AHEAD OF WHITE HOUSE JOBS SUMMIT, LIPINSKI CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO END DELAY ON TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL AND PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK
November 30, 2009
As the White House prepares for Thursday's "jobs summit," Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) today called on President Obama to end the delay and support quick passage of a half-trillion dollar, six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that will make badly needed improvements to the nation's infrastructure and create and sustain millions of jobs. The prior authorization ended September 30 and was temporarily extended to December 18, leaving America's transportation needs significantly underfunded.
"There has never been a better time to invest in our ailing transportation infrastructure, yet the Administration has asked for an 18-month temporary extension of the prior authorization," Congressman Lipinski said. "Boosting transportation funding right now offers both the short-term benefit of quickly creating jobs and the long-term benefit of enhancing the fast, safe, and efficient transportation of people and goods in our nation. With unemployment at 10.2 percent and the last transportation bill having expired two months ago, we need to pass a new bill as soon as possible. As President Obama solicits ideas for creating jobs this week, this is one he should not ignore."
As a member of the Highway and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Lipinski voted in June to pass a carefully crafted six-year, $500 billion transportation reauthorization bill. Although the last such bill expired two months ago, the Senate, with support from the White House, has aimed to delay a new bill for 18 months, passing up a clear opportunity to lower unemployment and undertake critical projects.
In the House, there has been growing talk of passing a two-year transportation bill that would be an important first step toward addressing the nation's infrastructure and job-creation needs. Congressman Lipinski supports passage of such a bill only if timely passage of the larger bill proves impossible, and only as a temporary, stop-gap measure.
"Many Americans are facing dire economic circumstances for themselves and their families," Congressman Lipinski states in his letter to the President. "American workers are in need of jobs and American industries confront a very difficult climate for job creation. Transportation is a vital component of our nation's economy, and short-term and long-term improvements to our highway, transit, and rail systems will contribute significantly to job creation and our economic recovery. Now is the critical time to proceed with approving a multi-year transportation bill. As you conduct your 'jobs summit' this week, I hope that you will join me in supporting the speedy consideration of a significant investment in our transportation infrastructure. Investment in our infrastructure is an investment in jobs."
For almost two years, Congressman Lipinski has been pressing for increased investment in America's infrastructure. Every $1 billion spent on transportation creates and supports 35,000 good-paying American jobs. In early 2008, after the Minnesota bridge tragedy and the start of the recession, Lipinski called for a new initiative to fund a range of infrastructure projects and create jobs. In February, he succeeded in adding $3 billion for public transit to the House version of the stimulus bill, which was woefully lacking in transportation funding. When that money and more transportation infrastructure funding were later stripped from the bill, he did not support the final bill.
"Here in Illinois, the need for jobs and the need for transportation funding could not be more evident," Congressman Lipinski said. "The time to pass a transportation bill to put people to work and to fix our roads, highways, bridges, railways, and public transit is now."
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