Obama proposes $302 billion, 4-year reauthorization bill, announces availability of $600 million in TIGER grants

The White House announced today that President Barack Obama will propose a $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization bill Wednesday during his visit to the Union Depot train station in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The President’s proposed bill aims to avoid insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is expected to run out of funds as early as August if Congress fails to implement a solution. The bill would reauthorize the current transportation funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), which will expire in September.

At Union Station, Obama will also announce the availability of $600 million in 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) competitive grants to fund transportation projects. He will outline his plan for these grants in announcement separate from his reauthorization bill proposal during his visit.

The White House announcement laid out some of the plans the President has for the new transportation bill.

The bill would provide funding to states and local governments for transportation projects — two levels that need more support than MAP-21 has provided. It will also provide $63 billion to the Highway Trust Fund to help fill the funding gap and will include policies and reforms to prioritize “Fix-it-First” investments.

Other investments included in the proposal are:

  • $206 billion for highway funding and road safety, which is comprised of about $199 billion for highways over four years (a 22-percent annual increase) and more than $7 billion for highway safety

  • $72 billion for transit and expansion projects over four years — a nearly 70-percent increase annually — that allows for expansion and maintenance projects in transit

  • $19 billion in rail funding, which includes nearly $5 billion annually for high performance and passenger rail programs

  • $9 billion in TIGER grants and competitive funding, which would provide $5 billion over four years — a more than 100-percent increase — for the TIGER program and propose $4 billion in other competitive funding to encourage innovative thinking

The bill also includes policy reforms that would offer federal funding to for local projects.

In addition to funding for transportation projects, the proposed bill would include funds dedicated to job and economic growth as well as plans to ensure funds outlined in the bill are used efficiently.

The bill would allocate more than $2.6 billion and provide policy reforms for “the creation of ladders of opportunity.” Those funds include $2.2 billion for a new bus rapid transit program and $400 million for the construction workforce. An additional $10 billion would go toward a new multimodal freight program.

As Obama noted in his State of the Union address, he plans to use tax reform to help fund projects covered by the bill. The White House announcement says the President is proposing that “$150 billion in one-time transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform” to as one payment option, though he encourages Congress to offer other ideas as well.