May 18, 2015

DeFazio, T&I Democrats Introduce GROW AMERICA Act to Set Robust Long-Term Surface Transportation Investment Levels

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), together with 19 Committee Democrats, introduced H.R. 2410, the Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill that provides robust funding and sustainable solutions to our Nation’s infrastructure crisis. Democrats offered the six-year, $478 billion bill as a framework, to provide Congress with robust investment targets.

“Congress cannot continue to ignore the serious need for a long-term surface transportation reauthorization and continue to devolve Federal responsibility by default. This afternoon, I offered the Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act by request with 19 Democratic colleagues from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Although I don’t support every provision of the bill, the legislation gets two critical issues right – the long-term length of the reauthorization and the level of investment. We can’t sit around and wait for the Ways and Means Committee to dictate how much money they will designate. We need to tell them how much investment America needs to fix our crumbling roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Congress needs to figure out how to fund it, which is why I asked for a joint hearing between the Ways and Means and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees the week Members return. No more lip-service, no more promises, no more delays. If Congress has two months to figure out a long-term solution, every day counts and we need to begin work today,” said DeFazio.

“Without a long-term transportation bill that provides predictable investments for our nation’s roads bridges, highways, and transit systems, we are slamming the brakes on the economy and jobs,” said Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton.  “Short-term transportation bills continue to prevent billions of dollars in investments, not only for our transportation and infrastructure, but for other economic development projects that depend on roads, bridges, and transit.  Standing with Ranking Member DeFazio and other Democrats in introducing the GROW AMERICA Act, we are putting on the table a bill that should start negotiations with our Republican friends for a six-year bill right now.”

Nineteen Democrats co-sponsored the measure, including Ranking Member Norton, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Garamendi (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Richard Nolan (D-MN), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Dina Titus (D-NV), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Julia Brownley (D-CA).

The GROW AMERICA Act provides a total of $478 billion over six years, a 45 percent increase for highways, bridges, public transportation, highway safety, and rail programs. Over six years, the GROW AMERICA Act makes significant investments in:

  • Highways – provides $317 billion for programs under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an increase of 29 percent over current levels.
  • Freight – dedicates $18 billion of highway funds for a new dedicated multi-modal freight program.
  • Transit – provides $115 billion for programs under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an increase of 76 percent over current levels, and significantly boosts New Starts funding.
  • Rail – provides $28.6 billion for programs under the Federal Rail Administration (FRA).
  • Safety – provides $6 billion for vehicle safety programs under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), $4.7 billion for truck and bus safety programs under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and $16 billion for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).
  • Competitive Grants – provides $7.5 billion for TIGER grants and $6 billion for TIFIA that could support $60 billion in loans.
  • Research and Innovation – provides $3.4 billion to leverage research and innovation to move people and goods more safely and efficiently, while minimizing impacts on the environment. 

To see video of DeFazio’s floor statement, click here: