Overall federal transportation spending would rise by 1.5 percent to $61.93 billion in the coming fiscal year under the White House budget proposal submitted
to Congress. However, while total proposed spending is going up, discretionary spending, or the amount of money Congress can adjust from year-to-year, was cut by $2.1 billion to $16.8 billion in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
To achieve that savings and spare major aviation, road and mass transit programs from cuts, the Transportation Department would not spend as much money in fiscal 2002 as it plans to spend this year on one-time grants for big projects. The department would also seek further savings through reductions in administrative and other expenses.
In addition, proposed funding for the Maritime Administration is $161 million less than what Congress approved for fiscal 2001 because a maritime security program is being transferred to the Defense Department.
Virtually all of the Transportation Department's major agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, would get more money in fiscal 2002 under the Bush administration plan.
One exception is the Federal Highway Administration which, at a proposed $35.3 billion, would receive $1 billion less than what Congress enacted in fiscal 2001. Proposed funding for aviation is $12.9 billion, which is $98 million more than what Congress enacted for fiscal 2001.
The Bush administration proposed $6.74 billion in transit funding, a $476 million increase.
The budget also would provide $5.1 billion for the Coast Guard, which is $545 million above current levels. The administration's priority is to rebuild the service's aging fleet of ships and aircraft.
The administration also proposed $759 million for Coast Guard anti-drug operations, a 19 percent increase. - (Reuters)