FY19 Update: Do the House Appropriations Bills Keep the $10 Billion Infrastructure Promise?
May 17, 2018
The February 2018 bipartisan budget deal increasing discretionary appropriations totals for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 was accompanied by a “deal memo” between Congressional leaders promising that at least $20 billion of that increase – half in 2018 and half in 2019 – would be appropriated “to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects, and surface transportation.” The money was to be measured against the fiscal 2017 enacted levels as a starting point.
Now that the House Appropriations Committee has released most of its draft fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills funding various non-defense infrastructure programs, we can ask – is that promise being kept?
The answer: yes, and then some.
The $10 Billion per Year Infrastructure Promise
|More/Less than FY 2017|
|Millions of dollars.||FY 2018||FY 2019|
|Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program||479||57|
|Broadband Loan and Grant Pilot Program||601||555|
|Economic Development Administration||26||26|
|Army Corps of Engineers|
|Operation and Maintenance||493||671|
|Mississippi River System||80||68|
|Environmental Protection Agency|
|State and Tribal Assistance Grants|
|Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds||300||150|
|Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Funds||300||150|
|Small/Disadvantaged Community Water Infra.||20||0|
|Other Infrastructure Programs|
|Housing and Urban Development Department|
|Community Planning and Development|
|Community Development Fund||305||305|
|Bureau of Reclamation|
|Water and Related Resources||176||228|
|Office of the Secretary|
|Federal Aviation Administration|
|Facilities and Equipment||395||395|
|Airport Improvement Program||1,000||500|
|Federal Highway Administration|
|Federal Railroad Administration|
|Amtrak – Northeast Corridor||322||322|
|Amtrak – National Network||125||125|
|Magnetic Levitation Technology||0||150|
|Consolidated Rail Infra/Safety Grants||527||82|
|Federal-State SOGR Partnership Grants||225||475|
|Rail Restoration/Enhancement Grants||15||-5|
|Federal Transit Administration|
|Transit Formula Grants||834||800|
|Capital Investment Grants||232||201|
|Replace Training Vessels at State Academies||300||300|
|TOTAL, ABOVE INFRASTRUCTURE ACCOUNTS||10,257||10,273|
We can’t speak for how federal programs for electrical grid infrastructure are funded, or what the “innovative capital projects” referred to in the deal memo are. Some people count R&D accounts, federal buildings, and public housing as infrastructure but those aren’t in the above table. And we didn’t go through the entire non-defense budget for odds-and-ends infrastructure accounts (Denali, Delta, etc.). So there are undoubtedly millions of dollars of other spending increases that should be counted but don’t show up in the above table.
And the FY 2018 total would be $1.4 billion higher if we included procurement of boats for the Coast Guard as being infrastructure, as the mammoth Congressional Budget Office infrastructure study does – the study defines infrastructure for “water transportation” as “waterways, ports, and the equipment used to support sea-borne traffic (such as Coast Guard vessels).” But the FY 2019 draft Homeland Security funding bill has not been released yet, so we don’t have a comparable total for the upcoming year.