What Federal Budget Cuts Will Mean for Public Transit

We recently discussed the impact losing Community Development Block Grants could have on Baltimore. But that’s not the only worthwhile program at risk of being cut.

The acting MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn and Nancy Huggins, a member of the MTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee recently discussed transit issues facing the Baltimore region with WBALtv. The largest issue at hand being that the 2018 proposed fiscal year budget could potentially put 800,000 employees in the state of Maryland at risk of losing their jobs. According to an analysis by the Baltimore City Council, Baltimore City depends on approximately $172 million from Baltimore’s budget to spend on transportation, community development, job development, and more. Grant programs such as New Starts and TIGER are at risk of being cut in accordance with these proposals.

New Starts is a federal grant program under the Federal Transit Association dedicated to allocating funds to transit projects nationwide. However, since they only have a limited amount of funds to allocate, competition among communities is high in the race for federal funding. The New Starts program chooses to allocate its funds based on “local financial commitment and project justification.” If the program does not recognize the public’s commitment through how they have chosen to divide or invest their local funds, it will not likely give to their project.

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) is one of the nation’s most competitive grant programs. This program focuses on supporting projects which may have trouble attaining government funding otherwise. Recently, Baltimore and the MTA were awarded $10,000,000 for Baltimore’s “North Avenue Rising” Project. This project aims to improve roads and add bus as well as bike lanes to the area which has been unkempt for some time.

 

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Sarah Amoyaw

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