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Transportation Funding

House Dems Release Alternative to GOP Budget, Separate From Obama

With the FY2011 budget finally settled, it’s time for Washington to start fighting over 2012. President Obama released his 2012 budget proposal in February. The Republicans introduced theirs last week. And the House Democrats have just released theirs [PDF].

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Meanwhile, President Obama is giving a speech in just a few hours on his plan to reduce the deficit. He’s not coordinating with the House Dems on this, though – it appears he’s relying more on the bipartisan “gang of six” senators who are crafting an agenda based on the recommendations of the deficit commission.

The Democrats’ budget proposal, hot off the presses, seeks to bring the economy into “primary balance” (which doesn’t count interest payments on the debt) by 2018, three years later than the Republican plan. It reduces the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years and promises to end tax breaks for oil companies.

Like Obama’s budget proposal and the deficit commission plan, the Democrats’ agenda would move transportation spending over to the “mandatory” column.

Our budget supports bipartisan cooperation to identify a funding source to build out and maintain our highway and transit infrastructure. It also supports deficit-neutral capitalization of an infrastructure bank to provide funding for a variety of needs, including transportation, waterways, clean energy infrastructure, and school buildings. Where the Republican budget cuts about $318 billion in transportation funding that benefits our families, businesses, and communities, the Democratic budget sets a path for a surface transportation reauthorization and new investments.

The detailed budget [PDF] allows for $93 billion in new budget authority for transportation next year, growing to $101 billion in 2021.

We’ll be watching Obama’s speech at 1:35 to see whether he supports the House Democrats or goes off on his own to create a third path to deficit reduction.

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