Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban [January 4, 2017]   [open pdf - 656KB]

"In the 112th Congress, which convened in January 2011, the House and Senate began observing an earmark ban. Earmarks--formally known as congressionally directed spending--directed a significant amount of federal transportation spending prior to the ban. This report discusses how federal highway, transit, rail, and aviation funding were distributed before and after the earmark ban, and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution with a ban in place. Currently, about 92% of federal highway funds and more than 75% of transit funds are distributed by statutory formulas. The use of formula highway funds is under the control of the states. The bulk of formula transit funding is under the control of local governments and public transit agencies. Most federal funding for aviation is for operation of the air traffic control system and safety-related programs, and generally has not been earmarked. Most aviation infrastructure spending is distributed according to priorities set forth in national plans, but a small percentage was available for earmarking prior to 2011. [...] Federal funding for maritime purposes is directed by statute and has not been earmarked. Most of the remaining federal transportation funding is distributed under discretionary programs. [...] In practice, however, much of this funding was earmarked by Congress prior to 2011. Banning earmarks has not eliminated the opportunity for Members to influence the allocation of transportation resources. The funding formulas and eligibility rules in authorization bills can be shaped to favor particular states, congressional districts, and projects. [...]"

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41554
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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