White House Releases FY2013 Budget Proposal
On Monday, February 13, 2012, President Obama sent his budget proposal for FY 2013 to Congress. Notably, the $3.8 trillion spending plan would use savings from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to nearly double federal spending on transportation projects. The Obama administration proposes to spend $476 billion over six years on surface transportation projects, including $50 billion this year. According to this analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the proposal would provide $305 billion for road and bridge projects (a 34 percent increase over the previous authorization) and $108 billion for transit projects (a 105 percent increase). Additionally, the budget would provide $47 billion for high-speed rail projects, including $2.5 billion in the first year, and $30 billion for safety programs. To bridge the gap between revenues from transportation user fees and expenditures, the proposal would transfer $38.5 billion per year from general revenues to the Highway Trust Fund.
CMAP supports increased funding for transportation, and the six-year White House proposal of $476 billion compares favorably to the U.S. Senate proposal’s $109 billion over two years or the U.S. House of Representative proposal’s $262 billion over five years. However, the President’s budget would not raise traditional user fees, nor would it establish new sustainable revenue sources. Instead it relies on general revenues, which would be contrary to decades of transportation financing practices and would require transportation projects to compete for funding with other federal programs.
The President’s budget proposal comes after the White House issued a statement on February 9, 2012, in support of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the Senate’s transportation reauthorization bill. Federal Fiscal Year 2013 begins October 1, 2012.