Transportation Is Spared from Last Proposed Trump Budget Cuts

The White House Office of Management and Budget last night sent Congress a list of spending cuts totaling $27.4 billion. President Trump proposes to cancel, or rescind, these appropriations provided by Congress.

However, none of the proposed cuts affect transportation, and even if they did, under the procedures set by Congress in the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (in which Congress took a great deal of power away from the executive branch), the House Appropriations Committee can kill the proposed cuts by just ignoring them, which is just what the new chairman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), intends to do.

But proposed rescissions can cause some delay in making appropriated funds available, so on some level you have to pay attention to them.

None of the proposed rescissions were at the Department of Transportation. But they do affect infrastructure. The Administration proposes to rescind all of the new money that was added to the Army Corps of Engineers budget this year to make and subsidize loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). That program has been confined to the Environmental Protection Agency since its inception, since EPA is also in charge of the other low-interest revolving fund programs to states and municipalities to upgrade their drinking water, wastewater, and sewer infrastructure.

The extra WIFIA money for the Corps came as a huge surprise when we saw it appear in the Senate appropriations bill this year. The OMB statement says “The newly established program would expand the Army Corps, historically an engineering and construction agency, into project finance where it has no expertise providing Federal credit support for water resources projects…The Army Corps should focus on building, not banking.”

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