Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., will chair a hearing on the TSA budget for FY 2016 Tuesday. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
Congress is another week closer to the May deadline for re-authorizing highway and mass transit spending.
What that means: if lawmakers don’t pass an authorization bill before May ends, then the Highway Trust Fund would be paying out money to the states at a much slower pace than normal, which would hinder or halt projects during the spring and summer construction season.
This week most of the Obama administration’s transportation officials will be testifying on Capitol Hill at appropriations hearings.
Tuesday the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security hears from Melvin Carraway, acting administrator of the Transportation Security Administration about the Obama administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 TSA budget request and issues such as the effectiveness of the TSA’s Pre-Check program for trusted travelers.
The chairwoman of the panel is Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R- N.H., who is up for re-election in 2016.
Meanwhile the Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta will testify to the House appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
Also Tuesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee gets the state and local perspective from North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, and Wyoming Department of Transportation director John Cox.
On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx testifies before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.
Finally on Thursday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation hears from Gregory Nadeau, acting head of the Federal Highway Administration, Therese McMillan, acting head of the Federal Transit Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind, and Maritime Administration chief Paul Jaenichen.
The administration witnesses are sure to make the case for budget certainty and for a long-term infrastructure funding solution. The latter is looking less and less likely in 2015.