Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
DC Streetsblog

Transpo’s Losses in First Round of Federal Cuts Look Worse Than They Are

The two houses of Congress were so much at odds over the Republicans’ proposed spending cuts that they needed two more weeks to bicker about it. So last week, they pushed off a little longer final passage of the budget for a fiscal year that started five months ago. But in order to even pass that measly two-week extension, Democrats needed to accede to $4 billion in cuts.

false

About a quarter of those cuts were to transportation. But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

The biggest chunk is $650 million of general fund spending for transportation. But remember, the baseline budget that this money is being cut from is the FY2010 budget. No allocation from the general fund was ever requested for 2011, so this isn’t a real cut since it wouldn’t have been in the 2011 budget in any case. As the Appropriations Committee puts it, “Removing these funds will have no impact on the authorized, mandatory side of the highway program and its limitation of obligations.”

The two-week cuts also targeted unspent earmarks from 2010, including $22 million for HUD Neighborhood Initiatives, $173 million for HUD Economic Development Initiative, $293 million for surface transportation “priorities” and $25 million for rail line relocation.

That all adds up to $1.16 billion in cuts to transportation and urban development. But really, it’s a lesson that when members of Congress advertise to their fiscally-conservative constituencies that they’re cutting money from the budget, sometimes the money they’re “cutting” was never really there in the first place.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Vincent Bikeway is Coming Together

The new waterway bike/walk path - with on-street connections - is expected to open later this year

July 17, 2024

Don’t Believe the Hydrogen Train Hype

Calling hydrogen-powered trains "zero emission" is misleading at best - and even if they were, they lost the race to be "first" a long time ago

July 16, 2024
See all posts