House passes FY21 appropriations minibus bill

Aug. 3, 2020
The bill includes $18.9 billion for FTA and a face covering mandate for Amtrak and transit agencies meeting certain population and passenger trip criteria.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.3 trillion package of appropriations bills on July 31 that will provide funding in Fiscal Year 2021 to six departments, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The package now heads to the Senate.  

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Chairman David Price (D-NC-4) said the transportation portion of the package represents a renewed commitment to modernizing aging transportation infrastructure.  

“Throughout the bill we focus on improved safety, the needs of underserved people and communities and resiliency in the face of a changing climate. ‘Infrastructure Week’ shouldn’t be a punchline—this funding is necessary for our future prosperity, especially as we transition from pandemic to recovery,” said Price.

Transit and passenger rail highlights from the bill include:

$107.2 billion in total budgetary resources for USDOT in FY21 Department of Transportation  

• $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD)

• $3 million to support the Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence

• $10 million for Transportation Planning Grants to assist areas of persistent poverty, which is a new competitive grant program

• $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration

o $500 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants

o $200 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair

o $2.05 billion for Amtrak, which includes $750 million for Northeast Corridor Grants and $1.3 billion for National Network Grants

• $18.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration:

o $15.9 billion for Transit Formula Grants funded from the Highway Trust Fund

o $2.2 billion for Capital Investment Grants

o $510 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants

The appropriations package also includes $26 billion as additional investment for USDOT programs to enhance the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure and support the economic recovery. The transit and passenger rail highlights of this additional funding include:

• $3 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD)

• $10.5 million for DOT Cyber Security Initiatives

• $5 billion for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants

• $100 million for Magnetic Levitation Technology Deployment Program

• $5 billion for Northeast Corridor Grants to Amtrak and $3 billion for National Network Grants

• $5 billion for the Capital Investment Grants

The FY21 minibus package also contains a mandate that face coverings be worn on all Amtrak trains, as well as on transit systems that serve an area with a population of more than 500,000 and provide 20,000,000 unlinked passenger trips.

The full text of the FY21 appropriation package can be found here.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.