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The Trump Administration has released its full fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal and it includes significant cuts to public transportation including…

  • Eliminating Federal funding for all 15 long-distance passenger rail routes, including the Lake Shore Limited that stops here in Rochester each day
  • Eliminating the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) that helps cities of all sizes build new transit lines
  • Eliminating the competitive TIGER grant program which has helped fund previously unattainable local projects such as Rochester’s new Amtrak station

Transportation professionals and advocates around the country are sounding the alarm…

Acting President and CEO of APTA issued a statement saying, “The Trump Administration has made it clear that infrastructure investment is important for our country’s economic prosperity.  Yet, this budget proposal to eliminate critical public transportation infrastructure projects is inconsistent with addressing America’s critical transportation needs and helping America’s economy prosper. These targeted cuts to public transit go directly against the President’s own calls for new infrastructure spending.”

APTA is asking concerned citizens to contact their elected officials (using this online tool) to urge them to “reject the President’s proposed cuts to public transportation, including the Capital Investment Grant Program (CIG).”

Smart Growth America issued a statement saying, “As proposed, the President’s FY 2018 budget represents the largest, most draconian cuts to federal attainable housing, public transportation, and community development programs we have seen in recent history. We hope Congress takes action to fight this budget, and instead develop a plan for responsibly investing in Americans and their communities.”

Transportation for America says, “The administration’s budget proposal makes clear their intent to end federal support for transit construction [and] ends any possible uncertainty about their belief that highway projects are always inherently in the national interest, transit of any type is explicitly a local concern, and leveraging greater local and state investment in transportation is not a trend to be encouraged.”

Sigute Meilus, Executive Director at Americans for Transit said in an email statement that Trump’s proposal “would eliminate federal funding for transit expansion and modernization, at a time when transit has become key to job creation and economic prosperity.

Her organization is urging transit advocates in all parts of the country to contact their representatives and senators and ask a simple question: “Do you support the budget cuts in transit capital spending and passenger rail service in the president’s March 16 budget proposal?” You can then send the responses to and they will compile all the legislators’ positions and publish the list online at

So far, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) have gone on record in opposition to the transit cuts.

For those who make the call to their representatives, Meilus says it’s important to voice strong opposition to the cuts and to mention specific projects or services in your area that would be impacted. “We oppose them not as defenders of the status quo – because the status quo is indefensible. We offer a different vision, a vision of a transportation network built for people.”

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