Letter to our Clients Concerning President Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget

100_2711This week we got our first look at the new federal budget proposed by the Trump Administration, and like many other businesses and organizations, have concerns about many of the critical federal programs being eliminated.  Recent focus on deregulation, the executive order reorganizing the federal oversight structure, and now the proposed elimination of so many critical funding programs that local communities leverage in their work causes us great concern, both as a small business as well as members of the communities where we work and live. As we look across our list of current projects, we see many projects that would not be occurring without these key funding programs, and we see many Indiana and Kentucky cities and towns that would lose the ability to do the things that are so vital to their ongoing efforts to improve their communities.  Like others, we are still trying to understand the details of this proposed budget and we will work to contact our local and congressional representatives to ensure that they have a full understanding of the detrimental impacts that will result if the budget passes as proposed.   Below are statements released by the American Planning Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects that detail the areas of concern which are being raised by the planning and landscape architecture professions.  We encourage our clients to spend the time necessary to understand these impacts and to work with their local and state representatives to ensure that Kentucky and Indiana’s congressional delegations understand how important these programs are to local communities.

APA Statement on FY 2018 Federal Budget Proposal

American Planning Association, Washington DC

The federal budget proposal released today utterly fails to meet the needs of the nation’s communities. If the proposed cuts to essential community development, housing, and transportation programs are enacted, communities across the nation would face serious threats to economic growth and prosperity. At a time when cities and towns face significant challenges to infrastructure investment, affordable housing, and economic development, the elimination of critical and proven federal programs is damaging and unacceptable.

The budget sent to Congress today would eliminate several critical programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME, and Choice Neighborhoods. In addition, the budget would end support for New Starts transit funding, TIGER grants for key transportation projects, and the Economic Development Administration.

These programs are the foundation of locally led efforts to build stronger, more just, and more prosperous communities. They not only have a proven track record of success and bipartisan support but also act as tools for leveraging private sector investments. The irresponsible cuts in this budget also make our communities more vulnerable and less safe with cuts to coastal mapping and resiliency efforts and the elimination of pre-disaster mitigation planning grants.

Simply put, the scope of these cuts places jobs, development projects, and public health at risk. Further, the proposed changes threaten to undermine expressed priorities of President Trump, ranging from infrastructure investment to boosting growth and jobs.

Planners stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration on policies and programs that will strengthen communities. This budget would take the country in the opposite direction. The elimination of federal programs that help communities plan and prosper will harm essential local housing, transportation, and economic development priorities. They will weaken job creation, hinder private sector growth and investment, and slow efforts to expand opportunity.

APA opposes efforts in this budget that undermine local community development. In particular, APA strongly rejects any effort to eliminate key programs like CDBG, HOME, Choice Neighborhoods, TIGER grants, and transit assistance. Now is the time for federal partners to assist communities in creating stronger and more economically vibrant places. However, this budget moves the nation in the opposite direction. APA calls on Congress to reject these cuts and support essential investments in the future of our communities.

ASLA Statement on Trump Administration FY2018 Budget Blueprint

American Society of Landscape Architects- Washington, DC

On March 16, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released this statement in response to President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal:

“We are disappointed with President Trump’s budget blueprint, which calls for dramatic cuts to many of the federal programs and resources that strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and economic development.

President Trump’s recommendation to completely eliminate two critical community development programs, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, is short-sighted. TIGER has been one of the most successful and popular programs with policymakers, communities and transportation planners like landscape architects – the number of applications far exceeding the amount of available funding.

ASLA is also extremely concerned that President Trump’s proposal would drastically reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by a staggering 31 percent, thereby severely crippling key air and water quality programs and critical climate change research and resources. The budget recommendation purports to increase funding for EPA’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds by $4 million.  However, the budget also eliminates $498 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Wastewater loan and grant program and instead recommends that rural communities access EPA’s State Revolving Funds, thus leaving State Revolving Funds with a $494 million reduction in funding. 

The Society recently released recommendations for updating and strengthening all forms of infrastructure, including enhancing the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, expanding State Revolving Funds, increasing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and others. Together, these recommendations will help provide communities with the much-needed infrastructure upgrades to become more livable and resilient places to live, work and recreate.  Unfortunately, if enacted, this Trump budget proposal would leave many communities vulnerable.

We understand that this proposal is the start of a long legislative process. The Society will continue to work with legislators to ensure that funding is available for sound infrastructure solutions that American communities are demanding.”

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