(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- President Obama traveled to Minnesota Wednesday to pitch his plan to overhaul business taxes to help pay for a $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill. “One of the fastest and best ways to create good jobs is by rebuilding America's infrastructure -- our roads, our bridges, our rail, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grid. We've got a lot of work to do out there, and we've got to put folks to work,” the president said during a speech Wednesday.
Funding for many transportation projects is set to expire later this year when the Highway Trust Fund dries up, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk. Both sides of the aisle agree that funding for transportation infrastructure projects is a priority, but disagree over how to pay for it.
“I'm going to send Congress a budget that funds rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way,” the president said. “And we'll pay for these investments, in part, by simplifying the tax code. We're going to close wasteful tax loopholes, lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home, stop rewarding companies for sending jobs to other countries, use the money we save in this transition to create good jobs with good wages rebuilding America.”
The president also announced he is launching a competition for $600 million in grants to fund transportation projects, as part of the Transportation Department’s existing TIGER grant programs.
“These are competitive grants that we created as part of the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus, which actually worked despite what everybody claims,” Obama explained. “The idea is if a city or state comes up with a plan to modernize transportation infrastructure that will have a significant impact on economic activity, and if they line up other sources of funding to help pay for it, they can win a TIGER grant, and the federal government becomes a partner with these local communities.”
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