Earlier today the House Appropriations Subcommittee introduced the fiscal year 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill. The bill slashes funding to programs at both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by $7.7 billion compared to their 2013 spending levels. At DOT, the budget would eliminate funding for the TIGER grant program and rescind $237 million in unobligated TIGER funding from 2013. The bill would also eliminate funding for high-speed rail and cut Amtrak’s subsidy by a third.
At HUD the bill would cut overall funding by 35% compared to FY 2013, including a 50% cut to Community Development Block Grants and a 30% cut to the HOME Investment Partnership Program. The bill would also zero out funding for HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, created just this year. President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposed $75 million in funding for that office.
In response to the proposed bill, Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement:
“The cuts included in this bill would have a devastating impact on communities across America
“Rural, suburban and urban places alike all rely on DOT and HUD programs to support their local economies. The cuts proposed in the House’s bill would make it harder for these communities to spur private investment, create jobs, revitalize downtowns, and increase the supply of affordable housing in virtually every state.
“In particular, the lack of funding for HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience—which helps communities support planning efforts to expend job opportunities and improve the quality of life for families—would cripple the work of many communities that are rebuilding their economies. The type of integrated regional planning spurred by this program helps communities, the federal government and most importantly the taxpayer get the greatest return on investment.
“Cuts to programs like the Community Development Block Grants mean many cities and towns will have difficulty funding local economic development initiatives, homeownership programs and other critical services. These grants are the lifeblood of community improvement for thousands of cities and towns, and the proposed 50% funding cut to the program will mean fewer resources for communities that need them the most.
“Congress is facing many challenges this year, but cutting programs that enable local communities to generate economic development would be an enormous setback to our economic recovery.”