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1/29/2014 8:30:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Obama Seeks Highway Bill by Summer

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

President Obama told lawmakers he wants them to pass surface and waterway transportation funding bills by the summer and to pay for them by reforming the corporate tax code.

In his State of the Union address Jan. 28, Obama criticized the corporate tax code as being “riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes” that reward moving jobs out of the country. He wants Congress to close those loopholes.

“We can take the money we save from this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure,” he said, adding that lawmakers could protect 3 million jobs if they pass surface transportation and waterways bills by the summer.

Congress passed the MAP-21 highway law in 2012, but it will expire Sept. 30. Lawmakers have started considering a new bill to replace it, in addition to a water infrastructure bill to fund ports, canals and similar assets.

Obama said he would work to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure.

American Trucking Associations welcomed Obama’s call for infrastructure development, but found it lacking.

“While we appreciate President Obama making reference to the need for infrastructure investment, we remain disappointed in the continued lack of specificity when he discusses funding,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.

“While it is critically important to the nation that Congress and the administration come together on a multiyear highway bill this year, we believe that until the administration puts forward a serious, user-based funding proposal we will risk going over the Highway Trust Fund 'fiscal cliff' in the near term and be woefully underfunded to meet the longer term needs of the nation,” he said.

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