Society

Trump's Budget Proposal Cuts Transportation Funding

| by Lauren Briggs

President Donald Trump's proposed budget, released on March 16, would cut $2.4 billion in transportation spending and has drawn criticism from many who question whether he will abide by his pledge to invest a trillion dollars in the nation's infrastructure.

Funding to the Department of Transportation would drop by 13 percent to $16.2 billion in the proposal, reports The Hill. Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment program would see a reduced budget, while the Essential Air Service program and long-distance Amtrak trains would receive no funding at all.

"The Budget request reflects a streamlined DOT that is focused on performing vital Federal safety oversight functions and investing in nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure projects," says the budget plan, according to The Hill. "The Budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector."

The new plan would also eliminate the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, which offers additional resources for surface transportation endeavors. The program is popular with cities and states, although some Republicans have pushed to end or reduce the Obama-era funding provisions.

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The proposed infrastructure cuts come after the president promised throughout his campaign and into his presidency that he would inject more money into improving it.

"To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States -- financed through both public and private capital -- creating millions of new jobs," Trump said in an address to a joint session of Congress in late February.

During that speech, the president compared his plan to that of Republican former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commissioned the interstate highway system, according to CNN.

"Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land," he added, notes The Hill.

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Some, such as Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, said that the budget "exposes" Trump's promises to invest more money into the nation's infrastructure as "big fat lies." 
 
"While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive," added Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

However, most Republicans stood by the budget blueprint's general plan to increase defense spending and cutting most other areas.

"I've never seen a president's budget proposal not revised substantially," said Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. "As a member of the Budget Committee, I'll carefully scrutinize and assess priorities as the president has with his proposal.

Sources: The Hill, CNN, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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