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Grow America Act Still a Bad Idea the Second Time Around

Bad ideas don’t get better with age.

It should come as no surprise that the highway user community isn’t welcoming the Administration's re-released Grow America Act with open arms.

Grow America 2.0, as it’s been called, is a $478 billion proposal that would fund transportation projects over the next six years largely through a new tax on corporate overseas earnings.

And while it may call for increased funding, this repackaged transportation plan contains several proposals that are igniting opposition from highway users and the businesses that cater to them.

Chief among them is easing restrictions to toll existing interstates. The idea already has been rejected by lawmakers, the public, and community leaders in the few states with a federal exception to the tolling prohibition.

Tolls represent a raw deal for travelers by jeopardizing public safety as traffic moves onto less safe secondary roads and by double-taxing motorists who already pay the fuel tax every time they fill up their gas tank.

Adding insult to injury, the administration's plan would let states redirect toll revenues from the roadway to completely unrelated projects such as trolleys and public transit.

Furthermore, the Grow America Act would allow states to place electric vehicle charging stations and anti-idling equipment for trucks in rest areas along the Interstate Highway System, and charge a fee for the service.

The government’s desire to offer services that the private sector already effectively provides is extremely troubling to interstate-based businesses.

Transportation groups may be anxious for a long-term highway bill. And everyone agrees it’s long overdue. 

But repackaging bad ideas doesn’t turn them into good ones.

Including changes to tolling restrictions and rest area service offerings in the Grow America Act 2.0 proposal is simply unacceptable.


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About the Author

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.