House passes transportation, HUD funding bill
The bill would earmark billions of dollars in funding for both departments’ sub-agencies. For DOT, that includes the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and the Maritime Administration.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, sponsored the bill and said the provisions go a long way to further congressional infrastructure priorities.
"Many roads, bridges and tunnels across America are in dire need of restoration, and the legislation provides $40.3 billion toward their repair and renovation,” Diaz-Balart said.
Another $15.9 billion went to the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure full funding of air traffic control and its personnel. More than $3 billion would be invested in upgrading railroads with better safety measures.
The appropriations bill’s wording also allowed the trucking industry to use longer 33-foot twin trailers on the nation’s highways, a move applauded by industry advocates.
The funding bill also made a political statement with provisions that limit U.S. cooperation with Cuba, despite the Obama administration’s goal of repairing relations between the two countries.
Diaz-Balart said rules prohibiting new flights to Cuba and denying licenses to Cuban marine vessels "further core American values and safeguard the property rights of Americans.”