Members of the Republican Study Committee recently unveiled the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 that reduces federal spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years, starting with rolling back all non-defense spending to fiscal year 2008 levels. As Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported earlier this week, the proposed cuts to transportation are deep and would translate to even more pain for transit riders in our region.
National transit spending would be cut by more than $1 billion, which would amount to a $150 million cut in federal aid to the MTA, $90 million to NJ Transit, and smaller cuts to other transit agencies in the region — a strong incentive for Governors Cuomo, Christie, and Malloy to maintain state transit funding in their upcoming budgets.
A number of media outlets (see, for example, here, here and here) are reporting today that President Obama will make a pitch for greater infrastructure investment in tonight’s State of the Union address. As the New York Times summarizes:
“The challenge the administration now faces is twofold: negotiating a new transportation bill with Congress amid great uncertainty over where the money will come from and what it should be spent on, and then devising a system that would ensure that in times of limited resources, the worthiest projects get money.”
The House is scheduled to vote on the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 later today. Even if the bill does pass the House floor vote, it’s unlikely such proposals would be approved by the Senate and White House. As previously noted on MTR, when it comes to federal transportation policy, we need both investment and reform. It remains to be seen if lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington D.C. can embrace both concepts at the same time.