Obama Budget Proposes $556B, Long-term Transportation Bill

The White House hasn’t released its FY2012 budget request yet. What we know so far is that it’s a $3.7 trillion budget that would reduce the deficit from $1.6 trillion projected for 2011 to $1.2 trillion next year. President Obama “trims or terminates” more than 200 federal programs, according to the Washington Post, but has big plans for transportation: his budget envisions a $556 billion transportation bill. The Hill reports that the proposal includes “$50 billion in up-front investment that ‘creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in the short-term.'”

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As expected, the President is trying to simplify the federal transportation program, consolidating 60 programs into five. The Post reports that those would be “limited to making investments only if Congress agrees on a financing plan that would not increase the deficit.” Politico reports that transportation would come from a “single trust fund covering highways and passenger rail systems like Amtrak.”

Insiders say there’s no gas tax hike planned (no surprise there) but there is funding to start a National Infrastructure Bank.

President Obama is also calling for increases in education spending, education research, and broadband access.

He plans to raise revenues by increasing some taxes on the wealthy, teeing up for another battle with Republicans, and ending oil and gas subsidies.

Among the cuts: community development block grants would lose $300 million, $1 billion would be cut from large airport grants, and nearly $1 billion would be trimmed from a fund that finances water treatment plans and other infrastructure projects, according to the Post.

We’ll be hearing more from the Department of Transportation in a few hours and will bring you more news when we have it.

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