Today, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Mike Simpson (R-UT) released a letter to House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall decrying proposed reauthorization funding levels that would "result in a transportation system that is less reliable, less safe and less able to serve the needs of our interconnected economy."
"The proposed funding levels in this reauthorization are disastrously stingy and do not meet the minimum levels required to keep America's transportation network safe and our economy competitive," said Blumenauer. "Funding at these levels will result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and roads, railways and bridges with structural deficiencies that threaten our communities. We urge the Chairman and Ranking Member to fully fund our transportation priorities to keep travelers safe and businesses competitive."
"We can't keep putting this bill on the back burner and leave states in limbo," said LaTourette. "We need a robust bill if we're truly serious about rebuilding America, and creating jobs."
"At a time when more than 9% of Americans are unemployed, a robust and comprehensive surface transportation bill is more vital than ever," said Nadler. "We need our next transportation bill to maintain our infrastructure, to provide thousands of good jobs, and to put America back on a path toward long-term economic growth. A comprehensive transportation bill will accomplish all of this while helping the U.S. resume its economic position on the world's stage. A transportation bill with massive cuts is not only a missed opportunity but a direct blow to our efforts to improve the economy."
"Responsible investment in our nation's infrastructure system is critical to our long-term economic health," said Simpson. "A robust transportation system is what made the 20th century the American Century, and if we intend to remain competitive on the world stage, we must maintain a system that transports goods and people safely and efficiently."
The proposed reauthorization due out Thursday is expected to provide between $215 and $230 billion in transportation funding over six years -- a 31 percent reduction from prior funding levels. By contrast, numerous experts including the American Society of Civil Engineers estimate that the U.S. must invest an additional $1 trillion beyond current levels in the next ten years just to maintain a state of good repair and meet demand.