Warning Signs for Bicycle Advocates In House GOP 2012 Budget

Digging further into the House Republican’s initial proposal for the FY 2012 budget (see text), I came across this statement (bolded below):

“Over the past decade, highway spending has mostly exceeded the gas-tax revenues that finance the fund, because gas-tax levels leveled off while spending grew. Spending, meanwhile, has increasingly been diverted to non-highway projects, such as bike trails and museums, and politicized through earmarks such as the Bridge to Nowhere mentioned above. To make up for funding shortfalls, the trust fund has required three large transfusions of taxpayer dollars from general revenues, totaling $35 billion since 2008. Without reform, another infusion will be necessary in 2013. This budget anticipates that Congress can keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent without additional general fund transfers or increases in the gasoline tax by consolidating dozens of separate highway programs that GAO has identified as duplicative. This will help focus every dollar on pursuing a targeted and cohesive national transportation policy,” (Page 32, “The Path To Prosperity).

USDOT spending would drop by more than $20 billion in FY 2012 compared to FY 2011 if the House Republican’s 2012 budget proposal (see text) were to be enacted.  FY 2012 funding would be $64 billion, down from 2011’s $85 billion. The final number could be more or less, depending on the final 2011 spending figure.

Transportation stakeholders, Senate Democrats, the White House and a number of Republicans will likely oppose that funding level, which would certainly continue the decline in private sector transportation-related employment.

See “House Republicans unveil $3.5T budget blueprint for 2012,” from the Washington Post for general information about the proposal, or the House Republican’s Key Facts and Summary.