EPA and High Speed Rail Take a Hit in Budget Deal

I am not sure we can pat the federal government on the back for avoiding a shut-down, but they did.  And so, onward we go. With regard to the world of sustainability, the budget appropriations for the up-coming fiscal year are disappointing in a few areas.

The EPA will be loosing $1.6 billion. This is about half of what was proposed by Republicans initially, but still accounts for a cut of about 16% of their annual operating budget. (About the same amount of money is being cut from the defense budget that the Republicans had initially asked for.  That budget is now set at $513 billion instead of $515 billion.) This blog is not a place for discourse on our defense and military budget, but I figured I would add that in there as a point of reference. Just sayin.

High-speed rail investment is also losing a significant chunk of change. The original stimulus package of 2009 had about $8 billion dedicated to high speed rail and the current level of funding was at $2.5 billion per year. That budget is now being cut by at least $1.5 billion–the final numbers have yet to be worked out. Funnily enough, in February, Transportation Secretary Ray LeHood was asking for $53 billion in such investments. I say funnily there in more of a “he was way off,” tone. There is nothing funny about this. Reminds me that I was witness to one of the most compelling presentations I have ever by the director of transportation for the MTA a few months ago.  He talked about mass transit and trains as the linchpin of solving green-house gas emissions.  (More on that soon when we launch City Atlas.) Oh well. Maybe next time America!

In the time that this was written, news has been roaming around the internet that the deal to stave off the shut down will actually not go through…just sayin. Again.



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