WASHINGTON, D.C. June 10 -- U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud voted against an appropriations bill this evening that would dramatically slash funding for a number of services critical to Mainers and the state's economy. The bill, which passed in the House this evening along a largely party-line vote, provides nearly $2 billion less in funding to Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) agencies than current funding levels. Services like Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), TIGER grants, and affordable housing programs are among those taking funding cuts.
"This is a bill that addresses a number of critical services that are central to Maine's economy -- and that's why it's so important for us to get it right," said Michaud. "I cannot support a bill that targets these specific programs for funding cuts. We are talking about programs that provide housing for low-income families, make it safer to transport hazardous materials by rail, that allow residents and visitors to travel around our state on the Downeaster, and that provide much needed investments in our transit and road projects. We owe Mainers and the American people something better than a bill that makes unnecessary spending cuts to services people need -- and I will continue to work to achieve that."
Some of the cuts included in today's bill:
Reduces Amtrak funding by $200 million
Reduces FRA's budget by nearly $200 million:
- No funds were included for the Safe Transport of Energy Products Fund or the Positive Train Control
- FRA's safety and operations account received an increase of only $750,000
Reduces the Department of Housing and Urban Development by nearly $1 billion -- impacting affordable housing and development programs like Community Development Block Grants
Cuts TIGER grants by $500 million -- harming the ability of the program to support innovative projects in Maine and across the country
"While there were far too many trade-offs for me to support the bill, I was pleased to see the Committee report included two language provisions I sought that will benefit Maine," Michaud added. "The report promotes composite bridge development within DOT's Technology and Innovation Deployment Program. It also directs the Administration to begin the process of designing new schoolships for Maine Maritime and the other state maritime academies. The ships are nearing the end of their service life, and it is important that we begin the replacement process early so that our academies can continue training the highest quality mariners."