September 19, 2019

Udall Secures Funding for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, Veteran Housing, Technology to Reduce DUIs in Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M) joined the Senate Appropriations Committee in advancing the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) funding bill that makes critical investments in transportation and housing programs to support New Mexico families, rural and Native communities. The bill sets the Fiscal Year 2020 budgets for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and now heads to the full Senate.

“This bill funds key priorities for New Mexico, including making smart investments in technology to reduce DUI accidents and protecting funding for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep fighting to support infrastructure that strengthens the economy and links communities across our state, including rural areas that benefit from federal investment,” said Udall. “I am also proud that this bill supports housing programs for veterans and Native communities across the state to ensure greater access to the stable, affordable housing they deserve.” 

Overall, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) funding bill approves $25.3 billion for the DOT and $48.6 billion in programmatic funding for HUD, rejecting the president’s proposed cuts.

Highlights of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) funding bill include:

Transportation: The bill includes $86.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for FY2020, an increase of $167 million from FY2019.  The funding included is prioritized for programs that improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the transportation system.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – The bill fully funds Essential Air Service, important for rural communities in New Mexico, and includes $3.8 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP)

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – The bill supports FAST Act authorized funding levels for all contract authority programs, including Tribal Transportation for Tribes in New Mexico and across Indian Country

Federal Transit Association (FTA) – The bill includes 1.198 billion for Buses and Bus Facilities Grant a $71 million increase from FY 2019.

National Highway Traffics Safety Administration (HTSA) – The bill includes $5.4 million to continue development of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology and an additional $4 million in general funds to reduce impaired driving – a portion of which must be used for field testing DADDS technology. 

Federal Railroad Administration – The bill includes $2 billion, a $58.4 million increase from FY 2019 for Amtrak. $1.32 billion is for the National Network, a $28.4 million increase from FY2019. The bill also includes report language prohibiting Amtrak from eliminating, reducing service or substantially altering service on the Southwest Chief route.

Housing: The bill includes a net funding level of $48.6 billion, an increase of $2.3 billion from FY2019 for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Native American Housing programs – The bill includes $820 million in total for Native American Housing programs.

- $646 million for the Native American Housing Block Grant program

- $100 million for a competitive needs-based housing grant program

- $65 million for Indian Community Development Block Grants

- $7 million for Training and Technical Assistance

- $6 million for the Title VI Loan program

Tenant Based Rental Assistance – The bill includes $23.83 billion for Tenant Based Rental Assistance, a $1.235 billion increase from FY 2019

- $40 million for HUD/VASH, a program serving homeless or at-risk veterans.

- $1 million for Tribal HUD/VASH, a program serving homeless or at risk Native American veterans.

Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) – The bill includes $54 million, equal to FY19

- Section 4 - $35 million

- Rural Capacity Building - $5 million

- SHOP - $10 million

Homeless Assistance Grants – The bill includes $2.76 billion, a $125 million increase from FY2019

- $80 million for youth homeless demo

- $50 million for rapid rehousing for survivors of domestic violence

- $280 million for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) – $330 million

HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) – The bill includes $1.25 billion to implement local housing strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low and very low-income Americans.