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March 12, 2013
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U.S. House Votes to Implement Spending Cuts for FY 2013

On March 6, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 933, a resolution to fund the federal government through September 2013. The resolution would maintain FY 2012 funding levels for federal programs, minus the spending cuts required under "sequestration," which put $1.2 trillion of automatic, across-the-board cuts into effect on March 1. The federal budget is currently funded through March 27, 2013.

H.R. 933 implements a 5 percent cut for non-defense discretionary spending and a 7.8 percent cut for defense spending as required by sequestration. Most of the federal transportation program is exempt from these cuts. However, H.R. 933 would also implement a separate 0.1 percent cut across all programs to keep the federal budget under discretionary spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act. As a result of this cut and its use of FY 2012 base funding levels, H.R. 933 would result in a lower level of federal transportation spending than that provided under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the transportation reauthorization bill passed last summer. Specifically, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials reports that H.R. 933 would cut about $600 million from the highway program, $125 million from the transit program, and $60 million from highway safety programs. H.R. 933 would also fail to pay for new highway safety programs authorized under MAP-21.

It is too soon to predict sequestration's impact on the regional transportation system. However, MAP-21 originally authorized nearly $1.4 billion in highway formula funds and about $525 million in transit formula funds for Illinois in FY 2013, so even a 0.1 percent cut represents the loss of substantial funding, let alone the larger reductions to other transportation programs not supported by the Highway Trust Fund. Moreover, these cuts would be based on 2012 funding levels, which are already lower than those authorized by MAP-21.

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