To do that, we must:
- Stabilize funding for the MAP-21 program Congress adopted in 2012 and protect all modes of transportation from draconian budget cuts;
- Raise additional revenue for locally-driven projects that spur economic growth and innovation.
OUR ECONOMY & COMMUNITIES DEPEND ON TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT
Across the country, our cities, towns and suburbs — the local centers of commerce that form the backbone of America’s economy — are in a serious bind: They know they must have top-notch networks of roads and transit to compete on a global scale and preserve their quality of life. They know they need to get workers of all wage levels to their jobs. They also know they need to eliminate crippling bottlenecks in freight delivery. These local communities are stretching themselves to raise their own funds and to innovate, but without a strong federal partner the twin demands of maintaining their existing infrastructure and preparing for the future are beyond their means. Even as the transportation trust fund faces insolvency, existing federal programs too often put a damper on innovation rather than stoking it.
This cannot stand. The federal government must become a strong partner in a 21st century investment plan for transportation that invests in strong local economies and rewards smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation innovations.
Just as our national economy depends on strong local economies, our national transportation program should invest in and reward smart, home grown, locally driven transportation solutions.
A 21ST CENTURY TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Investors know you must put money in today to get returns in the future. Raising an additional $30 billion per year would allow us to invest to accomplish critical goals at only a small cost per commuter:
- Reverse the decline of the transportation trust fund. Fully fund the existing highway and transit programs that preserve our aging infrastructure, without taking money from other important programs or adding to the deficit;
- Spur the innovation our economy needs to meet population growth and rising demand by funding competitive grants to local communities that come up with smart solutions.
Fixing what we need to fix.
Repair 46,508 bridges
Replace 16,000 aging buses and 5,000 rail cars
Meet our ongoing commitments.
Improving communities & expanding opportunity.
Based on the average cost of construction, the investment fund would support 70 new transit projects, providing new access to jobs and potential workers in dozens of cities, towns and suburbs.
Spurring local innovation.
The federal government plays a key role in promoting innovation, by providing capital for locally driven path-breaking initiatives, whose success can be shared nationwide. // Fund competitive grants, such as a freight grant program and the popular TIGER grant program, for groundbreaking projects with significant economic pay-off.
Increasing accountability and local control.
By providing more funding and control to the local level, Americans will more easily see the impact and be better able to hold officials accountable.
LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY: the best way to ensure a return on investment
While this level of investment is a modest request from taxpayers, they have a right to expect a guaranteed return on it. Opinion polls and ballot results show what American voters want—a system that is:
- In good repair;
- Rewards locally driven innovation;
- Keeps the nation in the economic forefront; and
- Connects all Americans to economic opportunity.
They want to know the money will flow to their communities for improvements in their daily life— making travel easier, more affordable and safer. And they trust the levels of government closest to them because they can hold them accountable.
American workers and businesses will willingly pay a little more to achieve these goals, if the expected results—and accountability for them—are clearly articulated.