Transportation Appropriations Bill for 2006 Passes Senate
The Senate recently passed the 2006 DOT/Treasury/HUD Appropriations bill, increasing the possibility that a Conference with the House can be concluded and the final Conference Report passed, by Thanksgiving. Motor Carrier Safety programs at both the federal and state level are currently being funded at 2005 levels preceding Reauthorization under a Continuing Resolution that expires on November 18 (see October 4, Legislative Report).
However, even if action on the 2006 Appropriations bill is completed by Thanksgiving, there is no guarantee that the President will sign the bill. It funds highways at levels above those provided for in the Reauthorization bill and does not contain AMTRACK reforms recommended by the White House. In total, there are 8 different provisions in the bill (including the two mentioned above) that are objectionable to the White House.
It is expected that the 2006 House-Senate Conference will resolve funding differences with respect to motor carrier safety in favor of the 2006 levels in the new highway bill. This includes all motor carrier safety programs, including MCSAP and other state motor carrier grant programs that are as follows:
$188 M: MCSAP (includes $29 M for state new entrant programs)
$ 25 M: CDL Improvement Grants
$ 32 M: Border Programs
$ 5 M: PRISM Grants
$ 25 M: CVISN
$ 2 M: Safety Data Improvement Grants
$ 5 M: CDLIS Modernization Grants
Attached for your review are copies of both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Reports accompanying the passage of their respective bills. The report language is a good indication of how Congress assesses the various motor carrier safety programs. Please call if you have any questions about the funding levels or the Report language.