House approved the committee-reported $4.0 billion and adopted no
amendments affecting the committee recommendations for the Coast Guard. In
passing H.R. 2084, as amended, on September 16, 1999, the Senate approved the
$4.0 billion amount. Conferees approved $4.0 billion included in the final
appropriations, P.L. 106-69. Earlier, in emergency supplementary appropriations
legislation (P.L. 106-31; H.R. 1141), Congress appropriated $200 million for the
Coast Guard as emergency funding contingent on an official budget request being
made. Thus, the total FY2000 appropriation could be interpreted as being $4.224
billion. Coast Guard programs are authorized every two years; see CRS Report
RS20117, Coast Guard FY2000 and FY2001 Authorization Issues, for discussion of
current congressional consideration of authorization bills.
According to preliminary OMB figures, the government wide rescission called
for in P.L. 106-113, the DOT will cut the Coast Guard’s enacted budget by $1.6
million with the acquisition, construction, and improvements account being cut by
almost $1.5 million; the environmental compliance and restoration account by
$65,000; and the alteration of bridges account by $57,000.
The Coast Guard budget request of $4.126 billion was proposed to enable the
Coast Guard to continue its activities against drug smuggling and recapitalize aircraft
and vessel fleets. Of this amount, $2.941 billion (a 4% decrease compared to
FY1999) would have been allocated to operation and maintenance of a wide range of
ships, boats, aircraft, shore units, and aids to navigation, including $334 million in
defense-related funding. The Senate passed $2.772 billion; the House passed $2.791
billion; and the conference agreed to $2.781 billion of which $300 million shall be
available for defense-related activities. Another major component of the request
would have assigned funds for acquisition, construction, and improvement. For this
function, the Administration sought $350 million, a 44% decrease from FY1999,
5 This FY1999 total includes $3.9 billion in the FY1999 Department of Transportation and
Related Agencies Appropriations Act, as included in P.L. 105-277, and an additional $376
million in emergency funds in the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277, Division B). P.L. 106-31. The FY1999 Supplemental
(P.L. 106-31), also appropriated $200 million in additional FY1999 funds to be carried into
FY2000. In reporting FY2000 bills, the House Committee included these additional FY1999
funds and the Senate Committee excluded them.
compared to total FY1999 funds.6 Senate-passed H.R. 2084 would have funded this
at $370.4 million and the House-passed version at $410 million. The conference
agreed to $389.3 million of which $20 million would be derived from the oil spill
liability trust fund. For research during FY2000, the agency requested $22 million,
an 83% increase over the current fiscal year. The Senate-passed bill would have
funded this at $17 million; the House-approved bill at $21 million. P.L. 106-69
provides $19 million, with $3.5 million to come from the oil spill liability trust fund.
The Senate approved $730.3 million for Coast Guard retirement; the full House
approved $721 million, level with the current estimate. The conference agreed to
$730.3 million. The Administration requested and both the House and Senate
recommended $72 million to train, support, and sustain a ready military Selected
Reserve Force of 7,600 members for direct support to the Department of Defense and
to provide surge capacity for responses to emergencies such as cleanup operations
following oil spills.
Figure 1. U.S. Coast Guard Appropriations
A prominent issue was the Coast Guard’s management of a major planned
replacement of aging and outmoded high seas’ vessels and aircraft. Only planning and
analysis funds were included for this in the FY2000 request; actual purchases of nearly
$10 billion are anticipated over a 20-year period beginning in FY2002. At House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearings on February 11, 1999, and at
the Transportation Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee hearing,
6 Note: The addition of one-time FY1999 funds referenced in footnote 1 contribute to this
March 16, 1999, the General Accounting Office criticized the Coast Guard’s handling
of this vital replacement program. CRS Report 98-830 F, Coast Guard Integrated
Deepwater System: Background and Issues for Congress, discusses the issues
associated with the program. In reporting S. 1143, the Senate Appropriations
Committee included several provisions in the bill language relating to these needs.
These include a requirement that funds from aircraft sales be credited to the
Deepwater Replacement Project Revolving Fund (created by a provision in S. 1143)
for new aircraft purchases. The Senate approved bill also permits the Commandant
of the Coast Guard to dispose of specified Coast Guard facilities. As specified in H.R.
2084, as amended by S. 1143, proceeds from the sale of these facilities would be
deposited into the Deepwater Replacement Project Revolving Fund. In H.R. 2084,
the House also included bill language providing for the crediting of sales of disposed
property to this appropriation account. It also specifies that the Coast Guard must
submit a comprehensive capital investment plan with its FY2001 budget justification.
These provisions were included in P.L. 106-69.
Another issue involved the Coast Guard’s planned use of user fees. The budget
anticipated using $41 million from new user fees for recapitalization of vessels,
information management, and Coast Guard shore infrastructure not part of the
deepwater replacement effort. The Administration proposed legislation to authorize
user fees for commercial cargo vessels and cruise ships; it anticipated collecting $41
million in FY2000 and $165 million annually when fully operational. Proposals for
user fees for traditional Coast Guard services such as buoy placement and vessel
traffic regulation have been controversial. Some argued that these services should be
funded from general funds because of their widespread benefits; others argue that user
fees should be assigned in instances where the beneficiaries can be clearly identified.
In passing H.R. 2084, the Senate included bill language prohibiting the Coast Guard
from using any FY2000 funds “to plan, finalize, or implement any regulation that
would promulgate new user fees...” The House also included similar language in
passing H.R. 2084, which was retained in the enacted legislation, P.L. 106-69.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
For FY2000, the Administration requested a total of $678 million in total budget
authority for the FRA.7 This was down from the $778 million for FY1999, and from
the $743 million actual figure for FY1998. The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2084
recommended $750 million and the House-passed version recommended $719
million. The enacted legislation provided for $735 million.
