Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Image: Official Portrait

Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Image: Official Portrait

Presenting it as “a framework to provide Congress with robust investment targets,” Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and 19 Committee Democrats have introduced H.R. 2410, the Obama Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, as a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill.

“Although I don’t support every provision of the bill, the legislation gets two critical issues right-- the long-term length of the reauthorization and the level of investment,” Rep. DeFazio said in a statement on the bill’s introduction issued on Tuesday.

“We can’t sit around and wait for the [House] Ways and Means Committee to dictate how much money they will designate,” he continued. “We need to tell them how much investment America needs to fix our crumbling roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Congress needs to figure out how to fund it, which is why I asked for a joint hearing between the Ways and Means and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees the week Members return.”

Referring to the measure extending the current highway bill until the end of July that the House passed on Tuesday, DeFazio remarked that there can be “no more lip service, no more promises, no more delays. If Congress has two months to figure out a long-term solution, every day counts and we need to begin work today.” 

The 19 committee members who co-sponsored DeFazio’s GROW America introduction are Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Garamendi (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Richard Nolan (D-MN), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Dina Titus (D-NV), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Julia Brownley (D-CA).

The GROW AMERICA Act provides a total of $478 billion over six years to fund highways, bridges, public transportation, highway safety, and rail programs. Its key provisions include:

  • $317 billion for highway programs under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an increase of 29 percent over current levels.
  • $18 billion of highway funds for a new dedicated multi-modal freight program.
  • $6 billion for vehicle-safety programs under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; $4.7 billion for truck and bus safety programs under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; and $16 billion for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).
  • $7.5 billion for TIGER grants and $6 billion for TIFIA that could support $60 billion in loans.