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.


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  • 102 Comments
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 7 Months Ago
      Here's an idea: beef up the standards for highways so we aren't building roads that require replacement every 10 years. Until that happens, infrastructure works are nothing more than shameless political jobs programs.
      knightrider_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      AB is baiting Teabaggers again. I love when they go completely nuts and start foaming at the mouth.
        Zach
        • 8 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Reported for your homophobic comment.
      Hazdaz
      • 8 Months Ago
      We need massive infrastructure spending in this country - and have needed it for decades now - but let me guess... once again the clueless GOP is going to show its contempt for America and its citizens by being against spending here at home on much-needed projects! We need to invest in our future and build back up what once was the envy of the world in terms of infrastructure, but as usual the do-nothing, know-nothing Republican slime are going to stand in the way of improving this country.
      tegdesign
      • 8 Months Ago
      What happened to the 787 billion that was supposed to go to all those shovel ready jobs for things like roads and infrastructure?
        lne937s
        • 8 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        Actually, only about $27 B went to Highway Infrastructure. The biggest chunk of the stimulus bill went to tax cuts. Of the rest, state aid (which covered state tax shortfalls), unemployment-related spending, education, etc. ate up most of it. http://www.propublica.org/special/the-stimulus-plan-a-detailed-list-of-spending
        yyz
        • 8 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        The $787B went to pay off his union cronies.
          RGT881
          • 8 Months Ago
          @yyz
          Who then proceed to use poor quality concrete and pocket the difference which was intended for the acceptable quality mix. So we'll be back right where we started again next year, and year after that and year after that. I suppose it's one way to improve an economy by giving it an artificial "fake" boost. Here in Michigan there stories upon stories about sand being used rather than what was agreed on, and sampled to the state.
          Carpinions
          • 8 Months Ago
          @yyz
          Right. Obama funneled three quarters of a trillion dollars to union bosses. Which Alex Jones page did you read this one on?
        brandon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        Don't question where our politicians lose our money. That's a nono, just open up your wallet and give them more you cheap bastard.
      churchmotor
      • 8 Months Ago
      Another trillon dollar "stimulus" package to waste on shovel ready jobs that never materialized!
        Tom C
        • 8 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        Just to be clear here - you're opposed to roads and bridges? Why are you here then? Why aren't you collecting tree bark and berries in a forest?
          Stephen
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Tom C
          He is entitle to his skepticism of government bureaucracies and their ability to deliver what is promised. They don't have much of a good reputation.
        churchmotor
        • 8 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O55aRrvXtio
      Number23
      • 8 Months Ago
      Are these "shovel ready" jobs going to be shovel ready this time?
      Hooman
      • 8 Months Ago
      Our economy is based on cheap fuel. Increasing taxes on gasoline, diesel and coal will yield less productivity, less demand and higher costs for consumers. Those higher costs impact low income earners the most. History has shown that increasing taxes does nothing but burden growth. The Federal government has plenty of funds to deal with our infrastructure concerns. This is merely a ploy to seize more of your property (i.e. money). The solution is to lower taxes across the board and spur development. That is what leads to higher tax revenue. The Obama administration like all political administrations both Democrat and Republican is not interested in improving infrastructure. Political administrations are concerned with dispensing monies to their political backers such as unions and "green" initiatives to garner votes. The government can never create growth. The only thing the government is capable of doing is re-allocating funds.
        Quen47
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Hooman
        Give me a break. The federal gasoline tax, already one of the lowest in the developed world has not gone up since 1993. It hasn't even kept up with inflation. This "plenty of money" conspiracy crap is just a cover for creating a self-fulfilling prophesy around government not working The bottom line is that all the supply-side garbage spewing in the world can't hide simple math— we don't have the money to pay for infrastructure the way they do in other countries. Ever been to Germany? You will never see a pothole because they collect about 10 times our gasoline tax and invest it in infrastructure. Yet strangely, they have an incredibly productive workforce.
      Jarda
      • 8 Months Ago
      A) Your taxes went up by +40pct points in under 100 years. And look where your economy is heading to. + B) You expect raising the taxes even more is what you need to fix anything. = Are you actually a bunch of morons?
        brandon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        That's exactly what the general populace believes. Scary huh?
          brandon
          • 8 Months Ago
          @brandon
          You mean the same economy that "Full Employment" was considered 1.0%? Please do the world a favor and pull the trigger.
          Tom C
          • 8 Months Ago
          @brandon
          This guy prefers the economy of 1914 when life expectancy was 54 years.
          ScottT
          • 8 Months Ago
          @brandon
          He sure is an angry little guy.
          brandon
          • 8 Months Ago
          @brandon
          Angry, yes. Little, no. If it weren't for the ignorance in the world I wouldn't be. We are taxed on *EVERYTHING*, yet things like roads are relegated to last in favor of ignorant tear jerkers that "can't support themselves".
        Hazdaz
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Jarda
        My god how can one person be THAT stupid? http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/taxmageddon.png Taxes for the richest of the rich (.01%) are HALF of what they were during this country's heyday back in the 60s. Taxes for the richest .1% and 1% are DOWN some 50%, and corporate taxes are down even more than that. All while the taxes that real, every day working people pay are roughly FLAT. These right-wing tax cuts over the last few decades have essentially had the majority of people subsidize tax cuts for the rich and corporate America... and these same tax cuts for the rich have ballooned our deficits. But we have idiots like JARDA and the talking-heads on Fox News spewing their propaganda to push for even MORE tax cuts for these spoiled entitled rich folks, all while OUR tax burden increases.
      ferps
      • 8 Months Ago
      Raise the damn gas tax. It's long overdue. And put in more toll lanes in urban areas with congestion.
      T. C.
      • 8 Months Ago
      It's "Republican and Democratic politicians," unless you are sycophants of Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing nutjobs.
        vze2h7jc
        • 8 Months Ago
        @T. C.
        They are.
        brandon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @T. C.
        Cute, if you are going to call one names, you should probably make sure your comment doesn't describe yourself.
      Quen47
      • 8 Months Ago
      Huh. The federal gas tax hasn't been raised in 21 YEARS!!! It's worth a third what it was then after inflation. Of course if anyone tried to raise it any meaningful amount people would go berzerk.
        jesscott
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Quen47
        Think there would be any negative effects to raising taxes on fuel that is already to expensive? Or would we all just magically accept the higher prices? Consider the laws of diminishing returns when you advocate more taxes.
      Car Guy
      • 8 Months Ago
      So the government complains they don't have enough money to fix the infrastructure yet want billions of dollars on trains few people will actually use adding even more maintenance costs to the infrastructure. No thanks - huge waste of money. Short of areas like NYC where trains make sense people either take an airplane or drive.
        waetherman
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        Roads and bridges, dude. If you RTFA you'll see that there are an estimated 63,000 bridges that are in urgent need of repair. As a "Car Guy" I'm going to assume those are important to you.
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