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Obama to outline $302B transportation plan during St. Paul visit

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ST. PAUL -- In a speech at St. Paul's Union Depot on Wednesday, President Barack Obama will lay out his vision for a national transportation system that "puts Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways and transit systems," the White House announced in advance of the event.

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Obama will outline a proposal for a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation initiative. He will recommend funding it in part by dedicating revenue from "pro-growth business tax reform."

"This vision will show how we can invest in the things we need to grow and create jobs by closing unfair tax loopholes, lowering tax rates and making the system more fair," the White House statement said.

The president also will launch a new $600 million competition for transportation infrastructure grants for projects that have a significant national or regional impact.

The program will place a priority on projects that make it easier for Americans to get to jobs, school and other opportunities, the White House said. It also will emphasize neighborhood revitalization, business expansion and reconnecting neighborhoods divided by highways, railroads and other physical barriers.

The statement warned that if Congress doesn't ensure that transportation funding continues and doesn't expire later this year, more than 700,000 jobs would be put at risk.

According to the White House, the president is expected to arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at about 12:50 p.m. He will tour the Metro Transit Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in St. Paul at 1:15 p.m. before making his speech at Union Depot at about 2:05 p.m. The president will leave Minnesota about an hour afterward.

 Bill Salisbury, St. Paul Pioneer Press

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