How will President Trump's proposed federal budget, released last Thursday, affect New York's investment in infrastructure, particularly transportation? The short answer is that it won't.
The 53-page blueprint contains big-picture spending cuts that are so unrealistic that even a Republican Congress would never pass it. At the agency level, though, the longer answer is that the proposed cuts are inconsistent as well as impractical – meaning that it's not clear what Trump wants to do. That's especially true with transportation.
If you're worried that Trump's budget guts infrastructure investment, you should relax.
Trump has already achieved a budget goal: headlines that signal to his supporters that he's “draining the swamp” while making us safe again. The budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion without adding to the deficit – meaning, as the president said, “insist[ing] on $54 billion in reductions to non-defense programs.”
Many of these cuts are dead on arrival, and indeed were dead before sending. The budget would eliminate $427 million to continue the rather non-controversial restoration of the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, for example. A month earlier, Republican representatives from those regions said that they wouldn't approve such a cut.
That one move alone makes up 16 percent of the president's cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet the president's staffers, if one ascribes political competence to them, proposed it knowing that it will never happen. This move indicates that the budget document overall is not a serious negotiating bid but a PR move.
The budget blueprint's section for the federal Department of Transportation, which makes grants to states and cities for federal infrastructure investment, offers similar....