Congress has continued to fund transit projects despite the Trump Administration's stated desire to end federal funding for federal transit. Now it appears the Trump Administration is killing transit with bureaucracy.
On April 9, FTA awarded $43 million for a new, 12-mile bus rapid transit line in Everett; $30 million to extend BRT 10 miles in Kansas City and $22.5 million to extend a North Bay commuter rail line two miles to a ferry terminal on San Francisco Bay.
Amtrak's Gateway Program to replace a century-old rail tunnel and bridge from New Jersey to Manhattan, both bottlenecks on the busy Northeast Corridor, did not score well on an evaluation by the Federal Transit Administration for grant funding.
The president's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget cuts the critical Capital investment Grants program run by the Federal Transit Administration. Projects lacking a full-funding grant agreement, like the Sacramento Streetcar, may fall victim.
Unlike the House Appropriations Committee's DOT budget that reduces spending by almost 4 percent from current levels and eliminates the TIGER grant program, its Senate counterpart increased transportation spending, including the TIGER grant budget.
While reduced from current levels, the House Appropriations Committee budgeted far more than what President Trump had proposed, but they agreed with him to eliminate the TIGER grant program and reduce transit investments, though by a lesser amount.
The two-thirds threshold proved to be no obstacle for Sacramento streetcar proponents in a special election held June 21, when at least *250 businesses owners voted to tax themselves to fund operations of the proposed streetcar.
The president spent Infrastructure Week touting a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan that has yet to materialize, unlike the elimination of an essential grant program in his 2018 budget that will be detrimental to over 50 transit projects.
Funding for Caltrain electrification, which Transportation Secretary Chao approved May 22, is one of 21 transit projects receiving funding in the omnibus spending bill that may be contingent on approval from the Trump Administration.
Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to keep the government operating through September that also restores funding to transportation programs that the president had eliminated or greatly reduced. Trump signed the bill Friday.
Planning and construction for the new Amtrak Gateway tunnels unders the Hudson River and the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway could grind to a halt under President Trump's proposed budget that substantially cuts capital grants programs.