Washington, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, and the 2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, which include key provisions proposed by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) benefitting Florida.
- $21.587 million for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation; This office encourages, facilitates and promotes U.S. commercial space transportation. Commercial space launches will continue to increase, and we want to make sure that Florida continues to be an attractive destination for launches. This funding increase will help provide for the increased demand in license and permit determinations, certifications and other authorizations required.
- $162 million for the Federal Contract Tower Program; Florida is the largest beneficiary of the program with 25 participating airports. Additionally, Florida is home to six Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative Institutions, which is the most of any state in the country. This program is critical to the National Airspace System within our state, and this funding will provide certainty to local communities and protect Floridian airports from disproportionate cuts or service elimination.
- $2.133 billion for Capital Investment Grants (“New Starts”), which fully funds all current “Full Funding Grant Agreement” (FFGA) transit projects. This is FTA’s primary grant program for funding major transit capital investments, and Florida has a number of these projects across the state. This funding will help ensure that Floridians will have new and expanded transit service in the future.
- $550 million, $50 million above the FY17 enacted level for TIGER grants (also known as National Infrastructure Investments); Additionally, this bill includes report language SMR requested that demands more transparency in the DOT selection process. Despite having many competitive proposals, Florida has received few TIGER grant awards. This language will ensure that DOT provides an equitable geographic distribution of funds, and notifies Congress of the criteria used in selecting projects for awards.
Housing and Urban Development:
- Kicking slumlords out of publicly-assisted housing:
- Puts tenants first. For each month in violation of quality standards, slumlords would be forced to rebate their residents 25 percent of their rental costs.
- Creates a new penalty for slumlords receiving housing subsidies that fail to maintain decent, safe and sanitary conditions at their properties. The funds raised by the penalty must be used to make property repairs.
- Makes relocation assistance available to tenants at properties with imminent health and safety risks.
- Grants the Secretary of HUD direct authority to immediately replace bad management, impose penalties and sanctions, and abate or transfer contracts of slumlords.
- Specifically, the bill includes a $12.5 million increase for the Senate Sergeant at Arms cybersecurity and an additional $4 million for cybersecurity in Senator’s personal offices. As the Senate network becomes an increasing target for cyber-attacks, it becomes critical to adequately invest in capabilities to protect against these threats. A working group has been established to identify and recommend options to provide enhanced cybersecurity for Senators’ personal devices and accounts given increased cybersecurity threats.
Opioid Abuse Epidemic:
- Opioid Abuse Epidemic Report: Recognizes the importance of the Caucus’s ongoing oversight of both international and domestic counter narcotics efforts, specifically in regards to trafficking supply chain routes commonly used by transnational and domestic criminal organizations to produce, manufacture, and transport narcotics, including, but not limited to, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and cocaine.