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Why We Need the American Jobs Act


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Shortly after Labor Day, President Obama came before a joint session of Congress to put forward the American Jobs Act as a means to address the nation's unacceptably high unemployment rate. He urged swift passage of the bill given that its central components have been proven to create jobs and have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support.

The legislation would authorize $50 billion to fix our broken infrastructure, an investment which not only benefits the individual worker but our economy at large. The bill also provides tax cuts to small businesses that hire new workers and provides out of work veterans with new opportunities and job training.

On Tuesday, I visited the Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill which is used by Commuter Rail, Amtrak, and freight trains daily but is in need of substantial rehabilitation. The bridge has been declared safe by MBTA officials, but trains must now cross on a single track at reduced speeds, which causes delays on the century old structure and it must ultimately be replaced.

Continued cut backs in federal spending have greatly curtailed the available resources for projects of this nature which meet the criteria for federal support but ultimately go unfunded. The American Jobs Act has the potential to fund needed construction projects like the Haverhill Bridge replacement that create jobs, strengthen vital infrastructure, and ensure public safety.

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