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The White House's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, released earlier this week, is fat with investments aimed squarely at improving the nation's infrastructure, including aggressive targets for the transportation sector.

In fact, Office of Management and Budget chief Jeff Zients - upon reviewing the proposal in a White House blog - put such investments in the pole position along with getting the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits extended for the balance of 2012.

Specifically, the Obama administration proposes putting $50 billion to work immediately to jumpstart rail, highway and other advanced transportation projects. These projects would be a part of an overall earmark totaling $476 billion over six years, encapsulated in a "surface transportation reauthorization bill."

The proposed funding, which the Obama administration says is paid for with "current user-financed mechanisms and savings from ending the war in Iraq and winding down operations in Afghanistan," would go toward initiatives such as the build-out of major intercity passenger rail systems (a $4 billion program).

Beyond infrastructure, the president's 2013 budget also reconfirms his administration's commitment to supporting cleaner auto technologies, such as by increasing the cap on the existing tax credit for EV buyers from $7,500 to $10,000.

Natural gas vehicles also figure prominently in the president's proposal, lending credibility to Obama's recent assertions that he intended to bolster this segment of the transportation industry.

"By promoting American leadership in advanced vehicle manufacturing, including funding to encourage greater use of natural gas in the transportation sector, the budget will help us reach our goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025," Obama wrote in his introduction to the budget.

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