February 27, 2015
Industry News

Infrastructure Repair Plays Big Role in New Budget

Infrastructure Repair Plays Big Role in New Budget | Obama's budget for fiscal year 2016 includes $478 billion for infrastructure repair efforts.

Obama Administration's Proposed Budget Aims to Revamp America's Infrastructure

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration unveiled their proposed budget for fiscal year 2016. This budget, designed with the aim of ushering "middle-class economics into the 21st century," focuses on investments in key areas like research, education, training, and infrastructure repair.

According to the official statement on whitehouse.gov, a "21st-century economy demands a 21st-century infrastructure." This fundamental idea aligns perfectly with HJ3's mission, as it's evident that the United States is grappling with an aging and deteriorating infrastructure that necessitates innovative solutions to address the colossal costs associated with replacement.

President Obama's proposed budget prioritizes five critical aspects of infrastructure in dire need of attention:

  1. Modernizing ports
  2. Building stronger bridges
  3. Improving roads
  4. Building faster trains
  5. Enhancing broadband connectivity

Through these vital investments, the Administration foresees the following benefits:

  • Creation of thousands of new jobs in construction and engineering
  • Empowerment of stronger and more resilient communities
  • Enhanced business efficiency

To finance infrastructure revitalization, the President's budget includes a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization, funded through revenues from business tax reforms. This pro-growth reform also ensures that companies pay U.S. taxes on the $2 trillion of overseas funds rather than indefinitely deferring these payments. The reauthorization plan has a dual purpose:

  1. Supporting the restoration of existing roads and bridges
  2. Modernizing infrastructure through new investments in highways, freight networks, and rail systems

Additionally, the budget aims to encourage private investment in infrastructure repair through a Rebuild America Partnership, introducing an independent National Infrastructure Bank to leverage both private and public capital. This partnership focuses on critical national and regional infrastructure projects. The proposal also introduces America Fast Forward bonds, building on the success of existing taxable bond programs, along with tax-exempt Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds to attract new capital sources for infrastructure rehabilitation investments at the state and local levels.

To streamline the process, the Administration is committed to further modernizing and improving Federal permitting processes for significant infrastructure projects. This includes:

  • Reducing bureaucratic hurdles
  • Ensuring more prompt Federal permit decisions and reviews
  • Ensuring projects lead to advancements in communities and the environment

While $478 billion may seem substantial, it is a fraction of the trillions estimated for infrastructure repair and replacement. However, it represents a crucial starting point and an initial stride toward addressing the aging infrastructure crisis that America faces.

The proposed budget includes funds to repair degraded bridges to help ensure that collapses like this one don't happen. Photo Credit: CNN


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