President Obama Releases an Outline of His Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Proposal.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In the President's introductory remarks for his presentation of the $3.55 trillion budget proposal, he cites ASCE's 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure as the reason the nation needs to invest in infrastructure for our continued health, welfare, and economic viability.

The President's complete budget proposal will be released at the end of April. Below is a summary of the infrastructure provisions included in the overview released this week.  Read the Full Budget

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): In a major change from previous budgets, the Obama administration proposed a budget of $10.5 billion for the EPA in fiscal year 2010. This is a 35 percent increase over the $7.8 billion appropriated for the agency in FY 2009.

The bulk of the increase would go for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, with the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act State revolving Loan Fund (SRF) programs together receiving $3.9 billion total. The two programs are slated to receive $1.5 billion in the FY 2009 appropriations bill cleared by the House this week. See the related story below.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: President Obama's budget dedicates $5.1 billion in FY 2010 for civil works infrastructure programs. This is down from the $6.5 billion for FY 2009. The Corps also received $4.6 billion in emergency spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

U.S. Department of Transportation: The President's budget includes $72.5 billion for the entire department - a $2 billion increase from FY 2009. Of that total, the budget proposes another $1 billion for the next 5 years, in addition to the $8 billion in the stimulus package, for high speed rail.

New provisions in the budget proposal to remove the firewall around highway and transit funding drew heavy criticism from some on Capitol Hill. Intended to improve transparency, removing the firewall means transportation would be treated as discretionary spending under Obama's proposal. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) opposes this plan since it would fund multi-year projects on a year by year basis.

National Science Foundation (NSF): The Administration proposes $7 billion for NSF, a 16% increase over FY 2008, as part of the President's Plan for Science and Innovation. According to the White House press release, the increase provides for support for graduate research fellowships and for early-career researchers; support for the education of technicians in the high-technology fields that drive the nation's economy; more novel high-risk, high-reward research proposals; and support for critical research priorities in global climate change.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): The president's FY 2010 budget requests an appropriation of $638 million for NIST. The request includes increases of $71 million for research initiatives at NIST Laboratories and National Research Facilities, and $62 million for Construction and Major Renovations as part of for President Bush's 10-year American Competitiveness Initiative.

ASCE supports the inclusion of $3.3 million for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and $4 million for research to build disaster resistant communities.

Also included in the request is $4 million to transition the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership consulting centers to a self supporting basis as intended in the program's original authorization, and does not include new funding for the Technology Innovation Program (successor to the Advanced Technology Program).

Department of Education: The exact funding request for the K-12 science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) program was not available at press time.

Department of Energy: While the Department of Energy had not released details of the FY 2010 budget, the White House press release noted that overall the Department requests for $26.3 billion, up from $24.1 billion in FY 2008. The White House release notes the request provides for increases in scientific research on new energy sources and energy efficiency.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): The Department of Interior has not released details of the FY 2010 request.