projects a key priority.
President Barack Obama recently
released his fiscal year 2014 (FY14) federal budget request, which outlines the administration’s priorities for the upcoming federal
fiscal year. This year’s proposal calls for about $3.77 trillion in federal
government spending with new revenue from closing tax loopholes on the nation’s
wealthiest individuals and corporations and spending cuts that would affect
entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
The president’s budget proposal does have a number of items
of interest to landscape architects. Below is a summary of some of those provisions
by federal agency.
Department of Interior
administration recommends $11.7 billion in spending for the Interior
Department, a 4 percent increase above the fiscal 2012 level. Specifically, the
budget requests $2.6 billion to support the critical conservation,
preservation, and recreation mission of the National Park Service. This budget
includes a total of $2.5 billion for National Park Service programs that
support the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative, including $2.3
billion for national park operations, a total increase of $48.4 million over
2012. Key increases include $2 million to enhance sustainable and accessible
infrastructure across the National Park System and $1 million to foster the
engagement of youth in the great outdoors.
The president’s budget notably calls for full, guaranteed
funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million per year,
beginning in fiscal 2015. For fiscal 2014, the administration requested $356
million for federal land acquisition and $60 million for state grants. The
budget also recommends allocating $15 million to reestablish the Urban Parks
and Recreation Recovery program. Offsets for Interior’s budget gains would come
from cuts to administrative costs such as travel, streamlining technology, and
a call for a repeal of incentives that benefit the oil and gas industry.
Department of Transportation
The president’s proposed Department of Transportation (DOT)
budget of $76 billion represents a 5.5 percent, or $4 billion, spending
increase over 2012 levels. This funding request represents the administration’s
request to fully fund the recently adopted surface transportation law, Moving
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The DOT budget also calls for an
additional $50 billion for immediate investments to support critical
infrastructure projects, such as improving America’s roads, bridges, transit
systems, border crossings, railways, and runways. This includes $40 billion in
“fix-it-first” investments for improving existing infrastructure assets and
$10 billion to help encourage state and local innovation in infrastructure
development through competitive grant programs like TIGER.
About his proposed transportation budget, President Obama
has stated, “These investments would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in
the first few years and in industries suffering from protracted unemployment.”
Environmental Protection Agency
The president’s budget recommends cutting overall Environmental
Protection Agency funding by $296 million, or 3.5 percent, from fiscal 2012
levels. Under the proposal, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving
Funds (SRFs) would take the brunt of the cuts, with funding reduced by $472
million to a combined $1.9 billion. The administration seeks to target funding
for the SRFs to “small and underserved communities with limited ability to
Housing and Urban Development
HUD would receive $47.6 billion in the president’s plan, an
increase of 9.7 percent from 2012. The Community Development Block Grant
Program would receive $3 billion and a new Integrated Planning and Investment
Grant from the Office of Sustainable Communities would continue the work done
by previous Community Challenge Grants.
Centers for Disease
Control: Under the president's budget proposal, the overall CDC budget
authority would be cut by $439 million, with the Community Transformation Grant
program funded at $146 million, down from $226 million in FY 2012.
Administration: The budget would also eliminate fees for SBA loans under
$150,000. Recently, SBA Associate Administrator Jeanne Hulit noted that
borrowing demand has started to recover after slipping during the recession,
but not for small-dollar loans. The administration is hoping the fee waivers
will help fill that lingering gap in the loan market.
ASLA will continue to monitor the president’s budget
proposal and the congressional appropriations process to determine how FY14
spending priorities will evolve.
For more on ASLA’s federal
priorities, visit www.asla.org/advocacy.