Obama Spreads Valentine Love to Transportation with $556B Proposal: Infrastructure Bank, Livability Grants, Doubling Transit Funds

In his 2012 fiscal year budget released on Feb. 14, President Barack Obama proposed a six-year $556 billion surface transportation package. The amount represents a substantial increase in transportation funding and includes an immediate $50 billion cash infusion to create jobs, a proposed national infrastructure bank, and a heavy emphasis on expanding high-speed rail.

The $556 billion dollar proposal is nearly double the $285 billion package authorized in SAFETEA-LU, the last highway bill, which expired in September 2009. Legislation to establish a new, multi-year investment highway blueprint has languished in Congress for the past two years.

The budget includes a new FHWA livability grant program totaling $4.1 billion next year and $28 billion over six years. It specifically targets multi-modal transportation hubs and bike/ped/transit access, and formally embraces a “fix-it-first” approach for highways and transit.

The budget also includes $32 billion in competitive grants to encourage states to adopt safety and livability reforms, as well as $119 billion for transit over the next six years — about double the amount set aside for transit each year under the previous transportation bill.

The White House has released a fact sheet on the transportation provisions in the President’s budget. [PDF]

  • Provides $13.4 billion in discretionary resources in 2012, a $1.3 billion decrease from 2010 levels. (This figure excludes $109 billion in obligation limitations for the surface transportation plan. Including surface transportation obligation limitations, Department of Transportation’s total budgetary resources increase by $53 billion over 2010.)
  • Includes a six-year, $556 billion surface reauthorization plan to modernize the country’s surface transportation infrastructure, create jobs, and pave the way for long-term economic growth. The President will work with the Congress to ensure that the plan will not increase the deficit.
  • Jump-starts productive investment and stimulates job growth with a first-year funding boost of $50 billion in 2012.
  • Provides $8 billion in 2012 and $53 billion over six years to reach the President’s goal of providing 80 percent of Americans with convenient access to a passenger rail system, featuring high-speed service, within 25 years.
  • Includes $30 billion over six years for a pioneering National Infrastructure Bank to invest in projects of regional or national significance to the economy.
  • Continues to invest in the Next Generation Air Transportation System—a revolutionary modernization of our aviation system.
  • Initiates Transportation Leadership Awards to create incentives for State and local partners to pursue critical transportation policy reforms.
  • Reduces funding for Airport Grants, focusing Federal support on smaller airports, while giving larger airports additional flexibility to raise their own resources.

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