This is a summary of both the Infrastructure Plan as well as the Trump Budget that was revealed today. Both proposals are not for the faint of heart. Keep in mind that the budget was written before the recent budget deal passed along with the 5th CR that lifted the caps on the FY2018 and FY2019 budgets. However, I doubt that it would effect these plans very much.
The Infrastructure plan would be appropriated out of the Office Of the President and would therefore be part of the FINANCE (or TREASURY) Appropriation. The $200 billion total plan would have $100 billion go to an incentive program divided up among the DOT, Corp of Engineers, and EPA. Projects would be weighted on 50% for non-federal money used in construction, 20% for the non-federal money used in operations and maintenance, 10% on how the project would promote efficiency, 10% on the dollar value of the project, and a whopping 5% on how the project will spur economic and social returns.
Another $50 billion would go to rural infrastructure of 80% by formula and 20% for rural performance grants. Rural would be defined as rural areas with populations of less than 50,000. $20 billion would be administered by the Department of Commerce for projects commercially viable but possess unique technical and risk characteristics,
$20 billion would be used for Infrastructure and Financing Programs to increase federal credit ($14 billion) and private activity bonds ($6 billion). The Federal Credit would allow subsidization of credit risk insurance premiums. The private activities bonds would be exempt from the alternate minimum tax.
$10 billion would go for a revolving credit structure.
There would be expanded energy development on public lands to pay for capital and maintenance needs of public land infrastructure. Transit projects would require value capture financing as a condition of capital investment grants. Value capture requires increase in the assessment of properties affected by the project and taxing the increase. There would be streamline permits for rail projects. There is a statute of limitation (presumably to file laws suits in NEPA actions and permitting). The administration wants to shorten rail projects statutes of limitations from 2 years to 150 days.
Lots of other stuff. States will be able to commercialize all rest areas along interstates, but no charges could be made for using the restrooms.
The proposed federal budget for 2019 has also been released:
Rail Safety and Operations which had a FY2017 appropriation of $218 million and a FY2018 estimate of $217 million would be appropriated $152 million in FY2019.
Railroad Research which had a FY2017 appropriation of $40 million and a FY2018 estimate of $40 million would be appropriated $20 million in FY2019.
Restoration and Enhancement grants which had a FY2017 appropriation of $5 million and a FY2018 estimate of $5 million would be eliminated in FY2019.
The National Network of Amtrak which had $1,160 million appropriated in FY2017 and a FY2018 estimate of $1,157 million would be appropriated $541 million in FY2019.
The Northeast Corridor of Amtrak which had $328 million appropriated in FY2017 and a FY2018 estimate of $326 million would be appropriated $200 million in FY2019.
The Federal State Partnership for Good Repair which had $25 million appropriated in FY2017 and a FY2018 estimate of $25 million would be eliminated in FY2019
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Initiative (CRISI) which had $68 million appropriated in FY2017 and an FY2018 estimate of $68 million would be eliminated in FY2019.
As you can see almost all grant programs would be eliminated. The National Network does not call for the elimination of long distance trains; rather it requires the states that are served by them to share the operating costs with the Federal Government. Sleepers, diners, and baggage cars would either be contracted out or eliminated if they did not break even or show a profit. There would be no money available after basic replacement of track and catenary is made annually, so no funds from the FRA would be available for the GATEWAY PROJECTS.
Outside of the FRA, the FTA (Federal Transit Authority) would have its new starts program phased out by only spending money on existing projects with full funding grant agreements (FFGA) already in place. This would reduce the new starts to $1,000 million in FY2019 from an appropriation of $2,413 million in FY2017 and an estimate of $2396 million in FY2018. The Washington Metro System which got $150 million appropriated in FY2017 and is estimated to get $150 million in FY2018 would be appropriated only $120 million in FY2019.
The Essential Air Program which had $150 million appropriated in FY2017 would get $93 million in FY2019. This would be done by reducing the number of airports being served.
However, the Amtrak IG which is considered an independent agency which had $23 million appropriated in FY2017 and is estimated to get $23 million in FY2018 will still get $23 million in FY2019.
Obviously, this program will not be well received in Congress along with most of the rest of the budget. Some analysts are describing this budget as dead before arrival. Yet, it still requires us to fight the rail and transit propositions as an organization.
If you want to read more about other sections of the budget, overviews can be found on the Office of Management and Budget Web Site. There are more detailed information down to individual programs if you dig further. I found that going to the NPR review of the budget and typing on the hyperlink to the budget got me to a page where more of the OMB tables were available.
Meanwhile we should expect Amtrak to release their FY2019 Legislative Request soon. I can safely predict that they will be asking for more money than what is the Trump budget.