The White House and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (the former mayor of my hometown, Charlotte) have submitted a transportation bill to Congress—a first for the Obama administration, reports Streetsblog USA. Highlights from the four-year proposal include:
- $206 billion for highway projects and $72 billion for transit projects over the next four years. That’s approximately a 75/25 highway/transit split, an improvement (as I see it) from the current 80/20 split.
- It would plug the hole in the Highway Trust Fund using corporate tax reform. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently revealed that the trust fund may be out of money as soon as this summer.
- Rail would receive $19 billion, including nearly $5 billion a year for high-speed rail.
Then there’s this interesting tidbit:
Reporters on the call were most interested in the increased authority the administration seeks for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in investigating and penalizing automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls. The administration seeks to increase civil penalty limits nearly tenfold, to $300 million, so that they would be “more than a rounding error” in the company’s bottom lines.
I’ll need a little more time to learn about the proposal and gather others’ reactions, but at first blush, though we still have a ways to go in reforming the nation’s transportation policy, this appears to be a significant step in the right direction.
Obama Administration Sends Transportation Bill to Congress
by Tanya Snyder
Streetsblog USA, 29 April 2014