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Trump budget plan could eliminate many transit projects

Financing for more than a dozen large-scale transit projects funded in part with federal transit grants is currently jeopardized by President Trump’s plan to eliminate the $2.3 billion per year New Starts program.

Trump’s 64-page budget blueprint for fiscal 2018 would halt grants from the program except for those projects already covered by a completed and signed full funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The president’s plan would cut off funding next year for 16 projects that are awaiting a funding agreement, according to the FTA. At least 50 proposed transit projects are in less-advanced stages of the grant pipeline, including several that have been cleared by the FTA for final engineering work in preparation for a funding agreement.

The budget proposal released Thursday would also eliminate the Transportation Department’s $500 million per year Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program.

Projects without a completed full funding agreement with FTA include Maryland’s $5.6 billion Purple Line light-rail system that is being financed as a public-private partnership, the $24 billion Gateway Project to replace the Hudson Tunnel between New Jersey and New York City, a subway extension in Los Angeles, and a light-rail line in North Carolina between Durham and Chapel Hill.