On May 23, 2017, the Trump Administration released its formal FY'18 budget request. This follows the March 16 release of a preliminary "skinny budget".
Congress will now begin the annual process of drafting and passing individual federal agency appropriations bills with the goal of completing the process by the October 1, 2017 start of the FY'18 fiscal year.
Here are some details about the Administration's request for FY'18 US DOT funding:
Most of the budget recommendations for transportation and infrastructure programs mirror those in the March "skinny budget". Key congressional leaders, industry stakeholders, and project sponsors are already on record strongly opposing the funding cuts proposed.
On a positive note, the budget fully funds all of the FAST Act authorized programs which are funded through the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), including the highway and transit formula programs. These include such programs as TIFIA, FASTLANE grants, and FTA Bus and Bus Facilities grants.
However, as expected, programs funded through the General Fund, as opposed to the HTF, are proposed to take a big hit. This includes the elimination of funding for the popular TIGER program, a 50% cut in total Amtrak funding, and a significant reduction in funding for FTA's Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) program (New Start, Small Start, and Core Capacity projects).
The CIG grants are proposed to be cut almost in half from the FY'17 level of $2.3B down to only $1.2B. The budget requests the full FY'18 funding for the 12 transit projects which currently have Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs), plus the California Caltrain electrification project which US DOT yesterday agreed to sign the FFGA - all of which equals approximately $1.208B. That leaves essentially no money available to sign any additional FFGAs or fund any of the many projects pending in the CIG pipeline. DC's WMATA is recommended to receive its authorized level of $150M. As noted above, Congress did not accept a similar proposed CIG cut in FY'17 and will hopefully restore some or all of the authorized CIG funding.
While the "skinny budget" had proposed eliminating all funding for Amtrak's National Network (long distance lines) and generally protected the funding for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the formal budget reduces both programs from the FY'17 total funding level of $1.49B down to a total of $760M.
The FAA's construction-related Airport Improvement Program (AIP) is recommended to receive the same funding as in FY'17 - $3.35B.