More funding cutbacks should be expected in about five weeks when the Senate and the President will have to compromise again to secure raising the federal debt limit. Some of these added cuts could be in the 2011 budget but most will likely be in the 2012 budget beginning in October. This battle could be longer and uglier than the $38 billion deal approved last week. The Treasury has some tricks to keep over the limit debt off the books for a while.
Rail and alternative projects have the most risk of losing expected funding because both programs build facilities that can only be operated with large subsidies from federal taxpayers of rail and power users. Bridge and airport projects also have more than average risk of losing expected funding. Both of these are tainted with suspicion that many individual projects have been rewards for influential members of Congress and not essential to transportation system maintenance or expansion.