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Budget Pact Slams DOT Rail, EPA Water Programs

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A congressional budget deal on April 8 averted a shutdown of federal agencies, but some of the pact's roughly $38 billion in spending cuts fall on construction programs. The Transportation Dept.'s $2.5 billion in 2011 high-speed passenger rail funding was zeroed out. Lawmakers also rescinded $400 million in unobligated high-speed rail funds from 2010. Federal Transit Administration capital grants were sliced by $680 million. Other cuts include $997 million from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aid for state revolving funds that finance sewage-treatment and drinking-water projects. Some reductions will not result in cuts in construction projects. For example, appropriators list a $5.1-billion reduction in funds for the current military Base Realignment and Closure round, but that reflects the planned winding-down of the program in 2011. About $12 billion of the $38 billion in overall reductions was included in three short-term stopgaps enacted since March 2. The other $26 billion is in a new bill to fund agencies through Sept. 30.

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