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What the Proposed Federal Budget Means for Washington State Transit Projects
Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget. Are you experiencing some Déjà vu? So are we.
The proposed 2019 budget, similar to the administration’s 2018 proposed budget, would see deep cuts in the Federal Transit Administration and the elimination of important transit grant programs including the Small Starts program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The proposal would also cut funding for Amtrak rail service.
Washington State has benefited tremendously from these programs. Recent projects such as the Angle Lake light rail extension, Tacoma Link expansion, and the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal all received TIGER funding. The proposed budget would significantly impact regional rail, bus rapid transit, and other important transit projects from Seattle to Spokane.
This budget was released alongside the long awaited infrastructure package—a much hyped and ultimately lackluster funding proposal. The package relies heavily on local financial investments in vital transportation facilities, but would not provide sufficient federal funds to ensure efficient and timely project delivery. In particular, it undercuts the federal funding assumptions around the voter-approved Sound Transit projects, imperiling the Puget Sound region’s commitment to a thriving transportation network.
President Trump proposed similar cuts in his 2018 proposed budget. While congress ultimately ignored his proposed budget and moved forward a package that continued to fund critical transportation investments, we remain concerned about the future of transportation funding in Washington State. We encourage you to contact your federal representatives and urge them to continue standing up for our transportation system that moves our region forward. We will be working with regional and federal partners to stop these drastic cuts.