Federal budget proposal met with skepticism

February 14, 2020

The Trump administration released its proposed 2021 fiscal budget this week. The infrastructure piece of it was quite interesting, but it has already been met with skepticism as to whether it will fly in Congress.

As part of a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure investment, the budget proposes an $810 billion, 10-year surface transportation reauthorization. The House and Senate are working on five-year plans.

But as Politico asserted in an analysis on Tuesday:

The request says the 10-year bill will be funded with contract authority, but that’s not spendable money — it’s a budgetary tool that allows states or agencies to enter into binding contracts, which the federal government promises to pay back later, usually through appropriated money. There’s very little chance lawmakers would get on board with that (although, they haven’t had much luck figuring out how to fill the Highway Trust Fund themselves). 

“Politico’s prognosis for advancing any of the current proposals may sound cynical, but there’s been no evidence pointing to a scenario in which Congress and the administration can reach a consensus,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “And however one looks at transportation funding issues – federal and state – real solutions must be funded with real money. So far, there hasn’t been agreement on how or whether to do that.”

Politico’s analysis can be found at this link.


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