President Bush’s budget request of $68.2 billion for the Department of Transportation (DOT) and $4.74 billion for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) fails to adequately address America’s most urgent infrastructure deficiencies and invest in job creation. The President’s failure to prioritize the nation’s aging infrastructure also extends to his inadequate budget requests for infrastructure programs within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).
Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration (FHA). Funding for the FHA, which administers the National Highway System (NHS) and its 160,000 miles of roadways in conjunction with state and local governments, would be decreased by $1.75 billion from the enacted 2008 level. The Department of Transportation has estimated that $65.2 billion could be invested immediately to replace or otherwise address currently existing bridge deficiencies. (Click here to link to a map of all Structurally Deficient Bridges in the National Highway System).
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Bush budget for the FAA is $272 million below the enacted 2008 level and the President proposes $765 million in cuts for airport infrastructure grants. Since 2001, the number of late arriving flights has increased by 582,914 (57 percent) and the number of late departing flights has increased by 521,429 (59 percent). The Bush Administration’s cut in funding for the FAA would only serve to increase the number of late arriving and late departing flights. (See Appendix A of on-time airline flight statistics).
Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The Bush budget proposes $1.621 billion for the FTA’s capital investment grants account, which is only $52 million more than the enacted 2008 level. Failing to make adequate investments in public transportation means we are not taking advantage of the estimated $6 in economic return for every dollar invested public transportation. Underfunding FTA also results in more pollution: experts estimate that public transportation results in 7 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide being emitted each year.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). President Bush proposes $1.09 billion for the FRA, a decrease of $470 million from the enacted 2008 level. The President’s proposed funding level for FRA would almost certainly bankrupt the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK) and severely disrupt the commute of its estimated 26 million riders.
Army Corps of Engineers
Construction. President Bush proposes $1.677 billion for USACE construction activities–a decrease of $617 million or 27 percent from the enacted 2008 level. The President’s decision to cut funding for the Army Corps’s construction budget comes at a particularly bad time because USACE has an estimated $67 billion in backlogged projects.
Operations and maintenance. The Bush budget proposes $2.2 billion for the USACE operations and maintenance activities, which is a decrease of $44 million or two percent from the enacted 2008 level.
Environmental Protection Agency
State and Tribal Assistance Grants. The Bush budget for State and Tribal Assistance Grants is $315 million (4.4 percent) below the enacted 2008 level. The Administration’s proposed cuts for these grants would weaken federal efforts to partner with state, municipal and tribal governments to improve vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
Drinking water. The President once again has proposed $842 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, just as he did in his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request. This funding level closely mirrors the enacted Fiscal Year 2002 level of $850 million–despite the fact that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the country should be spending an additional $11 billion each year to replace aging facilities and to comply with safe drinking water regulations.
Wastewater. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund would be funded at $555 million under the Bush budget, which represents a $134 million cut from the enacted 2008 level of $689 million. The proposed funding level would not meet the annual amount (more than $10 billion each year for over 20 years) that a recent EPA study estimates would be needed to control wastewater pollution.
Department of Energy
Electricity delivery and energy reliability. Funding for research and development of electricity delivery and energy reliability would be cut by three percent or $5 million from the 2008 enacted level of $139 million, to $134 million in Fiscal Year 2009.