DODSONVILLE, S.C. — The U.S. federal government has changed its push for racially balanced funding of government infrastructure. It’s now left to state leaders to decide how to split up billions of dollars awarded for public transit and water infrastructure.
The transit funding, one of the most visible elements of the administration’s promise to fight racial inequality, has been decoupled from provisions like the 15-year, $1.5 trillion program to repair or replace America’s infrastructure, and moving directly to state and local governments.
The rules for the money will be released by the end of this year, officials said. States are being encouraged to look at ways to use their infrastructure budget differently, said Tom Bossert, President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser.
Paying for transit will shift toward mass transit, such as the F train in Manhattan, he said. That aligns with federal transportation law, which largely directs funding to transit with bus projects.
Mr. Bossert said there was no reason to impose racial goals on a multi-state-level program for funding.
“We can look at how the grants are distributed,” he said. “What are the goals? I would argue it’s more about avoiding what would otherwise happen which is being overly paternalistic.”
Not everyone is convinced that the logic of using transit has changed. John Walke, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental organization, called the change “one small piece of the broader question of funding more transparent and accountable federal transportation programs.”