Obama Renews Effort to Get More Spending for Transportation Goal

President Barack Obama, as part of the lead-up to the release of his annual budget proposal next week, will press Congress today to commit to more spending on repairing and modernizing U.S. roads, bridges and rail systems.

Obama is reviving previous proposals to repair and build transportation infrastructure, tying it to economic growth and creating jobs, according to a statement released by the White House.

Obama will announce his plan in St. Paul, Minnesota, the twin city to Minneapolis where an interstate highway bridge collapsed in 2007 and became a symbol for crumbling U.S. infrastructure.

The package of spending Obama is pushing totals $302 billion over four years. About half would come from a one-time revenue gain of $150 billion from a change in business taxes, a plan that Congress has ignored since the president first brought it up last year.

While the proposal released by the White House doesn’t specify the source of the other funding, the amount is roughly the same as what would flow into the Highway Trust Fund over the four-year period.

The Department of Transportation has projected that current demands on the fund, which comes from gasoline and diesel taxes, will cause it be running a deficit as early as August. While business groups have supported raising the fuel taxes, Obama has shied away from the issue, which also lacks support in Congress.

“We need user-related revenues that are stable, predictable and growing to provide the certainty needed for planning and making capital investments,” Janet Kavinoky, executive director of transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in an e-mail.

The chamber is among the groups backing the higher fuel taxes to help finance infrastructure spending.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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