Today, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and more than 30 Democratic members of the California delegation sent a letter to Chairman John Mica (R - FL) of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure opposing Republicans' proposal for drastic cuts to transportation and infrastructure.
"California Democrats are outraged at the Republican proposal to slash funding for transportation improvements by a third," said Rep. Stark. "Their obsession with cutting government could mean more than 60,000 Californians lose their jobs while making our aging roads, bridges and transit systems less safe and more congested."
The Honorable John L. Mica
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Dear Chairman Mica,
We are writing today to express our concerns about the recently released Republican proposal for the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act that cuts almost 1/3 of current level funding for highways and mass transit. Specifically, we urge you to reconsider the overall proposed funding level, which would further adversely affect the fragile economy in California and the nation.
In order to compete in the global market, we must invest in our infrastructure as our biggest competitor already does. China spends 9 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually on infrastructure, while the U.S. spends less than 2 percent. More startling is the fact that the U.S. spends 40 percent less than it needs every year to improve the outdated backbone of our country.
Equally concerning is the recently released study by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The report shows that if we do not properly invest in our nation's infrastructure, we could lose more than 870,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country's GDP by $3.1 trillion by 2020. The report also showed that in 2010, deficiencies in America's roads, bridges, and transit systems cost American households and businesses more than $129 billion, including $32 billion in delays in travel time and $590 million in environmental costs.
The proposal to reduce funding in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act will have lasting and negative effects on the California economy. In fact, the state would lose $468 million in public transportation funds and more than $1.25 billion in highway infrastructure investments. This means a loss of 61,054 jobs in California.
We do commend you for including an expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA Program). This federal loan program provides direct loans, loan guarantees and lines of credit to finance transportation projects of national and regional significance. In California, this would up project delivery by allowing projects to receive low-cost federal loans or bonds up front that would be paid back with dedicated tax revenue.
We urge you to reconsider the overall funding level for the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. Our national infrastructure is failing and we cannot afford to cut funding if the cost is the success of our commerce and economic growth. We look forward to working with you to address our country's infrastructure needs.