President Trump’s proposed 2018 Budget requests $16.2 billion for DOT’s discretionary budget—a $2.4-billion or 13% decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level. The proposal reduces or eliminates programs that the Administration deems are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector.
The President’s 2018 Budget:
Initiates a multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.
Restructures and reduces Federal subsidies to Amtrak to focus resources on the parts of the passenger rail system that provide meaningful transportation options within regions. The Budget terminates Federal support for Amtrak’s long distance train services; this would have Amtrak focus on better managing its State-supported and Northeast Corridor train services.
Limits funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only. Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.
Eliminates funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which was originally conceived of as a temporary program nearly 40 years ago to provide subsidized commercial air service to rural airports. EAS flights are not full and have high subsidy costs per passenger. Several EAS-eligible communities are relatively close to major airports, and communities that have EAS could be served by other existing modes of transportation. This proposal would result in a discretionary savings of $175 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.
Eliminates funding for the unauthorized TIGER discretionary grant program, which awards grants to projects that the Administrations says are generally eligible for funding under existing surface transportation formula programs, saving $499 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Further, DOT’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program, authorized by the FAST Act of 2015, supports larger highway and multimodal freight projects with demonstrable national or regional benefits. This grant program is authorized at an annual average of $900 million through 2020.