Trump Guts Obama-Era Transit Funding to Build Roads – Streetsblog USA
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $900 million in new infrastructure grants on Tuesday for 55 projects in 35 states — and nearly all of them are for highways and bridges in states that supported Trump. And the latest grants continue a three-year gutting of transit funding.
“This is continuing the trend we identified earlier this year,” Transportation For America spokesman Steve Davis told Streetsblog. “This shift already well underway, just cemented with Tuesday’s announcements, and it is as to be expected at this point.”
In the first three fiscal years of the Trump administration, highways, roads and bridges received 70.4 percent of all federal transportation grants, more than double the Obama administration’s 34.8 percent between the 2014 and 2016 fiscal years.
The other modal spending shows the changing priorities of the current president to the last one:
The Trump Administration announced $900 million in transportation grants today. Here’s a snapshot from Transportation Weekly Express, comparing Obama administration multi-modal grants to Trump administration. pic.twitter.com/HeQkxl7mYB
— Rachel Swan (@rachelswan) November 12, 2019
Zero was not the percentage envisioned when the Obama administration launched the federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) initiative to stimulate the economy and offer an alternative to driving in areas with few options.
This year, the eye-poppingly large awards include $20 million to widen Interstate 64 in West Virginia; $25 million for a mobility and access project for Interstate 65 in Boone County, Ind.; $22.5 million in resiliency improvements along Interstate 95 in North Carolina, and $18 million for the U.S. Route 30 Freeway Extension Project in Canton.
Only a handful of projects are for bus projects, station upgrades, and parks.
Miami is getting $22.4 million for its Underline Miami-Dade County Multi-Modal Mobility Corridor, which will transform a 10-mile stretch under the city’s Metrorail into an urban trail with a bike path, recreational spaces, and canvases for art installations.
Phoenix is collecting $24 million to extend its rail line to Sky Harbor Airport. Baton Rouge can count on $15 million for bus rapid transit. Philadelphia is adding $12.6 million to reopen its Franklin Square Station, which had been closed for 40 years, bringing Camden commuters into Center City.
And as Streetsblog reported earlier this week, there’s a $12 million award for a “Memphis Innovation Corridor” bringing a bus rapid transit route to the University of Memphis which even Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn touted as a “tremendous asset.”
But the larger story is roads and cars — more of them.