Bud­get plan would hit area tran­sit sys­tems

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER -

Fed­eral fund­ing for Mary­land’s Pur­ple Line is in jeop­ardy, as are Metro’s hopes for a significant in­crease in money from the gov­ern­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Trump’s pro­posed 2018 bud­get.

Trump’s pro­posed spend­ing plan, which slashes the fed­eral trans­porta­tion bud­get by 13 per­cent, also curbs longdis­tance Am­trak ser­vice out of Washington and cuts mil­lions in fed­eral grants that the re­gion’s gov­ern­ments have re­lied on for new rapid bus lines, road work, bus stop im­prove­ments and bike paths.

The cuts came as a shock to many, con­sid­er­ing Trump’s cam­paign pledge to pump $1 tril­lion into the na­tion’s crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture.

“I find it hyp­o­crit­i­cal that [Trump] talks about in­fra­struc­ture, and then he takes away in­fra­struc­ture-fund­ing pro­grams,” said Rep. John De­laney (D-Md.). “This is a dev­as­tat­ing bud­get for the Washington re­gion.

Al­though Metro isn’t specif­i­cally men­tioned in the skele­ton doc­u­ment, Rep. Ger­ald E. Connolly (D-Va.) ticked off a list of grant pro­grams he’s wor­ried about that have al­lowed the be­lea­guered tran­sit agency to ad­dress safety is­sues and make long-de­layed in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments. And the news comes as Metro and its sup­port­ers are at­tempt­ing to make the case for more fed­eral fund­ing for the tran­sit agency.

Since 2008, Congress has ap­pro­pri­ated $150 mil­lion an­nu­ally for Metro’s cap­i­tal im­prove­ment bud­get un­der the Pas­sen­ger Rail In­vest­ment and Im­prove­ment Act, which des­ig­nated $1.5 bil­lion for Metro over 10 years. Mary­land, Vir­ginia and the Dis­trict match the $150 mil­lion each year.

Trump’s plan also cuts $2.8 mil­lion that Metro re­ceives from the Tran­sit Se­cu­rity Grant Pro­gram, which pro­tects in­fra­struc­ture and the pub­lic from acts of ter­ror­ism, un­der the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity’s bud­get.

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