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SafetyAlerts
February 5,  2002

Fiscal 2003 Budget Reflects Funding for Transportation Security; Transportation Department Requests $59.3 Billion, Continues Safety as Top Priority

 

 (SafetyAlerts) - The Department of Transportation today 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 country's transportation system. The 2003 budget represents an overall increase of $4.7 billion or 8 percent when adjusted for a reduction in highway spending required by law.

"President Bush's budget proposal for transportation will enable our Department to meet the President's three preeminent goals for America: winning the war at home and abroad, protecting our homeland and reviving the economy. It will enable us to continue our important work with our partners in state and local governments and the private sector to ensure that the public continues to enjoy the transportation service that meets its needs," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we must provide for enhanced security as well as the safety of all who use the country's transportation system."

In a briefing for reporters, U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson said that 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 U.S. Coast Guard, representing the largest increase in the nation's history for the Coast Guard.

In 2003, TSA will continue implementing an aggressive, comprehensive transportation aviation security program. The $4.8 billion TSA budget includes estimated collections of $2.2 billion from passenger and air carrier fees authorized by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act and provides funding for more than 30,000 airport security personnel, including screeners, law enforcement personnel and screener supervisors; funding for explosive detection systems that must be in place to screen all checked baggage by Dec. 31; and funding for a greatly expanded federal air marshal program.

The 2003 transportation budget also reflects the Coast Guard's key role in safety and security. The request includes more than $400 million for increased port security; $90 million to modernize the maritime "911" system to eliminate radio coverage gaps along the coast and improve the Coast Guard's ability to find those in distress; and $500 million for the Coast Guard's Deepwater project, the long term process of replacing its aging fleet of boats, planes, helicopters, and cutters with state-of-the-art equipment.

For the last three fiscal years, the country has been reaping the benefit of record-level funding for surface transportation, which has been adjusted upward as Highway Trust Fund receipts exceeded expectations. For fiscal year 2003, declining 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 to help them meet critical transportation needs.

The 2003 budget proposes $7.7 billion overall for transportation safety funding, and Deputy Secretary Jackson emphasized that the Department's number one priority continues to be safety. Included is $4.6 billion in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) budget for aviation safety, $107 million of which is for development and use of new technology to help prevent runway incursion-related accidents, and another $122 million to improve pilot and controller training and make runway surface markings more visible.

The $430 million budget request for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) includes $205 million for operations and research. This amount includes funding to support implementation of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act, which will enable NHTSA to aggressively pursue new rulemakings for dynamic rollover tests, improve child safety restraints and resume statutory responsibilities under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program.

Continuing the Department's emphasis on safety, the budget provides $371 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an increase of 8 percent, 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, including $145 million in support of the President's New Freedom Initiative to reduced barriers for persons with disabilities to enter the workforce;

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

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


DOT's 2003 budget also includes requests for $15 million for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, $36 million for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; $60 million for the Office of the Inspector General; and $21 million for the Surface Transportation Board, an independent agency administratively funded within the Department. Additional DOT budget information is on the Internet at http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/budget/4budget.htm
.

Source: PRNewswire.

 
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