Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent Congress a four-year transportation bill that relies on business tax reforms as a way to boost funds for a federal highway account that is quickly running out of money.
DOT’s Grow America Act proposal, released April 29, is based on a four-year, $302 billion proposal the Obama administration outlined in its fiscal 2015 budget plan unveiled in March.
Related: Obama administration wants to lift ban on interstate tolling. (TT log-in required.)
Foxx called on congressional leaders to consider the proposal so they can advance legislation that reauthorizes the 2012 transportation law, MAP-21, that is scheduled to expire at the end of September.
It would keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent beyond this summer, when the fund is projected to run out of cash. The fund has primarily relied on federal fuel taxes that have remained unchanged since 1993.
“Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable — and unaffordable,” Foxx said.
Within the proposed plan, the bill would provide $87 billion for programs to:
• Address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit programs.
• Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks, and increase safety across all modes of surface transportation.
• Reduce permitting timelines for construction projects, potentially adding jobs around the country.
• Includes provisions aimed at ensuring fair pay for long-distance bus and truck drivers.
On Capitol Hill, the top transportation policy writers, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and her House counterpart, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), have yet to unveil their proposals.
For addtional coverage, see the May 5 issue of Transport Topics.