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Road, Bridge Aid Tops DOT Budget Plan

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

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Trying yet again to secure stable funding for the U.S.'s crumbling infrastructure network, the Obama Administration has proposed a six-year, $478 billion surface transportation plan overwhelmingly slated for rebuilding roads and bridges.

The budget proposal, announced late Monday (Feb. 2), includes $317 billion for roads and bridges, an increase of almost 29 percent over the current investment.

Brad Neitzke, Western Federal Lands Highway Division via

According to U.S. DOT, roads and bridges currently need "a minimum" of $124 billion annually by all levels of government to keep them in good condition; current spending is $100 billion.

The six-year plan proposes an FY2016 budget of $94.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

6 Years, 32 Bills

The spending bill is a retooled version of the GROW AMERICA Act, a four-year Administration proposal that fell short last year.

U.S. surface transportation has been funded by 32 short-term measures over the last six years, DOT notes. Last August, the Federal Highway Fund was on the verge of going broke and plans were underway to scale back projects nationwide when Congress eked out yet another temporary funding measure.

U.S. DOT FY 2016 Budget Highlights

"The last year has demonstrated the pitfalls of repeated short-term funding extensions," the Administration said in announcing the budget plan.

The 27-month, $105 billion MAP-21 transportation bill, which was signed in 2012 and expired in October 2014, was the first longterm highway authorization enacted since 2005.

"The last year has demonstrated the pitfalls of repeated short-term funding extensions," the Administration said in announcing the budget plan.

'Rebuilding America'

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the budget proposal "lays the foundation for a future where our transportation infrastructure meets the demands of a growing population and an economy that depends on the free flow of freight."

ASCE / Courtesy of Andrew Herrmann, P.E., SECB, F.ASCE

The majority of the six-year, $478 billion proposal is slated for rebuilding U.S. roads and bridges.

“This Administration is looking towards the horizon—the future—but to do this, we need Congress’ partnership to pass a long-term reauthorization to put Americans to work rebuilding America.”

Despite the increases proposed, the bill is less than half the five-year trillion-dollar proposal being floated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Roads and Bridges

According to DOT, roads and bridges currently need "a minimum" of $124 billion annually by all levels of government to keep them in good condition; current spending is $100 billion.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. roads "are in less-than-good condition," and one in four bridges "requires significant repair or can't handle current traffic demands," DOT says.

"For transit projects alone, there is an $86 billion backlog in maintenance needs that grows each year," the agency said.

U.S. DOT FY 2016 Budget Highlights

After 32 stopgap spending bills in six years, the Obama Administration will push again for a multiyear surface transportation plan

The six-year proposal increases funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by an average of 20 percent annually, providing $6 billion to address safety defects on U.S. highways.

That includes $31 million in FY 2016 for NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), to enhance DOT's ability to "monitor data, find defects sooner, and strengthen NHTSA’s ability to conduct investigations of vehicles with suspected defects."

Also included is $29 billion for deficient roads and bridges through the Critical Immediate Safety Investments Program, including $7.35 billion for rural communities.

Pipelines and Maritime

The plan would increase average transit spending by nearly 76 percent above FY 2015 enacted levels, allocating nearly $115 billion for new projects and maintenance of existing transit systems.


U.S. carriers move more than six million tons of hazardous materials each day, DOT reports.

DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which oversees the nation's 2.6 million-mile pipeline network, is proposing an increase of $44.2 million over the current $244.5 million budget for pipeline safety, hazardous materials safety, emergency preparedness grants and operational expenses.

The U.S. moves about one million shipments of explosive, poisonous, corrosive, flammable and radioactive hazardous materials daily, DOT reports. The funding increase would include additional inspectors, among other needs.

The budget also includes a substantial increase ($65.6 million over the curent $341.2 million) for the Maritime Administration, whose oversight includes the U.S. Merchant Marine, Department of Defense cargo ship maintenance, and ship disposal.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Government contracts; hazardous materials; Maintenance programs; North America; Pipeline; Pipes; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

Comment from Gene Kube, (2/4/2015, 9:45 AM)

There are more vehicles on the road than licensed drivers. The number of new cars on the road continues to rise every year. The argument that the gas tax has not increased in over 2 decades does not hold water. The problem is that the taxes collected go into the general fund which can be used for any pork barrel project the politicians want, both at the State and Federal level. If the laws could be passed so that gas taxes, vehicle registration taxes and vehicle property taxes were only spend on bridge and road improvements then we would not be having these discussions. Get all of the facts before proposing more increases in taxes.

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