Washington, DC - On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, applauded the GROW AMERICA Act, legislation unveiled this morning by Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that would provide much needed funding for America’s aging roads, bridges, and railroads. The GROW AMERICA Act would provide support for the Highway Trust Fund, set to run out of money at the end of summer 2014, and allocate $87 billion for new repairs and investment in America’s surface transportation systems. The GROW AMERICA Act would also allocate $36.5 billion for the National Highway Administration’s (NHA) safety programs, and increase the civil penalties for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls. Finally, the bill highlights the need for improved passenger rail safety by proposing a new policy framework for accepting market-based bids to improve the nation’s rail corridors.
Blumenthal said, “The basic promise of our roads and rails – safety and reliability – is too often betrayed by aging infrastructure. This important initiative will help restore public trust and confidence in the physical integrity of American transportation, and the agencies that oversee it. The GROW AMERICA Act reflects the critical need for improvement in the area of surface transportation safety. Too many Americans have lost their lives or loved ones to accidents that could have been avoided if the appropriate safety measures had been put in place or necessary updates had been made to aging infrastructure. I plan to push aggressively for the passage of this bill, as well my own rail safety bill, which will be introduced in the coming weeks.”
Esty said, “Since coming to Congress, I’ve called for action on the Highway Trust Fund, which supports thousands of jobs in Connecticut. If Congress doesn’t act, the Highway Trust Fund will run out before the end of summer, delaying contracts and jobs during our peak construction season. Putting folks back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges should not be a partisan issue. I appreciate Secretary Foxx’s leadership on the GROW AMERICA Act, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Blumenthal and my colleagues on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to move forward on a comprehensive bill that upgrades our aging infrastructure.”
The GROW AMERICA Act would also:
· Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
· Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
· Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the
· Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
· Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional
economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.