McCollum urges rejection on proposed Republican budget cuts to Minnesota highways, bridges, and transit
House GOP Budget Proposals Would Kill Federal Support for ALL Future Twin Cities Transit Projects
Congressional Quarterly's House Action Report yesterday described the House GOP budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2013 (H. Con. Res. 112) as recommending "the termination of funding for high-speed rail projects, reductions in Amtrak funding and the elimination of the New Starts and Small Starts programs in the Federal Transit Administration." CQ further explains that the Republican House Majority "argues that mass transit projects are local, not national, and should therefore be funded at the local level."
For Minnesota, Republicans in Congress are proposing to shift the entire burden of financing mass transit construction onto the state and localities. There is no guarantee – or even commitment – in the Republican budget to provide promised federal transit funds to allow completion of the construction of the Central Corridor LRT. The GOP budget would shift 100% of transit funding onto the state and local governments for the following projects:
• Southwest Corridor
• Gateway Corridor
• Bottineau Corridor
• Robert Street Corridor
• Riverview Corridor
• Rush Line Corridor
House GOP Budget Drastically Cuts Minnesota Highway and Bridge Funding
Overall, the Republican FY13 budget resolution cuts federal transportation programs, including highway and bridge funding, by 36-percent for 2013. Transportation Weekly reported that the transportation funding level in the House Republican budget for next year is $49.7 billion while commitments made in prior years totals $56.3 billion – meaning this budget is $6.6 billion short of meeting contractual obligations for projects that are already under construction or planned for construction next summer.
Between 2014 and 2022, the Republican budget would cut federal transportation funding nearly 25-percent. These damaging cuts will make our country's transportation system less efficient, reduce economic growth and make America, including the Twin Cities, less competitive in the global economy.
A vote for the Republican budget is a vote to provide Minnesotan's with fewer transportation choices at a time of rising gas prices, increase congestion on Minnesota roads, provide less funding to replace our 1,149 structurally deficient bridges, and destroy thousands of construction jobs for Minnesota workers.
This GOP budget (H. Con. Res. 112) needs to be defeated in Congress and rejected by the American people. The alternative, the Democratic budget for FY13 includes $50 billion to immediately put thousands of Americans to work rebuilding infrastructure and digging out of our country's backlog of deferred highway and bridge maintenance. Democrats also include President Obama's six-year surface transportation proposal to modernize America's transportation system and provide certainty to states and local governments.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.