The U.S. House Appropriations Committee last week unveiled its "Continuing Resolution" to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.
“I grew up in Pittsburgh at a time when chemicals filled our rivers and unchecked air pollution clouded our air,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “I worked to help pass the original Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act and have been proud to watch them work for nearly two generations to help restore my hometown – not just its environment but its economy, now revitalized by clean energy jobs. It’s outrageous that anyone would want to take us back to the era of Love Canal, Silent Spring, and the flaming Cuyahoga River.”
According to summaries posted by the House Appropriations Committee, the CR legislation proposes dramatic cuts of $4.4 billion to the budgets for Interior and EPA.
Specific provisions and cuts in the Continuing Resolution the National Wildlife Federation objects to include:
Attacks On Our Water Resources
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Great Lakes restoration efforts funded by the federal government are cleaning up drinking water flowing to millions of homes and thousands of industries, are updating municipal sewage facilities to protect drinking water for people for decades to come, and are improving infrastructure important for future economic growth.
- CR funding level: $225 million
- Amount cut: $250 million
- Why it matters: The restoration of the Lakes and the eight-state regional economy of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin depend on this funding.
Chesapeake Bay Program
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a unique regional partnership that has coordinated the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed since 1983.
- CR funding level: $50 million
- Amount cut: $10 million
- Why it matters: The Chesapeake Bay watershed includes parts of six states and is home to some 17 million people, including the cities of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. The watershed's many rivers provide not only drinking water but also places for fishing, boating and birding opportunities. Its wetlands are sites for bird watching, boating and waterfowl hunting.
Puget Sound Program
EPA receives federal funding to support efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound, most of which are used for financial assistance to state, local and Tribal governments for efforts to implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
- CR funding level: $20 million
- Amount cut: $30 million
- Why it matters: The Puget Sound region is home to over 4 million people, including the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. The economy of the region is largely tied to the Sound and its natural resources, such as lumber, shellfish, and recreation.
San Francisco Bay Program
The EPA supports projects that restore and protect the water quality, habitat and environment of the San Francisco Bay
- CR funding level: $5 million
- Amount cut: $2 million
- Why it matters: The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary west of the Mississippi, supporting more than 500 species of wildlife, including 105 threatened and 23 endangered species. Population in the Bay area is expected to grow to 8.1 million by 2020 (a 15% increase), increasing pressure from pollution, invasive species, unsustainable shoreline development, etc.
Long Island Sound Program
Long Island Sound Program funding allows for implementation of The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The plan aims at reducing pollution and improving the quality of the Long Island Sound environment
- CR funding level: $3 million
- Amount cut: $4 million
- Why it matters: The Long Island Sound has historically had rich recreational and commercial fishing; however, in recent years the western part of the sound has become increasingly deficient of marine life due to hypoxia, toxic substance and pathogen contamination, debris and other man-made pollution, and overdevelopment.
Lake Champlain Program
The Lake Champlain Basin Program works with government agencies from New York, Vermont, and Québec; private organizations; local communities; and individuals to coordinate and fund efforts which benefit Lake Champlain Basin water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.
- CR funding level: $2.4 million
- Amount cut: $2.6 million
- Why it matters: Lake Champlain is the sixth largest body of freshwater in the United States, and one of the United States’ most historic bodies of water. High phosphorus levels and algal blooms in parts of the lake and toxic substances, such as PCBs and mercury are prevalent, which have resulted in fish consumption advisories for some fish.
National Estuaries Program
EPA's National Estuary Program was established to improve the quality of estuaries of national importance and directs the EPA to develop plans for attaining or maintaining water quality in an estuary. In addition to water quality improvements, habitat restoration and protection is one of the major focuses of the National Estuary Program.
- CR funding level: $26.9 million
- Amount cut: $200,000 per watershed, $5.6 million cut total
- Why it matters: NEPs are effective, efficient, collaborative, and adaptive community-based programs. The successes of the National Estuary Program are largely a result of the programs' ability to develop long term, sustainable finance strategies.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Army Corps of Engineers has three primary mission areas: Navigation, Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration. Funding for the Construction covers all three of these areas. We are concerned that the cuts may impact important ecoystem restoration projects because they are not directed to environmentally destructive or low value projects.
