Trump Moves to Immediately Gut Transit Expansion and TIGER Funding

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

The budget outline that Donald Trump rolled out earlier this month would be a disaster for transit and cities. And the situation is even worse than we thought.

At risk, starting in fiscal year 2018, are $2.3 billion annually for transit expansion projects –jeopardizing plans in cities including Indianapolis, Seattle, and Atlanta that recently voted to tax themselves to fund transit — as well as $500 million a year in TIGER funds — which has funded dozens of multi-modal projects, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and Chicago’s Divvy bike share.

Now we’re learning that the threat is even more immediate, reports Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America. Get ready to call your members of Congress:

This week, it’s become clear that the 2018 fiscal year (which begins this October) isn’t soon enough for the administration — they are now asking Congress to make most of the same cuts and changes in (the rest of) this year’s budget for 2017.

That’s what the Office of Management and Budget is requesting for the federal transit capital construction program, according to Jeff Davis’ Eno Transportation Weekly. That’s paired with a request to cut funding for transit construction by about $400 million for the rest of this fiscal year. Unlike the President’s recent proposal for the next fiscal year (2018), these cuts are proposed for the budget that Congress is negotiating now to keep the government operating through October.

You can help save these vital programs.

We’re looking for national, state and local organizations to demonstrate their support for fully funded TIGER and transit Capital Investment Programs. Sign onto T4America’s nationwide support letter by Friday, March 31st. 

Budget background: The government is operating under a continuing budget resolution (CR) because Congress failed to pass individual spending bills in late 2016 for this fiscal year. They instead passed a single bill to keep the government functioning at 2016 funding levels for most programs. Congress must produce budgetary legislation of some kind before the current CR expires on April 28, or run the risk of once again shutting down the government.

More recommended reading today: The Urbanist reports that Seattle transit advocates are fighting attacks on the region’s voter-approved $53 billion transit expansion plan. And the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia says planning is underway for an 11-acre park capping a section of I-95 in Philadelphia, creating better connections to the Delaware River.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That’s the new, post-Trump Republican Party. Free market and local choices are out the window. Our tribe vs. their tribe is the new rule, now that “our tribe” isn’t doing so good in the free market.

    http://www.globest.com/sites/paulbubny/2017/03/30/where-transit-goes-office-tenants-follow/

    “There has been a seismic shift in workforce preferences to urban areas,” Homa tells GlobeSt.com. “You’re seeing it in the disproportionate Millennial population growth in these urban areas and, at the same time, a steady decline in the share of the population with driver’s licenses, vehicle miles traveled per capita and other metrics that would support the traditional suburban office park.”

    “For that reason, Homa says, the past several years have seen a number of notable companies moving their offices to comparatively transit-accessible downtown locations. He cites GE, Marriott, Kraft Heinz, UBS and United Continental as examples: “blue-chip names that have recognized the changing dynamics, especially as they relate to recruiting young talent that no longer characterizes public transit as ‘nice to have’ but rather as a critical box to check.”

    “More urban markets will be served by mass transit in the future, says Homa. JLL’s report cites the example of Denver, which in 2004 enacted the FasTracks program to build what eventually will be 122 miles of rail lines along with complementary bus service. “These lines will ease flow into the Downtown core and fringe, where urban infill continues at a brisk pace near Union Station, the traditional CBD, LoDo and RiNo,” the report states.”

    “And in South Florida, “geographic constraints, population growth and inbound capital flows are pushing the existing transportation network to a breaking point,” according to JLL’s report. Into this quandary comes the Florida East Coast Railway via investment in Brightline, a higher-speed regional rail service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and potentially extending northwest to Orlando.”

    Etc.

    It was federal government intervention that build the suburbs and killed of the cities to start with. A few cities survived, and they’re the ones that are desirable that no one can afford to live there anymore.

    You want to cut TIGER and transit? Fine. Eliminate road spending. Get rid of the mortgage interest deduction, and the “unofficial” federal backing for Fannie and Freddie. Etc.

  • nanter

    Geeze this guy sucks at everything.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, he did manage to get himself elected President with most of the leadership of both political parties, business, most other interest groups, and the media against him, all while spending very little money on the campaign.

    Not enough attention has been paid to what that means, and how that happened. It’s not about him. It’s about the rest of us.

  • Brian Howald

    Not that he’s incompetent, but that he poisons all that he touches.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As I wrote several years ago, he is THE Man of his generation.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/donald-trump-the-man-of-his-generation/

    You thought it was Jerry Garcia or something? Bill Gates? Look at the evidence.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I think you are nuts, but that was one of your better pieces.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The nightmare is that he read it and decided “I’ll show him.” And here we are.

    Trump benefitted from ignorance. Of things that everyone knows that happen not to be true.

    He could tell things were going to hell because casinos are the last stop on the economic misery tour and he used to run them. His customers went broke, and so did his casinos. And now life expectancy is falling…

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/23/521083335/the-forces-driving-middle-aged-white-peoples-deaths-of-despair

    Votes for Donald Trump are a measure of the social distress Donald Trump’s generation has left to those coming after. The non-distressed failed to notice it.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    But weren’t most of Trump’s voters actually those of his own generation?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Many of them, yes. They don’t want to face up to where we have ended up. They want simple explanations that point to others. They want rationalizations. After the Great Recession exposed just how bad off those coming after, and even many of the boomers themselves, now have it.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/americas-debts-sorry-but-things-are-not-fine-and-the-foreigners-and-minorities-are-not-to-blame/

  • Mike Bryant

    Trump has grown up as a spoiled millionaire/billionaire and has never, ever had to use mass transit. Therefore he sees no benefit in it. I’ll bet he has never been on a bicycle either! Why bicycle when you can have the chauffeur take you anywhere you need to go? He will dismantle everything that people like all of us here have worked so hard to put together.

  • Josh Berrios

    SMH I figured that Trump, a New Yorker, would understand the importance of Public Transportation. But nope, he’s taking it away from a lot of people.

  • Derek Hofmann

    Other than transit systems that cross state lines, which ones should the federal government fund?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Why should the federal government fund roads? Perhaps it needed to coordinate them so one state’s road ended at the same spot the next state’s road began, but they are there now.

    The private sector built transit system and cities. The government then intervened to create suburbs with zoning rules, mortgage subsidies, tax on existing cities to pay for new roads and water and sewer systems, etc.

    It was only when Reagan cut back on some that stuff and allowed state flexibility for how the remaining infrastructure funding was dispersed that some of the cities, those that the government had not completely killed off, began to recover.

    Thanks to that prior killing off the demand for living and operating business in the remaining economically viable cities exceeds the supply. There is a surplus of suburbs. And now, some “free market” Republicans want to interfere in the market even more heavily to FORCE people to buy suburban houses and relocate businesses to empty suburban office buildings.

  • ohnonononono

    There’s no evidence that Trump has ever been a transit supporter. Maybe he rode the bus as a kid, much like Cuomo, but he’s been driving everywhere since then. He had convertable as an undergrad at Penn, which is an urban campus in a city where most students don’t keep cars at all. Nothing about being a New Yorker makes people understand or like transit. There are tons of transit haters in and around New York.

  • imsoupercereal

  • John Love

    I used to be shocked when I’d hear stories of people hiring a $50 cab when a $2.75 subway ride will do the same thing, maybe faster. But, that’s their preference, their cash.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Read the GlobeSt.com article linked below. This is the market trend the Republican Congress wants to stop by cutting off transit and continuing to fund roads for suburban expansion. They are not saying spend less on everything to have small government and let the market decide. Not at all.

    The market is trying to re-create cities. Meanwhile, the suburbs are losing their tax bases.

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