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DOT budget proposal reflects funding for transportation security

The Department of Transportation has unveiled its budget that would seek $59.3 billion in funding for the fiscal 2003 budget to help provide for improved security and safety of the United States transportation system. The 2003 budget represents an overall increase of $4.7 billion — or 8% — when adjusted for a reduction in highway spending required by law.

US Transportation Deputy Secretary Michael P Jackson said the fiscal 2003 budget for transportation includes $4.8 billion for the first full year of funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and $7.1 billion for the US Coast Guard, a record increase for that branch.

In 2003, TSA will continue implementing a transportation aviation security program. The TSA budget includes estimated collections of $2.2 billion from passenger and air carrier fees and provides funding for more than 30,000 airport security personnel; funding for explosive detection systems that must be in place to screen all checked baggage by December 31; and funding for an expanded federal air marshal program.

The 2003 budget request includes more than $400 million for increased port security; $90 million to modernize the maritime 911 system; and $500 million for the Coast Guard's Deepwater project to replace its fleet with new equipment.

For fiscal year 2003, declining Highway Trust Fund receipts will bring the first downward adjustment, reducing the federal-aid highway program obligation limitation by $4.4 billion to $23.2 billion and the total Federal Highway Administration budget to $24.1 billion. Even with this reduction, the guaranteed funding mechanism provided in law will have resulted in more than $4.7 billion in additional funding to the states since enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

The 2003 budget proposes $7.7 billion overall for transportation safety funding. Included is $4.6 billion in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) budget for aviation safety, $107 million of which is for new technology to help prevent runway incursion-related accidents, and another $122 million to improve pilot and controller training and make runways more visible.

The $430-million budget request for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) includes $205 million for operations and research.

Provided is $371 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — an increase of 8% — to help reduce the number of traffic accidents involving trucks and buses. Of that amount, $116 million anticipates implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement trucking provisions and will go to improve safety enforcement operations and construct inspection facilities along the southern border. The $116 million includes $61 million for the border enforcement program, $47 million for border infrastructure improvements, and $8 million to improve state safety enforcement operations.

Other 2003 transportation budget highlights include:

  • $700 million in the $14 billion total FAA budget for air traffic control system modernization and $3.4 billion for airport improvement activities.

  • $716 million for the Federal Railroad Administration, including $521 million which serves as a placeholder for intercity passenger rail service and $123 million for safety and operations.

  • $7.2 billion for the Federal Transit Administration.

  • $125 million for the Research and Special Programs Administration, including $24 million to improve the safety of hazardous materials transportation, $14 million to train hazmat responders and improve response plans, and $64.5 million for enhanced federal pipeline safety efforts.

  • $212 million for the Maritime Administration, including $98.7 million for the maritime security program and $11 million to remove four obsolete ships from the reserve fleet.

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