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GROW AMERICA: Expanding surface transportation

Providing Critical Growth for Surface Transportation in America

The GROW AMERICA Act will provide critical investment to fix our decaying roads and crumbling bridges.  Currently we are not keeping pace with our growing economy, our growing population, and the traveling needs of the public.

The need for greater investment chart

  • 65 percent of America’s major roads are not in good condition.  One in four bridges need significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic.  45 percent of Americans do not have access to transit.
  • By 2020, the Highway Trust Fund’s purchasing power will have dropped by nearly half since 1990, at a time when the country’s population will have increased 30 percent.
  • Bringing existing transit assets up to a state of good repair will require an annualized investment level of $18.5 billion through the year 2030.

The GROW AMERICA Act will provide needed investment to keep pace with our growing population and needs. Modern surface transportation reauthorization laws have grown the program by approximately 40 percent compared to the prior law in order to keep pace with the growing needs of the transportation network.  The GROW AMERICA Act will provide $302 billion over four years, an increase of approximately 37 percent over the last transportation reauthorization law.

Growth rate of recent transportation reauthorizations chart


The certainty of multi-year funding is critical for major State and local projects, and the GROW AMERICA Act will provide the commitment to a better quality of life and job growth.  Short-term funding undermines the ability of State and local leaders to move forward with sizeable and meaningful projects to improve communities.  State and local leaders will only commit to major transportation projects if there is a commitment to long term funds due to the time and cost involved in deploying such projects.  Shorter –term bills only encourage States to tackle maintenance projects.  While fixing potholes is critical, our economy will fall behind if we do not invest in fixing our major transportation assets and building new projects.

“State DOTs rely on the predictability of federal funding to produce long-range transportation plans and to plan for major projects.  Surface transportation reauthorization that only provide funding for one or two years and short-term fixes for the HTF prevent State DOTs from being able to properly plan for transportation projects that span multiple years.  These types of projects often have a significant impact on the efficient movement of freight.”
–    Mark Gottlieb, Secretary, Wisconsin DOT, appearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – February 27, 2014


The GROW AMERICA Act will help grow the economy.  If Congress fails to address the current crisis, the economy could lose almost $1 trillion in business sales, resulting in a loss of 3.5 million jobs annually beginning in 2020, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.  If current trends are not reversed, the cumulative cost to the U.S. economy from 2012–2020 will be more than $3.1 trillion in GDP and $1.1 trillion in total trade, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“Governments that fail to maintain and invest sufficiently in new infrastructure undermine their economic bases and potential growth, in our view.  It is also our opinion that deferral of capital needs poses credit risk in the long-term, similar to the way increasing pension liabilities become a credit weakness if an entity defers pension contributions or the pension actuarial liability funded status is significantly underfunded.”

–    Standard and Poor’s, U.S. Public Finance: Short-Term Savings on Infrastructure Spending Could Prove to be Short Sighted, September 2013


The GROW AMERICA Act will provide much needed investments without adding a penny to the deficit.  The GROW AMERICA Act will dedicate $150 billion in one-time transitional revenue from pro-growth business tax reform to pay for these critical transportation improvements. This amount is sufficient to not only fill the current funding gap in the Highway Trust Fund, but increase surface transportation trust fund investment over current projected levels by $87 billion over the next four years. This plan will result in a total of $302 billion being invested over four years putting people back to work and modernizing our transportation infrastructure.

Updated: Friday, May 9, 2014