Infrastructure tops Biden’s 2024 Budget

President Joe Biden has submitted his $6.8 trillion budget request for the fiscal year 2024, which includes significant funding increases for important infrastructure programs. However, not all programs will receive an increase in funding. The proposal includes a considerable boost to the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants that fund new transit starts, as well as an increase in construction and maintenance programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Environmental Protection Agency’s water infrastructure program will see its spending rise to $4 billion, with a $1 billion increase. However, within that total, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds will be frozen at their 2023 levels of $1.6 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively.

The Department of Transportation’s budget proposal includes $60.1 billion in federal-aid highway funds distributed to states by formula, up $1.3 billion from 2023. The proposal also includes a $356 million boost to the Federal Transit Administration’s formula funds, amounting to $14 billion, and a rise in the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program’s spending to $2.9 billion from $2.6 billion in 2023. However, when funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are added, the capital grants’ picture becomes brighter. In the FTA’s latest annual report, the grants recommend $4.45 billion for 18 significant projects in 11 states.

The budget includes $1.6 billion in discretionary funds and $1.9 billion in mandatory funds to build and expand infrastructure and healthcare facilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs proposal also contains $5 billion for non-recurring maintenance work on facilities’ infrastructure. The budget proposes trimming discretionary appropriations by $1.2 billion or 14% to $7.4 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, the Corps officials said that they are seeking to use an additional $1 billion in 2024 revenue from non-budget-request sources.

The release of the budget request is a significant step in the annual process of producing spending bills. This year, Republicans have taken the majority in the House, and they seem to be taking aim at nondefense discretionary spending. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger stated that the request spends far too much on unnecessary programs at the expense of national security. However, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor stated that there is strong bipartisan support for the civil works programs and a recognition of the need to maintain strong investments in programs that protect communities.

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