The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s Ira Agricola, Executive Vice President, participated in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on July 9. Hosted by Business Forward, a D.C.-based business group, Secretary Foxx focused on the Administration's proposed GROW AMERICA Act. He explained that unless Congress acts, by the end of the summer, the Federal Highway Trust Fund could be insolvent, putting jobs and critical road projects in many states at risk. If improvements and repairs to America's transportation system are stalled, it will disrupt supply chains and the flow of goods across the country. Money is needed for maintenance and new capacity.
Foxx said, “Without action by Congress, many states and communities will be forced to slow or stop work on critical transportation projects that our nation depends on to move our people, energy, freight and many other commodities every single day.”
Foxx said that since he took office just more than a year ago, he’s been sounding the alarm bell on the need for greater transportation investment and long-term stability in our system. He explained that the Administration has drafted the GROW AMERICA Act, a $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization proposal providing increased and stable funding for the country’s highways, bridges, transit systems and rail systems. Policy initiatives include a freight proposal to invest $10 billion in multi-modal freight program that strengthens America’s exports and trade. The second initiative focuses on project delivery to reduce project review and approval timelines on major infrastructure projects while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment.
Read more about the GROW AMERICA Act.
A caller from Los Angeles, California, asked the Secretary about infrastructure of our country’s ports and freight volume. Foxx referenced a TIGER grant that was awarded to the Port of Los Angeles to bring rail capacity directly to the port so product could be moved directly off a ship onto a train and moved anywhere across the country, giving the Port of Los Angeles a huge competitive advantage. He said, “That type of investment and interfacing between our surface systems and port systems is part of the reason we have to have a national freight program funded at a sufficient level to get scale out of that system. That is why we are pushing so hard for a long-term bill.”
“All of us have a voice on this issue,” said Foxx, who asked the organizations on the call to help get the word out to elected officials on the need to say “yes” to the GROW AMERICA Act. He stressed the impact this issue has to the quality of life, businesses and employees.
Transportation remains a critical priority for businesses around the country and in the Hampton Roads region. All forms of transportation have a role to play in serving the needs of our citizens. Current levels of congestion outside and within our region are already placing business growth, tourism, port growth and our military facilities at risk.
Bring this topic up at the Chamber’s “Senatorial Luncheon Forum with U.S. Senators Warner & Kaine” being held on August 28 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.