Obama’s Budget Request Includes Freight Grant Program, Foxx Says

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s upcoming budget request for the Department of Transportation will include parts of the four-year, $302 billion transportation plan the administration unveiled last year, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told lawmakers.

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Jan. 28, the secretary indicated the Grow America Act’s proposals expected in the fiscal 2016 budget request include establishing a grant program for freight transportation, primarily trucking and rail.

The grant program would be designed to help accommodate projected increases in freight tonnage during the coming decades.

The budget request is expected to be released Feb. 2.

Foxx said the request would boost funds to upgrade the country’s aging infrastructure through a “fix it first” system, with priority given to rural towns and tribal regions.

Also, the request would reauthorize “Buy America” requirements to stimulate job creation in public transportation, expand a loan program to facilitate development of public-private partnerships in states and municipalities and increase the size of infrastructure grants in the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

The request also would seek funding to relieve congestion, and it calls for streamlining the permitting process for big-ticket construction projects.

Foxx said the proposal “advances my key priorities: protecting the safety of the traveling public, closing the nation’s infrastructure deficit and modernizing the U.S. transportation system through technology and process innovation.”

See additional coverage of the budget request in the Feb. 2 print edition of Transport Topics.

By Eugene Mulero
Staff Reporter