New Jersey 101.5

States face $1.5 billion in cuts to roads, transit, rail

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Political inaction and partisanship have once again stalled progress in the United States. Funding for highways, rail and transit, as well as almost every other federal program, face automatic cuts on Jan. 2, 2013, if a deal is not made between President Barack Obama's administration and Congress by the end of the year.

Pundits are skeptical such a deal will be drafted during the 2012 election season in time to stem "sequestration," enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Sequestration will result in automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget, ranging from 8.5 percent to 13.3 percent in extreme cases.

The sequestration act leaves almost no discretion to Congress or President Obama's administration for which programs will be cut. Highway programs, however, will be left alone because the law exempts trust-fund transportation programs. Other programs not financed by the transportation trust fund, like biking and walking projects, will result in a loss of nearly 15,000 transportation-sector jobs and lots of municipal infrastructure.

The BCA will also spare federally mandated spending programs such as Medicare.

According to studies, the cuts will push the national unemployment rate to above 9 percent; reduce the national Gross Domestic Product by $214 billion, and will cost the 2.14 million jobs.

To read the full story and how transportation funding and projects will be affected, read the whole story here.

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