President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year 2023 President’s Budget request on Friday March 28, which requests $142 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The request includes $26.8 billion in discretionary budget authority, $78.4 billion in mandatory funds and $36.8 billion in emergency-designated advance budget authority.
“The budget I’m releasing today sends a clear message to the American people [on] what we value. First, fiscal responsibility. Second, safety and security. And thirdly, the investments needed to build a better America,” President Joe Biden said in formal remarks after the release of the FY23 budget.
The FY23 budget request also includes a total of $21.1 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, which includes $4.25 billion in advanced appropriations from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and $17.9 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, which includes $13.2 billion in advanced appropriations from the IIJA and $3 billion for Amtrak.
“The investments in the president’s budget make traveling safer, easier, cleaner and more affordable for the American people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “From roads, tunnels and bridges to airport and port improvements, electric vehicle chargers, safe bike lanes and more, we are building a first-rate transportation system for all Americans.”
Paul Skoutelas, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, said the FY23 President’s Budget combined with the advanced appropriations from the IIJA provides the transit investment needed “to meet growing community demands for increased mobility choices that will reap economic and environmental benefits nationwide.”
“Combined with the advance appropriations in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the president’s FY23 budget request will provide historic and generational investments in public transportation that will enable our communities to provide access to opportunities and create family-wage jobs, advance equity and tackle climate change,” said Skoutelas.
Projects recommended for funding
As part of the budget process, USDOT recommended $4.45 billion to advance 15 rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) projects, including seven for new funding and eight with existing construction grants through the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program and Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program.
The seven projects recommended for new funding include:
- $100 million through the CIG program for the Hudson Tunnels commuter rail project where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in cooperation with the Gateway Development Commission, New Jersey Transit Corporation and Amtrak, propose the construction of a new two-track heavy rail tunnel along the Northeast Corridor between New Jersey and Manhattan’s Penn Station. The project includes the Hudson Yards right-of-way preservation project, a new Hudson Tunnel, and the rehabilitation and modernization of the existing North River tunnel. The project is part of the Northeast Corridor Gateway Program, a series of strategic rail infrastructure investments designed to improve current service and create new capacity. These funds will not be allocated to the Hudson Tunnel project until the project sponsor meets statutory requirements for receipt of federal funds.
- $400 million through the CIG program for the Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 heavy rail project where the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) proposes to extend heavy rail subway service 1.5 miles along the East Side of Manhattan. The project is the second of four planned sections of the Second Avenue Subway and connects the northern end of Phase 1 at 96th Street to the overcrowded Lexington Avenue Line at 125th Street. The project includes three new stations and signal and communications systems.
- $46 million through the CIG program for the Memphis Innovation Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project where the Memphis Area Transit Authority proposes an eight-mile BRT line connecting downtown, the Memphis Medical District and the University of Memphis. The project includes one mile of exclusive bus lanes, off-vehicle fare collection, transit signal priority and streetscape and pedestrian improvements. The project will link activity centers from downtown to the University of Memphis and provide convenient and reliable access to jobs, education, health services and civic centers.
- $158 million through the CIG program for the Advanced Rapid Transit North South Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project where VIA Metropolitan Transit proposes an 11.7-mile BRT line from the San Antonio International Airport through downtown San Antonio, to Steves Avenue in the south connecting to San Antonio International Airport, San Antonio College, VIA Metro Center, Downtown San Antonio and dense commercial and residential areas.
- $60.1 million through the CIG program for the Seattle RapidRide J Line Bus Rapid Transit project where King County Metro proposes a 5.2-mile BRT line connecting the University District neighborhood to downtown Seattle as part of Seattle’s growing RapidRide BRT system. The project features real-time arrival information, off-board fare collection, 2.3 miles of exclusive BRT lanes and transit signal priority. The corridor includes major destinations including the University of Washington, South Lake Union, Seattle’s central business district and the International District, with intermodal connections to light rail, monorail, commuter rail, Washington State Ferries and the Seattle Streetcar.
- $250 million through the EPD Pilot Program for the East San Fernando Valley Corridor Phase 1 light-rail project where the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposes to construct a 6.7-mile light-rail project with 11 stations, nine traction power substations, an overhead contact system, new vehicles and a maintenance and storage facility.
- $200 million through the EPD Pilot Program for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Silicon Valley Phase II heavy rail project where the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) proposes to extend BART service six miles from the Berryessa Station through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara. The project includes four stations, five miles of subway tunnels, new heavy-rail vehicles, two mid-tunnel ventilation and egress facilities, and a storage yard and maintenance facility. The project is being implemented by Santa Clara VTA in partnership with BART.
Santa Clara VTA previously received $225 million for the BART Silicon Valley Phase II project from the Federal Transit Administration in 2019 and 2021. The authority says the new funding recommendation shows the federal government’s confidence in the project.
"Contrary to the narrative of some critics about the alleged lack of federal support for the BART to Silicon Valley project, today's commitment of the U.S. Department of Transportation of $200 million in Expedited Project Delivery funding--one of only two projects nationally to receive EPD funding--demonstrates the critical importance and efficacy of this project in meeting our region's transportation and climate goals. I am grateful for Secretary Pete Buttigieg's continued commitment to this project, and to our nation's critical need for transit investment," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, also a member of the Santa Clara VTA Board of Directors.