Up Next in D.C.

Oct 24, 2011

Next on the voting block in the Senate is Obama's $60 billion infrastructure proposal. It includes $50 billion in straight spending and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank. This $50 billion targets repair work that can be accomplished more quickly that "shovel ready" projects. It will be paid for by a 0.7% surtax on people whose annual incomes are more than $1 million. 

It seems to have minimal chance of passing. According to Transportation Nation, "Republicans have shown unanimous opposition to using a millionaire’s surtax to pay for stimulus spending. And while the idea of an infrastructure bank has bipartisan support in the Senate, House Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) has declared it “dead on arrival.”

Meanwhile, a long-term, surface-transportation bill is more than two years overdue. The most recent extension expires on March 31st – just in time for a new paving season. A two-year proposal for a surface transportation bill to replace SAFETEA-LU will be debated by the Senate’s primary transportation committee. The two-year bill would maintain funding at roughly current levels but would require an additional $12 billion from a to-be-determined source. House Transportation and Infrastucture Committee Chairman John Mica still seeks a six-year bill. Either of these would be better than yet another extension and give states and contractors some much needed stability.

Author: Jonathan MacIver