Trump’s Budget for 2020

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Trump Administration Proposes Billions In Transportation Cuts — and New Spending

The Trump administration on Monday proposed cutting billions in discretionary spending in next year’s Department of Transportation budget, while also calling for broad increases in spending over the next decade, a disconnect that left some in Congress and outside groups struggling to interpret the administration’s intentions.

The proposed budget cuts discretionary spending by 13 percent, including deep reductions in spending on Amtrak and airport grants. It also cuts more than $2 billion in highway infrastructure funds and more than $500 million in transit grants.

At the same time, the administration presented what it called a “historic 10-year, $810 billion reauthorization of surface transportation programs,” which would cover highways, transit rail and other programs.

The new $810 billion transportation package would replace a five-year transportation bill, known as the FAST Act, set to expire later this year.

Administration officials acknowledged the wide gap between that long-term proposal and existing funding levels, and did not offer suggestions for closing the gap, saying instead they would work with Congress to do so.

Joel Szabat, the Transportation Department’s acting undersecretary, pointed to the deep shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, which covers road and transit projects nationwide. The fund’s main source of money, the gas tax, has failed to keep up with inflation or national needs. But the disagreement over whether to raise the gas tax to replenish the fund remains a major sticking point.

“We estimate that there’s $261 billion in additional Highway Trust Fund cash that’s required to support the administration’s proposal over 10 years,” Szabat said.

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