Obama again is proposing an additional $50 billion in “up-front” transportation infrastructure spending. That total would include $40 billion for “Fix it First” projects, aimed at deferred maintenance, as well as funds to launch a national infrastructure bank.
The budget also calls for "America Fast Forward" infrastructure bonds, similar to the popular Build America Bond program, which expired at the end of 2010.
Obama has floated the ideas of a $50-billion transportation infusion and an infrastructure bank before, but Congress did not approve those plans.
DOT’s Porcari says several factors give the administration confidence the new plans will get a better Capitol Hill reception this time around. For one thing, he says, “Because this funding is fully offset by savings identified elsewhere in the budget, we believe that a strong case can be made that this is a good investment that—if you do it on a one-time basis—pays off over the long term.”
Hike Proposed for GSA Construction
Elsewhere in the budget, there is surprisingly good news for General Services Administration federal-buildings construction. The FY14 budget proposal seeks $816 million for GSA’s construction account, a huge leap over 2013’s $56 million.
The request also includes $1.2 billion for GSA repairs and alterations, more than double 2013 appropriations of $495 million.
Andrew Goldberg, American Institute of Architects managing director for government relations, says that in the budget, “There’s a major commitment not just to infrastructure generally [and] the budget recognizes that buildings are a part of that infrastructure.”
Goldberg adds, “The hard part is going to be Congress, where there has been a lot of reluctance to provide this level of funding in recent years."
Dan Tangherlini, GSA acting administrator, said in a budget briefing for reporters, “It’s very important that we get this program going again and get these investments made, because if we don’t make these investments now, it’s only going to get more expensive over time.”