There is nothing more zero-emissions than a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a mass transit traveler on an electric bus or train powered by renewable energy. Yes, the combo of all three is what we need across cities and countries.
Once you’ve spent any amount of time in a car-free city center or town, you change. You have now breathed clean air as a pedestrian, experienced city life free of noisy automobiles. Even nice cars are cars.
Naturally, as with seemingly all things good, Trump’s administration wants to go in the other direction. The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget includes severe cuts to federal transit funding. It doesn’t nudge us toward more walking, bicycling, or electric mass transport — quite the opposite.
Study after study after study after study shows exhaust from gas cars and diesel engines to be a major factor of disease in our world, and — tragically — in our children. With such a large amount of information on air pollution out there, why on earth would an administration claiming to care for children cut funding for clean transport (not to mention the EPA)? Is the party and its president simply disrobing its pro-child guise, its pro-life guise with the understanding that voters won’t pay attention or care?
The budget cuts not only reduce the chance of well-being and accessibility for children, but also cut the opportunities for people to get to work, and for parents to get home to their kids. It is cruel. But, sadly, it is not unusual for this political party.
The Trump budget is not pro-life — it’s pro Wall Street. The war on the poor and America’s children remains — via neglect of the environment, neglect of public infrastructure and services, neglect of public education, and neglect of anyone who doesn’t make at least a million dollars a year.
As Streetsblog USA points out, every federal agency besides Defense and Veterans Affairs gets cut under the budget, including the US Department of Transportation (DOT), which would see next year’s budget drop by $2.4 billion (12.7%).
“The White House wants to dramatically shrink the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for roads but also transit and bicycling and walking projects. Congress has recently come up with patches and gimmicks to replenish the fund instead of raising the gas tax, which for decades was the primary source of revenue. Trump wants to rely only on gas tax revenue, cutting an estimated $95 billion from the fund over 20 years,” Streetsblog USA writes.
Pro-life, pro-child public transit, bicycling, and walking will face the biggest threat. Transit agencies serving cities around the nation rely on federal funds for their capital budgets. If those funds can’t be counted on, it will threaten their core infrastructure and existing service.
Streetsblog continues, “Capital grants for transit expansion projects, known as New Starts, would also be hit especially hard, with a cut of $928 million, or 43 percent, compared to what Congress has allocated for the current fiscal year. The Trump administration says it will support projects that have already signed funding agreements with the federal government, but wants to eventually eliminate New Starts completely. …
“Perversely, the Trump administration says it is cutting federal support for transit because cities like Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle have raised funds locally, often through ballot initiatives that increase taxes, to expand transit. While the Trump administration says this shows that federal support is not needed, those projects in fact rely on matching federal funds.”
The saddest part for some is that Trump’s budget also kills the TIGER program. With $499 million this fiscal year, the program funded a range of freight, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects around the nation.
To round off the attack on clean and affordable transportation, the budget also severs $630 million that would go for long-distance Amtrak routes.
That’s just Trump’s budget proposal. We have to wait to realistically grasp the dehumanizing outcome after Congress comes up with its final budget plan. It will go to the president’s desk before the fiscal year starts on October 1.
It is important to try to keep upbeat, though. Thanks should be sent to the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Rocky Mountain Institute, CleanTechnica readers, and more people who are truly pro-child, pro-life, and working for environmental progress and the betterment of society via social goods.
- Push Back Trumps Transit Disaster
- Donald Trump Keeps Rolling Backwards: Cuts US Commitment To Transit That’s Already Underfunded
- Madrid Plans For Car Free City Center
Images: Protected / Separated bicycle lane on Dunsmuir Street in downtown Vancouver, Canada, via Paul Krueger via flickr, transit rider via Dsade via flickr, and APTA
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