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$825 Billion Stimulus Bill Includes $30 Billion for Highways

The House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have released outlines of their proposals to stimulate ...

January 21, 2009

The House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have released outlines of their proposals to stimulate the economy. Both committees are involved because Appropriations has jurisdiction over the spending portion of the package and Ways and Means has jurisdiction over the tax portion of the package.

The total stimulus package is $825 billion – $550 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax relief. The specific language of the tax portion has not been released yet. However, the American Rental Association (ARA) is reporting that the following top tax priorities are included:

  • Small businesses investing less than $800,000 annually in qualified equipment would be allowed to expense up to $250,000 of those investments.
  • The current 50 percent bonus depreciation provision which allows any company to take normal depreciation on qualifying equipment plus an additional 50 percent depreciation in the year in which the equipment is placed into service would be extended.

A summary of the Appropriations Committee bill shows significant funds to engage contractors across the nation to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, modernize public buildings, and put people to work cleaning our air, water and land, such as:

  • $30 billion for highway construction
  • $31 billion to modernize federal and other public infrastructure with investments that lead to long-term energy cost savings
  • $19 billion for clean water, flood control, and environmental restoration investments
  • $10 billion for transit and rail to reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption

The bill notes that it is estimated that states have over 5,000 projects totaling over $64 billion that could be awarded within 180 days. For a detailed state breakdown, see: http://www.constructionequipment.com/article/CA6620718.html. These projects create jobs in the short term while saving commuters time and money in the long term, the Appropriations Committee summary notes. In 2006, the Department of Transportation estimated $8.5 billion was needed to maintain current systems and $61.4 billion was needed to improve highways and bridges.

In the next two weeks, Congress will be considering this American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 containing the provisions mentioned above, though with the economy in such bad shape major opposition is not anticipated. However, funding amounts could be shifted. The Appropriations Committee Summary also notes that a historic level of transparency, oversight and accountability will help guarantee taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and Americans can see results for their investments.

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