- CR funding level for Construction Program: $1.69 billion
- Amount cut: $341 million
- Why it matters: This account funds Corps construction projects of all types for all regions, including restoration projects in Florida’s Everglades, Puget Sound, California’s Bay Delta, Upper Mississippi River Environmental Management Program, Missouri River Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Louisiana. It also funds important smaller aquatic ecosystem projects through the Continuing Authorities programs, especially the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program (Sec. 206) and Project Modifications for the Environment (Sec. 1135). HR 1, the House Resolution to cut the budget, would cut both the construction account and cut $100 million from unobligated balances, yet; the FY2012 Corps budget intends to zero-out these continuing authorities accounts and to pay for them via unobligated balances from FY2011. Should the House CR pass, no such balances will exist.
Restoring Clean Water Act Protections for small streams and wetlands
The proposed legislation prevents the use of funding by the EPA to implement, administer or enforce a change to a rule or guidance document pertaining to the definitions of waters under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (Federal Pollution Control Act).
- Why it matters: the proposed legislation protects recent loopholes in the implementation of the clean water act that jeopardize the drinking water for 117 million Americans. Restoring Clean Water Act protections for small streams and wetlands is vital for fish, wildlife, and recreational industries around the country. Removing these loopholes through a successful rulemaking will restore and clarifying these protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, and will place these restored protections on a much more secure legal and scientific foundation.
Cuts to Climate and Clean Energy Programs
State & Tribal Grants for GHG Reductions
EPA's State and Local Climate and Energy Program provides technical assistance, analytical tools, and outreach support to state, local, and tribal governments.
- CR funding Level: $0
- Amount cut: $10 Million
- Why it matters: The State Climate and Energy Program helps states and tribes develop policies and programs that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs, improve air quality and public health, and help achieve economic development goals. EPA provides states with and advises them on proven, cost–effective best practices, peer exchange opportunities, and analytical tools.
Clean Air Act Updates to Include Carbon Pollution
The EPA is currently updating the CAA to include threats from climate pollution for stationary sources.
- CR funding Level: $0
- Amount cut: N/A
- Why it matters: The CR’s Clean Air Act prohibitions would place an unprecedented blindfold and gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency. It requires EPA to turn a blind eye to carbon dioxide pollution from smokestacks, in defiance of the Clean Air Act, a Supreme Court order and sound science. EPA would be prohibited from assisting states in their efforts to reduce emissions. The ban will encourage industry to install old, highly polluting technologies even when newer, cleaner alternatives exist.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
- CR Funding Level: $
- Amount cut: $10.5 million
- Why it matters: Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars — all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.
Environmental Protection Agency
Cuts on EPA Climate Programs listed on House Appropriations Committee Website:
- EPA Research: Global change - reduced $7.0M from FY10 enacted
- EPA Climate change grants to local governments – reduced $10.0M from FY10
- EPA Methane to markets – reduced $0.02M from FY10
- EPA GHG reporting registry – reduced $5.0M from FY10
- EPA Climate protection program (auto technologies) – reduced $1.9M from FY10
- EPA Cap and trade technical assistance – reduced $5.0M from FY10
- EPA Carbon capture and storage - reduced $2.0M from FY10
- EPA Other climate protection program activities – reduced 16.0M from FY10
- Why It Matters: A comprehensive attempt to reduce EPA’s comprehensive ability to tackle carbon pollution.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office
EERE invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
- CR funding level: 1.4 billion
- Amount cut: $786.3 million
- Why it matters: The DOE’s EERE Office supports ground-breaking scientific and technological research in innovative clean energy technologies. Significant private investment is leveraged through programs in this office. These cuts would only serve to put the US further behind in the worldwide race to capture clean energy jobs. These cuts would also would setback our nation's recent momentum on jobs from offshore wind energy. The administration's new investment in environmental review of offshore wind areas to lease later this year, and in research to drive down the cost of offshore wind, would utilize DOE funding just recently included in their FY11 budget proposal.
Clean Technology Fund & Strategic Climate Fund
The Clean Technology Fund and Strategic Climate Fund are two funds governed by the World Bank to promote low carbon development strategies.
