Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx submitted a revised Grow America Act to Congress March 30. It suggests a 45-percent increase in proposed investment in surface transportation projects as part of President Obama’s $478 billion transportation reauthorization bill spanning six years.
During a recent tour stop to promote the act, Foxx said the U.S. is in the middle of a “growth spurt.” The United States Department of Transportation says 70 million more people will live in the U.S. in 30 years with the country moving 45 percent more freight.
“All over the country, I hear the same account: the need to repair and expand our surface transportation system has never been greater, and yet federal transportation funding has never been in such short supply,” Foxx said in a prepared statement.
“Our proposal provides a level of funding and also funding certainty that our partners need and deserve,” he continued. “This is an opportunity to break away from 10 years of flat funding, not to mention these past six years in which Congress has funded transportation by passing 32 short-term measures.”
During a recent tour stop, Foxx called the 32 short-term funding patches Congress has passed in the last decade, a “small answer to a big problem.”
According to the USDOT, Grow America aims to up investments “in all forms of transportation” and to ensure “that taxpayer dollars are used more effectively and efficiently.” Doing so will “restore the ability of states and local governments to plan for both needed repairs and efforts that increase capacity to meet future demand,” the department said.
The transportation bill aims to:
- Increase funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER)
- Make more Private Activity Bonds (PABS) available
- Strengthen the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan programs
- Almost tripling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s automobile defects office budget
- Create a freight program “so American businesses can compete effectively in a global economy and grow”
- Increase transit investment by 76 percent and increase transit connections
- Increase funding to “high-performing” Metropolitan Planning Organizations
- Create a “transparent and clear” process for project permits to hasten project delivery
“It is clear to me that transportation is still a bipartisan issue, and I am really encouraged to see members of both parties working to get something done,” Foxx said. “During these next two months, though, all of us who work in Washington need to be relentless in trying to get to ‘yes’ on a bill that is truly transformative and that brings the country together. And frankly, governors and state officials as well as mayors and local officials all over the country need to continue being relentless, too, by continuing to raise their voices in support of a transportation bill that meets both their immediate and long-term needs.”
More information on the Grow America Act is available here.