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White House budget: slight boost for NHTSA, cut for EPA

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(White House photo)

WASHINGTON (March 5, 2014) — The Obama administration's $4.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015 includes a slight boost in funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a cut for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and some new taxes and tax loophole closures unlikely to find favor in Congress.

"The president's budget will show in real terms the choices we can make to expand economic opportunity and strengthen the middle class, like closing tax loopholes so we can invest in the things we need to help the middle class," the White House said in a statement March 4.

The budget plan also calls for further investments in infrastructure, job training and preschool, and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, the White House said.

Meanwhile, the new taxes and closed tax loopholes in the proposed budget would add up to more than $1 trillion, most of that amount falling on large businesses and the wealthy.

NHTSA would get $851 million in the new budget, including $577 million for highway traffic safety grants and $274 million for operations and research, according to the budget outline released by NHTSA's parent agency, the Department of Transportation (DOT).

This compares with the $819 million NHTSA received in FY 2013, the DOT said.

The EPA's projected budget for FY 2015 is $7.89 billion, down $309.9 million from the amount the agency received in FY 2014, the EPA said in a press release.

Despite the administration's promise to expand funding of transportation infrastructure, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) criticized the proposed budget for promoting railroads over trucking.

"Today's proposed budget misses the mark when it comes to the transportation needs of the U.S. economy," said ATA President Bill Graves. "It provides no real funding solutions for the long-term health of our infrastructure and proposes massive new subsidies for a mode that moves a small proportion of America's freight and passengers."

Railroads carry 14.7 percent of the nation's freight annually, compared with 68.5 percent for trucks, Mr. Graves said.

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