The Senate voted today on its version of the federal surface transportation bill, passing the measure 74-22. The two-year, $109 billion bill includes several key provisions Smart Growth America supports:
- The bill invests in repair for aging transportation infrastructure. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials most recently gave the U.S. an embarassingly low “D” for its infrastructure. Constructed decades ago to help connect a growing economy, our infrastructure is now holding us back. Investing in repair is also a wise financial decision: as Smart Growth America’s report Repair Priorities explained, investing in road preservation and repair makes the most of existing resources and limits future liabilities.
- The bill will help communities improve their Main Streets through funding opportunities for revitalization projects. Simple things like streetscape improvements can support local businesses and town centers across the country.
- The bill will give communities the choice to create safe and low cost transportation options, like sidewalks and bike paths. This provision is particularly important as gas prices continue to climb.
- The bill encourages states to develop complete streets polices, that make streets safer and more convenient for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.
- The bill takes critical steps toward a performance-based system that will make our transportation system more efficient and effective, and help make sure our national investments are sound.
“We applaud the Senate for passing a transportation bill with bipartisan support that makes sense for our economy,” Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, said in a statement. “These decisions are wise investments and will help the United States and American businesses stay competitive in a global 21st century economy. Smart Growth America congratulates the Senate on making such excellent progress on this long-overdue bill. We encourage the House of Representatives to follow suit and keep this legislation moving forward.”