Federal Transportation Budget Proposes Reforms, Revenue and Innovation
The Obama administration has released the details of its four-year, $302 billion transportation plan as part of its 2015 Budget Request to Congress. The President’s plan is important because it goes beyond setting spending levels for fiscal year 2015, which is the predicted date of the Highway Trust Fund’s insolvency. Simply extending the current MAP-21 Plan would require requires an infusion of $19 billion next year or $100 billion over 6 years. In his proposal, which is an $87 billion increase over current spending levels, funding for transportation projects would come from $150 billion in transition revenue generated from business tax reforms and current revenues from the federal gas tax.
From the Department of Transportation press release:
In addition to closing the $63 billion hole in the Highway Trust Fund and reversing our infrastructure deficit, the President’s proposal will also:
- Improve transportation efficiency with a new Interagency Permitting Improvement Center to help us continue streamlining permitting processes so we can deliver projects faster and work towards the President’s goal of cutting timelines in half;
- Boost the safe transportation of energy products with a comprehensive approach --from increased inspections and investigations to new research and cross-agency projects--so the United States can continue on track toward becoming the world’s top oil producer by next year;
- Increase freight capacity to allow us to move 14 billion additional tons of freight in this country by 2050;
- Build ladders of opportunity through infrastructure investment that is not just about pouring cement and lifting steel, but about helping people get home faster and connecting them with jobs, schools, and a better quality of life.
As for what’s likely to happen next, because the bipartisan budget passed by Congress in December also set top-line budget amounts for the year (FY15) to come, it’s uncertain if the House or Senate will introduce or pass their own budget resolutions this year. Still, whether the ultimate legislative vehicle is the reauthorization of MAP-21 or appropriations bills later this year, it’s essential that Congress and the President come to agreement on a way to continue supporting communities’ efforts to maintain their transportation infrastructure and prepare for the future.
Here are couple of links to read more about the Federal Transportation Plan:
- Transportation For America’s Analysis of the President’s Proposed Budget
- The Department of Transportation’s detailed version of the 2015 FY Transportation Budget