Smart Growth Wins Big in Federal Transportation Budget

The Obama Administration released their FY 2012 budget on Monday, and transit and the so-called “Livable Communities” initiative (explicit attempts to fund Smart Growth) won big time based on my first reading of the 48-page summary.

According to the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget highlights, a summary for the U.S. Department Transportation spending, funds from highway users–passenger car and commercial trucks–will underwrite $7.5 billion for various livable communities initiatives (including transit expansion) in FY 2012, and $48 billion over six years. Livable Communities initiatives will get $4.1 billion out of the Federal Highway Administration budget, substantially more than safety which is slated for $2.5 billion. Overall, explicit Smart Growth initiatives represents 10 percent of all funds allocated from the Highway Trust Fund resources.

And I haven’t even counted the dollars for new intercity passenger rail (e.g., high-speed rail and Amtrak) or shoring up existing transit operations. The Federal Railroad Administration will get $8 billion this year and $52.6 billion over six years to begin the conversion and building out of a national passenger rail network including high-speed rail.