DOT Chief Foxx sends long-term highway bill to Congress

Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx speaks in BirminghamTransportation Sec. Anthony Foxx speaks in Birmingham

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a long-term highway bill to Congress.

The bill, dubbed the GROW AMERICA Act, is based on President Barack Obama’s 4-year, $302 billion transportation reauthorization proposal. Foxx said the bill aims to create jobs while offering a solution to fix the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) before it runs out of money this summer.

MAP-21, the current two-year, $105 billion surface transportation bill, expires in September and has been decried since its signing as a stop-gap at best for the country’s lack of transportation funding.

Obama’s proposed bill includes $206 billion in highway investment and $63 billion to fund the gap in the Highway Trust Fund in the near term.

“Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable—and unaffordable,” Foxx said in a written statement. “This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve.”

The DOT noted that the bill includes the following proposals:

  • Address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and providing an additional $87 billion to address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems;
  • Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
  • Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls;
  • Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
  • Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment;
  • Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
  • Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.

Both the House and Senate are also working on solutions. Earlier this month, the House GOP introduced its $1.014 trillion budget, which aims to maintain HTF solvency, while four top transportation senators have unveiled Senate priorities for a new surface transportation bill.

A downloadable copy of the GROW AMERICA Act is available here.

Editor’s Note: Amanda Bayhi is the online editor of sister site Better Roads.