U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

DC: DOT Gets Support for Grow America Act

Statements of Support for the Grow America Act

The Alliance for American Competitiveness: “A safe, efficient infrastructure is critical to the ability of U.S. based companies to be competitive in the global marketplace. It can be the difference between seizing opportunities for growth or being forced to watch them go by. Policymakers are right to emphasis this point as they begin the process of reauthorizing the current surface transportation authorization bill. The proposal put forward by the Administration today represents an important step in getting that process moving and a chance for bipartisan action on a matter of importance to all Americans.  The emphasis on improving the movement of freight is especially welcome. We look forward to helping the Administration and Congress pass a multiyear surface transportation bill that keeps America competitive.”

Scott Davis, chairman and chief executive officer of UPS: “Transportation is the backbone of commerce and the U.S. must invest now in our roads, bridges, ports and airports to stay globally competitive. UPS commends Secretary Foxx and the U.S. Department of Transportation for their commitment to a plan that would increase the capacity, fluidity and connections of America’s integrated surface transportation network. We all live and operate in a global, connected world -- and we need connections that work, to put people to work and deliver on what they need. Growth and job creation are the destination; infrastructure is how we’ll get there.”

Penelope A. Gross, president of National Association of Regional Councils: “The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) commends U.S. DOT Secretary Foxx for strengthening the role of local governments in transportation through this proposal. Local governments – who own and operate nearly 80 percent of America’s highways and roads, over 50 percent our bridges, and 90 percent of the scheduled service transit – are closest to the citizens who use these systems every day, and are in the best position to direct transportation investment decisions toward projects that will have the most ‘bang for the buck.’ U.S. DOT’s Surface Transportation Incentive Funds will increase funding to local governments and help bolster our shared goals of improving safety, access to jobs, and overall economic vitality.”

Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Having a concrete MAP-21 proposal from the administration is a positive step forward in the reauthorization process. Putting forward a plan generates important debate and discussion and highlights the reality that as a country, we must look not only at our immediate need to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund but also at how we meet the economic needs of the country on a multi-modal basis in the long run.

Combined with state, local, and private-sector resources, the next federal highway, transit, and highway safety program authorization bill could — with additional resources enabling spending beyond baseline levels — start to address the nation’s backlog of transportation needs and move projects forward that will support the U.S. economy, national defense, and personal mobility. The obvious remaining challenge is finding the resources for a fiscally responsible reauthorization package. The chamber continues to believe that raising federal gasoline and diesel taxes is the simplest, most straightforward way to address the revenue problem in the near term.

MAP-21 reauthorization should deliver long-term, fully funded federal programs combined with reforms that build on its accountability and transparency measures; strong federal-state-local partnerships; provisions to enable ongoing innovation by the public and private entities responsible for designing, building, operating, maintaining, and financing transportation infrastructure; multi-year capital planning based on needs and not politics; and efficient project delivery from conception to completion.

The chamber looks forward to reviewing the details of the draft bill and working with the administration and Congress to deal with both the current Highway Trust Fund cash flow problem and future revenue shortages.”

Bob Darbelnet, president and chief executive officer of AAA: “AAA applauds Secretary Foxx and President Obama for being the first out of the gate with legislation that would improve the nation's roads and bridges, enhance driver safety and provide a more reformed and accountable federal transportation program.

The Grow America Act contains no earmarks, no Bridges to Nowhere — instead, it delivers on the core responsibility of the federal government, which is to facilitate interstate commerce, enhance personal mobility, make our roads safer and keep America globally competitive in a rapidly changing world.

The recommended funding levels in this bill are robust and consistent with the levels independent experts have been telling us for years are necessary.  They should send a clear message to Congress that swift action is needed to avert a transportation crisis. 

While AAA is still reviewing the bill language, this proposal does continue the trend of addressing the Highway Trust Fund shortfall with a solution that is short-term and politically palatable rather than long-term and fiscally responsible.  AAA is encouraged that the Administration is taking the lead in laying out the goal of a multi-year reauthorization bill, however corporate tax reform and other one-time patches must not be the only funding solutions considered.  AAA continues to believe that an increase to the federal gas tax is the most effective and sustainable funding mechanism, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully spent on transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.

AAA looks forward to working with President Obama, Secretary Foxx and Congress in the coming weeks to pass legislation that improves our transportation system for the benefit of all Americans.”

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:  “Access to transportation is vital to connecting communities to jobs, schools, housing, and health care services - and even to grocery stores and nutritious food. But millions of low-income and working-class people, people of color, and people with disabilities live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent.

With the Highway Trust Fund likely to run out this summer, compromising transportation projects, jobs, and hurting already ailing communities, we commend the administration for taking action by sending the Grow America Act to Congress.

The administration’s proposal helps lay the foundation for a transformative surface transportation reauthorization bill, one that ensures that the civil and human rights of all individuals can be protected through robust investments in transit, increased safety protections, and the creation of job opportunities in the transportation industry.

We look forward to working to make this bill an even better model that Congress can adopt and pass without delay.”

Ray LaHood, co-chair of Building America’s Future: “Our nation’s economy relies on its roads, bridges, rails and runways. President Obama’s plan to upgrade and modernize these systems is just what the doctor ordered. Congress must now do its part to pass this legislation so that the states receive the money necessary to maintain and improve these essential transportation networks. Our economic future depends on it.”

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago: “I welcome the investments outlined in the Grow America Act sent to Congress today and applaud President Obama and Secretary Foxx for their commitment to our nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems and freight networks. The Administration has set forth an agenda that not only spurs job creation through innovative investment, but strengthens our nation’s critical infrastructure, the backbone of our economy in Chicago and across the country.”

James T. Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers:  “Political pundits say that fixing the Highway Trust Fund will be a ‘heavy lift’ for Congress this year.  Operating Engineers know all about heavy lifts, and securing future funding for transportation infrastructure is not one of them.

Today’s release by the White House of a four-year, $302 billion reauthorization bill is a solid blueprint for progress.  Members of Congress and Secretary Foxx have all signaled the importance of finding a bi-partisan solution quickly and we agree.  There is no time to waste.

We are calling on Congress to build upon this proposal and put in place a measure that delivers long-term certainty to transportation planning and opens on ramps to job creation in the construction industry.

Allocating funds that build and repair our roads, bridges and transit systems is governing at its most basic level.  Now is the time for Congress to do its job so we can do ours.  Leave the real heavy lifting to the men and women of the Operating Engineers.”