Transportation boosted to top of political agenda

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress and the White House are boosting a long-term plan to improve the nation's roads, bridges and transit systems to the top of the political agenda.

This week the House and Senate are set to take up vastly different bills providing a blueprint for shoring up the nation's aging transportation system.

President Barack Obama proposed a plan Monday to spend nearly half a trillion dollars over six years on transportation infrastructure.

But the administration is also supporting a bipartisan Senate bill that more modestly proposes to spend $109 billion over less than two years.

House Republicans have proposed spending about $260 billion over nearly five years. Their bill is drawing fire from so many quarters that the ability of GOP leaders to muscle it through to passage is in doubt.