FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Contact Denny Zane, executive director of Move LA, 310-570-5870, or Gloria Ohland, 323-222-5508
MOVE LA APPLAUDS SENATOR BOXER AND REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP FOR EXPANDING TIFIA PROGRAM IN DRAFT FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION BILL
TIFIA to be folded into America Fast Forward, with funding increased to $1 billion a year
LOS ANGELES — Move LA applauds U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the Environment and Public Works Committee she chairs for the announcement Wednesday that the committee is drafting a federal transportation bill that would include an expanded TIFIA loan program as well as guaranteed funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Boxer talked to reporters after she and a bipartisan coalition of committee members issued a joint statement about their progress. Issuing the statement with Boxer were Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the EPW committee, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Senator David Vitter (RLA), ranking member of the subcommittee.
Boxer said the committee is planning a $339.2 billion bill, to be called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), which would fund the federal transportation program at current levels plus inflation, and increase TIFIA funding from the current level of $110 million a year to $1 billion a year. The TIFIA program would keep its name but be folded into a larger program called America Fast Forward — based on Los Angeles’ 30-10 plan to accelerate transit projects with lowcost loans and low-interest bonds from the federal government.
TIFIA funding is expected to leverage an additional $30 billion a year in private investment, which Boxer said would increase funding for transportation infrastructure over the life of the bill to almost $500 billion.
“At Move LA are we are very pleased that a bi-partisan group of four Senators with very different political views have come together in a difficult political environment to support investment in transportation infrastructure,” said Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane. “Move LA and its business-labor-environmental coalition, working with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA Metro, played an important role in initiating and formulating the America Fast Forward program. A big congratulations to the Mayor for his exceptional advocacy on our behalf in Washington DC.
“We are very pleased that the 30-10 plan has ‘grown up’ to become not only a good idea but a national program,” Zane added. “America Fast Forward will leverage private investment in projects that create jobs but will not exacerbate the federal deficit over the long term.”
Boxer said that she’s still considering including an infrastructure bank in the bill and that she is hoping for a six-year bill. But she acknowledged that a two-year option is still very much in the mix. Boxer also reiterated her support for indexing the gas tax to inflation in order to increase Highway Trust Fund revenues, but she acknowledged that it is a non-starter.
In their joint statement the Senators said that, “Our goal is to attain the optimum achievable authorization length depending on the resources available. It is critical that this be done in a way that does not increase the deficit and can achieve bipartisan support.” Boxer said the committee plans to start hearings on the final draft of the bill in two weeks and to mark it up before the July 4 recess.
Move LA is the nonprofit business-labor-environmental coalition that helped ensure passage of Measure R in 2008. Move LA’s mission is to build a broad constituency that will advocate for the development of a comprehensive, diverse, robust, clean, and financially