Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stood with U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and U.S. Rep Albio Sires (D-NJ-13), urging the House of Representatives to follow the Senate's lead and move quickly to pass a bipartisan transportation jobs bill. Last week, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate passed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act," a surface transportation bill which will create or maintain 2.8 million jobs nationwide. Speaking at the Hoboken Train Station, the federal officials were joined by New Jersey transportation advocates to stress the importance of the legislation, which would provide New Jersey with $500 million for transit projects and $1 billion per year in highways funds.
The Senate transportation bill, which was approved last Wednesday by an overwhelming 74-22 margin, would relieve road congestion, expand transit and rail systems, and direct billions to American workers rebuilding the nation's aging infrastructure. The legislation is particularly important for New Jersey, where it would support 54,200 jobs in a state economy powered by regional transportation systems. New Jersey commuters would get immediate relief through restoration of the commuter tax benefit, which allows mass transit riders to set aside an untaxed $240 monthly to pay for commuting costs.
"I'm thrilled that the Senate has passed a bipartisan transportation bill that will put millions of Americans back to work repairing our aging transportation infrastructure," said Secretary LaHood. "If the House follows their lead, we can relieve congestion on our roads, expand our transit and rails systems, and provide Americans with safe, affordable ways to reach their destinations when gas prices are high."
"House Republicans should back away from the extreme Tea Party ideology and pass the Senate transportation bill that will rebuild our nation's crumbling transportation systems and put millions of American to work," said Sen. Lautenberg, Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. "In New Jersey, we need this bill to help reduce traffic congestion, benefit transit commuters, and boost our economy. Funding for America's transportation system expires at the end of the month. It's time for the House GOP to complete this bill so we can keep people on the job rebuilding America's infrastructure."
"This bill represents years of bipartisan work to invest in our infrastructure, create good jobs for New Jerseyans and give us the transportation network we need for our workers to get to their jobs, for our families to meet their needs, and for our businesses to thrive," said Senator Menendez. "The toughest work is done. The Senate's acted to create jobs and keep commuters moving. Now it's time for House Republicans to get on board and do their part for New Jersey."
"I am pleased that the Senate passed this bill, which will provide important funding for our country's transportation needs," said Rep. Sires. "I hope my colleagues in the House will create jobs and keep commuters moving. Now it's time for House Republicans to get on board and do their part for New Jersey."