WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday sent a four-year transportation reauthorization bill to Congress that aims to plug a pending shortage in funding for repair and construction of America’s bridges, roads and transit systems.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said funding would come by ending certain tax breaks for businesses.
That suggests it will have trouble gaining traction on Capitol Hill, especially among tax-averse Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Highway Trust fund traditionally has been bankrolled by taxes on gasoline and diesel, but with fuel use stagnant the fund is not bringing in enough revenue to cover the nation’s infrastructure needs. It is projected to run out of money as soon as August.
The administration’s proposal would address the trust fund’s looming shortfall and provide an additional $87 billion to address a backlog of infrastructure repairs such as structurally deficient bridges and aging transit systems.
A report last week by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimated that roughly one in 10 U.S. bridges – more than 63,000 – is in urgent need of repair. Many are part of the interstate highway system.
Among other things, the bill will also increase the civil penalties that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls.
(Reporting by Eric Beech, writing by Ros Krasny. Editing by Doina Chiacu)