Congress votes to implement deep spending cuts

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Last week Congress approved a stopgap funding measure that implements the mandatory cuts known as sequestration—cuts which fall disproportionately on the most innovative transportation programs like New Starts, Amtrak, and TIGER, as well as Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Don’t miss this helpful chart that illustrates the impacts on specific programs compared to previous funding levels.

Though the “continuing resolution” passed last week made the cuts required by sequestration, it does bring transportation formula funding up to MAP-21 levels and funds the new TOD planning grant program.

But this measure offers little long-term stability in transportation funding. The mandatory cuts—including $100 million less for New Starts (transit capital construction) and $26 million less for TIGER—underscore the need for secure funding for the entire transportation system.

The House and Senate also put forward long-term visions for federal funding last week. Both chambers passed budget resolutions, 10-year policy outlines of long-term priorities. The House budget calls for dwindling investments in transportation infrastructure by limiting these investments to collapsing gas tax revenue. In contrast, the Senate budget includes a provision that would allow for increased revenue dedicated to essential transportation programs, giving Congress the flexibility to find new sources of revenue.

From James Corless, Transportation for America

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