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President's FY2022 Budget Request for the Department of Transportation

TESTIMONY
THE HONORABLE PETER BUTTIGIEG
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION

BEFORE THE
APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON
TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES
UNITED STATES SENATE

June 16, 2021

Chairman Schatz, Ranking Member Collins, and members of the Subcommittee: thank you for the opportunity to discuss the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget request for the Department of Transportation. I also want to thank the members of this subcommittee for your strong support of our Department and its programs, which help keep the American people safe every day.

The Department of Transportation plays a crucial role in maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure that powers our economy and keeps us moving. Yet, as we’ve seen in recent months, such as with the I-40 bridge shutdown, much of our infrastructure is in a state of disrepair. In some cases, we are relying on roads, bridges, railroads, ports, and waterway infrastructure built a century ago. In addition, our transportation infrastructure and systems are not sufficiently designed to mitigate or be resilient to the impacts of climate change. If we want to grow our economy, remain competitive, and address the climate crisis, we need to take swift and bold action.

At this moment of challenge and opportunity, President Biden’s first Fiscal Year 2022 budget request to Congress reflects that urgent need, as well as our values and priorities. The request includes $88 billion to support transportation priorities throughout the nation. These resources will enable the Department to continue funding its current portfolio of programs, while also revitalizing transit and rail, and making necessary improvements to our aviation infrastructure.

The President’s proposal also includes a funding request for the American Jobs Plan: a once-in-a-generation investment in repairing and transforming our infrastructure, which will create millions of good-paying jobs and keep our economy moving forward for decades to come.

It contains an additional $621 billion for long-overdue repairs and improvements for our highways, transit systems, rail, ports, aviation, and more. 

The details of the President’s budget request advance the vision of the American Jobs Plan, and underscore our commitment to key priorities: improving safety, building economic strength, addressing the climate crisis, advancing equity, and supporting innovation. 

Let me share some of the highlights of this budget request when it comes to transportation. 

As always, promoting safety for the hundreds of millions of Americans who rely on our transportation system is this Department’s “North Star.” And safety is embedded throughout this budget request.  

The President is requesting $18.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, including $17.4 million to strengthen Aviation Safety Oversight and begin addressing the requirements of the Aircraft Certification Safety and Accountability Act.

FAA will also receive $1 billion to improve the facilities that house the workforce and technology at the heart of our air traffic control system. Many of these facilities were built in the 1960s and are in dire need of replacement or repair. This funding will reduce the current backlog and help ensure our air traffic controllers have an efficient, modern workplace to carry out their mission of keeping the skies safe.

The budget also includes $246 million—over a $50 million increase—for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Programs. These programs help advance safety innovations to keep pace with the rapid development of vehicle electronics and automated driving systems. This funding will also help to mitigate carbon pollution, by enforcing the highest achievable fuel-economy standards and ensuring that alternative fuel vehicles are safe.

With respect to transit, the President’s request includes $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants—a $459 million increase—to accelerate existing transit projects and support new ones. These increases will help us advance cleaner vehicles, while creating jobs that benefit our economy.

The President’s budget includes $2.7 billion for Amtrak, representing a 35% increase. This support will accelerate track renewal, renovate aging stations, refresh the existing capital fleet, and help address maintenance backlogs throughout the system. Along with $625 million for a competitive new Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion program—known as PRIME Grants—these investments will modernize passenger rail service and grow existing rail corridors throughout the country. 

To encourage innovative transportation projects that are tailored to fit local needs, the President’s request continues $1 billion in funding for the flexible and oversubscribed RAISE grants. This popular, competitive grant program provides much-needed federal funding to help localities that are working on innovative, modern infrastructure projects.

Finally, I want to mention the $110 million requested for a new “Thriving Communities” program that will establish a new office to help communities eliminate transportation barriers and improve access to jobs, schools, and businesses. This program aims to ensure that all Americans have access to fair, equitable, affordable transportation options.

These are just a few of the items in the President’s 2022 budget request, which, together with the American Jobs Plan, will help keep Americans safe and moving, make the necessary investments to tackle the climate crisis, and provide the foundation for economic prosperity. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today.  I look forward to answering your questions.

******

Witness
Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Testimony Date
Testimony Mode
OST