Budget plan would hit area transit systems
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.