WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today completed his four-day bus tour in our nation’s capital to urge Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill. While traveling through five states – Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia – Secretary Foxx visited universities, manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities, and highway projects to highlight the importance of investing in America’s infrastructure.
In Tallahassee, Secretary Foxx met with students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and visited the proposed State Road 263 Capital Circle Southwest Project with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to highlight the city’s efforts to promote economic development. The proposed project is estimated to cost $120 million – of which $111 million is still needed for the project to go to construction.
Before heading to Georgia, the Secretary was joined by Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown on a tour of the I-95 Overland Bridge Replacement Project. At $196 million in construction costs alone, the project –which relies on $73 million in federal funding– is considered the largest highway construction effort in northeast Florida’s history.
In Savannah, Secretary Foxx was joined by Congressman Buddy Carter on a visit to the proposed Brampton Road Connector Project. Although estimated to cost $26 million, funds have not yet been identified to begin construction on the project which would improve the movement of freight at the Port of Savannah.
For the first stop in the Carolinas, Secretary Foxx was joined by Vice President Joe Biden in Charleston, South Carolina to make the case for increased investments in our ports and freight systems which support job creation and enable American businesses to compete in the 21st century global economy.
While in North Carolina, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary Foxx were joined by federal and state and local officials – including Congressman G.K. Butterfield and Congresswoman Alma Adams – to highlight passenger rail projects that will spur economic development and improve access to jobs and education in growing communities.
At Richmond International Airport in Virginia, Secretary Foxx focused on road safety, standing with elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry, and consumer safety advocates calling on rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles. He was also joined by National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind to announce a $14,000 per day fine against airbag manufacturer Takata for failing to fully cooperate with NHTSA’s ongoing investigation into the company’s defective airbags.
“I traveled up the East Coast this week to focus America’s attention on our roads, rails and ports – and to let people know that the future is a choice,” said Secretary Foxx. “If Congress fails to invest in transportation, we fail to invest in our future.”
On February 2, the Obama Administration announced a plan to address the infrastructure deficit with a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal building on the GROW AMERICA Act, which the Administration first released last year. The plan makes critical investments in infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century.
The need for these investments is clear. Earlier this month, U.S. DOT released a landmark study, “Beyond Traffic” that looked at the trends and choices facing America’s transportation over the next three decades. These included a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system that’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. A key takeaway of the study is that we need to keep investing in transportation for the sake of future generations, and the proposals included in GROW AMERICA would allow us to do just that.
You can read more about Secretary Foxx’s trip here.