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The preliminary fiscal year 2022 federal budget submitted to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget on April 9 contains few specifics on potential infrastructure funding focal points.

[Above photo by the White House.]

While the Biden administration is expected to release a full budget proposal in May, the initial discretionary budget outline highlights key infrastructure investment goals.

President Biden. Photo via the White House.

For starters, the administration calls for “historic investment” in safety, equity, and climate change mitigation, while seeking to foster “neighborhood-oriented investments” that “transform America’s infrastructure, reconnect communities, and provide opportunities to all Americans.”

The outline also seeks to make passenger rail a “viable and competitive low-carbon transportation option for intercity travel,” as well as expand high quality transit to “help communities’ better link workers to jobs, reduce highway congestion, and shorten commute times.”

To that end, the Biden administration proposes a 35 percent increase for Amtrak, a 23 percent increase in the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant or CIG program for “high quality transit,” plus an additional $625 million for new passenger rail projects.

That includes requested funding to “accelerate” the transition to clean energy alternatives for the nation’s public transit bus fleet.

The discretionary request also includes major new climate change investments — an increase of more than $14 billion compared to 2021 — across nearly every agency. That funding seeks to “restore the critical capacity needed to carry out their core functions” while taking a “whole-of-government approach” to tackling climate change.

“The upcoming appropriations process is another important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of chronic disinvestment in crucial priorities,” Shalanda Young, OMB’s acting director, noted in her April 9 letter to Senate and House of Representatives appropriations leadership.

“This moment of crisis is also a moment of possibility,” she said. “Together, America has a chance not simply to go back to the way things were before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn struck, but to begin building a better, stronger, more secure, more inclusive America.”

editor@aashto.org

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