Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) today was joined by Westchester County elected officials and business and labor leaders to call for an immediate reauthorization of federal transportation programs, which will expire on June 30 without action by Congress.
"It is absolutely vital for the House and Senate to reach agreement on transportation reauthorization," said Lowey. "Kicking the can down the road with another extension fails to provide businesses with the certainty they need to invest and hire workers to rebuild our nation's infrastructure. If the conferees are unable to reach agreement, Speaker Boehner should bring the bi-partisan, Senate passed, transportation reauthorization bill to the floor for a vote. We must exhaust all options before bringing another extension up for a vote."
"We commend Congresswoman Lowey and local officials for supporting reauthorization of the federal transportation act that will create 113,000 jobs in New York rebuilding our roads, bridges and mass transit systems," said Ross Pepe, President of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, Inc. "While much of today's discussion about transportation needs of the Hudson Valley region centers on the Tappan Zee Bridge, reauthorization is key to the success of New York State and local governments' ability to keep state and local highways safe and in a state of good repair. After two years of discussing a new transportation funding measure the time is now for House and Senate leaders to work together in approving a new multi-year funding bill with increased resources. Doing so will be a tremendous economic boost for our nation and the region as a whole."
The House of Representatives is currently operating on its ninth transportation extension since the law expired on September 30, 2009. The uncertainty has meant less investment in regional local infrastructure projects, a stagnant construction workforce due to lack of work, and frustration for commuters and travelers in the Hudson Valley. Lowey supports the bipartisan Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which would create a million jobs nationally and provide support for the continuation of 1.8 million jobs--113,000 of those in New York State--without adding to the federal deficit.
"The reauthorization of the Federal Transportation Bill has been one of the top priorities for The Business Council of Westchester's Government Action Council's Legislative Agenda," said John Ravitz, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Business Council of Westchester. "Our members understand the importance of Congress passing this bill immediately because it will create jobs in our region for numerous projects including building the new Tappan Zee Bridge. We thank Congresswoman Lowey for her leadership in this effort."
Lowey and the group stood just off Route 9A in Elmsford at Flooring Liquidators to call on immediate passage of the transportation bill.
"Over the years, the town of Greenburgh has pushed for a 9A bypass to reduce traffic congestion near the Elmsford 9A corridor," said Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor. "This has been a top priority for the town for decades. Everyone agrees that we need the bypass--the county, the state, local governments--and while the bypass is ready to be built, the money is not there. If the federal government would authorize funding for this project, the quality of life for residents and businesses who work and live near the corridor would be greatly enhanced. The 9A bypass project will create jobs and open up development opportunities for the town in the future."
"Reaching an agreement on the transportation reauthorization bill will give our economy the tune-up it needs to support more middle-class jobs and grow," said Lowey.