Obama’s budget directs money to infrastructure, cuts CDBG
President Obama’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget, announced today, includes large increases for new transportation infrastructure and green energy investments but cuts $300 million in funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. While the spending increases drew the support of the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC), the league said the CDBG program cuts threaten cities’ economic recovery.
Key points of Obama’s proposed budget include:
• $556 billion for a six-year surface transportation reauthorization.
• $8 billion in 2012 and $53 billion over six years to improve passenger rail service and expand capacity toward reaching the president’s goal of providing 80 percent of Americans with convenient access to a passenger rail system, featuring high-speed service, within 25 years.
• $30 billion for a National Infrastructure Bank to provide loans and grants for regional and national projects that promote economic competitiveness.
• $1.24 billion for implementation of the NextGen Air Traffic Control System that aims to improve efficiency, safety, capacity and environmental performance of the aviation system.
• $6.3 billion through the Department of Energy for clean energy research, development, demonstration and deployment activities.
In a statement, NLC says the CDBG program has been “a significant catalyst” for financing housing, water and sewer infrastructure and streets, and economic development projects. “While we agree that reducing the federal budget deficit over the next several years is imperative to the country’s and our communities’ fiscal well-being, cuts to this program and others will have little real impact on that goal,” NLC says in its statement. “Unfortunately, the converse is true for the quality of life in and local economies of cities and towns. And, as the effects of the recession continue to play out in our cities and towns, the impact of these cuts on thousands of projects and programs at the neighborhood level, and the jobs supported by those projects, will be very real.”
Read more information on Obama’s proposed FY 2012 budget.