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Senate Approves Transportation Spending Bill

After several weeks of delay over a provision dealing with Mexican trucks, the Senate approved, by voice vote, the FY2002 transportation appropriations bill (S. 1178) on August 1. The House passed its version of the bill (H.R. 2299) on June 26.

Like the House-passed bill, the Senate version would provide a $25 million increase to $125 million for job access and reverse commute grants. The grants are used to aid welfare-to-work recipients living in “urbanized areas with populations greater than 200,000” with transportation costs associated with their jobs. The funding level is the same amount requested by the President.

The Minority Business Resource Center program would be reduced by $1 million to $900,000, the same amount requested by the President and provided by the House. The program provides “assistance in obtaining short-term working capital and bonding for disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses” and “enables qualified businesses to obtain loans at prime interest rates for transportation-related projects.” Additionally, minority business outreach would be level-funded at $3 million, the same amount requested by the President and provided by the House.

Also, like the House-passed bill, the Senate measure would provide $15 million for the Occupant Protection Incentive Grants program, an increase over the $12.97 million appropriated last year. States may qualify for these grants by implementing four out of six programs or laws, as delineated in the committee report, aimed at increasing safety belt use among adults and children.

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