"The President's strong support for roads and bridges serves him well. Despite the controversy over the Economic Recovery package, 94% of Americans supported the President's call to increase infrastructure investments. Roads and bridges rank #2 in importance among infrastructure priorities for the American people. And while Congress only provided 3.6% of the Economic Recovery funds for roads and bridges, the President's consistent promotion of highway infrastructure made his views crystal clear.I think its funny that when roads and bridges are discussed, people on the road side automatically think highways. It's like a dog whistle but in this case it might not mean what they think it does, which to us should be heartening. There are also plenty of complaints about tolling and the feeling that there won't be enough money to build the highway system all over again.
Perhaps Mr. Obama tricked us during the election with the whole roads and bridges comment on repeat. I for one would welcome the trick if it meant we are changing the way we're funding new capacity and alternative transportation modes. We will see.
- The proposal implies that the 87-year old budgetary mechanism known as "contract authority" be deleted from the budget. Without contract authority, multi-year highway projects cannot be fully-funded.
- There is no mention of President Obama's support for roads and bridges anywhere in DOT's budget framework.
- "Road pricing" is discussed as an option in the budget framework, despite Secretary LaHood's opposition to tolling existing roads.
- There is no room in the budget for any substantial increase in highway funding, despite the President's recent call for investment levels that would rival the funding for construction of the Interstate Highway System.