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Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, right, speaks after being introduced by Democratic President Barack Obama, center, as the nominee for Secretary of Transportation at the White House as outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood looks on April 29, 2013, in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/Thinkstock file)

Obama seeks $478B for roads, trains; Foxx to launch ‘Beyond Traffic’

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Education | Market Trends

Democratic President Barack Obama proposed nearly $500 billion for transportation today, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will follow that up tonight with the launch of a national conversation on what the U.S. highway and automobile will look like over the next 30 years.

Collision repairers should pay attention to both. Here’s why:

Obama transportation budget

Obama is proposing spending $478 billion on roads and rails over the budget’s six-year life. He’d pay for it by “pro-growth business tax reform” requiring companies to pay tax on the $2 trillion they have abroad. According to USA Today, this means Obama would tax overseas profits by 14 percent once.

The budget isn’t going to pass an opposition Congress as is, but transportation spending could be less contentious than other items during the negotiating process. States appear to be seriously grappling with their infrastructures this legislative season, and even red states might welcome a little money from the feds on this one.

For drivers, poor roads are awful. For collision repairers, there’s a certain benefit in all the potholes and rear-ending-proving gridlock. What states and the federal governments do to address these affect your business as well as your tax bill.

More RDN Washington coverage:

Foxx: U.S. to add automatic braking to car-safety star rating

Obama’s mandatory sick week may not affect average shop — yet

Obama proposes free 2-year community college for everyone, including vo-tech students

‘Beyond Traffic’

Poor roads will likely also be discussed at Foxx and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’ one-hour Google Talks event at 6 p.m. ET, which is open to the public. The talk is meant to elicit visions for the future and opinions on questions like “Will America be a country where driverless vehicles mean car crashes are a thing of the past? Or will our infrastructure crumble, and gridlock only get worse?”

Support for self-driving cars and federal wishes for fuel economy and safety systems could also impact your business. Fleet fuel standards helped lead to materials like aluminum in vehicles to shave off weight. Safety systems and self-driving cars have the potential to cut into repairers’ business, though as we learned with Edmunds’ F-150 taillight crack, sensors required can jack up the price of a repair.

Continue to check Repairer Driven News this week for more on what develops from the chat. You can also follow the chat tonight and join the conversation on Twitter with #beyondtraffic.

More information:

“Today, we go Beyond Traffic”

Department of Transportation Fast Lane blog, Feb. 2, 2015

“Obama to propose $3.99 trillion budget”

USA Today, Feb. 2, 2015