WASHINGTON – Federal spending on transportation projects, including aviation, highway, conventional and high-speed passenger rail and transit, would increase by 2 percent under a proposed fiscal year 2013 budget presented Congress Feb. 13 by President Obama.
Transit spending would increase by 105 percent.
The president’s budget request is the first step toward crafting a budget for FY 2013, which begins Oct. 1, but Congress never adopts a president’s budget as presented. The road between the president’s budget request and final congressional passage of a new fiscal year budget is a long and torturous path.
The president proposed the transportation spending increases using funds that will be saved as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. A core objective of the spending is to put more Americans back to work.
Bloomberg news reports that Republican congressional leaders immediately rejected the president’s budget proposal as being too expensive. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Bloomberg that the president’s budget is “a collection of rehashes, gimmicks, and tax increases.”
Obama countered that his budget request “allows us to invest in the things that will help grow our economy right now. We can’t cut back on those things that are important for us to grow. We can’t just cut our way into growth.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the president’s budget “reflects our commitment to investing in an America that is built to last. A strong American economy depends on the roadways, runways, and railways that move people and goods from coast to coast and around the globe.”
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