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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3244 - Transportation Appropriation Bill, 1986

October 18, 1985


(Sponsor: Hatfield (R), Oregon)

The amounts provided by the bill in excess of the President's request are unacceptable, especially 1n light of the Committee's cuts in FAA and Coast Guard operating expenses and excessive funding for mass transit and other programs. The bill:

  • Exceeds the President's requested budget authority for annually funded discretionary programs by $2,713 million. Taking Into account adjustments to scorekeeping, the bill also exceeds the amount provided by the Congressional budget resolution for these programs by $662 million. Major budget authority Increases relative to the President's request Include $616 million for grants to Amtrak (including a $28 million transfer) and $2,100 million for UMTA formula grants.
  • Continues Federal discretionary support for the construction of new mass transit systems. Federal discretionary assistance for new-start systems should be Immediately discontinued for the following reasons:

— The Federal Government simply cannot afford these expenditures. To fully construct those projects earmarked by the Senate would cost nearly $4 billion. In addition, there is another $10 billion worth of possible projects in early stages of development.

— These projects are primarily local transportation and development projects. Federal expenditures for them are inappropriate and do not address a national need.

— Continued discretionary Federal support, especially with its relatively low local match, quite often promotes over investment in systems of highly questionable design, utility, and cost-effectiveness.

  • Cuts S335 million from requested FAA operating expenses. Because enactment of the cut would cripple vital air traffic safety operations by immediately forcing sharply reduced hours of operation, closure of control towers, furloughs, and layoffs, this cut 1s unacceptable. Restoration of most of these funds is Imperative if Congress does not want to disrupt seriously the air traffic control system. (Because such a cut would necessitate a supplemental, a scorekeeping adjustment reflecting the $300 million cut by the Committee has been made.)
  • The Committee estimates that it cuts $228.5 million from the Coast Guard's requested operating expenses budget and added $55 million through transfers from other programs. The resulting decrease of about $175 million would force tne Coast Guard to reduce immediately and sharply its level of operations, including its critical law enforcement and safety missions such as drug interdiction and search and rescue. Because such a cut would almost certainly necessitate a later supplemental request, it cannot be included in measuring the full impact of the Committee's action.
  • Specifies that the funding provided for Coast Guard is for 38,900 full-time equivalent military personnel. This level could not be maintained with the funding provided.

The Administration hopes that the Senate will make every effort to improve on the Committee-reported version of this bill by eliminating UMTA discretionary grants for new transit systems, reducing Federal transit grant assistance, and restoring critical FAA air traffic safety and Coast Guard law enforcement funding. The President's senior advisors could not recommend that he sign this bill in its present form.

cc: DO Records
DO Chron
Mr. Wright
Mr. Muris
Ms. Crawford
Ms. Selfridge
Ms. Rettman
Mr. Dale
Ms. Austermann
Mr. Upton
Mr. Keiffer
Mr. Frey
Mr. Schwartz
Mr. Martin
Mr. Modlin
Mr. Mathiasen
Mr. Anderson
Mr. Dame
Mr. Strauss
Mr. Vasquez
Ms. Goldman
Mr. Barker
Ms. Ridenour


(L-330 PS-333 TP-334 FS-338 OP-373 BT-337)

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3244 - Transportation Appropriation Bill, 1986 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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