NYC schools, housing, and transit to lose hundreds of millions in federal aid under Trump’s budget
Under President Trump’s first budget proposal, New York City will lose hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, housing, transportation, homeland security, and other city agencies. According to the Daily News, city schools and afterschool programs can be expected to lose $140 million, homeland security grants will be cut $190 million, and NYCHA will lose $370 million, which is on top of the $76 million cut they were already expecting. Ironically, the budget also slashes transit projects by $2 billion, which means completing projects like the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway trans-Hudson River tunnel may be on the chopping block, despite the fact that they were specifically called out in Trump’s previous $1 trillion infrastructure plan to receive $14.2 billion and $12 billion respectively.
As Politico details, the Gateway Program–which would build a new Hudson River rail tunnel, replace another that’s in disrepair, replace rail bridges in New Jersey, and expand Penn Station–would be funded primarily by New Starts, an infrastructure grant program that’s set to be eliminated in the new budget. Specifically, it limits funding projects from New Starts that already have existing full-funding agreements in place. Instead of using federal funds, any new transit initiatives would be paid for by localities that “use and benefit” from the projects, according to the White House. Despite being accepted as a New Starts project, the Gateway Program has yet to receive a full funding commitment. New Jersey Governor Christie and New York Governor Cuomo had agreed to split half of the $24 billion plan, with the rest expected to be taken care of by federal funds. Interestingly, the office of Governor Christie, once a close friend of Trump, said he will “fight any federal funding cut.”
The New York Housing Authority is also slated to bear the brunt of Trump’s federal cuts. The proposed budget eliminates HUD’s community development block grant, which totals a loss of about $136 million for New York. Plus, it’s expected to lose two-thirds of its capital funds, about $220 million, and an additional $150 million in money used for operational costs. These funds go towards repairing roofs, peeling paint and broken elevators in the city’s housing.
Mayor de Blasio, however, is not taking the news sitting down. “Every single one of these items can be fought,” he said during a press conference. “New York City is directly in the cross hairs. This will make New Yorkers less safe, it will make it harder to get affordable housing, it will hurt our schools, it will hurt our hospitals.”