FY17 THUD Full Committee Markup Bill Summary
TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND
RELATED AGENCIES FISCAL YEAR 2017 APPROPRIATIONS BILL
Full Committee Mark: April 21, 2016
Washington, D.C. – The fiscal year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill is $56.5 billion. When taking into consideration certain rescissions and estimated receipts, the allocation is effectively $1.4 billion more than fiscal year 2016.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said:
"The THUD bill is about moving our nation forward and making critical investments in transportation and housing that yield strong dividends for the American people. The new funding and policies in this bill will help improve the safety of our roads, connect more Americans to jobs and housing opportunities, and boost critical lead poisoning prevention programs nationwide. If enacted, this legislation will serve as a critical building block for economic growth and community development. I’m proud of our work on the subcommittee and support this bipartisan legislation."
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement:
“Chairman Collins and Ranking Member Reed worked together on a bipartisan basis to write a THUD bill that meets compelling human needs, helps commuters get to work safely and on time, and creates opportunity with affordable housing and community development. This bill is our annual jobs bill, making federal investments at the state and local level that create jobs today in construction, delivering on America’s physical infrastructure needs, and keeping our roads and transportation systems safe and in good repair, while also preserving housing assistance for those Americans most in need. I am especially proud of Senators Collins’ and Reed’s decision to put funds in the federal checkbook to get the lead out of our communities. As the Maryland Senator from Baltimore, this is an issue I know all too well. Our children and our citizens are being poisoned by the paint on their walls.”
Key Points & Highlights
This bill provides funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. These agencies manage many of the programs that build and maintain our nation’s transportation network and support the housing and economic development of our communities. For DOT, the bill provides critical federal highway and transit grants that help commuters get to work safely and efficiently; rail and freight safety investments that protect communities and allow businesses to get their products to market on time; and aviation and passenger rail funding to connect families across the country. For HUD, the bill funds necessary rental housing assistance programs, initiatives to address lead-based paint hazards and additional resources targeted to address youth experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the bill sustains investments in the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which gives local governments the resources they need to develop communities, support businesses, create jobs and ensure the availability of decent, affordable housing.
- Lead-Based Paint Hazards: The bill includes a comprehensive series of initiatives to address lead-based paint hazards in our nation’s low-income housing stock. These include reforms to current policies, quality controls for physical inspections, expansion of HUD’s oversight and enforcement capacity, and additional funding for Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and low-income homeowners to address lead-based paint hazards. Specifically, the bill and report includes the following:
- Requires HUD to amend and align its blood lead level standard for children under the age of six with the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Provides $25 million to PHAs to address lead-based paint hazards in Public Housing units. This funding will allow PHAs to conduct abatements, interim controls, and risk assessments in units where children six years of age or younger reside.
- Increases HUD’s oversight and quality assurance of physical inspections in public and multifamily housing to ensure that PHAs and homeowners are complying with documentation and inspection requirements for lead-based paint hazards in those units.
- $135 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants, $25 million more than both fiscal year 2016 and the President’s budget request. This increased funding level will provide lead-based paint hazard reductions in over 1,750 additional units, providing safer homes for over 6,200 additional low and very-low income families.
- Doubles the staffing resources for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ Enforcement Division to increase enforcement of HUD’s lead-based paint regulations in Section 8 and Section 9 properties. This funding will also be used to increase the training of staff in the Offices of Public and Indian Housing and Housing.
- Allows for “zero bedroom dwellings,” which include studios and efficiency apartments, to be treated the same as all other housing units, making them eligible for grants to address lead-based paint hazards. This ensures that children living in assisted units are afforded the same protections as those children living in other types of assisted units.
- Directs GAO to review HUD’s policies, procedures and processes for oversight and enforcement to ensure that PHAs comply with lead-based paint regulations. This study will analyze existing federal programs, determine whether gaps exist in compliance and enforcement of HUD’s lead-based paint regulations, and provide recommendations.
- Requires HUD to issue clarifying guidance to PHAs on current and prospective lead-related regulations as well as provide training, conduct webcasts and disseminate best practices on making and keeping units lead safe.
- Encourages PHAs to improve tenant awareness and education, and train their maintenance and property management staff on safe inspection and abatement practices.
- Transit and Highway Grants: The bill’s funding levels are consistent with the increases included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) of 2015. These new funding levels include $43.2 billion for the Federal-Aid Highway program, which is $905 million more than fiscal year 2016. The new funding levels also include $9.3 billion for the transit formula grants, which is $753 million more than the previously authorized level. These programs provide grants to state and local governments for local investments in roads, bridges and public transit systems.
- Capital Investment Grants: The bill funds the transit Capital Investment Grant program, which includes New Starts, at $2.3 billion, $161 million more than the level enacted for fiscal year 2016. Transit ridership is growing, and Capital Investment Grants provide new and improved services through a rigorous discretionary review process.
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): The bill would provide $150 million in WMATA capital funding, equal to fiscal year 2016 and the President’s budget request. It also requires the Secretary of Transportation to ensure WMATA is making progress on financial and safety corrective actions.
- Amtrak: The bill would fund Amtrak at $1.42 billion, $30 million more than the fiscal year 2016 level. The funding provided for Amtrak will help sustain a rail system that serves over 31 million passengers in over 500 communities throughout 46 states.
