Photo: The White House
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced President Obama’s $94.7 billion Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). The proposal makes critical investments in infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century.
Speaking at a town hall at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Foxx highlighted the president’s budget proposal, which notably includes funding to advance research and autonomous vehicles, while announcing his report “Beyond Traffic,” a look at future trends and choices that will impact America’s transportation system over the next three decades.
“Our budget proposal lays the foundation for a future where our transportation infrastructure meets the demands of a growing population and an economy that depends on the free flow of freight,” said Foxx. “This Administration is looking towards the horizon — the future — but to do this we need Congress’ partnership to pass a long-term reauthorization to put Americans to work rebuilding America.”
The last year has demonstrated the pitfalls of repeated short term funding extensions and is why the President’s FY 2016 budget creates additional certainty with a six-year $478 billion surface transportation reauthorization proposal that would improve America’s highways, ports and transit networks. The proposal would better ensure these systems are safe, and support the development of a high-performance rail system. The proposed budget would be paid for in part with $238 billion from transition revenues generated from pro-growth business tax reform.
Closing the Infrastructure Deficit
In the last six years, Congress has passed 32 short-term measures that have failed to adequately address the needs of the country’s aging infrastructure. To keep roads and bridges in good condition, all levels of government — federal, state and local — will need to spend at a minimum $124 billion annually; current spending is at $100 billion. For transit projects alone, there is an $86 billion backlog in maintenance needs that grows each year.
To tackle infrastructure deficit and support job creation, the six-year budget includes $317 billion to rebuild America’s roads and bridges, an increase of almost 29% over current investment in the country’s highway system. To help meet growing demand, the budget provides more than $143 billion to create and improve transit and passenger rail service.
To encourage private sector investment, the budget includes $1 billion annually for credit assistance for nationally or regionally significant transportation projects through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. The budget would also create a new Office of the Assistant Secretary for Innovative Finance to manage the U.S. DOT’s credit programs and help projects develop plans to utilize innovative financing.
To improve safety on our commuter systems, the budget provides $3 billion over six years to help with the implementation of Positive Train Control. In addition, $29 billion would be provided for targeted infrastructure investments for deficient roads and bridges through the Critical Immediate Safety Investments Program, including $7.35 billion for rural communities.
For more highlights of the budget, click here.