Trump budget proposes 13 percent cut to Transportation Dept
The Department of Transportation (DOT) faces a $2.4 billion cut under President Trump’s proposed federal budget blueprint — a surprising figure given Trump’s pledges to improve U.S. infrastructure.
The department’s funding would be cut by 13 percent, to $16.2 billion, according to the proposal released early Thursday.
“The Budget request reflects a streamlined DOT that is focused on performing vital Federal safety oversight functions and investing in nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure projects,” the budget document says.
The grants are appropriated by Congress every year but were never authorized. The proposal estimates that scrapping the program would save $499 million annually.
TIGER grants are a popular funding tool among cities and states. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao expressed support for TIGER grants and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program during her confirmation hearing.
But the program has drawn the ire of Republicans, who have sought to eliminate or reduce the grants in previous spending bills.
“If [TIGER grants] were to be cut, then it’s big time trouble,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told The Hill last week.
“Department of Transportation TIGER grants are something that are considered essential to rehabbing our infrastructure.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee, has promised to protect the grants in any spending bill.
“This so-called ‘skinny’ budget exposes the big fat lies President Trump has told the American people when it comes to rebuilding our transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I would pronounce it dead on arrival, but my Republican colleagues have beat me to the punch.”