T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Cuts restored, progress possible in critical budget deal

Maine's application for a TIGER grant to replace the aging Penobscot River bridge has a benefit-cost ratio of 8.7

Maine’s application for a TIGER grant to replace the aging Penobscot River bridge has a benefit-cost ratio of 8.7

Updated 1/17/2014 at bottom. Positive news from Congress today! Yes, you heard right. Just months after budget sequestration and a government shutdown put transportation funding at risk, House leaders have agreed to a budget deal that would provide stable or increased funding for key programs that you’ve helped us defend over the last few years.

House leaders deserve recognition for this positive step for transportation funding. And they need to know that they’re on the right track.

It’s not over yet, but this is an important victory for T4America and all of you who think smart investments in transportation are key to economic prosperity.

The House and Senate reached a tentative agreement back in December and this new “omnibus” comprehensive budget bill to keep government functioning was drafted along that outline by House and Senate appropriators.

Most encouraging is that it wasn’t that long ago when serious proposals were floated in Congress for across-the-board transportation cuts of one-third, significant cuts to funding for Amtrak and new transit construction, as well as zeroing out the innovative TIGER grant program.

This budget deal includes $600 million for another round of grants for the TIGER program — a level not seen since 2010 — as well as an increase in the New Starts program that communities need to meet the demand for transit service. Amtrak also received what they need to continue operating their booming services while investing for the future.


Get Involved

 Tell your House representative that you welcome this deal, thank them for their work to make it happen, and urge them to pass the measure when it comes to the floor.



That means that commuters throughout the nation can breathe a sigh of relief that their transit route is less likely to be cut, rail cars and buses could be upgraded, and essential new service can begin the process of being added. With cuts to highway programs reversed, they also can know that their bridges and roads are more likely to be repaired and replaced. Riders who depend on Amtrak can breathe easy knowing that most service cuts are likely history.

So what’s next? A vote in the House perhaps as early as tomorrow (Wednesday) and then a subsequent vote in the Senate by this weekend.

After this important deal is approved, we hope Congress will turn its attention toward preventing the oncoming insolvency of our key transportation trust fund. For inspiration, they can look to our alliance’s proposal to raise enough revenues not only to avoid calamity, but to provide our communities the resources and latitude they need to reach their economic potential.

Our nation’s economy is only as strong as our local economies, and those depend on a reliable, safe, well-maintained transportation network.

Updated 1/17/2014 With a 359-67 vote in the House and a 72-26 vote in the Senate, the full $1.1 trillion budget for FY 2014 was approved by Congress and sent to the President for his signature. Here’s our statement on the final vote.