Prepare for a big political debate about the nation's infrastructure in the coming weeks. The Obama administration has sent a bill covering interstate repair funding for the next four years to Congress. While that might seem somewhat benign, the proposal is likely to prove contentious because it would be partially financed by ending some tax breaks to businesses. This likely won't go over well in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Furthermore, the bill includes a provision that could prove unpopular in the auto industry. It would allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue larger fines against automakers that delay recalling vehicles.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the US Highway Trust fund, which pays for interstate infrastructure upkeep, is mostly subsidized through gas and diesel taxes, but those are no longer bringing in enough money to pay for needed repairs. If passed, the bill would add about $87 billion to the coffers over the next four years.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek claims that other Republican and Democrat politicians are working on their own alternative bills, which are reported to spread the funding over six years. Regardless of which bill wins out, expect to see a lot of political maneuvering in the coming weeks about the nation's interstates.