Today AIA President Thomas Vonier, FAIA, released the following statement after reviewing the federal budget proposal issued by the Trump administration. At the forefront of Vonier’s concerns are massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) which threaten efforts to address urban growth, community development, and sustainability. Funds that support AIA events and programs would also disappear. “As the budget process continues, we urge the Administration to seek our guidance as leading experts in design and construction,” Vonier said, “before cutting the budget in ways that will hurt our communities.”
This budget includes many cuts that will have severe long-term ramifications for our communities and economy. It does away with programs that foster a cleaner environment and strong neighborhoods and it eliminates programs with a proven track record of job creation in the design and construction industry.
We are concerned about a proposed 31 percent cut in the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated. Future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, which provides grants to architecture programs and conferences sponsored by the AIA, is also being cut.
The Federal government plays a vital role in promoting community development, performing research into sustainable and high-performing building technologies and techniques, and helping states and cities address congestion and sprawl through innovative grant programs. Drastic cuts to these initiatives impair the work that architecture firms do in our communities.
We are ready to protect investments that affect the work we do on behalf of our clients. In fact, almost 800 design and construction businesses Thursday sent a letter coordinated by the AIA to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, calling for the continuation of important programs. And we will echo these calls across all agencies for all of the programs vital to our work.
Federal budgets always require making tough choices, and wasteful or ineffective programs should be ended. But this budget’s short-term cuts to programs that work will end up costing us much more in the long-term.
As the budget process continues, we urge the Administration to seek our guidance as leading experts in design and construction, before cutting the budget in ways that will hurt our communities.