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Remarks by Gregory Nadeau, Deputy Administrator, FHWA

North Spokane Corridor Project Visit

Spokane, Washington

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hello everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here today in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

I appreciate the chance to visit this realignment project and see our TIGER funds being put to such good use.

This project really symbolizes what’s right – and what’s wrong – with our transportation program today.

What’s “right” is that the people of this region came up with a plan for improving safety and reducing congestion with a new North Spokane Corridor.

The “bad news” is that we don’t have the federal funding to build this or thousands of other projects like it all across the country.

Just 11 days from now, the latest extension of our current transportation bill, MAP-21, will expire.

And a couple of months later, the Highway Trust Fund will start to run out of cash.

Congress is talking about fixing those problems with another short-term patch.

But as we see here in Spokane, our transportation funding doesn’t need “patching.”

It needs substantial investment and a long-term timeline that will let communities plan and invest in projects that will create jobs, improve the quality of life and help the economy grow.

This corridor project would certainly help meet those goals, which makes it all the more tragic that it’s “on hold” for lack of funding.

The Obama Administration has a plan that would get projects like this off the drawing board and under construction.

It’s called the GROW AMERICA Act.

GROW AMERICA is a six-year, $478 billion proposal.

It gives planners the certainty they need to plan, the money they need to invest and the policies to ensure the dollars are used effectively and efficiently.

It would invest $317 billion in our highway program, nearly $12 billion more per year than under current law.

It would help build what we call Ladders of Opportunity by giving people safe transportation options to get them to work or to school.

And it would boost funding for the TIGER program that’s making this realignment possible.

TIGER shows you in a nutshell how desperate communities are for funding.

Since the program began in 2009, we’ve awarded grants to 342 projects. But we’ve received more than 6,000 applications! Even the most competitive college has a higher acceptance rate than that!

Those 342 projects have received just over $4 billion in grants. But the requests totaled more than $124 billion – 30 TIMES the money we had available.

And without trying to alarm you, the need for funding is only going to grow.

We project that America will be home to 70 million more people just 30 years from now and will need to move 45 percent more freight. That means for every 10 trucks on the road today, there will be four more in 2045.

The GROW AMERICA Act is designed to help us meet those challenges.

So we need Congress to make tough choices, think big and pass a bill that will help build this Corridor, restore America today and prepare America for tomorrow.

Thank you very much!

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Page posted on May 21, 2015.
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