A recent Bloomberg News Survey of 34 economists concluded that President Obama’s proposed jobs plan would boost the U.S. GDP 0.6 percent in 2012.
As reported last week by PIERS’ sister company, The Journal of Commerce, the Bloomberg study said Obama’s plan would save or create hundreds of thousands of jobs and spur new short-term infrastructure spending, boosting economic growth overall by 1 to 2 percentage points.
Averting a recession means good news for any industry, but it’s especially good news for the transportation industry. Here’s why:
- Allocations for infrastructure. The president proposed $50 billion in new spending on transportation systems, including state allocations for road, bridge and airport work plus more funding for intercity passenger rail upgrade. This type of upgrade usually aids freight rail traffic as well.
- Replenishment of the Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants. TIGER grants (stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) have included port projects such as on-dock rail or marine highways, plus intermodal hubs and freight short line improvements. TIGER grants have faced a shrinking annual budget since they were introduced in the 2009 stimulus law.
- Seed money for a new, independent National Infrastructure Bank. The plan asks Congress to put $10 billion aside to make loans for projects such as toll roads or bridges that could be repaid with interest and fund more projects. This portion is facing push-back from the trucking industry, which typically favors use of fuel taxes to pay for highway construction, rather than road tolls.
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