- CR Funding Level: $0
- Amount Cut: $300 million (Clean Tech Fund) & $75 million (Strategic Climate Fund)
- Why it matters: The U.S. is an international donor to these funds that support targeted programs in developing countries to demonstrate and develop low carbon technologies, to reduce deforestation, and to include climate adaptation planning into development strategies. U.S. contributions to the Funds promote international cooperation on climate change, help meet U.S. pledged obligations made in international climate treaty negotiations, and facilitate global strategies to mitigate addressing climate change.
Cuts to Wildlife Conservation Programs
State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program
The nation’s premier program for keeping species off the endangered species list by supporting non-regulatory, state-based conservation efforts to keep common species common.
- CR funding level: $0
- Amount cut: $90 million
- Why it matters: This highly effective program leverages conservation efforts in all 50 states and US territories to protect wildlife species and their habitats so that they do not require legal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Eliminating this program, which focuses on preventing species declines, will end up with more endangered species in every state, resulting in increased regulation and cost to public and private land managers. Eliminating this program also undermines the federal government’s ten year investment in State Wildlife Action Plans. This program leverages more than $100 million per year in state and private dollars, and directly supports jobs in virtually all states.
North American Wetlands Conservation Fund
A key program for conserving waterfowl and other migratory bird habitat through providing a catalyst for leveraging non-Federal funding and fostering public and private sector partnerships.
- CR Funding Levels: $0
- Amount cut: $47.6 million
- Why it matters: Through voluntary grant partnerships this program has protected and improved the health and integrity of the landscapes in which people reside and work in harmony with our fish and wildlife resources. Through the work of more than 4,000 partners, this program has leveraged over $2 billion in matching funds affecting 25 million acres, and fostered public and private sector cooperation for migratory bird conservation, flood control, erosion control, and water quality. Hunters depend on this program to ensure healthy populations of waterfowl, which in turn is essential for sustaining strong local economies especially in rural communities.
Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund
Authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, this program is the federal government’s primary means to help states and territories carry out conservation projects to benefit threatened and endangered species.
- CR funding level: $2.5 million
- Amount cut: $87.6 million cut
- Why it matters: Because many federally listed endangered species occur on state and private lands, successfully conserving and recovering these species depends on strong collaborative conservation efforts with state and private land owners. Elimination of this highly successful grants program will reverse decades of improvement in habitat conservation, lead to the continued declines of listed species, and could saddle state and private landowners with more regulatory restrictions. [Note this includes a cut of $56 million in Section 6 LWCF funding]
Department of Interior Climate Change Programs
A wide array of programs across the Department of Interior focus on understanding and addressing the impacts of rapid climate change on the nation’s public lands, wildlife, and natural resources. These range from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s landscape conservation cooperatives and U.S. Geological Survey’s climate effects network, to the Bureau of Land Management’s ecoregional assessments.
- CR funding level: decrease of $48.7 million
- Why it matters: Rapid climate change is already severely stressing natural resources across the country, leading to a deterioration in the health of the forests, grasslands, and other habitats on which both people and wildlife depend. These programs focus on better understanding the impacts of climate change on our wildlife and other natural resources, on developing plans for sustaining these resources in the face of climate change, and beginning to incorporate climate adaptation into on-the-ground conservation and restoration. These drastic cuts will set back scientific efforts to better document the magnitude and rate of changes, and to develop common-sense management responses to ensure that our public lands and natural ecosystems can continue providing water, wildlife, and other services to the nation.
Operations budget of the Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the leader in fish and wildlife conservation and a trusted voice on science and habitat management, for the benefit of the American people.
- CR Funding level: $1.204 billion
- Amount cut: $65 million
- Why it matters: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the leader in fish and wildlife conservation and a trusted voice on science and habitat management, for the benefit of the American people. A $65 million cut to their resource management budget will keep FWS staff from being able to monitor and protect endangered species, keep fish and wildlife populations healthy, consult on the responsible siting of renewable energy projects, and more.
Central Valley Project
Implementing Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives identified in Biological Opinions prepared to limit impact of CA Bay-Delta water withdrawal
- CR funding level: $0 (funding limitation)
- Amount cut: N/A
- Why it matters: This provision would overrule the expert opinion of scientists on California’s incredible San Francisco Bay Delta and instead further subsidizes corporate special interests. By negating the biological opinions of scientific experts, it jeopardizes the existence of salmon and Delta smelt and the health of the entire Bay ecosystem, which is reliant on its life-giving water supply.
