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Reconnecting America Comments on Administration's FY14 Budget

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Statement of John Robert Smith, President and CEO of Reconnecting America, on the Administration's Proposed FY14 Budget:

"In the Administration's recently released budget for Fiscal Year 2014, we were pleased to see a call for continued investment in the infrastructure we need to provide all Americans with transportation choices. Taken together, the $50 billion investment upfront and longer-term initiatives like the National Infrastructure Bank are designed to improve transit systems, rail lines, roadways and bridges, and other transportation modes nationwide. Encouraging innovation is at the root of America's values, therefore the amounts set aside within the Department of Transportation's budget for competitive multimodal programs and initiatives to attract private investment are particularly noteworthy.

"These initiatives will build on the core programs that keep our transportation systems safe and productive. We are pleased that the President has requested full funding for MAP-21's programs as well as $40 billion over five years from a new Rail Account in the Transportation Trust Fund to improve speeds and service on America's passenger rail network. The proposed Integrated Planning and Investment Grants at the Department of Housing and Urban Development will complement the programs at DOT by helping communities make the most of these infrastructure investments.

"While we appreciate the President's reservation of funds to support transportation programs after MAP-21 expires, we urge the Administration and Congress to adopt long-term, dedicated revenues to pay for on-going transportation infrastructure needs. Our leaders have wrestled with this issue for too long, while demand for transportation choices has only increased.

"Americans need choices in travel, no matter where they live. Our country must develop a true multimodal system to connect people to the places that matter. America's future economic growth depends on this. We urge Congress to pay careful attention to the infrastructure and community investment proposals in this budget and act accordingly, to benefit all Americans. We look forward to working with the President and Congress as the budget process moves forward."