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White House cautions about infrastructure inaction

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 3:08 p.m. CDT
(AP Photo)
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx answers a question during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 12, 2014. Foxx talked about transportation infrastructure in the United States including the federal Highway Trust Fund which is expected run dry by late August. Without congressional action, transportation aid to states will be delayed and workers will be laid off at construction sites nationwide, Foxx said.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration warned Congress Monday that a key federal government fund used to pay for the nation's roads, bridges and ports is running dry and that the economy would be damaged if it is not replenished.

A White House economic analysis concluded that without congressional action, more than 112,000 ongoing projects would be in danger of falling idle, affecting nearly 700,000 jobs.

Such project delays would slow commerce, hinder commuters and hurt businesses, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

"We have an infrastructure deficit in this country," Foxx told reporters Monday at the White House.

The Highway Trust Fund, which is financed by gasoline taxes, could run out of money by the end of summer, the administration says.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama plans to speak by the Hudson River's Tappan Zee Bridge just north of New York City to press his case.

The Obama administration has proposed a four-year, $302 billion transportation plan. Of that amount, half would be in addition to the programs paid for with fuel taxes. That additional spending would come from revenue raised by closing corporate tax loopholes and by other changes in business taxes, a long-shot idea in a politically divided Congress.

"We cannot meet the needs of a growing country and a growing economy by simply maintaining our current level of effort," Foxx said. "We must do more."

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