Attacks on Public Lands Conservation
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the nation’s premier land conservation program that provides funds to acquire land and water for recreation and habitat conservation purposes as well as preserving historic battlefields and cultural sites and conserving working farms and ranches.
- CR Funding level: $59 million
- Amount cut: $393 million
- Why it matters: The CR proposes the virtual elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that is already paid for using a very small percentage of oil drilling receipts. These are not taxpayer dollars. The House CR would reduce LWCF to $59 million, the lowest level in its 45 year history and almost a 90 percent cut from FY 10 enacted levels. This represents a direct attack on the program, not a rollback to previous levels. This level of funding would bring federal conservation efforts to a screeching halt, doing huge and irreparable damage to national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges; battlefields and other historic sites; working ranches and forests; federally-assisted state and local recreation and wildlife protection projects; and other places Americans care about.
Wild Lands Policy
Designates lands as having wilderness characteristics as Wild Lands where the agency manages these lands against incompatible activities.
- CR Funding Level: $0
- Amount cut: N/A – new program
- Why it matters: The “Wild Lands” policy overturns a 2003 decision by the former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton that prevented BLM to carry out its legal responsibilities to manage wild lands. It reestablishes the ability to identify and preserve wilderness characteristics on BLM lands and leave these lands protected until Congress decides to act.
National Wildlife Refuge System
This premier system is uniquely created to conserve public lands and waters for the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants.
- CR funding level: $491 million
- Amount cut: $12 million
- Why it matters: The National Wildlife Refuge System runs on a shoestring budget as it is and can barely keep up with inflation. A $12 million cut is significant for the refuge even under a federal employee pay freeze. It will likely mean the Refuge System will have to cut staff and neglect important restoration and management projects as well as basic facility maintenance.
National Park Service - Operating Resources
The National Park Service is charged with the care of most iconic public lands: the National Park System.
- CR funding level: $2.237 billion
- Amount cut: $25 million
- Why it matters: The National Park System provides habitat for some of America's most iconic wildlife and collectively is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country. Without proper funding, the communities that depend on these tourism dollars will suffer.
Forest Legacy Program
Allows the Forest Service to purchase land within and adjacent to forest service lands
- CR funding level: $9.1 million
- Amount cut: $70.4 million
- Why in matters: Allows the Forest Service to acquire land for habitat protection, to purchase in-holdings (land privately owned within Forest Service lands), and help to combat impacts of climate change.
Cuts to Wildlife-Friendly Agriculture Programs
Wetland Reserve Program
The Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) allows farmers and landowners the opportunity to restore, maintain and protect wetlands on their property, leading to improved habitat for wildlife.
- Amount cut: A permanent cut of almost 50,000 acres to the Wetland Reserve Program.
- Why it matters: Over 2 million acres have been enrolled in the program, and there is a backlog of hundreds of thousands of farmers waiting to sign up to restore wetlands on their properties. With this permanent cut in acreage, fewer farmers will be able to restore, maintain, and protect wetlands on their properties.
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)
Provides financial assistance to landowners to help them grow energy crops
- Amount cut: Over $100 million cut
- Why it matters: BCAP is a critical link in the transition to more advanced bioenergy crops.
Environmental Quality Assistance Program (EQIP)
EQIP provides technical assistance, incentive payments and cost-sharing to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices on their lands.
- Amount cut: Over $350 million cut compared to levels authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for FY11, representing the largest cut in this program’s funding since its inception.
- Why it matters: EQIP has been successful in reducing pollution to watersheds and groundwater, reducing soil erosion, and promoting wildlife habitat for at-risk-species on working lands.
USDA Farm Services Agency - Overall discretionary funding
- Amount cut: More than $190 million
- Why it matters: This cut in funding will impede the agency’s ability to implement vital farm bill conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Overall discretionary funding
- Amount cut: $170 million
- Why it matters: This cut will translate into less on-the-ground technical assistance available to landowners who want to implement practices on their farms, ranches, and forests that promote conservation and wildlife habitat.
Cuts to Science and Research Programs
DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research
DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research supports research on biological systems, climate and environmental science.
- CR funding level: $302 million
- Amount cut: $302 million
- Why it matters: A 50% cut in funding for this DOE office will significantly curtail advancement of U.S. climate modeling capabilities. Current climate modeling research is currently focused on reducing uncertainties about future climate and making model output more useful for decision making. Also affected would be research into interactions between ecosystems and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and analysis of how climate change might affect future energy production and use.
