Transportation funding levels would reach historic high under Obama plan

Administration’s six-year, $556 billion strategy includes a 48% spending increase for road and bridge projects, but does not identify a funding solution

News U.S. DOT February 14, 2011
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The White House has set the bar high with the next six-year highway-funding bill, calling for $556 billion worth of investment. That’s how much President Barack Obama has marked down in his budget, which was revealed on Feb. 14. A portion of the spending also will go toward Amtrak and a national infrastructure bank. A funding source was not identified.

According to the U.S. DOT, the six-year proposal will provide $336 billion to road and bridge construction alone— a 48% increase over SAFETEA-LU, which expired in 2008. The first year of the White House infrastructure plan will be the most aggressive, with $129 billion being spent on the entire transportation sector.

“If we’re going to win the future, we have to out-compete the rest of the world by moving people, goods and information more quickly and reliably than ever before,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “President Obama’s investments in rebuilding our crumbling roadways and runways, and modernizing our railways and bus systems will help us do just that.”

LaHood also said that the president’s proposal will eliminate unnecessary programs and accelerate transportation projects. More than 55 separate highway programs will be streamlined into just five core programs. The strategy also will utilize a new competitive incentive program called the Transportation Leadership Awards, which will reward unique projects that will find new ways to connect people to opportunities and products to markets.

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