President Obama's State of the Union Addresses Nation's Infrastructure Needs, Urges Congress to Pass a Transportation Bill this Summer
In President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union last evening, he laid out his agenda for moving the nation’s economy forward by creating more American jobs, helping small businesses, and fixing infrastructure.
Specifically, Obama urged Congress to take steps to lower tax rates on small businesses and close tax loopholes that allow businesses to move jobs overseas. He added that these savings should be used to invest in the nation’s infrastructure needs. He went on to challenge Congress to pass both a water and transportation bill by this summer so that we can protect the more than 3 million infrastructure jobs affected by the measures. Current surface transportation law, the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), is set to expire September 2014. During a recent hearing, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (PA) announced his intentions to move a transportation reauthorization bill through the House prior to the August recess, giving the Senate time to act and conference on a final bill in time for the September deadline.
Regardless of Congressional action on infrastructure, Obama promised to use executive action to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key infrastructure projects, “so we can get more workers on the job as fast as possible.” He also pledged that his administration will “continue to work with industry to sustain production and job growth, while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.” Additionally, he vowed to use executive authority “to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.”
ASLA will continue to monitor the administration’s priorities when President Obama releases his budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 in early March.