Happening Now

Hotline #705-A

January 29, 1992

The Administration's proposed fiscal year 1993 budget was released today, containing few surprises. The Administration tried to portray the budget as "protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of life," but fails that goal by giving big increases to highways and aviation and big cuts to rail and transit.

Amtrak would get only $343 million, compared to $651 million this year. That's even less than what the Administration proposed for 1992. Amtrak's operating budget would be $269 million, which would have to cover both operating losses and the excess retirement payments. Amtrak is going to have enough trouble with this year's level of operating funding. Capital funding would be only $74 million, which surely would make Amtrak's goal of self-sufficiency by 2000 an impossibility. Nothing would be provided for the Northeast Corridor or electrification, though maglev research would get $15 million.

Despite the Congress' wishes expressed in the ISTEA act to reduce single-occupant automobile use and promote mass transit, the Administration would increase highway spending by 16%. But transit funding would decrease from $3.8 billion to just $3.0 billion, a 20% cut, despite the larger authorizations in the ISTEA act. Aviation would get a 6% increase.