Obama pitches transportation, infra spending plan in MN visit

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

St. Paul, MN, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama unveiled a $302 billion transportation and infrastructure spending plan during a speech at the Union Depot in St. Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday.

The four-year plan calling for building, fixing or maintaining thousands of miles of roads and rail lines to preserve middle class jobs will be funded by savings from proposed business tax changes estimated at $150 billion. The money will go to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is nearing depletion.

The Congressional Budget Office said the HTF will run out of money by next year. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx also had warned that the HTF, which is funded by an 18.4-cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline, could run out of money as soon as August as the tax hasn’t been raised in 20 years. If not replenished, 700,000 jobs are threatened, according to the White House.

Obama also announced spending $600 million for the federal grant competition TIGER or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, which funds a range of infrastructure projects.

States can compete for additional money from the grant to fund regional transportation projects like the renovation of the Union Depot in 2012 that U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN4) said created 3,000 jobs in St. Paul, which she represents.

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