By Kim Slowey for ConstructionDIVE
President Donald Trump has unveiled his proposal for the 2018 budget, and, as-is, it includes both potential positives and negatives for the construction industry.
Proposed cuts include a 13 percent reduction in the Department of Transportation’s budget, an elimination of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program — which pays for discretionary road and rail projects — as well as a $1B reduction for the Army Corps of Engineers and a halt to the Federal Transportation Administration‘s capital investment program, kicking funding responsibilities for projects with only state or regional benefit back to those localities.
One construction program that could benefit from the budget is the U.S.–Mexico border wall. Trump has requested $1.5B dollars for the project for this year and $2.6B in 2018.
Administration officials said the cuts to the transportation budget were necessary to pay for the more comprehensive $1T plan promised by Trump during the campaign.
One of the most devastating elements of the budget to the construction industry could be the obliteration of the FTA’s capital investment program. According to Trump’s proposal, any project that has not secured a full funding agreement will not receive much-needed cash.
The good news for construction is that the proposed budget keeps the FASTLANE grant program with a proposed 2018 budget amount of $900M. That program funds highway and freight projects.
While Trump’s border wall project has drawn the interest of hundreds of construction companies, the broader industry is more focused on his massive infrastructure funding plans. However, amid political infighting over how to fund the program and other legislative priorities taking over, Trump’s team could reportedly push the infrastructure plan until 2018.
Read more at ConstructionDIVE.