Skip to comments.White House Proposes $556 Billion Highway Bill
Posted on 02/15/2011 2:42:54 PM PST by Qbert
The White House is proposing a whopping $556 billion for a new, six-year surface transportation funding bill that is almost three years overdue. Its entirely possible that Republicans' total for transportation will be half that amount or less.
Both Republicans and the White House agree on one thing: The long-awaited measure to fund highways, railroads, and bridges should be fully paid for. How to actually come up with the cash, however, will be a matter of considerable debate over the next year. Fuel tax increases are off the table from Republicans perspective. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., wants to comb through current funding programs for unspent fundsthe equivalent of searching the sofa cushions for loose change. Mica also wants to leverage public-private partnerships to pay for highway maintenance. Even by the most generous estimates, its hard to imagine more than $150 billion coming from those sources.
The national highway funding system has been operating on temporary funding extensions since the last surface transportation measure expired in 2009. President Obama has made transportation investment a top priority for the coming year. He is renewing his request for $50 billion in the coming year to spur job growth and allow states to initiate sound multiyear investments. That proposal, issued last fall, fell flat in Congress. The White House is also seeking $53 billion over six years for high-speed rail projects and is asking for $8 billion of that money in 2012. The likelihood of getting even a fraction of that sum is slim, considering that rail tops the list of programs that Republicans consider expendable. Still, Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHoods commitment to high-speed rail demonstrates their willingness to plow forward in spite of the opposition. From the administration's perspective, investing in rail is about jobs and growth. As Vice President Joe Biden put it last week, There are key places where we cannot afford to sacrifice as a nation, one of which is infrastructure.
Obama also hasnt given up on a broader plan for a national infrastructure bank that would be housed in the Transportation Department and dole out money for big projects that use multiple transportation modes and could take many years to complete. Those projects might lie fallow without federal expertise and resources to jump start them, according to DOT officials. Obama is seeking $30 billion over six years for the infrastructure bank.
Republicans should applaud one piece of the administrations transportation budget proposalconsolidating 55 highway programs down to five. This would give states and localities greater flexibility to direct resources to their highest priorities, the budget said.
Didn’t they already fix the roads and bridges in the last Porkulus bill?
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Can I ask what happens to the Federal and State Fuel Tax Revenues?
I thought those taxes were to pay for roads.
I guess there’s no use in asking where the fuel taxes, 2290’s (Federal Highway Use Tax), or the 12% Federal Excise Taxes went.
And now they want more? Fuggedaboudit.
“Republicans should applaud one piece of the administrations transportation budget proposalconsolidating 55 highway programs down to five. This would give states and localities greater flexibility to direct resources to their highest priorities, the budget said.”
This is called a bribe. There are no “resources”. Most of the states are technically bankrupt, as is the Federal Government.
Obama is determined to destroy the United States, and we’re relying on a select few Republicans to stop him cold.
We’ll see soon whether Republicans stay together on chopping the budget down to ‘affordable’.
The House needs to allocate ZERO dollars for this.
“Didnt they already fix the roads and bridges in the last Porkulus bill?”
What for? The day of petroleum powered machines is over. I am working on a wind powered boat. I will post pics after my rights to harness this new source are secure.
The military really should be condsidering the 25th amend option.
Why dont we wait until we have the money to pay for all this!
Just another wasted hundreds of billions. We talk about it like it’s chump change!
It is becuase its not thier Money, they are always loose with other peoples (i.e. THE peoples) money.
more shovel ready temp jobs?
The joke was on us?
Didn’t Porkulus repave every highway in the Continental US already?
“Can I ask what happens to the Federal and State Fuel Tax Revenues?
I thought those taxes were to pay for roads.”
Ha..., no, it’s a “motorist wealth redistribution program”...
“It is becuase its not thier Money, they are always loose with other peoples (i.e. THE peoples) money.”
...even when there IS actually no “OPM”, and they have to borrow the money in “the people’s name”...
The federal fuel taxes are only covering about 3/4 of what the federal government spends on highways. The gallons of gasoline and diesel sold the past few years are down while the prices of asphalt, concrete and steel are up significantly. Highways are a subsidized form of transportation in the US.
Highways are a subsidized form of transportation in the US.
That is true, and is why diatribes against rail subsidization, frequent here on FR, are reactionarily simplistic. The question is how much to allocate to where. This also pertains to air travel subsidized by the FAA through Air Traffic Control and airfield improvement.
Altogether a complicated question and sadly trivialized here on FR (which gives the Left all the more ammo; in fact methinks the reactionary stuff here is often agent provocateur material).
Transportation, particularly freight, clearly needs to be subsidized to some degree nationally. For intermediate and long distances I'm a rail advocate for reasons of specific energy (J/kg/mi) and highway incongruity between auto and truck. But I don't trust any one in the federal government, given the agenda-ridden fusillade of lobbyists and lawyers who will argue any which way, to arrive at objective and most efficient solutions.
Thus the primary reason to cut the feds to the bone, then "they" have to evaluate efficiency.