"This year, more than $64.3 billion worth of transit expansion projects will begin construction, continue construction, or enter into service in the United States," says Freemark, reflecting significant investment by cities such as Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington in creating "more livable, multimodal environments."
"Dynamic, growing cities require continuous investment in their transit systems," he adds. However federal spending on transportation, which can comprise "half and sometimes more of many of the projects’ costs," is under serious threat from "the looming 8% reduction in federal discretionary spending (the 'sequester')."
"This is no phantom menace," argues Freemark. "Congressional Republicans in the U.S. House have demonstrated a deep-seeded desire to cut federal spending. The Obama Administration and Democrats in the Senate have shown themselves willing to compromise to a significant extent, and transportation is unlikely to be spared. The result could be significant cutbacks in funding — cutbacks that states and cities are unlikely to make up with their own revenues."
With a decision on the status of the such cuts postponed until a March 1 deadline, Freemark outlines the dozens of projects still on the boards for 2013.