Obama: Pass infrastructure bills

President Obama pushed lawmakers to approve new funding bills for the nation’s roads and ports by “this summer” during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

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The call came during a portion of Obama’s speech discussing closing tax loopholes to pay for domestic improvements.

“Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad,” Obama said. “Let’s flip that equation. Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.”

Lawmakers in the House and Senate are currently conferencing on an $8.2 billion bill to boost ports and waterways known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

The chambers are also in the early stages of considering a renewal of the current surface transportation bill, which authorizes the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that pays for most federal transportation projects.

There is an approximately $20 billion shortfall between the amount of revenue the gas tax brings and the $54 billion per year that is current being spent by the federal government on road and transit projects.

Obama suggested on Tuesday night that lawmakers “take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.

Read more on The Hill.