The recently announced compromise to fund the federal government through the remainder of FY2011 preserves several critical programs, but also raises cause for concern. Reconnecting America is pleased to see that the compromise continues to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is effectively coordinating federal housing and transportation programs to provide the greatest benefits at the regional and local levels. Programs such as DOT's TIGER grants and HUD's Sustainable Communities grants will save taxpayer dollars over the long-term by helping communities make better investments today.
However, the reduction in the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts/Small Starts program (see analysis of cuts here) and the complete elimination of the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program in FY 2011 is a step in the wrong direction. In this era of $4-a-gallon gas, Americans need more transportation options, not fewer. In…
Q. How much funding is cut from the New Starts/Small Starts program?
A. The final Continuing Resolution, which would fund the government through the end of FY2011, made two cuts to the federal New Starts/Small Starts program, which provides funding for fixed guideway (e.g., subway, light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit) projects. The amount of funding cut from FY11 depends on what the baseline for comparison is. The CR would fund the New Starts/Small Starts program in FY11 at $1.6 billion, which is $400 million less than the FY10 level – but only about $220 million less than what the President requested for FY11. (The President’s request for FY11 was $1.822 billion, while the FY10 actual appropriation was $2 billion).
The CR also rescinds $280 million from unobligated funds that were appropriated to FTA prior to FY11.
Q. Is it true that all of the funding that is cut is attributable to New Jersey’s ARC project?
Today, John Robert Smith, president and CEO of Reconnecting America, testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, representing the Transportation for America coalition. Co-founded by Reconnecting America, the Transportation for America coalition consists of housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development, and other organizations who are all seeking to align our national, state, and local transportation policies with an array of issues like economic opportunity, energy security, health, housing and community development.
On March 22 at 3:30pm ET, Reconnecting America will host "Supporting the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: Tools for Advocacy," the second in a series of Sustainable Communities Network webinars. Joining Reconnecting America in hosting this webinar are Smart Growth America, PolicyLink and the National Housing Conference.
Our founding fathers sparred over the federal interest in funding infrastructure. In fact, the battle over it helped jumpstart partisan rivalry in America. The Federalist Party—created by Alexander Hamilton—supported federal funding and support for “internal improvements,” which we know as infrastructure today. The Democratic Republicans—created by Thomas Jefferson—vehemently disagreed. The nation would have been vastly different, if not for the outcome of these earlier contests.
On February 15, 2011, the Federal Transit Administration issued its Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the New Starts and Small Starts program for fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012). The report lists the New Starts and Small Starts projects that make up the program budget included in the President’s FY 2012 Federal Budget, which was released on February 14, 2011. The total budget for the New Starts and Small Starts programs in the President’s FY 2012 budget is $3,225,556,000.
Reconnecting America was pleased to see that the president’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 offers significant deficit-reduction, but also calls for substantial investment in our nation’s infrastructure, particularly for public transportation and high-speed rail.
Today, in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced a $53 billion, six-year program to accelerate construction of the nation’s high-speed rail network. The plan calls for $8 billion in fiscal year 2012 to jumpstart the program.
The House of Representatives' new Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, Florida Rep. John L. Mica, has announced the locations for a series of national field hearings and public forums on transportation legislation later this month.