Streetsblog DC reports on H.R. 1, which passed last weekend:

The “base bill” of HR 1 – not the amendments – would do the following:

  • Eliminate the entire high-speed rail program.
  • Cut $430 million of the $2 billion allocated for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, the federal government’s primary means of support for transit capital investments.
  • Eliminate TIGER, which provided more than $2 billion to innovative state and local transportation programs around the country last year, and rescind all unspent funds from last year.

I’m having trouble finding a report with the final provisions of the bill, but in any case it appears likely the Senate will restore many of these cuts. But if not, or the if the conference committee goes awry, the local implications would be large:

  • $34m of high speed rail funding is going to the D to M Sounder extension, and another $9m to Tukwila Station. That’s in addition to the long list of Amtrak Cascades projects funded under that umbrella.
  • According to Metro, the House Bill cuts $21.3m in 2011 from the RapidRide C budget and $38m in 2012 for RapidRide E and F.
  • Any shrinkage of the New Starts funding pool of course makes it harder for upcoming projects, like Sound Transit 2, to obtain federal funding. In general, the project list assumes a large federal contribution and will suffer serious casualties if the federal government reduces it commitments.
  • University Link already has a Full Funding Grant Agreement. It’s Sound Transit’s understanding that the House bill does not intend to renege on those agreements, and in any case U-Link is extremely competitive even in a tighter environment.

One presumes Sen. Patty Murray has our back on this, but it never hurts to send her a note letting you know how important it is for you.

14 Replies to “U.S. House Cuts Transit Funding”

  1. I love this stuff. Defense, Medicare and Social Security together with Welfare are 80% of the budget. So what should we cut? The other 20%, of course!

    Let’s make sure we eat all our seed corn in terms of infrastructure, science and education, but let’s keep spending as much as possible of medical insurance for old people.

      1. does balancing a budget really mean anything??

        Yes, if you monetize the debt it’s inflationary and decreases the dollars value relative to other currencies. Meaning a decrease in purchasing power of imported goods like, oh say oil. In extreme cases (Argentina cira 1989) hyperinflation can lead to a total economic collapse. If we don’t monetized the debt then interest payments are quickly going to surpass all non-entitlement spending.

    1. What a mess. I only see one solution to our fiscal problems: a combination of cuts to defense & entitlement programs and a tax increase (whether that means eliminating loopholes, raising existing tax rates, or additional types of taxes). We spend more on social programs than most socialist countries and have lower tax rates.

      We can’t afford to do everything we are doing currently – even with increased tax revenue, we have to do with something less. Entitlements, wars, defense programs, education, infrastructure…something has to give. I have an opinion on what we should give up, and it isn’t education or infrastructure.

      The unwillingness to raise taxes means we’re going to get less from the Federal Government. Tax raises will have to occur at the local level to pay for our infrastructure and education needs.

      1. Is there a site that actually shows what we spend on social programs compared to others?

        On a side note, when ever I talk with my dad regarding the economy, and I say we need to raise taxes, OMG. He flips out and says we are taxed so much and that they need to differ money instead of just taxing us more. While I agree with him, money needs to be moved out of military and into rebuilding our country, education, and infrastructure. I try and explain to him that we pay some of the lowest taxes in the world with countries of comparable economies. He’s stubborn. lol

  2. That most Republicans hate Amtrak is a truth so universally acknowledged, I do not need a Jane Austen to remind me of the fact. I was talking to Amtrak personnel on a recent Coast Starlight trip from Olympia to Los Angeles, and the derision that staff feel towards Republicans is a contemptuous as anything I can muster up. Every year, these poor guys have to maintain their humor in the face of threatened cuts and it is ludicrous.

    I agree with other correspondents who argue that the military budget is way out of line and control. We are living in a military state because of Boeing’s interests in military contracts etc., but I am sure that if the military scaled back their demands and requests and needs that Boeing could return to what is also does well at – namely building commercial jets that do not require tax payer money. The military-industrial complex has been alive and well since the Bush era and coincidentally, so too has Boeing’s inability to fly its new commercial jets efficiently. Maybe with less of a defense budget to aim at, they could concentrate on what they most known for and arguably do best at – building world class commercial planes.

    I am sure that Senator Murray will advocate for a restoration of the High Speed rail funding and other transportation measures. This is a signature Obama program – he and Vice President Biden need to defend it and advocate for defense cuts instead.

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