Joe Oyler, Managing Director, Public Policy
On Tuesday, March 15, President Joe Biden signed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that will fund government agencies through the end of Fiscal Year 2022. The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022” also includes $9 billion in congressionally directed spending for specific states, localities, and congressional districts. Members of Congress were allowed to request this money, also known as “community project funding,” only for state or local governmental grantees and eligible nonprofits.
The Dallas Region will receive nearly $46 million in community project funding for 24 separate projects.
Four members of the North Texas Congressional Delegation participated in the new appropriations process: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving). The DRC worked with lawmakers on project selection over the past year, serving on Rep. Allred’s Community Project Funding Committee, and also submitted letters to congressional offices in support of numerous projects that ultimately received funding.
Approved funding will go to several DRC members.
DFW International Airport was the biggest winner, receiving $20 million in total for four separate projects with bipartisan support:
- $5 million for a new snow and ice removal equipment storage facility
- $5 million for the replacement and conversion of four deficient flyover bridges
- $5 million for the consolidation of aircraft rescue and firefighting stations
- $5 million for the construction of a Brute Force Electric Central Utility Plant to improve heating and cooling capabilities
Local higher education institutions will also receive large amounts of funding. Southern Methodist University will receive $1.187 million to bolster research on human trafficking in Texas, as well as $900,000 to create a program to help Dallas ISD students make up for learning loss through virtual reality and game-based learning. Additionally, the University of Texas at Dallas will receive $400,000 for a study identifying which college students in Texas have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as $850,000 to deliver brain health resources to underserved communities via a mobile app.
And further on the health care and higher education front, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center will receive $1.8 million to establish a research-intensive school dedicated to finding solutions to public health challenges that can be leveraged by policymakers during chronic and emerging public health crises.
Children’s Health System of Texas (CHST) was also allocated funding: $900,000 to improve patient services and expand mental health services for emergency room patients. CHST will also receive $850,000 to create a Pediatric Mental Health Innovation Center serving North Texas children.
And finally, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) was allocated $833,000 to fund a smart bus technology initiative that will outfit buses at the Burnell-Singleton Transit Center and Cockrell Hill Transit Center with digital signage, security video cameras, and potentially solar panels as well.
Several other projects were also selected for funding throughout the Dallas Region, spanning various industries: infrastructure, health care, housing, and urban development. For more information about these projects, please visit the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s website or contact the DRC’s Public Policy team. The DRC is grateful for our lawmakers’ advocacy on behalf of our region and looks forward to the benefits this funding will bring at an important time for our economy, schools, and health care institutions.