WASHINGTON DC (AP) - President Obama’s proposed transportation budget includes a significant funding increase - $50 billion - to pay for improving the nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems, border crossings, railways and runways. The total spending in the bill is set at $127 billion, a 50.2 percent increase over the previous year’s budget. It’s similar to proposals that he has called for before, and something that Congress has not been willing to provide.
Forty billion dollars would be used for "Fix-it-First" investments under a program Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address. The program, Obama said, would not only put people to work but it would support critical infrastructure projects - such as urgent repairs to roads and fixing nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. The other $10 billion would help spur state and local innovation in infrastructure development.
Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari said at a briefing Wednesday that the $50 billion program would be paid for with savings offsets elsewhere but would not elaborate.
As for the rest of the department’s budget, the president proposed a five-year, $40 billion rail reauthorization program. It would upgrade existing intercity passenger rail services, develop new high speed rail corridors, and aim to strengthen the overall competitiveness of the freight rail system.
The budget proposal would also provide money to modernize the nation’s aviation system by boosting safety and capacity, with $1 billion for the Next Generation Air Transport System.
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