Thousands of local jobs at risk if federal highway fund runs out - KCTV5

Thousands of local jobs at risk if federal highway fund runs out

Posted: Updated:

President Barack Obama is pressing Congress to make a long-term commitment to keep highway and transit aid flowing to states, but lawmakers appear headed for a short-term patch to sustain projects through next May.

Obama has proposed a $302 billion, four-year transportation spending plan that is paid in part by closing corporate tax loopholes.

According to the White House, if Congress fails to act, more than 2,400 active highway projects in Missouri could be slowed or stopped. In Kansas, more than 800 active-improvement projects could be halted.

In addition, more than 6,000 people in Kansas and more than 15,000 in Missouri could even lose their jobs, the White House says.

On Monday, the White House said it would support a smaller, $11 billion Republican House bill that finances transportation projects for nine months, but said in a statement that the legislation "does not address the continued need to pass a long-term authorization bill that creates jobs and provides certainty for cities, states and businesses."

Obama will give a speech later Tuesday, pushing his proposal to close the funding gap.

The House and the Senate are hammering out the details of a temporary extension. The question is whether that deal gets done before the end of the month.

"We could potentially put people to work all across the country, rebuilding roads and bridges, putting construction workers back to work. That could boost our economy enormously. And now is the time to do it," Obama said.

In a report released Monday, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said greater spending on infrastructure would help the construction industry, which has an elevated unemployment level of 9.9 percent. The report also said states and local governments were well positioned now to undertake capital projects because construction is cheaper and because the cost of borrowing through municipal bonds is at a historic low.

Obama will discuss the issue during remarks Tuesday at a facility in Virginia that tests new technologies for highway transportation. He'll also promote the need to invest in the nation's infrastructure Thursday during a trip to Delaware, where he'll announce an initiative to increase private sector investment.

The administration has warned that by early August the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states, and the government will begin to stretch out payments. States have been told to expect a 28 percent reduction in aid on average.

The White House argues that the United States has fallen behind other major economies in its spending for transportation needs.

Stay with to find out if they meet the deadline.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Powered by WorldNow
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.