By HIROKO TABUCHI
APRIL 5, 2017
When President Trump pledged during the campaign to spend $1 trillion to restore America’s crumbling bridges and roads, supporters across the country cheered.
A leaked list of the Trump administration’s priority projects seemed to speak to the scope of the president’s ambitions: a high-speed rail line linking Houston and Dallas; a desalination plant in Orange County, Calif.; and improvements to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.
Then came Mr. Trump’s budget proposal, which would slash the Department of Transportation’s spending by 13 percent, end subsidies for Amtrak’s long-distance trains and eliminate the Obama administration’s “Tiger” grant program, which has helped fund mass transit systems across the country.
Among the potential victims of the president’s proposed cutbacks: Maryland’s long-awaited Purple Line, a planned 16-mile light rail system through the capital’s suburbs.
Maryland had been just four days away from clinching some $900 million in federal aid in August when a federal judge ruled to temporarily invalidate environmental approvals for the project. But under President Trump’s plan, projects that don’t yet have complete federal funding agreements would be financed “by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.”
Supporters of the project are devastated.