Obama's transportation bill introduced in the House (6/13/2014)


Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) introduced President Obama's four-year, $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill in the House on behalf of the bill's original Democratic co-sponsor, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

The GROW AMERICA Act was introduced by Petri, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, as a courtesy at the request of the Obama administration, said Norton, who is the subcommittee's ranking member.

The bill entered the House as concerns mount in the administration and among certain lawmakers over the potential insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

"Particularly considering that the funding provided in the current authorization, MAP-21, based on the Highway Trust Fund plus an additional $18 billion from general revenue, has proven unable to get states through the two-year duration of the bill, I believe Congress must act soon on a fully funded six-year reauthorization," Norton said in a prepared statement.

She also called on Congress to pass a six-year bill, with Obama's four-year bill serving as a "timely contribution" that would provide "guidance and ideas as we develop legislation to set the future course of these vital programs."

Specifically, the GROW AMERICA Act would provide:
• an increase of 70 percent over current investment levels in transit, by providing more than $72 billion over four years and dramatically increasing investment in all modes of transit;
• more than $19 billion in freight- and passenger-rail investments, including $9.5 billion over four years for Amtrak and $9.5 billion to states for investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail, and to eliminate congestion on shared-use track; and
• $5 billion over four years for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, discretionary program.

Although Petri, who has announced he is not running for re-election, and Norton introduced Obama's bill, Republicans in Congress are unlikely to pass it, according to news media reports.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News