NOAA Operations, Research, and Facilities
NOAA Operations, Research, and Facilities supports research and management of coastal waters, marine fisheries, climate, weather, and air quality.
- CR funding level: $2.85 billion
- Amount cut: $454 million
- Why it matters: NOAA provides an invaluable service to the nation by carefully monitoring the conditions of our oceans and atmosphere, researching key changes in these systems, and conveying critical information to all sorts of decision-makers. Cuts to NOAA’s operations and research capacity would limit efforts to track climate changes in all sorts of natural systems.
The bill also slashes new funds that had been built into NOAA’s budget to continue and advance satellite observations of climate and weather variables, such as atmospheric temperature and moisture. The President FY2011 budget request included $2.19 billion for the Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction (PAC) account, most of which is for long-overdue updates to our environmental satellites; however HR1 only allocates $1.36 billion for these efforts, 38% less than requested.
National Institute of Environmental Health Science
NIEHS supports research programs to understand the environmental causes of diseases ranging from asthma to cancer to autism.
- CR funding level: $77.5 million
- Amount cut: $612.3 million
- Why it matters: The proposed legislation would gut the NIEHS by cutting its funding by 89 percent! Since 1966, the institute has been instrumental in providing the research foundation linking environmental pollutants—such as lead, ozone, and asbestos—with human health impacts. NIEHS-supported research also has shown that reducing greenhouse gases can have immediate benefits for human health.
NASA Science, Aeronautics, Education, and Exploration
Shifts funding previously designated for Science, Aeronautics, Education, and Exploration to NASA programs focused on human space flight.
- Amount cut: $1.604 billion below the President’s FY11 request
- Why it matters: NASA is the single largest funder of global change research, supporting cutting-edge space-based observations of Earth and research to understand the changing climate, its interaction with life, and how human activities affect the environment. Funding cuts will likely force delays in several planned satellite missions, for example, the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) mission, which will provide important information about temperature, cloud properties, and other key climate parameters; and the Deformation, Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI), which will help predict the response of ice sheets to changing climate.
Cuts to Transportation and Clean Energy Manufacturing Programs
Industrial Technology Services
This part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) houses the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps small manufacturers innovate to compete, particularly in emerging clean energy and clean transportation technology fields. It also includes the separate Technology Innovation Program which invests in high risk high return advanced manufacturing process or technology projects.
- CR Funding Level: $169M overall with $44M reserved for the TIP
- Amount cut: $25M in total including with $26M less reserved for the TIP
- Why it matters: Smaller businesses employ the majority of Americans, and the MEP is a public private partnership that enhances America’s capability to supply world leading products, throughout its supply chain, not just in its major corporations. MEP carefully tracks its impacts and calculates that it creates or retains at least 1 manufacturing job for every $2000 spent – meaning that a $25M cut translates into potential loss or lost opportunity of 12,500 jobs.
Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)
ARPA-E funds cutting edge research in critical emerging energy technologies including electric vehicle batteries, advanced fuels and materials, advanced building efficiency technologies and carbon capture and storage.
- CR Funding Level: $50M
- Amount cut: Spending is flat versus FY10 appropriations, but ARPA-E was originally authorized at $300M and funded at $400M in the Recovery Act. Stimulus Rescission may affect outstanding projects.
- Why it matters: Tomorrow’s jobs depend on our ability to compete globally - with China, Japan, and Europe and others - in critical emerging energy and transportation technologies. To do so, a serious commitment to encouraging cutting edge energy R&D is necessary.
Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Authority Loan Program
This program administers section 1703 and 1705 loans under the “Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Program” established in EPACT 2005. The program is facilitator of loans to clean energy technology projects – from wind and efficiency to nuclear and advanced coal.
- Cuts to Loan authority: The bill reduces the total amount of loans the DOE can guarantee under the section 1703 program by $25 billion, but exempts nuclear projects from those cuts.
- How the cuts work: Total current loan authorization under the 1703 program is $51 billion with 18.5B set aside for nuclear programs, and $4B for uranium enrichment. The remainder $28.5 B is allocated to renewables and coal. The CR would cut $25B of a potential $28.5B in loan authority for non-nuclear projects under this loan program, leaving only $3.5B for renewables and all other purposes.