Pursuant to the government wide rescission, DOT cut $179,000 from the
FY2000 enacted level. The largest reduction was allocated to the Next Generation
High Speed Rail Program (-$103,000). Rhode Island rail development (-$38,000)
and Alaska railroad rehabilitation (-$38,000) were also reduced.
7 This amount excludes $93 million in current and proposed federal receipts for a total of $746
million. See Budget of the United States, Fiscal Year 2000, Appendix, page 762.
The most notable reduction from the FY1999 amount was the $38 million cut
for Amtrak. Amtrak issues are discussed in a separate section below.
Railroad Safety and Technology. The FRA is the primary federal agency that
promotes and regulates railroad safety. In P.L. 105-277, Congress appropriated
about $77.3 million in FY1999 to fund the expenses associated with FRA’s Office of
Safety and the expenses of associated offices within FRA. In the FY2000 budget, the
Administration requested about $95.5 million for the railroad safety program and
associated offices. Most of those funds were to pay for salaries as well as associated
travel and training expenses for field and headquarters staff and for information8
systems monitoring the safety performance of the industry. The Senate-passed
version of H.R. 2084 recommended $91.8 million and the House-passed version
recommended $94.4 million for those activities. The conference agreement
accompanying P.L. 106-69 specifies $94.3 million.
Figure 2. Federal Railroad Administration Appropriations
The last railroad safety reauthorization statute was enacted in 1994 and funding
authority for that program expired at the end of FY1998. FRA’s safety programs
8 Those funds also are used to conduct a variety of initiatives, including the Safety Assurance
and Compliance Program (SACP) the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), and
field inspections. SACP involves numerous partnerships forged by railroad management,
FRA personnel, and labor to improve safety and compliance with federal railroad safety
regulations. RSAC uses a consensus-based process involving hundreds of experts who work
together to formulate recommendations on new or revised safety regulations for FRA’s
continue using the authorities already specified in federal railroad safety law and funds
appropriated annually. Subcommittees of the Senate Commerce, Science, and
Transportation Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructureth
Committee held extensive hearings during the 105 Congress on various railroad
safety issues. Those deliberations did not result in a consensus to enact a law that
would have authorized continued funding for the regulatory and safety compliance
activities conducted by the FRA or change any of the existing authorities used by that
agency to promote railroad safety. Any reauthorization statute enacted during the
106th Congress could change the scope and nature of FRA’s safety activities but that
new safety law would most likely only affect budgets after FY2000.
Especially after the March 1999 crash between an Amtrak train and a truck in
Bourbonnais, IL, which resulted in 11 deaths and more than 110 injuries, the 106th
Congress is paying particular attention to railroad-grade crossing safety. Relevant
issues include: Are FRA’s grade crossing activities adequate and effective? How is
FRA helping the states deal with that safety challenge? Is FRA’s FY2000 budget
adequate to deal with that challenge? Congressional reaction to the answers of those
questions appears to have had a bearing on the railroad safety budget for FY2000.
The conference agreement increased funding for Operation Life Saver to $950,000
and provided support for a national public service campaign to increase awareness to
crossing safety and trespass prevention.
To support its safety program, the FRA conducts research and development
(R&D) on a diverse array of topics, including: fatigue of railroad employees,
technologies to better control train movements (positive train control), track research,
and grade crossing safety. For FY2000, the FRA requested $21.8 million for railroad
R&D compared to $22.4 million appropriated in FY1999. The Senate-passed version
appropriates $22.4 million and the House-passed version appropriates $21.3 million
for railroad R&D. The conference agreement on P. L. 106-69 specifies $22.5 million.
In the reports accompanying each of the transportation appropriation bills and the
conference report, the appropriations committees historically have allocated the
railroad R&D funds among various research categories pertaining to safety.
High Speed Rail and Maglev. For FY2000, FRA requested $12 million of
appropriated funds and $10 million of RABA funds to continue the Next Generation
High Speed Rail Program. In FY1999 $20.5 million was appropriated for that
program. TEA21 also authorizes $20 million of contract funds in FY2000 to support
the Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) Transportation Technology Deployment Program.
The Administration did not request liquidating authority to use those funds, but
instead proposed to use $20 million of RABA funds to support research to reduce the
costs of maglev systems. In FY1999 TEA21 authorized $15 million of contract funds
to conduct the maglev program. For FY2000, the Senate rejected the
Administration’s request to use RABAfor maglev, and instead recommended the $20
million of contract funds authorized in TEA21 for maglev. The House also rejected
the Administration’s request for maglev, and left intact the funding provided in
TEA21 for maglev. The enacted legislation, P.L. 106-69, specifies $27.2 million for
the Next Generation Program. As mentioned earlier, the Next Generation Program
was reduced by $103,000 pursuant to the government wide rescission mandated by
The FY1999 budget authority for Amtrak was $609 million compared to $594
million in FY1998. These figures do not include an estimated $1.1 billion in funds
available to Amtrak each year in FY1998 and FY1999 from the Taxpayer Relief Act
of 1997. The Administration requested $571 million for FY2000, as did both the
Senate and House-passed versions of H.R. 2084. The enacted legislation (P.L. 106-
Amtrak’s financial condition remains weak. The Administration requests a
change in legislation allowing Amtrak to use “capital” grants for routine maintenance
of equipment and facilities such as track. Amtrak testified before Congress in March
1999 that without this change in legislation, Amtrak might not make it through
FY1999, the current fiscal year, on a cash basis. Amtrak typically borrows money
from a private-sector line-of-credit near the end of each fiscal year to bridge the gap
between its operating loss and federal financial assistance. Amtrak typically repays
the loan early in each new fiscal year.
