U.S. DOT outlines 2002 transportation budget

by Canadian Shipper

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta outlined the challenges facing the U.S. transportation system during his address to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, detailing U.S. President Bush’s proposed $59.5 billion fiscal 2002 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $59.5 billion budget represents a six per cent increase over fiscal 2001 when last year’s one-time projects, totalling over $2.8 billion, are subtracted.

“We face enormous transportation challenges, but our biggest challenge is to get everyone working together in a spirit of partnership to solve these problems. As Secretary, I intend to devote the bulk of my energies to working across party lines, reaching across divides, and building consensus to achieve solutions,” said Mineta.

The budget includes over seven billion for safety programs, including a total of $400 million to reduce motor carrier fatalities, full funding for highway and transit guarantees under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), with highway funding increased by six per cent from 2001 and transit up by nearly eight per cent.

The proposed budget also includes an increased investment of $88 million for state and federal enforcement activities and inspection infrastructure to support opening the southern border.

The budget will provide for resources to ease transportation congestion, which is caused by the gap between demand for transportation and the capacity of transportation infrastructure. Total investment in transportation infrastructure would reach almost $43 billion in 2002, up 39 per cent from the average annual investment between 1994 and 2001. A total of $2.9 billion is proposed for aviation capital modernization, including funding for delay reduction initiatives such as better weather systems and improved automation aids. In addition, the budget includes $253 million for Intelligent Transportation Systems, up 32 percent.

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