We’ve been down this road several times now over the last five years: President Obama proposes – with much fanfare – transportation infrastructure spending plans that ultimately go nowhere.
Yet the President is again preparing to roll out a new plan aimed at beefing up funding for transportation infrastructure: proposing a four-year, $302 billion highway bill that would get half of its funding via a corporate tax overhaul – a suggestion he made last year – which is in line with a “strategic vision” he outlined in his State of the Union speech back in January.
Obama plans to lay out the details for his latest infrastructure proposal during a speech in St. Paul, MN, today, while also using the podium to highlight a new program being launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help spur “innovation” in the transportation sector.
The President also expects to announce what’s being called a “competition” for $600 million in grants for local transportation projects nationwide during his appearance today.
Yet many of the same difficulties encountered by the President’s previous infrastructure funding proposals await this one, not in the least the reluctance on the part of both parties to raise taxes of any sort to pay for such spending.
[As an aside, Bud Wright, executive director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, laid out some of the consequences regarding such an “anti-tax” stance in a speech last year.]
As a result, many studies conducted upon the issue of how to increase transportation infrastructure funding – like this one released in January this year – are now focusing more on state-led initiatives versus top-down federal government programs.
How will the chips end up falling for President Obama’s latest transport infrastructure plan? We’re sure to find that out fairly quickly in the coming days.