With the California Incline reconstruction site in Santa Monica as a backdrop, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) hosted a press conference on July 17 with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District, and other county leaders to highlight the need for infrastructure investment.
The representatives advocated for the Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America Act, also known as the GROW AMERICA Act. Introduced to House committees last week, the legislation would authorize President Barack Obama’s six-year transportation plan and provide $478 billion over that period to rebuild infrastructure throughout America, they said.
“Now is the time to make the big, bold investments in infrastructure that America needs to compete and succeed in the 21st century,” Pelosi said. “With Democrats’ GROW AMERICA Act, we can make a robust, long-term commitment to rebuilding America — creating jobs, and unlocking a brighter future for our country.”
The GROW AMERICA Act would help pay for the country’s Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is set to otherwise expire July 31. It will create jobs that can’t be outsourced for middle class workers and repair roads — 54 percent of which are rated poor or mediocre by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Lieu said.
Extension of the HTF is particularly important to Los Angeles because of the notorious congestion on freeways, Lieu said, and every dollar invested in infrastructure means $4 back in terms of economic revenue generated. Part of that will come from GROW AMERICA, which would create more than two million jobs.
“It’s exactly the opposite of trickle-down economics,” Lieu said. “We know that economic vision doesn’t work. It has failed America. If you look at what happened in 2009, the Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which was massive stimulus funding that not only resulted in a lot of great infrastructure projects, it basically saved our economy at that point during The Recession.”
HTF will help pay for other local infrastructure like the Purple Line Extension project, according to Lieu’s director of communications, Jack D’Annibale.
Pelosi said the issue of infrastructure investment has never been partisan in the past because the aim has been for communities to work together to come up with solutions. But she said the country needs new plans because the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the county needs more than $3 trillion in infrastructure investments before 2020.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Pelosi said. “But we’ve learned that no maintenance is the most expensive maintenance.”
The GROW AMERICA Act has partisan support, she said, and the California Incline was used as an example of how local, state and federal investments create jobs and boost the economy. Federal dollars will pay for 88 percent of the incline project costs.
Determining how to pay for the investments isn’t as well agreed upon, however, Pelosi said. To help pay for GROW AMERICA, Lieu and Pelosi both support a bill that will shut down corporate tax inversions and make sure corporations can’t escape paying their fair share of taxes by moving their mailing address to an overseas location.
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