Grow America Act Aims to Fix our Highways and Bridges

By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

One of the things our industry has been complaining about is the horrible condition of our bridges and highways. Most of the repairs have been a quick fix Band-Aids, controlling the bleeding but not stitching the wounds.

They are everywhere. Our infrastructure has been let go for too many years, President after President, Congress after Congress has failed to formulate and implement a cohesive plan to correct decades of neglect. This has caused safety issues for everyone on the roads, not just Professional Drivers. Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. Our transportation system, roads, and bridges especially, are in a dire state of disrepair because of it. Experts agree:  The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill.

Enter President Elect Trump, who has made repairing our infrastructure a priority on the campaign trail. How that correlates to what he does once in power, remains to be seen.

The DOT has started a program to invest in Americas Roads and Bridges. Called the “Grow America Act,” it's a $478 billion, six-year transportation reauthorization proposal that provides increased and stable funding for our nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems. The Administration's proposal is funded by supplementing current revenues from the Highway Trust Fund in combination with a 14 percent transition tax on the up to $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings that U.S. companies have accumulated overseas. This will prevent Trust Fund insolvency for six years, and increase investments to meet national economic goals.

As a Road Warrior, you see the best, (are there any) and worst roads in the country, and probably have your own list. Per the Department of Transportation, the following were the worst ten states in need of repair, the % of roads in poor or mediocre condition, and the amount it costs consumers annually to fix repairs because of the poor roads are as follows:

Worst States

The percent of roads and bridges in need of repair and the annual costs of repairs for drivers.

The GROW AMERICA Act will provide state and local governments with the certainty needed to effectively plan and start construction on projects that will support millions of good paying jobs over the next several years. It will also enable more transformative transportation projects that will improve the nation’s global competitiveness and mobility in communities across the country.

The act provides $317 billion to invest in our nation’s highway system and road safety. The proposal will increase the amount of highway funds by an average of about 29 percent above FY 2015 enacted levels, emphasizing “Fix-it-First” policies and reforms that prioritize investments for much needed repairs and improvements to the safety of our roads and transit services, with attention to investments in rural and tribal areas.  The proposal will also provide more than $10 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to improve safety for all users of our highways and roads, providing a benefit of $21 for every Federal dollar used for infrastructure-related safety investments.

So, who’s paying for this?

As part of transitioning to a reformed business tax system that will encourage firms to create U.S. jobs instead of shifting jobs and profits overseas, the Administration’s proposal will impose a one-time 14 percent transition tax on the up to $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings that U.S. companies have accumulated overseas.

The Act is in its infantile stage, as it’s only a year old and the uncertaintyof a new administration looms on the horizon.

Our Road Warriors don’t need a table to tell them where the worst roads are, you travel them daily. We'd like to hear your thoughts. Shout it from the mountain tops, (or just type) what are the worst roads in America?