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Sound Transit's Rogoff urges Congress to sustain federal funding for transit

Rogoff testified before a congressional panel on highways and transit.
Photo – House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster's YouTube account

At a congressional hearing yesterday, Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff called on lawmakers to continue providing federal funding for transit agencies.

Testifying before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Rogoff said he was encouraged by President Donald Trump's stated goal to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. However, Rogoff said he's disappointed by the administration's fiscal-year 2018 budget proposal that would undermine those goals.

Trump's proposed federal budget blueprint zeroed out funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and limited funding for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grants program.

"The budget proposals appear to ignore the benefits that transit projects bring to the national highway network," Rogoff said in prepared remarks. "Eliminating transit expansion means more congested highways and less efficient movement of people and freight. Absent a mix of solutions that include transit expansions, worsening road congestion threatens to choke off our nation's needed economic growth."

Rogoff — who served as administrator of the FTA in President Barack Obama's administration — noted that the Trump administration "has made it clear it will not be submitting a detailed legislative proposal on infrastructure and will instead submit a set of principles."

That could give Congress the opportunity to chart the course for infrastructure funding, Rogoff said.

Sound Transit is in the final stages of the FTA's process for securing the $1.17 billion full funding grant agreement for its Lynnwood Link extension.

In May, Rogoff and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Philip Washington issued a joint statement opposing Trump's budget proposal, which would slash funds for the agencies' expansion plans.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/12/2017