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FY18 Omnibus moves transit funding in the right direction

Upon the release of the FY18 omnibus appropriations bill by the House of Representatives, Transportation for America Director Kevin F. Thompson released the following statement:

“The bipartisan FY18 omnibus appropriations bill is a positive step, supplying robust funding for vital transportation programs that were targeted for deep cuts or elimination by the president’s last two budget requests. The news is good, but the country still requires sizable reforms to the underlying policies to adequately address our backlog of deferred maintenance, improve accountability and transparency, and to prioritize the transportation projects that bring the greatest benefits.

“Unlike the president’s budget requests which sought to end the capital program for investing in new or improved transit service, the omnibus package provides a 10 percent increase for transit Capital Investment Grants. This could immediately help 41 communities around the country kick-start planned transit projects that will transform their communities by improving the mobility of their residents and ensuring that their local economies will be globally competitive.

“The omnibus package triples the size of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, one of the only ways that local communities can apply for and directly receive federal dollars for their most needed transportation projects. TIGER enables the development of complete streets and walkable communities, expands intermodal access to our nation’s ports, improves our public transit network, makes our highway and railway systems more efficient and helps to strengthen our passenger ferry network. We commend Congress for their foresight and courage in retaining and expanding this program. This investment will make our country and our people more secure.

“The FY18 spending plan also provides 30 percent more funding than enacted last year to invest in service and safety improvements for Amtrak passenger rail, an additional $35 million for restoration of passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast, and $250 million to aid the industry in implementing positive train control, the rail industry’s most urgent safety investment.

“This bipartisan agreement is an important first step and a necessary down payment on building a multi-modal transportation network that enables all Americans to access opportunity, drive economic development, improve health and safety, and cement the civic and social capital that binds communities—large and small—across the country together.

“We urge Congress to adopt the omnibus package and hope the president will swiftly sign the measure into law. Local communities need the certainty that this funding will provide to move projects already in the pipeline forward. But we also continue to call upon Congress and the Trump administration to provide the country with a transportation funding package that provides real, long-term funding that addresses our deferred maintenance backlog, funds smart new projects and requires the USDOT to measure the success of our transportation investments so taxpayers better understand what they are paying for.”

2 Comments

  1. J H Harding

    3 years ago

    As noted, despite its huge size, this spending program is just a small down payment toward meeting our nation’s vast capital investment needs. If we are serious about addressing those needs, we will call upon Congress to repeal the recently approved federal income tax rate cuts, and to increase those rates to provide adequate funding to actually meet those needs.

  2. Pingback: Transportation For America Investing in transit fuels local economies across the country - Transportation For America