Despite a pledge to freeze total non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending in his fiscal 2011 budget request, President Obama proposed to increase the Department of Transportation's budget nearly $2 billion to $79 billion.
It includes $42 billion for highways, $10.8 billion for transit, $50 million in state incentive grants to combat distracted driving, $30 million to fund a proposal to turn oversight of transit rail safety to the federal government, $1.1 billion -- $275 million over the fiscal 2010 enacted level -- to deploy NextGen satellite-based air traffic control technology, $4 billion in seed money to create a national infrastructure investment bank, $1 billion to continue developing a national intercity high-speed rail network, and $527 million to create an Office of Livable Communities to promote state and local project planning and development and expand low-income riders' access to mass transit options.
Just as importantly, it does not include policy assumptions for reauthorization of the surface transportation law (although it would devote $200 million of the highway funds to a Livable Communities competitive grant program that would be administered by the Office of Livable Communities). Nor does it renew the administration's proposal to fund FAA operations with aviation user fees, which ran into a bipartisan buzz saw on Capitol Hill last year.
What do you think of the president's fiscal 2011 budget request for DOT? Is the department getting enough money overall? Which transportation funding priorities do you agree with and which ones would you change?