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GROW AMERICA: Providing environmental protection

Supporting a Healthy Environment

The GROW AMERICA Act protects the environment, helps cut carbon pollution by increasing the efficiency of the transportation system and building a 21st Century transportation sector, and encourages transportation choices that eases congestion on the Nation’s highways and improves the quality of life for communities.

  • Transportation is responsible for more than 70 percent of petroleum consumption in the U.S.
  • An estimated 142.2 million Americans live in places where the levels of one or more air pollutants exceed national air quality standards, threatening public health.
  • While progress has been made in providing transportation options in a wider array of communities, including rural communities, 45 percent of Americans still have no access to public transportation.
By reducing traffic congestion on highways such as this one, States and metropolitan areas help to improve air quality.

To address these critical issues, the GROW AMERICA Act will:

  • Increase transit funding by 76 percent, to expand systems, mitigate congestion, and improve air quality while enabling more Americans to save hard-earned dollars that would otherwise be spent on gas.  A family that uses public transit instead of driving lowers their carbon emission footprint by 30 percent on average.
  • Invest $29 billion over six years to improve rail infrastructure, including enhancing the nation’s intercity rail network, which will improve air quality and reduce congestion between megaregions by getting cars off the road.
  • Establish a $1 billion Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation (FAST) grants program that will incentivize jurisdictions to adopt bold, innovative strategies and best practices in transportation, including measures that better align transportation, land-use and economic decisions, and those that reduce energy use, improve air and water quality, and reduce carbon pollution.
  • Make $1.25 billion a year available for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program to support game-changing investments across multiple modes of transportation.  TIGER can support a range of projects that support a more efficient transportation system, reduce carbon pollution, and benefit the environment.
  • Support development of future efficiency standards for cars and trucks – including the next round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which the President has directed DOT and EPA to complete by 2016.
  • Help communities meet and maintain air quality standards through improvements to the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program by aggressively targeting fine-particle air pollution and smog-forming emissions that can have the greatest health impacts.
  • Create a new program to support construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of large, nationally significant transportation infrastructure within or accessing federal or tribal lands, including national parks and forests.
  • Support increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road by 2015 by easing installation of electric charging stations along America's highway rest areas and making it easier for government agencies to offer electric vehicle charging services for employees.
  • Require state and regional long range transportation plans take into account the need to reduce risks from extreme weather events and create more resilient infrastructure.
  • Expand eligibility for certain Federal Highway Administration funds to include activities that support green stormwater infrastructure activities – including a range of systems that help intercept and store stormwater to improve water quality, enhance road safety, and reduce water treatment energy use. The GROW AMERICA Act will also add consideration of stormwater issues in statewide and metropolitan planning.

The GROW America Act is consistent with the President’s Climate Action Plan and builds on the Administration’s previous efforts to address climate change and support clean energy innovation, including historic investments in advanced vehicle and fuel technologies, public transit, and rail under the Recovery Act, as well as the ambitious new fuel economy standards put into place for cars and trucks, which the Administration has worked to develop since 2009 in collaboration with industry.  The Administration finalized the first-ever fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-18, which will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil, and put in place standards for cars and light duty vehicles through 2025, which are already saving vehicle owners at the gas pump and will roughly double fuel economy by the end of the program.

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