Congress rejects President Trump’s infrastructure cuts

Congress increased spending to improve transit and rail in the federal budget, despite President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut spending on cleaner transportation choices. (© Jerry Greer)

President Trump proposed steep cuts for federal infrastructure spending in a budget proposal SELC Senior Attorney Trip Pollard said would “take a sledgehammer to programs and projects with a proven track record of success.” Funding for public transportation and passenger rail would have been slashed, setting the stage for further cuts and shifting of funds as part of the Trump administration’s broader infrastructure plan.

Thankfully, Congress rejected the president’s proposal.

In the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Trump reluctantly signed, funding for the Federal Transit Administration actually increased by $1 billion. Spending on public transit includes $1.5 billion for the New Starts program–while Trump had proposed eliminating capital programs for transit. This program is a critical component of funding for planned expansion of MARTA service in Atlanta, proposed light rail along the Durham-Chapel Hill corridor in North Carolina, and transit expansion proposals before Nashville voters next month.

Trump wanted dramatic cuts in rail funding as well, including chopping Amtrak spending in half. This proposal would have resulted in deep service reductions in the Southeast.  Instead, Congress provided $3 billion for rail—an increase of over $1.3 billion over the prior fiscal year—including $1.95 billion for Amtrak.  U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio called it “the most significant rail investment in a decade.”

The budget agreement, which also included significant increases for road and highway funding, was a clear rejection of Trump’s infrastructure priorities and demonstrated Congress members’ belief that Americans want meaningful steps to improve infrastructure. 

When Trump, who had not been involved in negotiations for the omnibus spending bill, saw the budget bill, he made a last-minute threat of a veto on Twitter, before eventually signing it.



The federal budget funds the government through September 30, so Congress will soon be debating the same issues again. SELC will counter any renewed attacks on transit and rail funding in future budget proposals from the administration, building upon public and congressional support for cleaner transportation options.

More News

Farm Bill would weaken logging protections and curtail public input

The U.S. House of Representatives is once again considering legislation that would bypass public involvement or consideration negative impacts fr...

State wades back into pipeline permits in Virginia

In a bold move, the Virginia State Water Control Board has voted to open a public comment period to review the adequacy of controversial federal...

Holleman to Senators: Federal protections are key to clean water

Senior Attorney Frank Holleman testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Wednesday about the essential role of c...

Appeals court sides with citizens, SELC in petroleum pipeline pollution case

The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that local citizen groups can enforce the Clean Water Act to stop continuing pollution of the Savann...

SELC op-ed: New federal coal ash regulations designed for polluters

Senior Attorney Frank Holleman parses the myriad problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to undermine the national coal ash...

Hugh Irwin recognized for lifetime of service to Southern forests

Hugh Irwin’s tireless dedication and determination in protecting southern forests over more than three decades of work have shaped our landscape....

More Stories