Obama to Propose 4-Year Transportation Budget, Touts TIGER Grants

President Obama told a St. Paul, Minn., audience he will send a four-year transportation budget to Congress in March to help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, a plan he said would provide jobs now and economic growth later.

Speaking at Union Depot in the state’s capital Feb. 26, Obama said the passenger rail hub is an example of the value of TIGER grants, a program he is eager to continue.

TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. For the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the TIGER program is worth $600 billion.

The president said roads, bridges, ports, airports, schools and broadband networks need repair or expansion, and it should not be a partisan issue.

Bloomberg News reported earlier Feb. 26 that Obama’s proposal would cost $302 billion and be paid for in part by reforming the corporate tax code in a way that lowers tax rates but broadens the base by closing loopholes.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) earlier in the day unveiled a plan for corporate tax reform, that among other things, he said, would produce $126.5 billion for the Highway Trust Fund over eight years.

American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves said the federation is willing to assess all options for financing the Highway Trust Fund.

“It is heartening that both President Obama and Chairman Camp recognize the critical need for revenue to finance infrastructure improvements,” Graves said. “While a sustainable source of long-term funding would be preferable, given the apparent reluctance to embrace traditional, user-funded revenue streams, ATA is prepared to keep an open mind when looking at financing options for the Highway Trust Fund.”

ATA has backed raising federal fuel taxes to finance infrastructure upgrades.

The 5-year-old TIGER program was started as a part of the 2009 stimulus package. Obama said 270 grants have been awarded in all 50 states since the program started.

By Transport Topics