In a special Q&A, Manatt's June Langston DeHart, a partner in the firm's Federal Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice, spoke to Government Product News about the Obama administration's efforts to improve the nation's infrastructure.
As reported by Government Product News, improving infrastructure is one of the goals outlined in President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. The budget calls for spending approximately $302 billion over the next four years on infrastructure projects including highways and bridges. In addition, about $91 billion is earmarked for mandatory and discretionary funding for transportation.
When asked what are the chances that President Obama's proposal will be approved by the September 30 deadline, DeHart responded:
"Passage by September 30 seems unlikely. Nearly every previous deadline for passage of a transportation reauthorization bill has been extended multiple times, including MAP-21. Also, this is a mid-term election year and conventional wisdom is that little substantive legislation will pass until the end of the session, post-elections. That said, both Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) have begun work in their respective committees, have indicated that they will report legislation, and have expressed optimism that the deadline can be met. Most importantly, the Highway Trust Fund is quickly nearing insolvency and Congress will have to find some funding, even on a stopgap basis, before funding runs out. That should spur Congress to act."
DeHart also talked about whether the proposed program will be a game-changer, how closing tax loopholes could help fund the program, and what state and local governments can do to ensure they get their fair share.
Read the article here.