It’s promising news for the trucking industry. President Obama has proposed a $302 billion budget to improve our transportation systems. If passed, funding would be allocated to highway improvements, mass transit, rail programs and highway safety.
The proposal would include extensive road resurfacing and bridge repairs. Not only would such improvements set the stage for less congestion and overall safer trucking, but they could also spell major savings.
In an issue of Transport Topics, Darrin Roth, the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) director of highway operations, estimated the cost of highway congestion–idling and the rippling effects of delivery delays–at roughly $19 billion a year.
In addition to the benefit the improvements will make on our ability to transport goods timely and safely, the process is likely to provide a business boon to those in the construction industry. Increased infrastructure development projects around the country mean greater need for construction materials delivery, including dry bulk trucking and cement delivery.
Where the $302 billion will come from is up for negotiations. Many insiders claim there will be no hike in fuel tax. The current plan indicates better utilization and distribution of TIGER grants, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery monies awarded by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Funding for the proposal may also come from corporate tax reforms. As much as $126.5 billion could come from lowering tax rates and broadening the tax base by eliminating deductions and credits.
Some, like Senator Barbara Boxer, have voiced skepticism that the bill will be passed in its entirety. Boxer (D-Calif.) chairs the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Boxer says that while there is doubt that the budget will be passed, her committee has begun to formulate its own plan for improving transportation infrastructure. The discussion has gained momentum.
This new initiative is the first time in more than five years that any kind of plan has been proposed to make important infrastructure improvements.