On February 10, President Donald J. Trump submitted his FY 2021 Budget request.
In its Budget request, the Administration provides $13.2 billion for public transportation, a $303 million increase from the FY 2020 enacted level ($12.9 billion). Regarding passenger rail, the Administration proposes $1.8 billion for passenger rail grant programs, a proposed cut of $712 million.
In addition, the Administration outlined the general parameters of its surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The Administration proposes a 10-year, $810 billion surface transportation reauthorization. This amount is $75 billion above current law levels. The Administration proposes to work with Congress to identify a combination of budget proposals to pay for the $261 billion gap between Highway Trust Fund revenues and proposed spending levels.
The proposal includes $155.4 billion for public transit over the 10-year period (FY 2021 – FY 2030). The Administration stated that it will submit a comprehensive surface transportation reauthorization proposal in the coming months. As part of its proposal, the Administration will “consolidate FTA’s core financial assistance programs to improve flexibility and reduce administrative burdens….” The proposal will also focus federal resources on maintaining transit assets.
Regarding passenger rail, the Administration proposes $16.6 billion for rail infrastructure over the 10-year period (FY 2021 – FY 2030). The Administration proposes that federal operating support for Amtrak’s long-distance routes would be provided through a new account and subsequently phased out entirely. According to the Administration, “[l]ow population areas along the routes will be better served by other modes of transportation, like intercity buses.”
Separately, the Administration proposes an additional $190 billion for other infrastructure improvements. These proposed investments include:
- $60 billion for a new Building Infrastructure Great grants program for “mega-projects”, including transit and rail capital investments; and
- $20 billion for a Transit State of Good Repair Sprint program to reduce the large and growing state-of-good-repair transit backlog. The program will focus exclusively on rehabilitating existing assets (no new capacity projects).
To view APTA President & CEO Paul Skoutelas’ press release on the Administration’s proposal, please click here. To view an APTA table outlining the Administration’s FY 2021 public transportation and passenger rail budget requests, please click here.
Democratic Senators Send Letter to FRA Urging Action on Gateway Project
In a February 6, 2020 letter, 15 Democratic Senators representing eight states along the Northeast Corridor urged the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to provide a timeline detailing when the FRA’s review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Hudson Tunnel Project will be complete and when a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project will be issued. The project, which received draft EIS approval in 2017, will allow for the construction of a new tunnel under the Hudson River and fund repairs to the existing tunnels which were damaged in Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. To view the letter, please click here.