May 26, 2017
Trump Budget Reiterates Previous Blueprint to Eliminate Critical Public Transit Programs: APTA Voices Opposition

The Trump administration's FY 2018 budget, released this week, is consistent with the earlier "skinny budget" blueprint. However, the budget did include the full $9.733 billion for FTA formula programs funded by the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

Some of the recommended cuts for FY18 are similar to those rejected by Congress earlier this month in the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill – and all are funded from general revenues (rather than from the Mass Transit Account). The administration recommendations include:

  • Phasing out the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program;
  • Eliminating federal support for the TIGER grant program and Amtrak operations on long-distance routes;
  • Reducing funds for other intercity passenger rail programs authorized by the FAST Act;
  • Freezing growth for all domestic discretionary programs, including public transit, in the coming years, and presuming that HTF programs are capped at current revenue levels after 2020. This would result in a $95 billion cut to transit and highway programs over the next 10 years.

Additionally, APTA was disappointed to see that DOT’s Annual Report on the CIG program recommends no further funding for projects in FY18. If the CIG cuts alone are fully implemented, 800,000 jobs would be at risk and there could be a possible loss of $90 billion in economic output.

The FY18 budget proposal does not appear to have much support on Capitol Hill – and Congress will write its own budget and appropriations bills. 

APTA strongly opposes the administration’s budget and encourages its members to contact their elected officials and urge them to reject the proposal. 


The FY18 budget also includes a general outline for an infrastructure initiative which calls for increased spending on surface transportation, among other areas. It requests $200 billion in spending over 10 years, with $5 billion being made available in FY18. There are no details on how this money would be allocated or prioritized; however, it is intended to leverage up to $1 trillion in new infrastructure investments.

For more details, see APTA’s Legislative Update and public statement.

» Metrolinx, serving the Toronto area, is looking for a president and CEO. [More]
» Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is seeking an associate director for the National Transit Institute. [More]
» The District of Columbia DOT seeks a deputy chief of staff. [More]
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Security Grants Could Be at Risk Under Trump Proposed Budget

President Trump’s FY 2018 proposed budget would cut public transportation security grants that fund a range of security projects and operations at transit systems across the country, including those at our nation’s busiest agencies. The administration proposes cutting by more than half a $100 million grant program that supports security measures at passenger transportation sites, $10 million of which funds security at Amtrak. 

Sources say this is only a request and it is unlikely to become law. Lawmakers from both parties have been critical of the proposal.   


FTA Approves Caltrain Full Funding Grant Agreement

FTA announced this week that it has approved a $647 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the San Carlos Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (Caltrain). FTA had delayed signing of the FFGA in February.  

FTA will allocate $100 million toward the FFGA that Congress previously approved as part of the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill signed into law in May 2017. 

Caltrain General Manager/CEO Jim Hartnett, hailing the decision, said, "This agreement commits the final funding needed to start construction of a project that will transform and improve the way people travel along one of our regions' s most congested corridors."




June 11-14:  Rail Conference
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It Starts with Transit: This New York Times article looks at the lucrative cause and effect of TOD: Transit hubs attract lots of people to neighborhoods, lots of people attract developers, developers create mixed-use spaces that attract lots of people. 
Data-Based Decision Making: What makes non-riders choose public transit? One answer is to provide them with data so they know what to expect, especially with real-time arrivals, reports Curbed magazine on a new Conduent study. 
Quick Release: As FTA signaled it would release FFGA funds to Caltrain, a letter from Senate Democrats presses Trump administration officials to release other approved funds to “shovel-ready public transportation projects around the country.”

"We are extremely concerned with the Administration's proposal to phase out existing infrastructure programs that are putting people to work building projects that our communities need and support."

Richard White
APTA Acting President and CEO
May 23, 2017
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