Chao Must Answer Questions on Devastating Transportation Cuts
June 15, 2017
As Secretary Chao prepares to testify on Trump’s transportation budget in front of the House Appropriations Committee today, here is a look at some of the many devastating cuts to transportation projects across the country that she will have to defend:
Trump’s budget would cut the Department of Transportation’s discretionary spending by 13 percent.
Washington Post: “The $16.2 billion budget for discretionary transportation spending represents a nearly 13 percent reduction in transportation spending over fiscal 2017. That includes a $928 million cut from transit construction grants, nearly half of what Congress recently appropriated for this fiscal year, and a $630 million reduction in subsidies for long-distance Amtrak routes.”
Trump’s budget would cut subsidies for rural airports in half.
Reuters: “Job training for unemployed coal miners would be threatened and drug treatment programs would face cuts at a time when heroin and prescription pill addictions are tearing at rural America. Subsidies for commercial air travel in rural areas would be cut by more than half.”
Trump’s budget proposes spending just $200 billion on infrastructure over the next decade – far short of the $1 trillion Trump promised on the campaign trail.
Washington Post: “When President Trump took office, some otherwise deeply disappointed Democrats thought they might be able to work with him on one marquee campaign promise: pumping $1 trillion into the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and other long-neglected infrastructure. But any prospects for cooperation on that front seemed to largely evaporate this week, when Trump released a budget proposal that included deep cuts to existing infrastructure programs — angering Democrats and prompting many to question the president’s commitment to an issue he trumpeted as a candidate. Trump’s budget proposes $200 billion in new federal spending on infrastructure over the next decade, an amount his administration argues will be sufficient to spur a promised $1 trillion in new investments once new spending by the private sector and state and local governments are factored in.”
Trump wants to allow states to charge more tolls on interstate highways.
Reuters: “The Trump administration wants to allow states to expand the use of tolling on interstate highways while sharply cutting grants for transit projects and raising airline passenger security fees, according to the White House budget released on Tuesday.”
Trump’s budget would eliminate grants to states and localities to fund public transportation projects.
Washington Post: “Trump’s budget also proposes ending the TIGER grant program, which this fiscal year has $499 million for local transportation projects. Those projects should be funded under existing formula programs because they don’t ‘rise to the level of national or regional significance,’ the plan said.”
Trump’s budget would cut $760 million in federal funding to Amtrak.
New York Daily News: “The budget lops $760 million in federal funding to Amtrak. The Highway Trust Fund — the pot of money that helps pay for the MTA’s long-term repairs — could lose $96 billion.”
Trump wants to cut funding for long-distance Amtrak routes, which would hurt rural communities in 23 states.
Washington Post: “The $16.2 billion budget for discretionary transportation spending represents a nearly 13 percent reduction in transportation spending over fiscal 2017. That includes a $928 million cut from transit construction grants, nearly half of what Congress recently appropriated for this fiscal year, and a $630 million reduction in subsidies for long-distance Amtrak routes. Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, said cuts to Amtrak and transit would hit commuters and rural areas particularly hard.”
Under Trump’s budget, about 50 public transit projects in 23 states could be at risk of losing funding.
Washington Post: “About 50 public transit projects in 23 states are at risk of losing federal support, according to the American Public Transportation Association. While some are in the early planning stages, others have been on the cusp of signing funding agreements. Those include the light-rail Purple Line in Maryland, a streetcar project in Orange County, Calif., a light-rail extension in the Minneapolis suburbs, and a light-rail extension north of Seattle.”