FY19 Update: Do the House Appropriations Bills Keep the $10 Billion Infrastructure Promise?

FY19 Update: Do the House Appropriations Bills Keep the $10 Billion Infrastructure Promise?

May 17, 2018  | Jeff Davis

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
Enacted House Bills
Agriculture Department
Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program 479 57
Broadband Loan and Grant Pilot Program 601 555
Commerce Department
Economic Development Administration 26 26
Defense Department
Army Corps of Engineers
Investigations 2 7
Construction 223 447
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
WIFIA Program 53 65
Housing and Urban Development Department
Community Planning and Development
Community Development Fund 305 305
Interior Department
Bureau of Reclamation
Water and Related Resources 176 228
Transportation Department
Office of the Secretary
TIGER/BUILD Grants 1,000 250
Federal Aviation Administration
Facilities and Equipment 395 395
Airport Improvement Program 1,000 500
Federal Highway Administration
Federal-Aid Highways 2,525 4,250
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
Maritime Administration
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.

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