Today, the Trump administration released an outline of its proposed FY18 Budget. Broadly speaking the budget makes significant cuts to a variety of domestic programs while significantly increasing defense spending. Included in the budget, is an outline of proposed cuts to the Department of Transportation. These include:
Eliminates funding for future TIGER grant programs
Reduces funding for Amtrak
Limits funding for the New Starts rail program to only those that have existing full funding grant agreements
Signals that future funding investments in new transit projects would be funded by localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.
In response to the budget, ACT Executive Director, David Straus, stated,
“ACT is concerned by the cuts to the Department of Transportation, outlined in today’s budget blueprint. ACT believes we need a thorough examination of how we spend our federal transportation dollars. However, eliminating funding for highly successful multi-modal transportation programs without offering a clear path to replace the funding and advance multi-modal transportation is troubling. We believe these impacts will have significant impacts on all commuters not just those that use transit and Amtrak. ACT remains willing and able to work with Trump administration to work on comprehensive transportation and infrastructure investments, but we are disappointed with what has been outlined today.”
The budget blueprint document, otherwise known as the “skinny budget”, simply provides highlights of a more detailed budget proposal that will be released in April/May. Most in congress consider many of the proposed cuts dead on arrival. It is important to note that the budget is nothing more than a proposal and does not carry any legal weight until approved by Congress.