House Republican group calls for elimination of federal New Starts program

Here’s the item from Metro CEO Art Leahy’s daily email to staff yesterday:

Today [Thursday], a conservative group of House Republicans unveiled a legislative proposal that seeks to cut more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Budget over the coming decade. The plan, released by the chairman of the Republican Study Group, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), would primarily target cutting non-defense appropriations programs. These programs would include, but not be limited to, transportation programs like the Federal New Starts program. Over the past several decades, our agency has secured billions of dollars in New Starts funds for projects like the Metro Red Line and the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. Currently, our agency is seeking New Starts funds for the Regional Connector and the Westside Subway Extension. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) discretionary New Starts program is the federal government’s primary financial resource for supporting locally-planned, implemented, and operated transit “guideway” capital investments. From heavy to light rail, from commuter rail to bus rapid transit systems, the FTA’s New Starts program has helped to make possible hundreds of new or extended transit fixed guideway systems across the country. These rail and bus investments, in turn, have improved the mobility of millions of Americans; have helped to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the areas they serve; and have fostered the development of viable, safer, and more livable communities.

The Republican Study Committee is a group of over 165 House Republicans organized for the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

17 replies

  1. There is so much absuridty it is hard to start commenting. Quickly:

    1. reduction in federal spending results in increased employment and higher wages and faster growth. Consult any basic economics text, even the now dated Kenesian ones.

    2. capital spending is only helpful (short or long term) if it builds something useful. Otherwise it is inflationary and tends to stop private invesment. Probably the condition we are now in. Again, Econ 1.

    3. There are also proposals for defense cuts, but they are in different bills.

    4. Note Jerry Brown (far left Dem). Cities (and govt. generally) shouldn’t decide on where investments go. This is basically picking winners using other people’s money. Breeds not only bad decisions, but corruption and a flight of private capital. A true city killer (but great for the fat cats).

  2. Manny, cities in this country play a vital role in its success. If you live in L.A. you realize how badly we need the subway and other light rail. It is an investment, not a drain of tax dollars since people are able to get to work on time saving billions of dollars in lost productivity. To answer you question, the rural Wyoming farmer may not move to Los Angeles, but his children do. Every year, tens of thousands of recent college graduates, not wanting to go back to wherever they are from, come to L.A. I live on the Westside and see them every day. Also, L.A. is a tourist destination. Quality public transportation will draw even more tourists to the city. Like I said, it is an investment.

  3. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on the so-called defense budget and these guys don’t raise an eyebrow but god for bid we should put a bit of funding into infrastructure on our own turf and everyone starts freaking out about spending. Its very hypocritical at best. We could actually be saving money if we were to cut some of the pork barrel military spending and just put a bit more into infrastructure. This country is not going to get any better until we tackle THAT spending problem. Its sucking up all the monetary resources for everything else so of course they can say there’s no money.

  4. Kenneth and Manny,
    Clearly, you miss the point here. First, the mayor’s 30/10 plan is asking for a loan from the government to be paid back with revenues from local sales taxes. This is exactly the kind of smart fiscal planning that needs to take place in the US and CA. This is a very wise use of government money, because it isn’t a hand-out. It is a wise subsidy. Second, you must not realize that LA and CA subsidize the rest of the nation. That farmer in Wyoming is living off our tax dollars, not the other way around. Even with funds for our subway, we still give the government more money than it gives back to LA and CA. Third, you must not realize that LA Metro is a rapidly growing system that will gain more ridership as it expands. Already, the system has ridership levels reaching those of BART in the Bay Area, which happens to cover more miles than Metro; and the Blue Line is the busiest light rail line in the nation. Perhaps the Republican Study Group should actually “study” reality before they suggest killing logical ideas to instead fund more wars and give more tax breaks as a means to “balancing the budget.”

  5. The economy is too weak for budget balancing to be a good idea, plus, cutting new starts would be a drop in the bucket compared to America’s massive and wasteful military budget.

    The U.S. does 47% of global military spending (over $800 billion per year) with about 5% of the global population, and we are WAY TOO CHEAP about investing in transit and a lot of other things.

