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

Trump Administration Continues Funny Business with Transit Funding

Photo: Valley Metro

Almost $3 billion in transit funding that is supposed to be improving transit for American taxpayers is instead languishing in a strange state of political purgatory in the Trump administration's Federal Transit Administration.

Congress has allocated about $4 billion for new transit projects since 2017. But the federal Department of Transportation has handed out just 30 percent of the available funds. About $2.7 billion remains to be distributed to more than two dozen cities that are expecting grants.

As a result, many projects are experiencing costly delays, said the advocacy group Transportation for America. The Indianapolis Red Line bus rapid transit, for example, has reportedly been delayed by the federal funding slowdown.

The Federal Transit Administration, T4A says, is "failing to administer the grant program in good faith and in a timely fashion."

It's unclear if the delay is caused by dysfunction or by ideology. But the Trump Administration has targeted the Capital Improvement Grants program, which provides the bulk of the federal funding for large new transit projects.

In its previous two budgets, the Trump Administration called for eliminating the program. Its most recent budget instead called for reducing it severely. The attack is based on the right-wing talking point that transit is an inherently local concern — and therefore not deserving of federal funds — while highway repair and construction are national issues.

The Administration did release some funding near the end of last year for projects in Los Angeles and Albuquerque — but is still woefully behind.

"The U.S. Department of Transportation under Secretary Elaine Chao’s leadership has empowered President Trump’s strange crusade against transit funding," Transportation for America's Sean Doyle wrote in the group's most recent update.

The Federal Transit Administration is facing an end-of-year deadline for administering 80 percent of the money. The deadline was specially written into a recent appropriations bill to force the agency to issue the money Congress allocated it.

Among the projects waiting on funding are Milwaukee's East-West bus rapid transit, Minneapolis's Orange Line bus rapid transit, Los Angeles's Purple Line Subway Extension and Seattle's Center City Connector Streetcar.

In the past, the Federal Transit Administration has denied it is withholding money from projects and blamed applicants for the delays — or denied there has been any delay.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

CicLAvia Opens Venice Boulevard – Open Thread

CicLAvia opened six miles of Venice Boulevard - from Culver City Station to Venice Beach

April 22, 2024

LAPD shoots, strikes unarmed unhoused man as he walks away from them at Chesterfield Square Park

The newly released briefing video depicts Robles as non-compliant and claims officer Gomez-Magallanes shot him for pointing a weapon at officers, but body cam footage shows Gomez-Magallanes continued to fire at - and ultimately hit - Robles after he turned away and tossed the BB gun aside.

April 20, 2024

Metro Committee Approves 710 Freeway Plan with Reduced Widening and “No Known Displacements”

Metro's new 710 Freeway plan is definitely multimodal, definitely adds new freeway lanes, and probably won't demolish any homes or businesses

April 20, 2024
See all posts