Federal operating aid to Amtrak is prohibited after FY2002 (49 U.S.C. 24101
(a) (1999)). The DOT Inspector General (IG), at the request of Congress, has
evaluated Amtrak operations and outlook, and concluded that Amtrak probably will
continue to require federal financial operating assistance after FY2002.
In addition to the funding already discussed, the DOT IG estimates that over the
next several years, Amtrak will require $2.7 billion to $4 billion in federal funds for
new equipment and improvements to signaling and track. Some of these funds would
be used to upgrade track between Washington, DC, and New York City. Beyond this
amount, the DOT IG estimates that Amtrak will have additional, continuing
requirements for such federal funding for the foreseeable future.
Amtrak Reform Council. Amtrak Reform Council funding is presented within
the Federal Railroad Administration budget request. The budget authority for the
council was $450,000 in FY1999 compared to $50,000 in FY1998. The
Administration requested $750,000 for FY2000. The Senate recommended
$950,000 to be available through September 30, 2001, and the House recommended
$450,000 to be available through December 30, 2001. The enacted legislation (P.L.
106-69) provides $750,000 for the Amtrak Reform Council and requires that each
annual report of the council to Congress include the identification of Amtrak routes
which are candidates for closure or realignment.
The council was created in FY1998 to perform an independent assessment of
Amtrak’s labor agreements, Amtrak’s progress in increasing employee productivity,
and Amtrak’s ability to operate without federal operating assistance after September
30, 2002. If the council concludes, anytime after December 2, 1999, that Amtrak will
require federal operating assistance after September 30, 2002, then federal law
requires the council to submit to Congress an Amtrak reorganization plan; requires
Amtrak to submit to Congress an Amtrak liquidation plan; and requires legislative
action by the Senate.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
The FY2000 Act provides the FHWA with $28.9 billion in total budgetary
resources. This is a $2.1 billion increase over the FY1999 level. The FY2000 Act
continues the dramatic growth in FHWA funding that has resulted from passage ofst
the Transportation Equity Act for the 21 Century (P.L. 105-178) (TEA21) in 1998.
By way of further comparison, funding for FY2000 will be over $10 billion more than
was available in FY1995.
The FY2000 Act funding was reduced by just over $105 million pursuant to the
government wide rescission (P.L. 106-113).
The FY2000 Act largely follows the provisions of TEA21 in terms of overall
funding distribution (a discussion of the TEA21 program structure follows this
section). There are a number of provisions in the Act, however, that waiver from the
formula guidance found in TEA21. The principal change is in the distribution of
Revenue Enhanced Budget Authority (RABA) funds for programs under the direct
control of the FHWA (these are the so called “allocated” funds and include programs
such as the federal lands highway program and the highway beautification program).
The effect of the Act’s provisions is to transfer a significant portion of the RABA
funds designated for the allocated funds to core highway programs (surface
transportation program, national highway system program, etc.) for distribution to the
states on a formula basis. The other major change in the Act is a significant increase
in the number of specific projects and funding levels detailed in the legislation. This
earmarking is a common feature in other parts of the transportation appropriations
Act, but has been absent from the highway section of the act for several years.
Figure 3. Federal Highway Administration Appropriations
The earmarking and the RABA reallocation, are the most contentious features
of the FY2000 Act and were opposed by the leadership of the House Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee which viewed these changes as constituting legislating
(i.e. authorizing) in an appropriations act. Opposition in the House, however, was
insufficient to defeat the Conference Report on final passage.
The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2084 (formerly S. 1143) honored the
TEA21-created program structure and spending guarantee provisions and provided
a small additional increase in spending over the Clinton Administration proposal. The
legislation as reported included total budgetary resources for FHWA of just under $29
billion. Almost all of the programmatic changes proposed in the bill affected research
programs and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) programs that will be discussed
later in this section. The major difference between the Senate Act and the Clinton
proposal was in the treatment of RABA funding. The Senate Act distributes RABA
funds of $1.46 billion on the basis of TEA21 formulas, thereby rejecting the
Administration’s attempt to use these funds for non-highway activities. The Senate-
passed version of H.R. 2084 differs from the House version in that it narrows the
scope of RABA distribution to certain of the core highway programs instead of
allocated programs, thereby excluding a number of smaller previously mentioned
programs. During floor debate, this provision was challenged on a point of order as
violating the Senate rule against legislating in an appropriations bill. The point of
H.R. 2084 as passed by the House also honored the TEA21 guarantee levels.
Federal aid highway funds and RABA funds are identical to the Senate levels. Total
budgetary resources available to FHWA were slightly lower in the House-passed
version. The House bill also rejected the Clinton Administration RABA redistribution
The FY2000 budget proposal submitted by the Clinton Administration requested
FHWA funding at the TEA21 firewall level, $27.3 billion. In addition, a RABA
distribution of $1.46 billion in additional highway funding was forecast. The
Administration chose to make the very controversial suggestion that the RABA
distribution be reprogrammed to a number of transportation programs outside the
highway program firewall. These changes were designed to complement Vice
President Gore’s proposals concerning the Administration’s “livability agenda.” For
example, the Administration proposed $250 million in additional funding for highway
research activities, which are outside the highway firewall. RABA funding would also
have been used for highway safety, transit, and rail related activities. The
Administration proposal failed to gain congressional support and, as detailed above,
was not seriously considered as part of the FY2000 appropriations process.
