President Obama’s Budget Proposal Calls For Major Transportation Investments

This blog post is one in a series detailing President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013.

President Obama released his $3.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, which begins next October. As noted by my colleague yesterday, this budget proposal would stabilize the federal debt over the next decade through a mix of spending cuts and new revenues. The budget proposal includes a $74 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation—this is a 2 percent increase in funding compared to the fiscal year 2012 budget.

Recognizing transportation funding has not kept up with crumbling infrastructure needs, President Obama’s proposal calls for investing $476 billion in a six-year surface transportation plan. To select a few key areas, $305 billion of these funds would be dedicated to road and bridge improvements and construction, $108 billion would be for transit repairs and investments, and $47 billion would support the construction of a national high-speed rail network.

New spending associated with this six-year surface transportation plan would be entirely paid for with the savings from reducing military operations abroad. Gas and other excise tax revenues would continue to fund existing highway and transit programs.

President Obama’s budget proposal also calls for $50 billion of immediate transportation investments to support the repair, maintenance, and improvement of airport, highway, transit and rail projects. The budget proposal would also consolidate 55 highway programs and five transit programs into six streamlined programs, reward $20 billion worth of “race-to-the-top” style transportation leadership awards to encourage efficiency and performance, and allocate $4 billion to the Livable Communities Program to support healthy, connected neighborhoods.

This proposed budget demonstrates that the Obama Administration understands that the U.S. needs to invest in roads, highways, rail and other infrastructure if it is to remain economically competitive. President Obama is proposing to get construction workers—who are experiencing an unemployment rate of 17.7%—off the sidelines and back to work, thereby easing economic hardship while alleviating congestion.

As we evaluate President Obama’s transportation budget request, let’s consider the deteriorating infrastructure problem in North Carolina and the fact that support for infrastructure and public works is an investment that produces broadly shared benefits.


  1. Frances Jenkins

    February 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Yeah, more spending and no way to pay for it except to borrow more from China.

  2. gregflynn

    February 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Quote from the post above:

    New spending associated with this six-year surface transportation plan would be entirely paid for with the savings from reducing military operations abroad.

    Even Fox News reports:

    The budget blueprint contains roughly $2 trillion in new taxes and fees. When other tax cuts and credits are counted, the net impact from the proposals is still about $1.5 trillion.

  3. Alex

    February 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

    As we head towards $4 gasoline, we may not need as many roads !

  4. gregflynn

    February 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

    We’ve already had $4 gas, in the summer of 2008, under George Bush.

  5. Jack

    February 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Look up H.R. 7 that should be going to the floor of the House Thursday accrding to the sponsor of the bill U.S. Representative John Mica.

    Public transit is a major-people-moving-system of our national transportation system but not highly favored. By changing the name of a pot of money and a few other choice changes in language H.R. 7 will siphon off dollars intended for public transportation and make the dollars available for the continued expansion of roads and highways. Doing such will endanger the viability of public transit throughout NC.

    H.R. 7, if passed, will set aside a partisan agreement forged by the Reagan administration. Again, “… forged by the Reagan administration.” It is clear that President Reagan understood the need and the importance of Public Transportation as it relates to the well-being of the nation’s economy.

  6. Alex

    February 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I believe gas was $ 1.89 per gallon when Obama was inaugurated. Quite a change !

  7. gregflynn

    February 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    And what we learn from fluctuating gas prices is that gas prices fluctuate, and for many reasons. Prudent transportation planning for a growing population on more and more land dictates provisions for mobility regardless of short term fluctuations in the the price of gas (relative to the life cycle of transportation projects). If gas prices stay high long-term maybe more people and goods move around by rail, maybe we’ll have more areas with compact development, less demand for horizontal extension of municipal services.

  8. infowarrior

    February 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    What is behind bike lanes no one uses, mass transit and “high-speed rail” to nowhere, toll roads and pay-per-mile taxation schemes? There is a continuity of agenda and its name is “Agenda 21”. Look it up and do your own basic research or check out this webpage: http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

  9. Rachell

    February 20, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Well, I truly believe that many investors are now looking forward to working with the President and his Administration on initiatives to bolster American manufacturing, incentives for clean energy alternatives such as natural gas, regulatory reform to reduce the red tape that inhibits infrastructure investment; and workforce development ideas, especially with veterans and engineers, in order to support our industry’s future labor needs. And now this is the most time for real solutions to the problems facing our country. When it comes to creating jobs and fostering economic development, public investors do have the solutions.

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