GOP Proposes Drastic Cuts To Transit Infrastructure Spending

While the White House’s announcement last week to fund High-Speed Rail construction represented a best-case scenario for the Gateway Tunnel project, last Friday’s news from the House GOP lawmakers represents the worst-case scenario.

As reported by Transportation For America, the House Appropriations Committee, led by Hal Rogers (R-KY), released their proposed budget for 2011. The cuts go well beyond what was announced last week by House Members. Stephen Lee Davis reports for T4A:

  • New Starts, the program that funds new transit construction, gets cut by $430 million. There is also a rescission of about $300 million in unspent 2010 (fiscal year) funds.
  • High-speed rail is cut completely and the CR would rescind essentially all funds from 2010. Other than the money already spent, this entire program is eliminated.
  • The innovative TIGER program is eliminated completely and the unspent/unobligated FY10 funds are rescinded.
  • Amtrak appears to be mostly intact, avoiding the cuts that were proposed by the GOP study committee.

While the GOP’s cuts are aimed at the rest of the 2011 budget, they bode very poorly for FY 2012 and beyond. Although Amtrak is restored by Friday’s proposal (after last week’s study threatened major cuts), the proposal’s damage to New Starts and HSR are particularly distressing for the prospect of future spending on Gateway and trans-Hudson rail capacity.

Obama’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 was released this morning. It was expected that his budget would propose $53B in High Speed Rail funding. The compromise over transit infrastructure, however, will be but one part of the budget debate.

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