The TEA21 Funding Framework. TEA21 created the largest surface
transportation program in U.S. history. For the most part, however, it did not create
new programs. Rather, it continued most of the highway and transit programs that
originated in its immediate predecessor legislation, the Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA, P.L. 102-240). Programmatically,
TEA21 can be viewed as a refinement and update of the ISTEA process. There are
a few new funding initiatives in the Act, such as a border infrastructure program, but
the vast majority of funding is reserved for continuing programs.
There are several groupings of highway programs within the highway firewall.
Most of the funding is reserved for the major federal aid highway programs, which
can be thought of as the core programs. These programs are: national highway system
(NHS), interstate maintenance (IM), surface transportation program (STP), bridge
replacement and rehabilitation, and congestion mitigation and air quality improvement
(CMAQ). All of these programs are subject to apportionment on an annual basis by
formula and are not subject to program-by-program appropriation.
There is a second category of highway funding within the firewalls. This so
called “exempt” category consists of two elements, an additional annual authorization
of minimum guarantee funding ($639 million per fiscal year) and emergency relief
($100 million per fiscal year). These funds are not subject to the annual limitation on
A further set of programs, which are also within the firewall, are known as the
allocated programs. These programs are under the direct control of FHWA or other
governmental entities. These programs include: the federal lands highway program,
high priority projects (former demonstration project category), Appalachian roads
(formerly ineligible for trust fund contract authority), most minimum guarantee funds,
the national corridor planning and border infrastructure program, and several other
TEA21 provides a link between the highway generated revenues that flow into
the highway account and highway spending. The Act requires that the Secretary of
Transportation make an annual evaluation of revenues into the highway account
during the previous fiscal year vis-a-vis spending authorized within the highway
firewall for the new fiscal year. If revenues go up, program spending is increased.
Conversely, spending can go down if revenues go down. The Act specifies a formula
to determine the direction and amount of highway funding adjustment. This
mechanism, known as the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA), is employed
beginning in FY2000.
FHWA Research, Development, and Technology Programs. For FY2000,
the FHWA requested $641 million to support its research, development, and
technology-related (RD&T) activities; this is an increase of $268 million over the
FY1999 estimate of $373 million. The request consisted of $370 million to conduct
RD&T related to FHWA’s traditional highway programs and $271 million to support
the National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program.
An important issue associated both with the traditional highway component and,
particularly, with the ITS deployment program component of the RD&T program,
is the earmarking of funds. The appropriators, historically, have designated a
substantial portion of the incentive funds used to accelerate ITS deployment. For
example, in FY1999 the appropriators earmarked the entire deployment account by
specifying which cities or states would receive those funds and the amounts to be
obligated.9 Both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Committee on
9 U.S. House of Representatives. Department of Transportation and Related Agencies
Appropriations again earmarked the entire ITS deployment program in their FY2000
recommendations. The conference agreement accompanying P.L. 106-69 earmarked
almost all of the deployment account. Many Members and proponents of ITS would
prefer to have the deployment funds competitively awarded.
The FY2000 budget request poses other issues regarding highway RD&T
programs, but one is of particular note. This issue pertains to the use of RABA
funds. As previously stated, the Administration has been seeking the flexibility to
allocate those monies according to its priorities instead of the distribution specified
in TEA21. The Administration proposed allocating $250 million of the RABA funds
to supplement both components of the RD&T program. If highway RD&T programs
had received only their proportional share of the RABA funds now allowed under
TEA21, the funding for those activities could have been increased up to about 5%
(plus any increase now specified in TEA21 for FY2000), instead of the 72% increase
proposed by DOT.10 This would have upset the agreements forged in TEA21
regarding how the RABA funds would be distributed. The Senate and the House did
not accept the Administration’s proposal to use RABA funds to increase RD&T
activities by 72%.
Motor Carrier Safety Operations. In FY2000 FHWA requested
approximately $55.4 million for the motor carrier safety (MCS) program that is
managed by the newly established Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety. In
an amended request, FHWA asked for an additional $5.8 million for that program.
The requested funds are used primarily to pay for the salaries and expenses of some
630 staff who conduct audits or reviews of motor carriers, write and revise the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and conduct many other activities intended
to improve commercial motor vehicle safety. In FY1999, $53.4 million was
appropriated for those functions. For FY2000, the Senate specified about $57.4
million for motor carrier safety operations, and the House appropriated about $70.5
million for that function. The conference agreement specified the amount
recommended by the House.
Various congressional committees have recently conducted hearings on the truck
and bus safety program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT). Two of the key issues that were discussed include: How effectively is the
current program being conducted? Is a new administrative structure needed to
improve its implementation? The debate on the future administrative structure of the
federal truck and bus safety program appears to have affected the FY2000 DOT
Appropriations Act. P.L. 106-69 prohibits the use of any funds to carry out certain
motor carrier safety functions and operations by the FHWA, and would transfer those
funds to any DOT entity other than the FHWA to carry out those activities. On
October 9, 1999, FHWA’s motor carrier safety functions were transferred to a newly
Appropriations Act for FY1999. 105th Congress, 2nd Session. H.Rept. 105-825. pp. 76-77.
10 The Administration proposed using RABA monies to fund $250 million of the requested
increase of $268 million for RD&T.
established entity, the Office of Motor Carrier Safety, outside of FHWA but still
within the DOT.
