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AASHTO Journal

U.S. DOT Administrators Head to the Hill <br>to Advocate President's FY 2013 Budget
U.S. Department of Transportation modal administrators faced members of the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies on Thursday to address President Obama's fiscal year 2013 allocations for their varied U.S. DOT organizations.

Witnesses for the subcommittee hearing were: Michael Huerta, Acting Federal Aviation Administrator; Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator; Peter Rogoff, Federal Transit Administrator; and Joseph Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator.

"The President has called on us to rebuild America – to put people back to work repairing our roads, bridges, transit systems, and airports," the administrators wrote in their joint opening statement. "To achieve this, he has laid out a blueprint for 'an America that's built to last' – a plan that will equip American workers to seize the opportunities of tomorrow and make certain that businesses and families have the safest, fastest, and most efficient ways to connect with these opportunities."

For FAA, the President requested a total of $15.2 billion to support safety and efficiency.

"It allows us to maintain appropriate staffing for air traffic control and aviation safety as well as research and development, and capital investment in both airport infrastructure and FAA facilities and equipment," wrote Huerta.

Mendez also outlined what his organization would do with the $42.6 billion outlined in the President's budget.

"Increased highway funding will allow states to provide necessary transportation infrastructure to expand access to jobs, education, and health care in the short term and lay the foundation for our nation's future economic growth," he said.

The President's FY 2013 budget included a 2.2% (or $228 million) increase to FTA over the FY 2012 level, bringing the total requested to $10.836 billion.

"The budget request will make transit systems more reliable, efficient, desirable, and safe for the tens of millions of travelers who use them every day," Rogoff wrote in his testimony. "Transit is an important part of a balanced transportation system for communities across the country and making investments in public transit helps ensure urban, suburban, and rural communities have a variety of transportation options."

Finally, $2.7 billion has been slated in the President's budget for FRA's rail safety and passenger rail programs, of which $2.5 billion goes to the National High Performance Rail System.

"These funds are for developing high-speed rail infrastructure and passenger stations, equipment procurement, and building institutional capacity as well as for continuing to maintain our existing rail assets and operations," said Szabo in his written testimony.

The Administrators' testimony is available in full at 1.usa.gov/hthudraasadmin.

3/23/2012
Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.