The 2018 fiscal year closed yesterday, wrapping up a year in which USDOT received more than $1.4 billion from Congress to invest in new transit construction and improvement projects across the country. With another infusion of cash for FY 2019 coming (eventually), it’s time for a look at how much USDOT still has on hand from 2018—as well as the unspent funds from FY 2017.
With fiscal 2018 now in the books and 2017 more than a year behind us, USDOT still has nearly $1.8 billion in unspent funds at their disposal from these two years for new transit. They’ve obligated a total of $532 million in 2017-2018 dollars to just eight transit projects, with just $100 million of that from FY 2018.
Perhaps one reason why USDOT has awarded so little of the funding from this year is because they still have almost half of the $925 million that Congress gave them back in May 2017. That fiscal year now closed more than a year ago.
USDOT’s bank account is actually about to get even bigger.
While the 2019 budget is still awaiting final action by Congress, the relevant committees from both chambers have already approved their 2019 budgets for transportation (and housing) programs. And as it stands now, both the House and Senate would infuse the transit capital program with more than $2.5 billion. While about half of that money would be for advancing ongoing multi-year transit projects that USDOT already approved, approximately $1.5 billion would be intended to advance new projects in the pipeline that are expecting to sign agreements with USDOT sometime in 2019 or beyond.
Before the end of the calendar year, without advancing any big-ticket transit projects, USDOT could have more than $3 billion on hand to obligate to transit projects.