WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.
The White House on Monday 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."
A conservative group, the Club for Growth, on Monday staked out its opposition to the House measure, saying the plan is paid for with budget gimmicks and urged lawmakers to vote against it.
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.
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