Smart Growth America statement: “Communities need a partner, not austerity measures”

Yesterday President Trump released his proposal for the fiscal year 2018 federal budget. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following response:

“There’s a lot of puzzling logic in this budget, but one point stood out to me above the others. It was the budget’s justification for cuts to transportation. Despite a pledge of raising $200 billion for infrastructure spending, the budget explains that because cities are investing in public transportation, the federal government should stop doing so.

The fact that local governments are spending money on public transportation—or housing, or neighborhood revitalization—shows just how much cities value these things. Local governments and the private sector are willing to invest their own dollars to make these things happen. The federal government should follow their lead and help that work go farther.

Some places can’t raise enough money for transportation projects on their own. In these places, federal funds can be a crucial catalyst, and can help communities build up their local economies to a point where they can be self-sustaining.

This budget ignores why communities need federal community development and transportation programs. It’s not just that they need money or innovative tools — which, for the record, they do. They also need a reliable partner who can support their work, not austerity measures that punish them for taking action.

If the federal government quits being that partner — which this budget absolutely implies — it’s going to cause lasting damage to American communities at a time when they need greater security and opportunity, not less. Trump promised these very things, but this budget is a reversal on that promise. We urge Congress to reject this austerity budget and create a budget that reinvest and rebuilds America for the future.”