Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts USDOT funds; TIGER, Amtrak long distance train funding gone

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The Trump Administration released its proposed 2017 budget, which includes reducing funds to the U.S. Department of Transportation and eliminating Amtrak's long distance train funding, as well as popular transportation grants.

 

The budget requests $16.2 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation, a $2.4 billion or 13 percent reduction. The proposal also "terminates federal support for Amtrak long distance train services, which have long been inefficient and incur the vast majority of Amtrak's operating losses." The budget document said by eliminating Amtrak's long distance train funding, the railroad could "focus on better managing its state-supported and Northeast Corridor train services."

Other programs to see elimination under the proposed budget include the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and the Economic Development Administration, which provides formula grants to state from the USDOT.

Another rail-heavy program to take a hit in the budget include the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Program (New Starts). Funds would be allocated to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only. The budget document said, "future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects."

The administration's proposal is the first step of the federal budget process. The Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will add their own reviews and resolutions before a final budget is reached.