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3/20/2017 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Big Cuts in 2018 Budget Plan

13% DOT Reduction Eliminates TIGER Grants

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

This story appears in the March 20 print edition of Transport Topics.

An expansive grants program for freight projects and guidance for reforming regulations designed to boost commerce were included in President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal — though the trucking sector went without specific mention.

The $1.15 trillion funding blueprint, a preface to a complete budget document likely to be unveiled in May, was meant to outline the White House’s intention of increasing funding for the military and cutting environmental protection programs.

Specific to freight, the request noted the administration’s support for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grants.

Established by the 2015 FAST Act highway law with $900 million in funding approval through 2020, the program is designed to help improve the flow of trucks and rail along freight corridors.

“It shows that the administration recognizes the value of investing in infrastructure projects that promote the safe and efficient movement of freight,” American Trucking Associations spokesman Sean McNally said of the freight program.

The administration also expressed interest in rolling back regulations targeting air, water and wetlands protection, a move most of the freight sector, along with several governors and Republicans on Capitol Hill, have supported.

“Many regulations, though well- intentioned, do not achieve their intended outcomes, are not structured in the most cost-effective manner and often have adverse, unanticipated consequences,” according to the document.

Not surprisingly, the White House took aim at the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants, used by state and municipal officials for financing small rural projects and large-scale highway expansions aimed at promoting commerce. The move drew opposition from many of the program’s supporters on Capitol Hill.

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By Eugene Mulero and Eric Miller
Staff Reporters

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