Funding Bill Passes House
Passage Expected in Senate
This afternoon, the
House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion funding bill for fiscal year
(FY) 2015 by a vote of 219-206. The bill funds most of the government
through September 2015. The House will
also takes steps to allow the Senate time to vote while avoiding a government
shutdown at midnight tonight. In
addition to funding the government, the bill included many policy riders.
Federal agency construction accounts will see a mixed bag of
funding levels in 2015. Difficult fiscal times have resulted in deep cuts to
some accounts—as is the case for military construction—while others remain flat
when compared to FY 2014 levels. However, the bright spots remain with the Army
Corps Civil Works and the General Services Administration construction
programs. The total funding for federal
construction accounts tracked by AGC is over $106 billion for FY 2015. This number represents a nearly $5 billion
cut from FY 2014 levels. A complete run
down of the accounts can be found here.
Below is a summary of the FY 2015 funding levels for some of
the larger federal construction accounts.
The bill appropriated MAP-21 authorized levels of nearly $41
billion for the federal-aid highway program and nearly $9.5 billion for the
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through formula grants. FTA also saw an appropriation of $2.1 billion
for the new starts program. The Federal
Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program is funded at $3.35
billion which is the same level as FY 2014.
Amtrak ($1.1 billion) and TIGER grants ($500 million) saw funding cuts
from FY 2014.
State Revolving Funds (SRF) for Clean Water and Drinking
Water got a bit of good news in the bill – no cuts. The clean water SRF’s saw level funding from
FY 2014 at $1.449 billion, as did drinking water SRF’s at $907 billion
Military construction accounts will be funded for FY 2015
generally along the lines of the president’s budget request, which called for
steep cuts. Overall, military construction experiences a more than $3 billion
(40 percent) cut in FY 2015 compared to FY 2014 levels. The Army will
experience the deepest cut, as its construction funds are cut by over $575
million (52 percent) in this fiscal year. In addition, Congress continues to
wind down the 1990 and 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC)
rounds’ funding, as Congress cuts a third of the funding—$136 million—for FY
2015. Additionally, funding is prohibited for any future BRAC rounds in the
National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015.
Corps Civil Works
The U.S. Army Corps Civil Works Program funding will remain
steady and strong in FY 2015 at over $5 billion, among the highest level of
funding through the annual appropriations process. The construction account
funding of $1.639 billion is an increase of $514.5 million above the
president’s budget request, including $112 million in additional funding for
Inland Waterways Trust Fund projects. The operations and maintenance account is
funded at $2.908.5 billion, $308.5 million above the president’s budget request
and $47.5 million above FY 2014, including at least $42 million in additional
funds for inland navigation. No less than $1.1 billion is provided from the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a $100 million increase.
General Services Administration
While the General Services Administration’s construction
program experiences a $255 million cut in FY 2015 compared to FY 2014, the $1.3
billion for construction accounts is still more than the funding received in
fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013 combined. The construction and acquisition
account remains steady in FY 2015 at over $500 million. The reduction in FY
2015 comes largely from the major repairs and alterations account.
Of the potential environmental policy riders that were
initially discussed as part of the appropriations deal, few made it over the
finish line. AGC and the other members of the Waters Advocacy Coalition had
been working to bring the provisions from the House-passed appropriations
measures into the compromise bill. However, provisions blocking funding for the
administration’s regulations on climate change and Clean Water Act
jurisdiction, among the most controversial potential inclusions, ultimately
failed to be included in the final legislation. What was included were
provisions that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing
the greater sage-grouse as endangered or threatened and stop the service from
working to implement protections for the Gunnison sage-grouse, which the agency
listed as threatened last month. Industry groups and some western state
governors have fought a potential listing for the sage-grouse, arguing that
enacting federal protections for the birds' expansive territory would severely
curtail construction and development in these areas, particularly for the oil
and gas industries.
The funding bill also contains a provision that would
suspend part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA)
hours-of-service limits on truckers. The provision suspends the requirement
that truck drivers must include two 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. off-duty periods during a
consecutive 34-hour off-duty period before their weekly driving hours would
restart. The provision also removes the once-per-week limit of the use of the
restart. These two restrictions were part of the FMCSA hours-of-service rule
that went into effect on July 1, 2013. The reset requirements have been a
problem for trucking companies, including construction companies since they
were imposed. Sen. Collins (R-Maine) included the language in the year-end
funding bill because she believes that the requirement has the perverse effect
of putting more trucks on the road during heavy traffic periods. AGC worked
with a coalition of trucking interests in support of the Collins amendment.
The suspension is only in place through the end of FY 2015
and would have to be reinstated at that time unless the rules are changed. The
provision calls for FMCSA to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health
and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July
1, 2013 and report to the House and Senate Committees. AGC will be providing
information to the FMCSA concerning the impact of the reset rule on
construction industry drivers.
For more information,
please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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