Economic Stimulus Package - No Infrastructure Funding...Yet

If a group of bipartisan governors from some of the nation's largest states have their way, the $168 billion economic stimulus package will include $30 billion to repair the nation's infrastructure, including road, rail, and bridges.

"Bush signed a $168 billion stimulus package this month that included tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per household. But the White House opposed efforts to add spending for infrastructure, saying the money could not be spent quickly enough to jump-start the economy."

"The push comes at a crucial time, with many states taking a budget hit as a sagging economy slows tax receipts. California Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill said last week that the state is facing a $16 billion budget shortfall that will take spending cuts and tax increases to close."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, has left open the possibility of more stimulus measures this year, but infrastructure will be competing with other proposals, such as extending jobless benefits and increasing food stamps, which Democrats have pushed.

Then there's the thorny question of how to pay for it. A new report by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission recommended increasing the gas tax by 25 to 41 cents to raise money for transportation projects. But the White House strongly opposes it, and congressional leaders are leery of raising the tax with gas prices higher than $3 per gallon."

Additional funding sources were were announced last month by governors and "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who formed the Building America's Future coalition, which is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation."

Thanks to MTC Library

Full Story: Governors want federal transportation funds

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