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UPDATE--Local Impacts of Federal FY 2011 Budget Deal
The Federal Fiscal Year 2011 budget agreement recently passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President has implications for a variety of programs and services in northeastern Illinois. The HR 1473 legislation, entitled the ‘‘Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011,'' funds the federal government through September 2011. An earlier CMAP policy update detailed some of the reductions in transportation appropriations, as well as some of the rescissions in unobligated balances across various transportation programs.
In summary, many important transportation programs were hit hard in this round of appropriations, especially capital assistance for high-speed rail, intercity passenger rail, and "surface transportation priorities" (transportation earmarks). All funding was eliminated for these programs. In addition, the "TIGER" capital program (12 percent reduction) and capital investment grants for transit (20 percent reduction) were affected. It is important to mention that while many of these programs experienced significant reductions, most programs supported by the Highway Trust Fund -- including metropolitan planning funds (which largely support the work of CMAP and other regional agencies across the U.S.) -- remained level with FY 10 funding.
CMAP and many of our regional partners have kept a close watch on the future impacts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI). DC.StreetsBlog.org recently reported on the ultimate survival (albeit with a 33 percent reduction) of this innovative effort in the FY 11 budget, which includes $100 million for the interagency (HUD, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) Partnership for Sustainable Communities, with $70 million for regional planning grants and $30 million for Community Challenge planning grants. Last October, CMAP was awarded a $4.25 million regional planning grant from the SCI program to help implementGO TO 2040 in local communities, which are already receiving direct planning assistance due to CMAP's rapid deployment of these funds.
Many other major housing, economic development, and environment programs that assist local governments were affected by the new budget. For instance, HUD's HOPE VI program (50 percent reduction) and Community Development Block Grants (16 percent reduction) took major hits. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs were cut by 18 percent. Furthermore, Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds (27 percent reduction) and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds (30 percent reduction), both of which provide funding for local governments and other units to rehabilitate or expand water infrastructure, were hit hard in this budget.
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) posted an excellent analysis of the federal budget agreement.