Just prior to the Christmas recess, Congress reached a bipartisan funding agreement for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and other departments and government agencies for fiscal year 2020 (FY20). The legislation provides more than $15.4 billion for public transportation and intercity passenger rail, including $12.9 billion for public transportation and $2.5 billion for intercity passenger rail grants. Although these total funding levels are a reduction of 3.6 percent (-$586 million) below FY19 enacted funding levels, the total funding levels are:
- $390 million more than the FY20 FAST Act authorization levels; and
- $1.2 billion more than the FY20 President’s Budget request. The bill provides $1.98 billion for Capital Investment Grants (CIG) and requires the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to allocate 85 percent of these funds by Dec. 31, 2021. Of the $1.98 billion, the bill provides $1.5 billion for New Starts, $300 million for Core Capacity projects, $100 million for Small Starts and $100 million for the Expedited Project Delivery for CIG Pilot Program.
- The BUILD program (formerly TIGER) provides competitive grants for surface transportation projects, including public transportation and multi-modal projects. The bill provides $1 billion for BUILD grants. The legislation requires that DOT ensure equitable geographic distribution of the funds and investment in a variety of transportation modes. One-half of this funding must be awarded for grants in large urbanized areas (population of 200,000 or more).