The GROW AMERICA Act reflects President Obama's vision for a six-year, $478-billion transportation reauthorization bill that invests in modernizing America's infrastructure. As lawmakers try to fund transportation beyond May 31, GROW AMERICA provides members of the House and Senate with the option of increasing investment in surface transportation by 45 percent and supporting millions of jobs repairing and modernizing roads, bridges, railroads and transit systems in urban, suburban and rural communities.
"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," Secretary Foxx said. "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."
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation , Beyond Traffic, confirmed that America's infrastructure is failing. Drivers spend more than 40 hours annually stuck in traffic. Sixty-five percent 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, over the next 30 years, Americans will ask more of our transportation system than ever before. The United States' population will grow by 70 million; freight traffic will increase by 45 percent.
But rather than doing more, funding uncertainty has forced many states to do less instead. Tennessee, Arkansas, Delaware and Wyoming have delayed more than a billion dollars in projects. Georgia, alone, has set aside $715 million in projects, while Mississippi has shifted its transportation dollars only to smaller maintenance efforts. As it stands, total investment in roads, bridges and transit systems is falling well below the level that is needed to keep them in good condition.
Secretary Foxx says the GROW AMERICA Act will chart a new course. It will increase investment in all forms of transportation, which will restore the ability of states and local governments to plan for both needed repairs and efforts that increase capacity to meet future demand. Additionally, the proposal ensures that taxpayer dollars are used more effectively and efficiently and brings federal transportation policy into the 21st century.
It will increase safety across all modes of transportation; establish an $18-billion freight program so American businesses can compete effectively in a global economy and grow; increase connections so that more Americans have access to jobs and education, including by raising transit investment by 76 percent; put in place a transparent and clear permitting process to speed up project delivery; increase innovative financing by strengthening 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 our TIGER grant program and empower local government by providing more funding to high-performing Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).
"It is clear to me that transportation is still a bipartisan issue and I am really encouraged to see members of both parties working to get something done," Secretary Foxx said. "During these next two months, though, all of us who work in Washington need to be relentless in trying to get to 'yes' on a bill that is truly transformative and that brings the country together. And frankly, governors and state officials, as well as mayors and local officials all over the country need to continue being relentless, too, by continuing to raise their voices in support of a transportation bill that meets both their immediate and long-term needs."
Canadian National and Unifor have negotiated a tentative labor agreement with the Unifor union. As a result, CN has withdrawn its lockout notice to Unifor, which would have come effective at 11p.m. local time tonight in the absence of a settlement.
The Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) voted unanimously on implementing new crashworthiness performance standards for next-generation passenger high speed rail (HSR) equipment that will operate in the U.S.
BNSF named Steve Bobb executive vice president and chief marketing officer, with responsibility for BNSF's sales, marketing, customer service, economic development and business unit activities. He succeeds John Lanigan, who has decided to retire effective Jan. 15, 2013.
The Columbus and Greenville Railway (CAGY), was recently named Shortline of the Year at BNSF 's annual "Shortline Conference" held last month in Irving, Texas.
Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has awarded Alstom Transport two rail fleet modernization contracts with a combined value of approximately $220 million.
The Kansas City streetcar proposal has received funds from the Mid-America Regional Council's (MARC) Board of Directors totaling $ 17.7 million.
Seattle, Wash., has secured funding to plan and design the First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension.