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Six-year $478b transportation bill sent to Congress

April 3rd, 2015 / By: / Industry News

‘Grow America’ to address U.S. infrastructure woes

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a press release describing a six-year, $478 billion transportation reauthorization bill that was sent to Congress March 30. Called the Grow America Act by the Obama administration, the proposed bill “invests in modernizing America’s infrastructure.”

The release said that DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx has visited more than 100 communities nationwide and has heard one common story—shared by all—about crumbling roads and bridges and dwindling resources to fix them. The bill that Foxx sent to Congress offers his solution to this problem—“a long-term transportation bill that provides funding growth and certainty so that state and local governments can get back in the business of building things again.”

The press release noted that this bill provides members of the House and Senate with the option of increasing investment in surface transportation by 45% and supporting millions of jobs repairing and modernizing roads, bridges, railroads, and transit systems in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
Said Foxx: “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.

“Our proposal provides a level of funding, and also funding certainty, that our partners need and deserve. 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.”

The release said that a recent study by the DOT confirmed that U.S. infrastructure is failing. Drivers spend more than 40 hours annually stuck in traffic; 65% of the roads they drive on are in less than good condition; one out of four bridges they cross needs to be replaced; and public transit faces an $86 billion repair backlog. The report also revealed that, in the next 30 years, Americans will ask more of the transportation system than ever before—with the U.S. population growing by 70 million, freight traffic will increase by 45%, according to the release.

Among the details included in the bill:

  • Increasing safety across all modes of transportation, including almost tripling the budget of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s automobile defects office;
  • Establishing an $18 billion freight program so American businesses can compete in a global economy and grow;
  • Increasing connections so that more Americans have access to jobs and education, including raising transit investment by 76%;
  • Putting in place a transparent and clear permitting process to speed up project delivery;
  • Increasing financing by strengthening the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan programs, by making more Private Activity Bonds (PABS) available, and by nearly doubling funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

For more information: www.dot.gov/growamerica

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