In addition to the funds used to conduct FHWA’s motor carrier safety program,
the FHWA budget request included $105 million of contract funds authorized by
TEA21 to support the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) and
various information systems used to promote truck and bus safety, and an amended
request of another $50 million to fund additional MCSAP activities and other safety
initiatives. MCSAP provides grants to the states to implement inspection and review
programs affecting both interstate and intrastate commercial vehicle operations. In
FY1999 $100 million was made available for MCSAP and related information
systems. The House-passed H.R. 2084 appropriates $105 million for those activities.
The Senate-passed version appropriates $155 million. The Act, P.L. 106-69, specifies
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
The Clinton Administration proposed $6.1 billion for transit in FY2000. This
would have been an increase of almost $700 million, or 14%, over the FY1999 level
of $5.4 billion. However, TEA21 authorized $6.8 billion for FY2000, of which, $5.8
billion was guaranteed under the so-called firewall provisions. The additional amount
of $291 million over the guaranteed level of $5.8 billion under the Administration’s
proposal for transit would have come from highway gasoline tax revenues derived
from the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority Act (RABA) funds designated by
TEA21 for highway programs. The reallocation of RABA funds to transit was
opposed by highway proponents. The American Public Transit Association (APTA)
also opposed the Administration’s use of RABA funds for transit purposes. APTA
believed that the additional funds proposed by the Administration over the guaranteed
funding level could be found within the discretionary budget category. However,
APTA wanted transit to be funded at the full TEA21 authorization level of $6.8
billion for FY2000.
The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2084 (originally introduced in the Senate as
S. 1143) provided FTA with total budgetary resources of $5.8 billion. In doing so the
Senate complied with the TEA21 budgetary firewalls. The Senate bill provided no
additional transit funding over this amount and rejected the Clinton Administration
proposals for the redistribution of RABA funds. During consideration in the Senate,
a deadlock occurred over a provision that the would have limited a state’s total transit
funding to 12.5% of total formula grant transit funding. The provision was
controversial not only because it entailed changing the grant distribution formula
enacted in TEA21 but also because all of the reductions would have come out of the
projected distribution of transit funds to the two states, New York and California.
After a vote to invoke cloture failed, the provision was withdrawn in the face of the
certainty of a filibuster by the delegations from New York and California and
opposition from those who were against changing any of TEA21's provisions in
The FY2000 Act provides a total of $5.8 billion for FTA. This exceeded FY1999
funding by $407 million, an increase of more than 7.6%. Almost all FTA programs
received funding increases. The transit appropriation figures below illustrate the
significant increase in funding from FY1999 to FY2000 following the enactment of
TEA21. As shown in Figure 4, transit funding under TEA21 reached its highest
funding level to date with a request of $5.8 billion in FY2000, although this was
below the Clinton Administration proposal of $6.1 billion.
Pursuant to the government wide rescission, DOT cut $17.6 million from the
level provided for in the FY2000 Act. Capital investment grants absorbed most of the
Figure 4. Federal Transit Administration Appropriations
There are two major transit programs: the Major Capital Investment Program
and the Urbanized Area Formula Program. There are also several smaller formula and
planning and research programs.
The Major Capital Investment Program (Section 5309 — formerly known as
Section 3) is comprised of three major components: new transit starts, fixed guide
way modernization, and bus and bus facilities. For FY2000, the Clinton
Administration had proposed a level of $2.5 billion. Section 5309, under P.L. 106-69,
received $2.5 billion in FY2000, compared to $2.3 billion in FY1999, an increase of
8.4%. These funds are allocated on a discretionary basis by FTA or earmarked by
The Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5307 — formerly known as
Section 9) provides for the everyday basic urbanized area capital and operating needs.
These activities include bus and bus-related purchases and maintenance facilities, fixed
guide way modernization, new systems, planning, and operating assistance. For
FY2000, the Administration had requested $3.3 billion, an increase over the $2.8
billion enacted for FY1999. Under the FY2000 Act, section 5307 received $3.05
billion, an increase of 8.9% over FY1999. These funds are apportioned on a
complicated formula process based, in part, on population and transit service data.
There are also several smaller formula and planning and research programs that
received increased funding in FY2000 over FY1999 funding levels. These programs
include the Nonurbanized Area Formula Program, the Elderly and Persons with
Disabilities Program, and several transit planning and research programs.
TEA21 authorized a new Clean Fuels Formula Grant Program to purchase clean
fuel vehicles in urbanized areas. Urbanized areas over 1,000,000 population will
receive two-thirds of the funding, with the remaining third to urbanized areas with
populations under 1,000,000. FY1999 was the first year these funds ($100 million)
were appropriated. The FY2000 request was also for $100 million. P.L. 106-69
provides $100 million for FY2000.
TEA21 also authorized a new discretionary Job Access and Reverse Grant
Program. This program is designed to help welfare recipients and low income persons
with transportation assistance to suburban areas to find work. This would provide
funds for projects using transit for individuals needing job training, child care, and for
other purposes. The program’s initial funding level was $75 million for FY1999. The
FY2000 funding request was for $150 million. However, for FY2000, P.L. 106-69
retains the previous year’s funding level of $75 million.
With the enactment of TEA21, operating assistance funding was eliminated for
urbanized areas (UZAs) with 200,000 or more population. However, preventive
maintenance, previously eligible for funding from operating assistance, is now
allowable under an expanded capital grants formula program. Urbanized areas under
200,000 population, including rural areas (under 50,000 population), can use all of
the formula funds for either capital or operating purposes.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
For FY2000, the Administration proposed to fund the entire FAA with a
combination of current excise taxes and new user fees, and to establish a11
Performance-based Organization (PBO) for air traffic services. The funding level
for the FAA would have been increased from $9.75 billion to $10.13 billion, or by
about 4% over the FY1999 level. The budget request emphasized two major areas:
(1) safety initiatives to reduce the fatal accident rate on U.S. commercial carriers 80%
by 2007; and (2) the upgrading of air traffic control automation to allow efficiencies
through flights that are more direct.
