• President Trump's Budget

    March 23, 2017

  • Written by

    David Raymond 
    President and CEO
    American Council of Engineering Companies

  •  

    President Trump submitted his initial budget proposal to Congress, calling for major cuts in domestic discretionary spending, including many programs that support infrastructure projects, environmental clean-ups, and other market sectors that our members engage in. At the same time, the budget proposal includes significant increases in defense accounts, although it doesn’t provide more detailed information on proposed allocations. We have serious concerns over many elements of the President’s budget, and have heard from a number of members expressing similar concerns. It is important to stress however that this proposal is only the very first step in a very long process in which Congress will make all the decisions as it crafts its own budget; and that budget will be followed by subsequent appropriations bills that will fund specific agencies and programs. As always, we will work closely with Congress to protect and promote key programs for our members and their clients across all markets.  

    Below are some of the major elements of the President’s budget relevant to our industry:

    USDOT

    • An overall $2.4 billion or 13 percent decrease in spending relative to the 2017 level (while the budget proposal lacks specifics, it is assumed that the reductions do not apply to programs funded through trust funds, including highways, transit formula funds, and airport improvement);
    • The budget proposal limits transit New Starts capital investment funding to projects with existing full funding grant agreements;
    • The budget also eliminates TIGER multimodal grants and support for Amtrak's long distance routes, instead refocusing funds on state-supported routes and the Northeast Corridor.

    EPA

    • The budget proposes to cut the agency by $2.6 billion, a 31.4 percent reduction in spending;
    • On the plus side, the budget proposes $2.3 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, a $4 million (2%) increase over 2017 levels, as well as $20 million for the new WIFIA program, which provides loans and loan guarantees to support larger water projects;
    • The budget request also reduces the Superfund hazardous waste clean-up funding by $330 million, and proposes to eliminate funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the Chesapeake Bay restoration project, among other EPA programs.

    Energy

    • The budget provides $120 million to re-starting the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, and provides $6.5 billion for the Environmental Management program to support the clean-up of nuclear energy research and weapons production sites;
    • While lacking specifics, the budget calls for increased funding for Interior Department energy development programs on public lands and offshore.

    Departments of Defense and Homeland Security

    • Boosts overall defense spending by $54 billion, with broad references to priority objectives;
    • The Corps budget would be reduced by $1 billion, a 16.3 percent reduction relative to current spending levels;
    • $2.6 billion for a border wall and other “tactical infrastructure” and border security technologies;
    • Cuts FEMA funding by $667 million, and creates a new 25 percent match for FEMA preparedness grants. 

    USDA & HUD

    • The budget would eliminate funding ($498 million) for the water/wastewater program serving rural communities;
    • Eliminate funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

    International

    • The budget proposes reductions in funding for the multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, by $650 million over three years;
    • Funding for the State Department’s Overseas Building Office (OBO) would be reduced by 15.3%, to $2.2 billion, and the budget calls for “greater efficiencies through reorganization and consolidation at the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
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