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Engineers urge Obama to push US transport spending bill

US engineers have urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the $50bn (£33bn) he pledged last week for road, rail and runway reconstruction is built into multi-year transport funding legislation.

US federal transport spending is formalised in transportation bills, signed off by Congress, the Senate and the White House.

The previous £185bn bill expired in September last year.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), which represents 5,000 consultants, contractors and suppliers wants Obama to make a new multi-year bill a priority.

“Passage of robust, multi-year transportation bills is essential to assure predictability and continuity in the domestic transportation design and construction industry, and to help achieve the national environmental, goods movement and safety goals we all share,” said ARTBA president Pete Ruane.

Benefits “for decades to come”

“Accordingly, the investment proposed by President Obama must be part of a long-term [spending] reauthorisation bill and not a stand-alone measure. Infrastructure investment is a proven cost effective public policy that provides recurring benefits for decades to come.”

The reauthorisation bill has stalled due to the lack of a Senate proposal, growing political concern about the need to generate new revenues, and silence from the White House administration.

White House officials are now understood to be working with Congress to iron out the details in a plan that is intended to see the reconstruction of 240,000km of roads and the construction of 6,400km of railways.

It is not known how the £33bn billion up-front investment or the long-term programme would be financed, or when the White House will push for congressional action on a multi-year bill.

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