President Bush on Monday submitted his FY 2008 budget request for transportation, which included his funding plan for public transit.
The $9.422 billion budget request includes $1.4 billion for New Starts and Small Starts transit projects, about $300 million less than the investment guaranteed by SAFETEA-LU.
In a statement, APTA expressed disappointment at the funding level, saying it "undermines the need to expand public transportation."
In a teleconference with reporters Tuesday, FTA Administrator James Simpson defended the Bush plan, saying it requests 6.2% more funding than the president's 2007 budget and 97% of the SAFETEA-LU funding level. "I like to look at the glass as half full instead of half empty," he said.
Simpson cited a need to balance discretionary spending with the needs of transit projects. "We're comfortable that we can fund everything, including the Small Starts, with the level of funding that's proposed in the president's '08 budget," he said.