11 A PBO is a distinct management unit within a government agency with strong incentives
to manage for results. It would commit to specific measurable goals with targets for improved
performance. In exchange, it is granted managerial flexibilities and accountability to achieve
P.L. 106-69, the FY2000 DOT appropriations bill, was signed by the President
on October 9, 1999; the bill provides a total of $10.081 billion for the FAA. This is
a $327 million increase over FY1999 funding levels, although it is slightly less, by $50
million, than the amount requested by the Administration. The FAA’s Operations and
Research accounts both receive increases over the FY1999 levels (however, these
increases are $139 million and $17 million, respectively, lower than the Administration
requested). The Airport Improvement Program is funded at the same level as FY199912
(however, $350 million above the Administration request). The Facilities and
Equipment budget is reduced by $12 million from the FY1999 level (however, $244
million below the Administration request).
Figure 5. Federal Aviation Administration Appropriations
Although the amount of funding for FAA is within $50 million of the requested
funding, the Administration expressed concerns about the lower than requested levels
for operations, research, and facilities and equipment.
For the first time, assuming no general fund supplementals, the FAA will be
funded entirely from the aviation trust fund with no contribution from the general
fund. Historically, a substantial portion of the FAA’s budget has come from general
fund revenues rather than the aviation trust fund, the rational being that the public at
large realizes some benefit from the aviation system whether it uses the system or not.
12 The government wide rescission led to a $54 million reduction in AIP’s enacted funding
In related developments, the FAA reauthorization legislation, H.R. 1000, failed
to emerge from conference before the end of the first session of the 106th Congress.
The conferees were unable to agree on the treatment of the aviation trust fund, the
general fund share, and the cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC). Although
most FAA programs and activities can operate without authorization, the Airport
Improvement Program cannot, and has been in abeyance since October 1, 1999.
However, conference remains open and action may occur in the second session.
Operations. The Act includes $5.900 billion for FAA operations, an increase of
$334 million (6%) above the FY1999 level, but $139 million (2.3%) below the
Administration’s request. The increase will be used in part to fund 100 additional
field maintenance technicians and to bring on-line and maintain air traffic control and
aeronautical navigation equipment now being delivered as part of the modernization
of the air traffic control system. The operations budget also includes $668 million for
aviation regulation and certification, and $145 million for civil aviation security.
In a statement released following the signing of the Act, the Administration said that
the reduction in the operations account will slow hiring for safety and security
positions and postpone implementation of needed efficiency and management13
Facilities and Equipment (F&E). The $2.075 billion for the F&E account is
$10 million less than last year’s appropriation, and $244 million, or 10.5% less than
the request. This account is the principal means for modernizing and improving air
traffic control and airway facilities. It also finances major capital investments required
by other agency programs, experimental research and development facilities, and other
improvements to enhance the safety and capacity of the airspace system. Concerned
that the FAA has not adequately justified the Wide Area Augmentation System, which
will be used in conjunction with a satellite-based navigation system, the Act zeros out
the Administration’s request of $108.1 million for this program. The Local Area
Augmentation System request of $4 million was also zeroed. Other cuts in this
account reflect a general concern with the agency’s poor record with respect to the
modernization of the air traffic control system, and its failing to evidence a strong
commitment to mission focus, accountability, coordination , or adaptability. The
Administration said that the reductions in the F&E account will constrain funding for
the modernization of the air traffic control system, including needed modernization
and improvement of the Global Positioning System. Furthermore, it said the
reductions may increase air travel delays and ill-position the FAA to meet the growing
challenges of the future.14
Research, Engineering and Development (RE&D). The Act provides
$156.495 million in the RE&D account, which is $6 million more than last year but
$17 million, or 10%, less than the request. Although programs were trimmed across
the board, $5 million was added to the aging aircraft program request to continue and
expand research activities at the National Institute for Aviation Research.
13 Statement by the President. The White House. Office of the Press Secretary, Oct. 12,
Grants-in-Aid for Airports. The Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
provides grants for airport development and planning. The FY2000 Act provides the
program with a limitation on obligations of $1.95 billion for AIP. This amount is the
same as was available in FY1999. The Administration requested $1.6 billion.15 As
mentioned earlier, pursuant to the government wide rescission, DOT reduced the
AIP’s budget by $54.4 million below the level provided for in the FY2000 Act.
Because no FAA reauthorization bill that would authorize AIP for FY2000 has
passed, the AIP has been in abeyance since October 1, 1999. Although existing
projects may continue, no new projects may be funded.
Passenger Rights. During floor debate in the Senate on H.R. 2084, airline
passenger consumer protection issues emerged in the form of a number of
amendments to the bill. In the appropriations Act (P.L. 106-69), this resulted in
language requiring the Office of the Inspector General report on a number of issues:
first, to investigate whether domestic and foreign air carriers are engaging in “unfair
or deceptive practices” and “unfair methods of competition” (pursuant to 49 U.S. C.
section 41712), when they sell tickets on flights that are already over booked or offer
different low fares through different media (for example, different lowest fares via
telephone or internet); second, the OIG is required to report, not later than June 15,
2000, on the extent that barriers exist to consumer access to comparative price and
service information from independent sources (such as travel agents) on the purchase
of airline tickets; third, the OIG is required to report on the extent to which air
carriers deny travel to airline consumers with non-refundable tickets from one carrier
to another. In another provision, the FY2000 Act also expresses the sense of the
Senate that the penalty for involuntary “bumping” of passengers should be doubled.
