At the end of July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of fiscal year appropriations bills for 2021 with a 217 to 197 vote. The six bills address urgent national priorities and supply funding for federal agencies, including the departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Treasury Labor, and Transportation. The $1.3 trillion bill package still needs to survive the Senate, but the overall goal is to provide funding for “96% of the government for the fiscal year 2021.”
The portion of the package for the Department of Transportation includes a request for a $107.2 billion budget for 2021. This amount will be broken down and allocated to various sub-departments within the DoT. In this article, we’ll go over what you can expect to see in 2021 if the bill passes through the Senate and how it will affect the trucking industry.
DoT Bill Breakdown
For the 2021 fiscal year, the DoT would be allotted $21.1 billion more than it received in 2020.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it will include:
- $62.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration
- $18.1 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration
- $1.3 billion for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
- $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration
- $18.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration
- $1.2 billion for the Maritime Administration
Aside from the $107.2 billion budget, the Department of Transportation hopes to receive an additional $26 billion “to strengthen and make more resilient our nation’s aging infrastructure” in light of the current economic climate. This amount would include National Infrastructure Investments and a budget for the DOT Office of Inspector General, to name just a couple.
To see the budget highlights in its entirety, click here.
What This Means for the Trucking Industry
The trucking industry is rapidly expanding, and there has been an extensive amount of care when it comes to growing and improving the trade. Earlier this year, the DoT announced its plans to add more upgraded truck stops across the nation. And while this may feel like a minor change, it will ultimately provide comfort and be a convenient perk for truckers conquering longer hauls.
The 2021 budget for the DoT would also be used to expand and rehabilitate the communities that serve the trucking industry. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Chairman David Price said:
“Our nation is facing an infrastructure crisis, with crumbling roads, aging transit and rail systems… Meanwhile, COVID-19 is ravaging communities, revealing and deepening existing disparities… [This bill] continues to build on bipartisan progress in recent fiscal years to increase funding for all modes of transportation—highways, aviation, transit, bike and pedestrian projects, rail, and ports—while improving safety and focusing on resiliency across all programs.”
As mentioned above, a significant plan for improvement is constructing and reconstructing infrastructures. Improving infrastructure in rural areas (where a majority of trucking fatalities occur) can lead to a safer work environment. Bettering foundations in urban areas also has its benefits. It could ultimately lead to less work-based hazards, reduced traffic, and fewer accidents, which leads to greater efficiency and steady economic growth. The increased funding for state and local governments also allows them to improve their local transportation systems and safety; this could boost public relations and enable lower-income communities to rehabilitate their areas. These changes will culminate in growing our nation’s communities and paving the way for more trucking companies to open up, create more jobs, and expand our nation’s economy.
What Can We Anticipate For 2021?
As of right now, the bill isn’t officially passed, and therefore we cannot say for sure what is to come, especially in light of COVID-19. The energy surrounding this bill is hopeful, though. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey said:
“This bill represents a forward-looking vision to rebuild our nation and strengthen our communities. Together, we can modernize our transportation systems, expand access to safe, affordable housing, and support our most vulnerable neighbors… With this bill, we are laying the foundations for sustained economic growth and expanded opportunity for every American in every corner of our nation.”
If the Senate passes the bill, you can anticipate positive actions for not only the trucking industry but the communities that benefit from it as well. Check out our blog to stay up-to-date on the latest developments for this story. If you want to kickstart your trucking career, contact us today to see how we can help you.