Below is an early analysis from Metro’s government affairs staff of the debt-ceiling compromise before Congress. Not surprisingly, it includes cuts in federal transportation spending:
The House and Senate are set to vote today on legislation that reduces our national deficit, raises the debt ceiling and avoids a technical default by the U.S. Treasury Department. The plan agreed upon last night by the House and Senate leaders and the White House has two parts or phases – with the initial impact being a nearly $1 trillion reduction in the national deficit and an increase of $900 billion in the debt ceiling. The second part of the bill would empower a joint congressional committee with the task of securing an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction and raising the debt ceiling by a similar amount. Should the joint congressional committee fail to achieve significant debt reductions, the bill being considered today includes trigger mechanisms that would force across the board spending cuts.
As drafted, the legislation being considered by Congress today would impact federal transportation funding by placing statutory caps on discretionary spending. For example, federal transportation programs for Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013 would be funded at Fiscal Year 2011 levels. This is significant because the Fiscal Year 2011 funding levels were approximately 3.8 percent less than the previous year [Fiscal Year 2010]. Following Fiscal Year 2012, transportation spending and other non-discretionary federal programs would rise by about 2 percent per year from Fiscal Years 2014 to 2021. Please find attached a copy of the Budget Control Act that will be considered by the House and Senate later today. We will continue to carefully analyze the short and long-term implications of this legislation on our agency’s Board-approved legislative program.
It’s worth noting that many members of Congress — as well as President Obama — have in recent months also raised alarms about the nations deteriorating infrastructure.
There is also this angle, as pointed out by the New York Times: the initial strategy to help the nation’s economy by boosting government spending — i.e. the federal stimulus bill, bailouts of various firms — has turned into a strategy of big cuts to government spending.