This week, Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) joined his colleagues in California's Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure expressing their concerns about the recently released proposal for the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. This bill would cut the current level funding for highways and mass transit by almost 1/3, adversely delaying critical transportation projects and adversely impacting California's economy.
In the letter, Congressman Cardoza and the other members outlined the lasting negative impacts that transportation cuts would have on California's economy. Under the Chairman's proposal, California would lose $68 million in transportation funds and more than $1.25 billion in highway infrastructure investments. Over 60,000 jobs would be in jeopardy, further harming California's and the Central Valley's dismal job market.
"Transportation is the bedrock of our economy. Without funding to maintain and build our highways, bridges and roads, we are undercutting our own recovery," said Congressman Cardoza. "It is my hope and that of my colleagues that the Chairman reconsider the impact his proposal would have on California's struggling economy."
The United States currently spends less than two percent of its GDP annually on infrastructure, while China spends nine percent. A recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers shows that if the United States does not properly invest in our nation's infrastructure, by 2020 we could lose more than 870,000 jobs and suppress the growth of our GDP by $3.1 trillion.
August 3, 2011
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 banks up front that would be paid back with dedicated 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.