Obama Administration Releases 'Grow America' Transportation Budget Proposal
"The Obama administration today sent Congress its proposal for a multi-year transportation bill, which it’s calling the GROW AMERICA Act," reports Tanya Snyder. "The bill includes $206 billion for the highway system and road safety over its four year duration, and transit gets $72 billion. That brings the current 80-20 ration [sic] for highways and transit to something closer to 75-25. Rail — a new addition to the transportation bill – gets $19 billion, including nearly $5 billion annually for high-speed rail. The proposal also sets aside $9 billion for discretionary, competitive funding, including $5 billion for the popular TIGER grant project." Under the Obama Administration's recommendation, the bill would allocate a total of $302 billion over its four-year duration.
The bill mirrors the initial draft released two months ago—relying on corporate tax reform to raise $87 billion to fill the hole in the Highway Trust Fund. Snyder also provides some background on the significance of the gesture by the Obama Administration: "It’s the first time Obama has sent Congress a transportation proposal. He received some criticism for not doing so before the current transportation authorization, MAP-21, passed."
A separate article by Joe Schmitz provides more perspective on how funding levels would change under GROW AMERICA compared to MAP-21: "The legislation calls for a 37 percent overall annual spending increase on transportation programs, including 21 percent for highways and 69 percent for transit. Funding for passenger rail service would be increased 71 percent."