Trump Proposes Massive Cuts to Transit, Amtrak

Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

The Trump Administration wants to cut funding for new transit projects by 39 percent and slash funding for Amtrak by 23 percent — even as it raises highway spending — the preliminary 2020 budget reveals.

The White House has targeted a program called “Capital Improvement Grants,” which provides a federal match for major new transit projects, like Phoenix’s South Central Light Rail or Indianapolis’s Red Line bus rapid transit. Trump’s 2020 budget would cut the program from $2.5 billion to $1.5 billion.

The administration’s proposed budget sticks to the far-right talking point that transit projects are a local concern, but highway funding is a national priority. As a result, the Trump White House believes that only transit projects with high local funding can be eligible to receive some of the $500 million the Administration would make available that is not already committed.

Amtrak funding would also be slashed under this budget, by about $455 million or 23 percent. The budget calls for eliminating long-distance train service and replacing it with buses, an idea the White House floated, unsuccessfully, in its 2019 budget as well.

In prior years, Congress has ignored President Trump’s requests to slash transit funding, and the White House proposal is merely advisory. Congress has the “power of the purse,” and House lawmakers will soon put together their own budget.

Trump’s budget proposal also includes a 31-percent cut for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington Post reported. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be slashed by 16 percent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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