Published on March 21st, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Donald Trump Keeps Rolling Backwards: Cuts US Commitment To Transit That’s Already Underfunded
March 21st, 2017 by Cynthia Shahan
The US government’s commitment to urban transit is instrumental for smart growth as well as socioeconomic stability. Travel by metro, train, Amtrak, and other options that work to make us a multimodal society improve quality of life and health of >100 million people. These are also the means by which many people arrive at work, at home, at the daycare to pick up a child, or elsewhere.
Donald Trump’s “skinny budget” throws a bulldozer at public transit, at the lifeblood of daily journeys that offer subsistence and sustainability to countless households and children. What bubble lacks the humanity, perception, and understanding of social need to do such a thing? We witness a head of state lacking a congruent conscience.
APTA will be hit, so it is responding. Yonah Freemark highlights the direct threat in a tweet:
The country needs growth and improved means of transit for the working person, traveling student, and families without cars. But Trump wants to go backwards.
APTA explains: “As it stands now, America is already underinvesting in public transportation, as noted in the recently released American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card. These proposed cuts would make the existing $90 billion of State of Good Repair gap even worse.”
The Transport Politic writes: “In spite of previous statements in favor of a major infrastructure bill and support for transit, Donald Trump’s budget proposal would decimate the federal government’s commitment to aiding cities build new transit lines.”
Streetsblog USA further identifies the issue: “Trump administration has released its budget blueprint [PDF], and it’s a bloodbath for everything that’s not defense spending. In keeping with the budget’s general hostility to cities, transit would be hit especially hard.”
How many jobs are lost? Instead of job growth, we would witness utilitarian job loss in some of the most helpful service industries. One is reminded of the unforgotten phrase of a disconnected, socially blind woman, Marie Antoinette. “Let them eat cake.” Why is an insulated girl so completely out of touch with the daily struggles of life for the poor so easily compared to our head of state? In this case, is the head of state out of touch, or simply attacking a whole class of people?
As citizens, we endure an utterly disconnected head of state who furthers the poverty of struggling families — disconnected from the air, the water, the soil, the working class, the heart, and surely much more. We witness a head of state who tramples on the already limited opportunities for commuting to work and home.
Streetsblog USA continues:
“Trump’s budget would also eliminate funding for TIGER, a smaller $500 million program initiated by the Obama administration to provide direct access to federal transportation funds for cities, transit agencies, and other local entities. Relative to overall federal spending, TIGER has paid for more walking, biking, and transit projects, such as Indianapolis’s Cultural Trail and Tampa’s Riverwalk. At Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s confirmation hearing in January, she said Congress members told her it was their favorite program.”
As well as more transit options and stations, the US needs funding for air pollution filters that clean up the stations we do have. Take a look at the sparkling metro in Moscow that features electric transit as well. I was told by a fellow transit traveler I met in the US who is from Moscow that she was shocked traveling in the dirty metros of the US.
The US clearly needs more integrated transport systems that accommodate all types of commuters.