- It also funds newly authorized FAST Act grant programs for rail safety and state of good repair across the country:
- $50 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants. These funds will support implementation of positive train control and other safety technology systems, as well as highway-rail grade crossing separation projects.
- $20 million for Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grants, upgrading aging infrastructure is a key concern on Amtrak’s network.
- $15 million for Rail Restoration and Enhancement Grants to connect more communities to better service on the national rail network.
- Rail Safety: The funding level for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety and operations continues to support the 32 positions added in fiscal year 2016 and fully funds the Automated Track Inspection Program to prevent derailments. The bill sustains investments into tank car research and other ongoing crude-by-rail safety initiatives. It also provides $199 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation funding for commuter railroads and state-supported Amtrak routes – a crucial safety improvement for passenger rail throughout the country. The bill provides the Secretary of Transportation with the tools to continue an array of prevention, mitigation and response safety activities for the shipment of energy products. The Secretary is also required to finalize a rule on comprehensive oil spill response plans by December 2016.
- Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER): The bill provides $525 million in funding for the TIGER program. This funding level is $25 million more than the level provided in fiscal year 2016. The TIGER program distributes grants on a competitive basis to state and local governments for investments in roads, bridges, public transit, ports and passenger and freight railroads. The TIGER program has successfully funded innovative projects that leverage federal dollars with local resources for transformative transportation projects across the country.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The bill funds the FAA at $16.4 billion, $512 million more than fiscal year 2016. The bill fully funds the President’s budget request for the FAA’s air traffic control, contract towers, aviation safety oversight, facilities and equipment, and more than $1 billion NextGen modernization efforts.
- Public Housing: The bill provides $6.6 billion in resources to support the operation and capital management of the nation’s public housing stock. The Public Housing Capital Fund is funded at $1.925 billion, $25 million more than fiscal year 2016. This increase will allow PHAs to address lead-based paint hazards in Public Housing units, including the performance of abatements, interim controls, and risk assessments in units where children six years of age and younger reside.
The bill also provides $4.7 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, $175 million more than fiscal year 2016, to allow HUD to continue housing subsidies for the 2.6 million public housing residents served in 2016. This funding level allows Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to address a majority of the estimated capital needs for 2017 in the nation’s more than 1.1 million public housing households. This investment helps ensure that public housing residents have a decent, safe and sanitary place to live.
- Physical Conditions in HUD-Assisted Housing: Reports of living conditions impacting the health of residents, including mold and lead, has highlighted the need for improved physical inspections standards, oversight of inspections and sanctions on landlords who allow health hazards to go unaddressed. The bill includes a number of directives to address physical conditions of HUD-assisted housing across the country, to ensure residents are living in decent, safe and sanitary homes. The bill requires HUD to notify owners of all health-related findings within 30 days of a physical inspection and identify and address all outstanding deficiencies within 60 days as well as expands the enforcement actions HUD can take against property owners. This bill also requires HUD to engage its stakeholders, including tenants, to identify ways the Department can improve its inspection protocols and oversight.
- Choice Neighborhoods: The bill provides $80 million to support more than seven neighborhood revitalization grants to allow communities to take on transformation initiatives that redevelop severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing and leverage private investment. This program builds on the successes of HOPE VI, which facilitates partnerships among local agencies, organizations and businesses to address local issues that span housing, including crime, access to jobs and good schools.
- CDBG: CDBG helps communities develop projects that meet unique housing, infrastructure and economic development needs and support job creation. The bill provides $3 billion for CDBG, equal to fiscal year 2016 and $200 million more than the President’s budget request. CDBG provides grants to states and local governments to support housing and economic development projects in urban and rural communities across the country. The grants can be used to address a variety of needs from revitalizing distressed areas to supporting small businesses, removing blight or assisting seniors with home repairs.
- HOME: The bill sustains funding for the HOME program, providing $950 million to support the production of approximately 34,000 affordable housing units and rental assistance for nearly 8,000 families in fiscal year 2017. The HOME program helps states and local governments increase housing affordability through the building, buying or rehabilitating of affordable housing that is made available for rent or homeownership.
- Youth Homelessness: The bill provides $40 million in federal resources to address youth homelessness, building on new investments funded for the first time in fiscal year 2016. This funding will allow Continuum of Care grantees to develop and evaluate new housing and supportive services interventions for youth experiencing homelessness. The bill also continues the authority to allow HUD to participate in the existing Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) with the Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Justice, to develop innovative, cost-effective and outcome-based strategies aimed at disconnected youth.
- Information Technology (IT): The bill includes $273 million for HUD's IT systems, an increase of $23 million above the fiscal year 2016 level. Of this amount, $250 million is required to simply maintain and operate existing systems. An additional $23 million is provided to modernize and consolidate outdated IT systems, improve cybersecurity and reduce customer burden through improved IT efficiencies.
The largest increase, of $13 million, will allow the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to address its outdated and unautomated IT systems, to effectively respond to changes in the market. FHA has insured and managed more than 34 million mortgages since its inception, and is the largest mortgage insurer in the world. This funding will ensure FHA is able to retire some of its current IT systems to effectively adapt to changes in the housing industry, economic trends, and post-housing-crisis legislation.
Mara Stark-Alcalá w/Appropriations: (202) 224-2667
Chip Unruh w/ Reed Press Office: (202) 224-3326
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