Up to $1 trillion in new infrastructure investment is being proposed as a part of the Trump Administration’s new Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
The White House proposal calls for a more streamlined process for determining which transportation infrastructure projects be funded, and offers $200 billion for such non-traditional infrastructure projects as rural broadband and the installation of 5G wireless technology.
At the same time, the Trump budget is calling for a 22 percent decrease in discretionary spending for the federal Department of Transportation.
In the proposal, the administration notes that in both fiscal years 2018 and 2019 the Transportation Department received “large discretionary increases for surface transportation and airport infrastructure investments, meeting the administration’s call for increased infrastructure investments.”
However, the new budget “continues certain important transportation infrastructure investments, but in a way that also recognizes that the federal government is not—and should not be—the primary funder of the nation’s transportation systems.”
While the Capital Investment Grants program would receive $1 billion less than it was allocated in last year’s fiscal budget, the overall competitive grant programs will be increased to $3 billion.
Those grants include the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, which will be getting a $1 billion increase, and the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant program.
The proposal also calls for the creation of a $300 million competitive bridge replacement program.
If approved, the budget would additionally reduce funding for new transit projects by nearly 40 percent, including a 23 percent decrease in support for Amtrak.
Paul Skoutelas, chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association, said his association is committed to working with the White House on the new transportation budget, but criticized the decline in transit spending.
Noting that there is currently a backlog estimated at $90 billion in public transportation improvement projects, Skoutelas added: “Americans across the country deserve a public transit network that is safe, reliable, and meets the demands of a 21st century economy.”
By Garry Boulard
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