Trump’s Budget Cuts for Public Transit Affects Accessibility of Millions
cuts will put 53 new-start projects at risk
Transit leaders reject funding cuts, urge Congress to increase investments in public transit
By The American Public Transportation Association - - Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Public transit leaders from across the country are speaking out and strongly opposing President Trump’s deep cuts to public transit in the administration’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget. If fully implemented, these cuts would put at risk 800,000 jobs, including 502,000 construction and related jobs, and an additional 300,000 longer-term jobs associated with economic productivity, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
“The proposed budget cuts to public transit will affect accessibility for millions of Americans across the nation who rely on our bus and rail systems to get to and from jobs, health care and education,” said APTA Chair and Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. “Without this funding, projects that rely on Capital Investment Grants will not be implemented and communities will suffer.”
Overall, these proposed cuts would result in a possible loss of $90 billion in economic output, according to “Economic Implications From Proposed Public Transportation Capital Funding Cuts,” an analysis prepared by the Economic Development Research Group for APTA.
The administration offered cuts to crucial programs that fund public transit infrastructure to pay for their proposed infrastructure plan.
“Cutting investments in America’s public transit infrastructure to fund an infrastructure initiative is like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “However, we are encouraged that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support increased investments in public transit that will boost our economy and the quality of life in our local communities. We are calling on Congress to reject these budget cuts.”
The administration proposes cuts to the Capital Investment Grants (CIG), Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program (TIGER), Amtrak and the local D.C. Metro’s budget in its fiscal year 2019 proposed budget. The cuts to the CIG program will put 53 public transit new-start projects at risk. The projects total $51.7 billion in investments in America’s public transit infrastructure.
These projects also have local and state funds committed with the expectation that the federal government will fulfill its financial obligations promised in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which received overwhelming bipartisan approval.
Public transit leaders are speaking out about the community and economic impacts of these proposed cuts to their local public transit projects:
— “Federal funding is critical to the safety and reliability of our transit system, which supports a million trips each weekday here in the nation’s capital. At a time when many of our nation’s transit systems are falling dangerously behind on maintenance due to funding challenges, we need more investment, not less” — Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, Washington, D.C.
— “In Allegheny County, the Capital Investment Grant would be used to make more efficient connections to downtown Pittsburgh and neighborhoods that are home to several major hospitals and universities, allowing ‘America’s Most Livable City’ to continue its evolution into a major technology center for our region. Projects like this are only possible when we leverage federal funding with local dollars, and we greatly appreciate and cherish that support. Ultimately, we will only be successful when we work with all of our partners.” — Katharine Eagan Kelleman, CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
— “Our first rapid transit line, the Red Line, was awarded a Small Starts grant and will connect nearly 150,000 jobs and 50,000 residents in Indianapolis. Without the catalyst of CIG federal funding in partnership with dedicated local funds, these life-changing projects will not continue to be possible.” — Mike Terry, President and CEO, IndyGo, Indianapolis, Indiana.
— “The CIG program is critical to communities like Albany, where we were able to build and operate the first BRT line in Upstate New York. This was thanks to the Small Starts program. Without continued support for this program, we are facing the harsh reality of not being able to meet customer demand and provide additional innovative services, which are a necessity for transportation systems across the country to help expand public transportation options, increase connectivity, reduce congestion and boost economic growth.” — Carm Basile, CEO, Capital District Transportation Authority, Albany, New York.
The American Public Transportation Association represents public and private sector organizations engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services and high-speed rail. For more information, please visit apta.com/InvestNow. Follow us @APTA_Transit.