The jobs plan President Obama is sending Congress will include a $50 billion spending request for new investments in “highways, transit, rail and aviation,” the White House said.
That would top the special transport-targeted spending from the 2009 economic stimulus law, which gave the Department of Transportation $48.1 billion to spend. The DOT has committed nearly all those funds to specific projects and has paid out about $31 billion to reimburse states for work already completed.
Obama also wants to create a National Infrastructure Bank with $10 billion in seed money, which could be loaned out to back projects that have private investment and a dedicated revenue stream such as tolls, or state funding.
That bank, the White House said, would “leverage private and public capital and to invest in a broad range of infrastructure projects of national and regional significance.”
Those are just two items in a package Obama is calling the American Jobs Act, and which includes $447 billion in extended tax cuts and jobless benefits, plus new spending measures.
“Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America,” Obama told a joint session of Congress last night. “Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world. This is inexcusable.”
His plan also proposes spending $25 billion to modernize 35,000 schools, and $15 billion to refurbish foreclosed or abandoned businesses and homes. But the transportation investment is a key piece, and stands out for its size.
Obama assured Congress that his plan will be fully paid for, but both his speech and White House briefing papers left out revenue-raising details. The president said he will offer revenue options soon, and said he will ask the congressional super committee meeting this fall to come up with the extra deficit reduction to cover the costs.