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.

  • tom rush

    this outright idiot needs to improve on his understanding of a COUNTRY!
    IMPROVE—
    Medicare
    Medicaide
    Social Security…..
    we can figure how to get around…effing yingyang….

  • tom rush

    these all fit, this supposed potus—-fool
    jerk
    ass
    plank
    charlie
    berk
    prick
    wally
    prat
    plonker
    moron
    geek
    twit
    chump
    imbecile
    cretin
    oaf
    simpleton
    airhead
    dimwit
    dipstick
    dickhead
    gonzo
    schmuck
    dork
    nitwit
    blockhead
    divvy
    pillock
    halfwit
    nincompoop
    dweeb
    putz
    eejit
    thicko
    dumb-ass
    gobshite
    dunderhead
    numpty
    doofus
    lamebrain
    fuckwit
    mooncalf
    nerd or nurd
    numbskull or numskull
    galah

  • madi_x

    I mean, call me crazy, but a high speed rail triangle between Washington, NYC, and Chicago to supplement the existing BosWash Acela service would honestly be a really good thing. It’d cut down a lot on short-hop plane flights.

  • No, those cost overruns were mainly caused the cost of concrete and steel jumping up by triple thanks to the Chinese construction boom, which was partially the fault of both Republicans and some Democrats that supported offshoring so many US factories there.

    Median household income in Metro-Denver is only up by roughly 25% since 2000. Here due to several anti-union State laws such a a strict limit on the number of pickets and our at-will labor doctrine we don’t have strong unions here either. Here if there is ever a strike the management locks the union out and hires new people, as the union is only allowed 3 pickets. Cops are always there to ensure that scabs can cross the picket line.

    Another part of the problem was that the Feds decided mid-project to require computerized positive train control and electronic remote onboard signalization control for grade crossings, which has caused a 3-year delay in opening the otherwise-completed Gold Line across the near northwest side. The Gold Line could have opened in 2016 but has been held up by untested new technology. It is like some people in Washington wanted RTD to fail.

    One reason that building and maintaining rail mass transit in NYC is that your cost of living is double ours and more than triple the cost of living in half of America. Then NYC has strong labor unions. , Detroit used to have strong unions before Republicans offshored a 2/3rds majority of union jobs there, which drove the city bankrupt, which killed union city jobs too.

    You just have to kill 2/3rds of the middle-class jobs in NYC and drive the city to file bankruptcy and you too get rid of your labor unions, although doing that also kills real estate prices and drives lots of local businesses bankrupt too.

    Here are current single-family home prices in Detroit’s Lasalle – College Park neighborhood, which is 7-8 miles northeast of downtown, just east of Detroit City Airport. The neighborhood median home price there today is still just 43% of what it was in 2000 after falling by over 80% from 2000 to 2009.

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Lasalle-College-Park_Detroit_MI

    Are you Republicans happy that you have badly damaged dozens of major Democrat-controlled urban areas and hundreds of small cities and large towns thanks to your blind hatred for half the people of America? I am in-favor of getting even myself. That shouldn’t be hard after the 2020 election.

    First we need to completely cut off farm price supports and cut off any oil and gas industry subsidies. Maybe nationalize the oil industry so that we can wind it down and force the adoption of renewable energy, and nationalize agriculture too, so that we can localize our food supply near major cities, in-order to reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions

    How about a complete cut-off of unfair trade, except for any raw material that Republicans mine? You want to sell products in America they have to be made here unless your nation abides by our labor laws, workplace health and safety laws, our environmental protection laws, and our tax laws, and doesn’t subsidize domestic industries.

    Why shouldn’t we Heartland Democrats try to get even when we win again? Revenge is a dish best served cold as they say .

  • I gave up riding bikes in 1975 after I bought my 3rd car.

  • Actually I used to live in Greenwich, CT when I was a kid. I have ridden the New York New Haven train to Grand Central probably 100 times in my life before it was called Metro North. I have even ridden Metro North from White Plains and from Hastings too. I remember in 1971 when Metroliners began operation north of Grand Central and they began blowing little old ladies right off local train platforms flying through stations at 110 mph. The Metroliners used to stop in Stamford but not in Greenwich in the fall of 1971.

    Your grand idea for local train service that stops at every stop like the Metro North locals doesn’t exist in most of America, only in the few cities that have rail mass transit. Chicago has pretty decent rail mass transit plus a dozen commuter rail lines. LA has some commuter rail service as does Seattle.

    Most US cities don’t, in-fact probably 99% of US cities don’t have commuter rail service. Most US cities aren’t currently designed to support local passenger rail service that stops at every stop, which can’t possibly compete against cars and modern roads,.

    There is no tradition of walking a mile or two each way to the train station like there is in the cities and towns along the NEC. There is no point in doing that when you own a car and 75% of all urban area employment commuting doesn’t involve the central city. Most cities have to build free park & ride lots just to get more than a few people to ride trains.