The Senate version of the FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 1000) also includes a
number of consumer protection provisions.
Research and Special Programs Administration
For FY2000, the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA)
requested $85.8 million in budget authority, compared to $71.7 million which was
appropriated in FY1999, to conduct a variety of safety and technology programs. For
pipeline safety, RSPA requested $38 million, an increase of $3.6 million over FY1999;
and for hazardous materials transportation safety, the agency sought $18.2 million,
an increase of $2.1 million over FY1999. RSPA estimates that 80% of its budget is
allocated for activities seeking to promote transportation safety. The FY2000 budget
seeks to enhance RSPA’s efforts to prevent damage to gas and liquid pipelines by
outside forces (e.g., by a construction crew) and to increase grants to support state
efforts to reduce environmental damage from pipeline spills. RSPA also seeks to
increase its staff supporting the hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation safety
15 This lower amount of AIP funding was proposed by the Administration in conjunction with
a proposal to increase the cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC) to provide an alternative
non-federal source of funds for airport development. However, no FAA reauthorization bill,
with such a PFC provision has passed. H.R. 1000 remained in conference at the end of the
program and to increase funding provided for hazmat training and planning assistance
provided to emergency responder and local planning committees.
Figure 6. Research and Special Programs Administration Appropriations
For FY2000, the Senate-passed version of H.R. 2084 recommended total
budgetary resources for RSPA of $76.656 million, including $16.960 million for the
hazardous materials transportation safety program and $36.104 for the pipeline safety
program. The House-passed version recommended $82.953 million in new budget
authority for RSPA, including $17.813 million for hazardous materials transportation
safety program and $36.092 million for pipeline safety. The conference agreement
accompanying P.L. 106-69 provides $67.7 million for RSPA, but does not set a limit
on obligations for the emergency preparedness grant program for hazmat training and
planning. The agreement specifies $36.9 million for the pipeline safety program and
$17.7 million for the hazardous materials transportation safety program.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
For FY2000, the NHTSA requested an appropriation of $406 million, up from
$361 million enacted for FY1999. The requested increase included $125 million
derived from the Revenue Aligned Budget Authority. The $125 million of RABA
funds constituted about 30% of the agency’s overall budget request of $406 million.
The Administration proposed using RABA funds to pay for all of NHTSA’s
motor vehicle safety activities, which include defect investigations, the auto-safety
hotline, and various consumer information programs on the crash worthiness of new
vehicles. Last year, the appropriations committees funded the entire NHTSA account
using highway trust fund monies.
Figure 7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Appropriations
The Senate-passed H.R. 2084 recommended agency funding totaling $376
million, a reduction of about 7.4% from the Administration’s request, but $15 million
(or about 4.2%) more than the amount enacted for FY1999. The House-passed
version of H.R. 2084 recommended $368.2 million for NHTSA during FY2000. The
conference report (H.Rept. 106-355) passed by both houses recommends $368
million, which was the amount contained in the bill signed into law (P.L. 106-69) by
the President on October 9, 1999.
The Senate Appropriations Committee expressed dismay at the Administration’s
proposal to use RABA funds for Operations and Research. The Committee has
recommended that $72 million of contract authority (from TEA21) be combined with
$89.4 million authorized under sections 30104 and 32102 of title 49 U.S.C. and
chapter 303 of title 49 R.S.C. for FY2000, bringing the total to $161.4 million for
operations and research activities. This amount is about $38 million less than the
$199.5 million requested by the Administration.
Likewise, the Administration’s suggestion that a substantial portion of NHTSA’s
programs be funded from RABA was not well received by the House Appropriations
Committee. In its report, the committee states that, “Such budget gimmickery does
not indicate a sincere commitment to safety. Further, by submitting this request to
Congress, the department is shortchanging safety by not continuing a reliable funding
source for safety programs.”
One of the agency’s programs to encourage the use of seat belts has been
bolstered by the recent presidential seat belt initiative. Although the “Buckle Up
America” program began in FY1999, it continues to be an important component of
the agency’s entire safety agenda. In addition, the agency is focusing its research and
regulatory efforts on “smart air bags” and other lifesaving technologies. The Senate
Appropriations Committee, in S.Rept. 106-55 accompanying S.1143, expressed its
concern over additional safety issues, including the emerging issue of tragedies of
children becoming locked in auto trunks. The committee directs NHTSA to prepare
a report determining the frequency of these incidents and to recommend strategies to
reduce such incidents. Although the trunk lid study deadline is March 31, 2000,
there is no funding earmarked to prepare the report.
Incentive Funds for 0.08 BAC Laws. Section 163 of Title 23, U.S.C.,
provides contract authority of $80 million for FY2000 to provide incentive grants to
those states that adopt and enforce a law that makes it illegal per se (by definition) to
operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above16
0.08%. TEA21 provides $80 million of contract authority for the Section 163
program for FY2000, compared to $65 million in FY1999. Currently 16 states qualify
to receive those monies. Those funds do not require a separate appropriation and are
protected within the firewall for federal aid highway programs established by TEA21.
Although the apportioned funds may be obligated for any program authorized under
Title 23, U.S.C., states are using most of those funds for behavioral-oriented traffic
safety activities, rather than for highway infrastructure projects. In general, states
support incentive programs that encourage them to adopt specified laws rather than
“disincentive” programs that take away or transfer a portion of their federal aid
monies if they do not enact those laws.
