Trump administration proposes 2018 transportation budget.
Program changes would affect New Starts and TIGER grants.
While the administration’s budget details President Trump’s spending priorities, it does not provide the normal program-by-program details typically seen from a president who has been in office longer than two months. The budget request suggests five specific changes to current discretionary transportation programs, two of which are of importance to the transportation construction industry. Specifically:
- The budget proposes eliminating all future federal funds for transit capital grants, also known as the New Starts program, which isn’t already part of a previously affirmed full-funding grant agreement. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorized $2.3 billion each year from FY 2016 through FY 2020 for transit construction grants. The blueprint states, “Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.” ARTBA has long supported federal investment in transit capital projects under the New Starts program and will work to ensure it remains a key component of federal surface transportation investment.
- The administration is proposing to eliminate TIGER discretionary grants — a program created by the Obama administration that provides funding for multi-modal projects and has become popular on Capitol Hill among Democrats and Republicans. Since 2009, the TIGER program has invested $4.6 billion in transportation projects — of which 33 percent has gone to roadway projects (the largest modal recipient).
According to the budget request, the administration views this program as duplicative to funding available under the highway formula programs and the FAST Act-authorized Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program. If Congress follows through on this request, it would be a $500 million cut from FY 2016 spending levels.
Excerpt reprinted with the permission of ARTBA: the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.