    Basically your idea for serving every town between Raleigh, NC and Jacksonville, FL with local train service died there right after World War II. High-speed rail might work from Richmond to Raleigh, to Wilmington, maybe to Myrtle Beach, then to Charleston, then to Savannah, and then to Jacksonville but there won’t be any local train service to intermediate towns. You may have to rebuild an abandoned right of way from Petersburg to Raleigh as there is no rail service through there now.

  • Joe R.

    I have a theory about the Republicans and their supporters as to why they hate economic growth. By every metric the economy was growing faster when the wealthy were taxed more, like they were up until Reagan, so that essential infrastructure was in good repair. Then the farce of trickle-down economics came, the 1% got richer, and everyone else got poorer.

    However, that’s not the entire story. If we had continued taxing the wealthy at the former higher rates, yes, they would have paid more taxes but because the economy would have grown their net wealth would have increased faster than it did under trickle-down economics. Or put in layman’s terms, they would have gotten a smaller piece of a much larger pie. However, the part they hated about this was the middle class and poor would have gotten more of that pie also. The wealthy would have been less wealthy relative to everyone else. Wealth really means power. These people have always been on a power trip, but until the 1980s at least the government was able to put some checks on that. The real goal of trickle down economics wasn’t just to make the rich richer. It was to increase the wealth disparity so the wealthy ended up with more power. Wealth buys politicians, which in turn buys laws which create a system where those who already have the wealth have a major advantage. That’s why all the small businesses failed. That’s why, despite having an Ivy League degree, my working life has mostly been a struggle. See, I was born poor, and I don’t have connections. I have to try to operate under a system which favors the wealthy. This wasn’t the case for my parents. They were able to raise 3 children, eventually get out of the housing project, and buy the house I’m living in now with my mother. It’s the same story everywhere. Those born since about 1960 aren’t doing as well as their parents at the same stage in life.

  • Joe R.

    I’m actually in favor of everything on your list, and frankly I want the heartland cities to become viable once again. Real estate prices are ridiculous in NYC and other cities on the coasts precisely because there’s more demand than supply of housing in urban areas. If all these Midwest cities had revivals, it would take the pressure off prices in NYC. My mother’s home was bought for $52K in 1978. If it had risen to keep pace with inflation it would be worth about $200K now. It’s actually worth close to 4 times that. This isn’t good. Since neither me nor my mother drive, there are just about no other places we could go, and certainly none which are significantly cheaper. Basically, besides being a pain, moving would mean selling high and buying high, so no advantage for us there. The high price will hurt me when I have to buy out my siblings in order to remain in the house, which is what I want to do. Therefore, it’s in my best interests if the price drops drastically, like back into the 200s where it should really be now.

    My brother showed me the Detroit real estate market. I can’t believe those prices. I guess if someone doesn’t need a job, say they’re trying to stretch their Social Security check, those are killer deals. However, I don’t know anything about Detroit. Those homes could be in high crime areas. You really have to be familiar with the area before buying a house there.

  • Claude

    I think it goes the other way around. The GOP animus toward public transit includes Amtrak.
    The reason more people don’t ride Amtrak isn’t that the trains aren’t modern and reliable, it’s that they aren’t there. The Long Distance trains are mostly running effectively full, but only once a day, if not 3 times a week, and only in a few places. In most of America you can’t reach a train leaving at a usable time.
    My solution is to issue every Long Distance an extra car to to handle the excess demand while we’re sorting things out and do an in-depth audit of each route and each train. Expand the routes with the highest operating surpluses first
    Form partnerships with the state DOTs to buy up surplus track that connects key locations and build up an independent network of tracks that bypass the Class 1s as much as possible.
    Coordinate the routes into a single network rather than an unconnected mass of trains to optimize transfers.
    And develop a system of 125mph basic HSR to provide fast and efficient service across the country.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

House Appropriators Leave TIGER, HSR Out of Next Year’s Budget

|
It’s always confusing when, in the middle of endless bicameral hand-wringing about transportation spending, the House Appropriations Committee puts out a budget for transportation without much ado. That’s what they did today. The Transportation and HUD Subcommittee will vote tomorrow on its draft budget, released today, in preparation to send it to the full Appropriations Committee. The […]
The Red Line bus rapid transit project in Indianapolis, which voters approved as part of a package in November, is one of dozens of projects threatened by Donald Trump's budget proposal. Image: IndyGo

Think of Trump’s Budget as an Attack on Cities

|
Yesterday Donald Trump released a budget outline that calls for severe cuts to transit, and the reaction was swift and scathing. The National Association of City Transportation Officials called it "a disaster" for cities. Transportation for America said it was a "slap in the face" for local communities that have raised funds to expand transit.