Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 05:07 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
DOT: Transit Account Raided to Fill Highway Trust Fund Gap
PROGRAMS FUNDED BELOW SAFETEA-LU "GUARANTEES"
The Department of Transportation was among the hardest hit in the proposed FY2009 budget. The budget calls for DOT to receive $57.1 billion for FY2009, which is about a 10 percent cut from current funding levels. The rationale for the decrease is lower-than-anticipated gas tax receipts flowing into the trust fund. To address the projected shortfall, the budget cuts highway funding by more than 4 percent and would allow money to be moved from the mass transit account to help maintain the highway trust fund.
The administration estimates that it will need to take about $3.3 billion from the mass transit account in FY2009. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the deficit could reach $12 billion unless action is taken to shore up the trust fund.
The proposed budget would fall short of the funding levels authorized in the 2005 transportation authorization legislation (SAFETEA- LU). Nonetheless, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said that the department would spend the authorized levels over the life of the law. The administration is also asking Congress for $175 million for a program to combat highway congestion.
Amtrak is again slated for a major cut in funding. Last year Congress provided $1.35 billion for Amtrak. This budget asks for $800 million, an amount insufficient to continue current levels of service.