U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today praised President Obama's $74 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation saying the funds will lay a new foundation for economic growth and competitiveness by investing in a national infrastructure network, building on recent safety achievements and modernizing transportation systems through research and innovation.
“President Obama’s budget for the Department of Transportation reflects our commitment to investing in an America that is built to last,” said Secretary LaHood. “A strong American economy depends on the roadways, runways and railways that move people and goods from coast to coast and around the globe. President Obama’s plan will enable us to build the American infrastructure we need for tomorrow while putting people back to work today.”
The centerpiece of the President’s FY 2013 budget for the DOT is a six-year $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization proposal that will improve America’s highways and transit networks, continue to ensure that these systems are safe and give travelers new options by enhancing and expanding passenger rail service. This proposed budget would be paid for using half the six-year savings achieved from ramping down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the other half used to pay down the national debt.
The Administration’s budgeted $2.5 billion for the first year of a six-year, $47-billion rail investment plan. This will help the Federal Railroad Administration continue to work with states as they plan and develop high-speed and intercity passenger rail corridors across the country. The Administration also hopes it will place high-speed rail on equal footing with other transportation programs, revitalize domestic rail manufacturing and ensure that the nation can reach President Obama’s goal of providing 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.