    If we’re going to cut something, it should be our massive corporate welfare program for military contractors, not transit, and other beneficial, life affirming public services.


  6. How dare people attack healthcare and public transit when we are hemorrhaging money on two unjust wars.

    Put the blame where it belongs – we were lied to by the last government and that is where are tax dollars have been misspent!

  7. @manny…using your logic, why should government use OUR TAX DOLLARS and build a highway in Ohio? Manny…learn how appropriations work. It’s a give and take process. We’re ONE COUNTRY. This individualism is taking us in the wrong direction. I wonder if any of these Tea Party people ride the trains in Europe and Asia…but somehow think we cannot invest in this infrastructure.

  8. Sadly there is little foresight in these decisions in the name of “cut cut cut.” One being that every time i see these cuts there is always the phrase “Non-Defense cuts.” Defense is where our tax money is actually going! We spend more then the next couple of countries combined. If Republicans want to talk about cutting New Starts and potentially the Amtrak Subsidies then I want to see why its more worth it to send the money away in defense spending rather than invest here where we need the jobs now.

    Thats what leads me to my second point. New Starts encourages growth, and is a major economic stimulus to help create jobs. It encourages responsibility as local and state government agencies must front their own money. The Wilshire subway will create many jobs for years to come and help keep the jobs that are already plentiful along the Wilshire corridor. Very little foresight in this. I thought the Republicans were here to create jobs?

  9. If they are planning to cut spending on anything, then they should also consider cutting their own budgets and payroll as well! But of course not, it’s all about them. I have no problems with cuts when it’s done fairly. In the case of the politicians, it’s always about them, democraps or republicants.

  10. Many, MANY people are actually ok with postponing or canceling further development – most are too busy with work and family to get caught up in debate over it. Ridership on the LA subway is way below average for U.S. rail systems (according to the American Public Transportation Association), which is why I think fiscally conservative Republicans see this as an opportunity to save $$ that are hard to come by in the current economic climate.

  11. Actually I’m fine with this. @Dan Wentzel you miss the actual logic; the actual logic is: “why should some cattle rancher in Wyoming be paying HIS/HER tax money to pay for a subway in LOS ANGELES that he may or may not ever use.

    I’m sorry but it makes sense. If the State of California and Metro had their house in order and were fiscally responsible, building this subway would be no problem at all. Unfortunately, we don’t.

    Furthermore, NOT allowing money flow like this is consistent with the Constitution and lending money from one state to prop up another is actually not Constitutional in the strictest sense of the word however, it just happens that no one ever challenges it with the hopes that their state will get a kick back some day.

  12. Gentelmen… Dan and Dan…

    I read both of your comments, “Once again, the Republicans…” and “Conservative logic…” to which both or your comments are all about spending, excess spending when this Country is BROKE, you both do not get it!

    Where is the money comming from to fund your generosity… could it be from the 50% of the available current tax payers who pay the tax base?

    What’s up with the remaining 50% who, excuss my pun, the “FREE LOADERS” who get a “FREE RIDE” at the tax payers expense?

    You both write about Noble Causes, such as investing in the Infrastructure and stopping the outsourcing of jobs overseas, but again… Where is the money comming from to fund your “Noble Generosity”… from other peoples money, from the wallets of those 50% who pay the taxes in this Country!

    And lastly, what’s up with your “Ignoble Accusations” regarding Republicans and Consertives and their motives for this country?

    If you want more money to spend on infrastructure projects, many of which I have worked on as a Project Engineer and Constructure Engineer, then you need to find the money.

    Start with Obamacare, Stimulus and roll back Federal spending to 2004 levels… Then payoff our foreign debt to the Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Brazilians, Mexicans and the Arabs.

    And when you have done this, plus funded Social Security, MediCare and MediCal… then you can invest in your Infrastructure Projects and Oh Yeah… Drill Baby Drill!

  13. Conservative logic is, “Why invest in the infrastructure and future of our country when we can consolidate even more wealth and power in the hands of the top 1% who write our campaign checks?”

  14. Once again, the Republicans are trying to stop something that would benefit Millions so that they can skim the Money off into their agendas like more deregulation of Toxic companies and shipping jobs overseas!