President Obama Sends Congress First Transportation Bill - Aligns with Many ASLA Priorities
On Tuesday, April 29th, the Obama administration sent Congress its proposal for reauthorizing the nation’s surface transportation law. Known as the Grow America Act, the measure proposes a four-year surface transportation bill with a funding level of about $302 billion. The proposal relies on corporate tax reform to address the shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund and renames it the Transportation Trust Fund, reiterating use of the Fund for all modes of transportation. This is the first time that the Obama Administration has sent a transportation proposal to Congress, as they decided against sending a proposal during consideration of MAP-21.
The administration’s proposal includes many key provisions supported by ASLA. In fact, earlier in the day, ASLA sent its transportation priorities to Congress in a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer. The letter urged the Committee to continue the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), adopt a federal Complete Streets policy, and support the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act.
The Obama administration proposal includes many of the same priorities, including:
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) –The administration’s proposal would continue TAP and make some technical changes that would help improve administration of the program, including: allowing programs of bicycle and pedestrian projects to be considered jointly for the purposes of the 80 percent federal share requirements, which would facilitate implementation of small-scale projects. It also would restore eligibility to nonprofit organizations, which have often administered Safe Routes to School programs. The proposal does NOT, however, restore funding to 2011 levels, which MAP-21 reduced by 35 percent.
Complete Streets–The proposal establishes a federal Complete Streets policy and makes it federal policy that every project that gets federal funding consider all modes, including those using walking, bicycling, and public transportation.
TIGER –The proposal would make the TIGER program part of surface transportation law and increase the program’s funding level to $5 billion. The measure also specifically makes bicycle and pedestrian projects eligible under the program.
Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) –The plan reauthorizes and restores funding to FLTP, which funds projects to improve access on federal lands, such as national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and others.
Stormwater Planning –The measure includes language that would amend the statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes, to require states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to consider whether a proposed project would reduce stormwater impacts.
Green Stormwater Infrastructure –The measure would also clarify that green stormwater infrastructure projects are eligible projects for environmental restoration and pollution abatements, and under the surface transportation program, and TAP.
ASLA will continue to monitor any progress on these provisions of the President’s transportation proposal and will work with Congress to enact ASLA’s key transportation priorities.
For more information on ASLA Advocacy efforts bookmark I Advocate.