Funding for the CDBG and HOME Programs
On Thursday, April 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a $56.5 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations bill. The overall total is $827 million less than FY 2016 enacted levels and $2.9 billion below the president’s budget request. Despite this, $39.2 billion is allocated to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for FY 2017, an increase of almost $891 million above the FY 2016 enacted level. The bill would provide level funding for both the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and for the HOME Investments Partnership (HOME) Program, two key housing and community development programs for counties. The bill is slated to move to the Senate floor for consideration. The House has yet to take any action on its FY 2017 T-HUD appropriations bill.
The bill would provide $3 billion for the CDBG Program. This is level funding with the FY 2016 enacted level and $2 million above the President’s FY 2017 budget request of $2.8 billion. The CDBG program provides block grant funding for community development programs and helps to create jobs in local communities through the expansion and retention of businesses. Counties use the flexibility of CDBG to partner with private and non-profit sectors to address local community and economic development, housing, water infrastructure and human service needs.
The bill would provide $950 million for the HOME Program, which is level funding with the FY 2016 enacted level. This amount is $50 million above the President’s FY 2017 budget request. The HOME Investments Partnership (HOME) is used to expand the supply of decent, safe and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households through public-private partnerships and provides direct annual grants to over 600 state and local participating jurisdictions. Counties can use the flexibility of HOME funds to design policies and programs that address local affordable housing needs.
- NACo Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Policy Brief
- NACo Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Presentation
- NACo HOME Investments Partnership (HOME) Program Policy Brief
Surface Transportation Funding
The bill’s funding levels are consistent with the increases included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) of 2015 – the multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that replaced MAP-21 in December (P.L. 112-141). These new funding levels include $43.2 billion for the Federal-Aid Highway program, which is $905 million more than FY 2016, and $9.3 billion for transit formula grants, which is $753 million more than the previously authorized level. In addition to providing full funding for the programs authorized by the FAST Act, the bill includes $2.3 billion for the discretionary transit Capital Investment Grant program, $161 million more than FY 2016, and $525 million for the TIGER grant program, an increase of $25 million from FY 2016.
These programs provide grants to state and local governments for local investments in roads, bridges and public transit systems. As the owners of 45 percent of the nation’s road miles, 39 percent of the national bridge inventory and nearly a third of the public transportation systems, counties often receive federal highway and transit dollars for local projects.
Airports and Aviation Funding
The Senate’s bill would fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at $16.4 billion, a $512 million increase from fiscal year 2016 that fully funds the President’s budget request for the FAA’s air traffic control, contract towers, aviation safety oversight, facilities and equipment, and NextGen modernization efforts. However, appropriated funds for the FAA in FY 2017 remain in question since the current FAA bill expires July 15, 2016 (ahead of the next fiscal year). If Congress passes an FAA reauthorization bill before the start of FY 2017, appropriations will likely be adjusted.
Counties own or operate nearly a third of the nation’s airports, many of which receive funding from the FAA though programs like the Airport Improvement Program. In addition, many rural counties may benefit from programs like the FAA’s Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes commercial air service to remote communities.