- Additional Cuts: The bill also rescinds any further spending under the section 1705 Loan Program for Renewable Energy and Transmission Projects established in the Recovery Act. This is about $1.4 B in spending that could potentially guarantee up to $14B in loans. The bill also cuts some of the funds to administer the Innovative Technology Loan program and the Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing Loan Program, also administered by the Loan Programs Office of the DOE.
- Why it matters: The House CR would make the “Innovative Technology Loan Program” little more than a nuclear subsidy program. Cuts to the 1703 and 1705 programs would deeply reduce funding available to jumpstart domestic clean energy project investments at a time when, globally, our competitors are investing heavily in creating domestic markets for these emerging technologies.
Department of Transportation Programs Affecting Transit
TIGER2 competitive grants fund states, local governments and transit agencies to undertake projects in transit, passenger and freight rail, port infrastructure and bridges and highways which make significant impacts on a large region. TIGGER funds transit improvements which enhance energy and fuel savings and cut GHG emissions. WMATA funding covers capital and maintenance expenditures for the Washington DC Metro. Capital Investment Grants go to states and local governments for fixed guideway (subway, light rail) systems and bus projects.
- CR Funding Level: $0 for TIGER 2, TIGGER, WMATA, $1.5B Capital Investment Grants
- Amount cut: TIGER 2 $600 million, TIGGER $75 million, WMATA $150 million, Capital Investment Grants $431 million
- Additional Rescissions: TIGER2 $600 million, Capital investment Grants $280 million, TIGGER $75 million
- Why it matters: Provision of accessible, usable transit services are critical to cutting congestion, cutting local air pollution, improving quality of life and work and creating a competitive business environment for American communities where the majority of the US population lives. As any rider of WMATA knows, many of these systems are desperately in need of investment to address aging equipment and meet the needs of growing ridership. What’s more, investments in transit are amongst the most job creating. America’s existing public transit investments already support more than 1.9 million jobs, ranging from vehicle operators and technicians to construction and manufacturing workers, and generate over $100 billion of economic activity. Jobs are created at every step of the transit supply chain. US manufacturers lead in heavy duty engine and bus manufacture, existing transit systems and maintenance good quality jobs, and transit projects provide 30- 70% more jobs per dollar spent even than highway projects.
Department of Transportation Programs Affecting Rail
TIGER2 competitive grants fund states, local governments and transit agencies to undertake projects in transit, passenger and freight rail, port infrastructure and bridges and highways which make significant impacts on a large region. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (better known as Amtrak) operates intercity passenger rail services in 46 States and the District of Columbia, in addition to serving as a contractor in various capacities for several commuter rail agencies. The Federal Railroad Administration’s High Speed Rail Program is tasked with building upgrading existing intercity rail lines and building new high speed rail lines to build a modern and efficient rail network to connect communities across the country. The Rail line relocation program provides grants to localities to relocate or improve rail lines to improve safety, motor vehicle traffic flow, community quality of life, or economic development. The Railroad Safety Technology program provides grants to speed deployment of advanced technology to prevent collisions and derailments on routes that carry passengers or hazardous materials.
- CR Funding Level: $0 for TIGER 2*, Railroad Safety Technology, Capital Assistance to High Speed Rail and Intercity Passenger Rail Service, $15 million Rail Line Relocation and Improvement, $850 million Amtrak, Capital and Debt Service Grants
- Amount cut: $600 million TIGER 2*, $2.5 billion High Speed Rail and Intercity Passenger Rail, $152 million Amtrak, $50 million Railroad Safety Technology, $19 million Rail Line Relocation and Improvement
- Additional cuts (Rescissions): $600 million TIGER2*, $2.475 billion High speed and intercity passenger rail, $78 million Capital Assistance to States – passenger rail, $50 million Railroad Safety Technology
- Why it matters: A modern, efficient passenger rail system cuts airline and road congestion, improves business efficiency, spurs more efficient land use and development, brings economic growth and higher quality of life to newly connected cities and towns. In addition a sustained program to modernize our rail lines and equipment supports a wide range of jobs in the building trades, manufacturing and transportation, in addition to creating local economic growth.
*TIGER2 also listed above in the section on transit.