16 Section 163 was added to Title 23, U.S.C., by Section 1404 of TEA21.
Table 5. Total Budgetary Resources of Selected Agencies and Selected Programs
(in millions of dollars—totals may not add)
FY1999aFY2000aSenatePassedHouse PassedaConf. ReptH.Rept. 106-Public Law fFinal FY2000(after .38%
Enacted Request H.R. 2084a H.R. 2084355aP.L. 106-69reduction)
26,823 28,549 28,966 28,938 28,938 28,938 28,833
25,611 b 27,417 b 27,806 b 27,806 b 27,806 27,806 27,701
1,212 1,132 1,132 1,132 1,132 1,132 1,132
(31) (31) 31 — 31 31 31
. 361 406 376 368 368 368 368
778 678 750 719 735 735 f 735
609 571 571 571 571 571 571
450,000.00 750,000.00 950,000.00 450,000.00 750,000.00 750,000.00 750,000.00
(actual $)(actual $)(actual $)(actual $)(actual $)(actual $)(actual $)
5,390 6,088 5,797 5,797 5,797 5,797 5,779
570 620 620 620 620 620 620
2,280 2,690 2,478 2,478 2,478 2,478 f 2,478
451 490 490 490 490 490 490
1,806 1,961 1,961 1,961 1,961 1,961 1,944
9,754 10,131 9,763 4,623 10,081 10,081 10,027
5,567 6,039 5,857 0 5,900 5,900 5,900
2,087 2,319 2,046 2,200 2,075 2,075 2,075
1,950 1,600 2,000 2,250 1,950 1,950 1,896
($300 mil. of
FY1999aFY2000aSenatePassedHouse PassedaConf. ReptH.Rept. 106-Public Law fFinal FY2000(after .38%
Enacted Request H.R. 2084a H.R. 2084355aP.L. 106-69reduction)
c 4,484 4,126 3,988 4,048 4,024 c 4,024 f 4,022
3,048 2,941 2,772 2,791 2,781 2,781 2,781
626 350 370 410 389 389 388
11 0 11 12 12 12 f 12
44 45 d 48 45 45 45 f 45
81 81 75 76 76 76 f 76
16 e 17 e 17 e 15 17 17 f 17
47,224 50,158 49,500 44,474 50,174 50,174 49,995
otherwise noted, figures for FY1999 enacted, and FY2000 requested were taken from H.Rept. 105-825, H. Rept. 106-355, the
Budget of the United States, fiscal year 2000, and the FY2000 Budget in Brief and justifications. Department of Transportation
figures include adjusted figures that may not match the conference report or Budget of the United States figures. The columns
pertaining to the Senate, House, and Conference funding levels For FY2000 have been taken from the table at the end of H.Rept.
for the Coast Guard were taken from H.Rept. 106-355. In general, the Coast Guard total budgetary resources includes
substantial funding from the Department of Defense and from emergency supplemental appropriations. For more detail, see CRS
Report No. RL30246, Coast Guard: Analysis of the FY2000 Budget. For FY2000, Congress appropriated an additional $200
million as emergency funding contingent on an official budget request being made. Thus, the total FY2000 appropriation could
be interpreted as being $4.224 billion.
reductions pursuant to the government wide rescission (P.L. 106-113) that were too small to be reflected in the Final FY2000
column in Table 5 are as follows: Federal Railroad Administration, $-179,000; Transit Planning and Research, -$243,000; Coast
Guard alteration of bridges, -$57,000; and environmental compliance and restoration, -$65,000; Saint Laurence Seaway, -$46,000;
OIG, -$170,000; STB, -$58,000; and Office of the Secretary, -$28,000.
: Numbers within this table may differ slightly from those in the text due to supplemental appropriations, rescissions, and other
Administration (MARAD) funding, and funding for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), are contained in CRS Report
Appropriations for FY2000: Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, coordinated by Edward
For Additional Reading
CRS Issue Briefs
CRS Issue Brief IB10026. Airport Improvement Program, by Robert S. Kirk.
CRS Issue Brief IB10032. Transportation Issues in the 106th Congress, coordinated
by Glen Moore.
CRS Issue Brief IB10030. Federal Railroad Safety Program and Reauthorization
Issues, by Paul F. Rothberg and Anthony J. Solury.
CRS Report 98-749. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA21)
and the Federal Budget, by John W. Fischer.
CRS Report RL30096. Airport Improvement Program Reauthorization Legislation
in the 106th Congress, by Robert S. Kirk.
CRS Report RS20176. Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization and the 106th
Congress, by Stephen Thompson.
CRS Report RS20177. Airport and Airway Trust Fund Issues in the 106th Congress,
by John W. Fischer.
CRS Report 98-593. Airport Improvement Program: Airport Finance Issues for
Congress, by Robert S. Kirk.
CRS Report RL30068. Automobile Air Bags: Current Issues Associated With New
Technology, by Duane A. Thompson and John R. Justus.
CRS Report 98-890. Federal Traffic Safety Provisions in the Transportation Equityst
Act for the 21 Century: Analysis and Oversight Issues, by Paul F. Rothberg and
Anthony J. Solury.
CRS Report 98-63. Transportation Trust Funds: Budgetary Treatment, by John W.
CRS Report 98-646. Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (P.L. 105-178):
An Overview of Environmental Protection Provisions, by David M. Bearden.
CRS Report RL30246. Coast Guard: Analysis of the FY2000 Budget, by Martin
Selected World Wide Web Sites
Department of Transportation Budget Site
Department of Transportation, Chief Financial Officer
House Appropriations Committee
Interactive Budget Web Site
Maritime Administration (financial reports)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (budget & planning)
Office of Management and Budget
Senate Appropriations Committee