Obama Budget Raises Transport Outlays 16%

Funding hinges on Congress passing a six-year transportation bill nearly double that of 2005's SAFETEA-LU

President Barack Obama’s budget calls on Congress to pass a $556 billion, multiyear surface transportation funding plan that would include spending for Amtrak and highway repairs as well as an infrastructure bank. The amount is almost double that of the $286.5 billion enacted by Congress in the previous highway bill in 2005. 

The president's 2012 budget proposes a 16% increase in transportation funding, tying spending on many highway, aviation and rail programs to Congress passing a multiyear funding bill. The increase includes spending $50 billion in the first year of the six-year plan to promote employment. The infrastructure bank, which was allocated $30 billion over six years, would finance road and other projects.

The spending would be contingent on Congress passing legislation that would pay for the programs from trust funds rather than general funds. Rolling all the surface transportation programs into one fund, which would be renamed the Transportation Trust Fund, allows more coordination between what are currently separate transportation administrations, such as the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and others. (More at Bloomberg.com . . . )