In a letter sent today, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to restore cuts to funding for transportation programs in the six-month continuing resolution. The continuing resolution is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week.
Failure to honor the funding levels agreed to in surface transportation law means a cut of over $500 million and 17,000 jobs over the year that would have gone to repair our roads and bridges. Thousands of people across the country will not go to work on transportation projects as a result of the funding cuts in the continuing resolution.
Senator Boxer said: "Congress just passed a bipartisan surface transportation law that will help will jumpstart the nation's economy. At a time when unemployment, particularly in the construction industry, is too high, it is the time to increase job opportunities - not cause additional job losses."
The full text of the letter is below:
September 11, 2012
The Honorable John A. Boehner
United States House of Representatives
H-232 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner:
I am extremely disappointed that in the six-month continuing resolution you have failed to protect the surface transportation funding levels which we negotiated in the recently-passed bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
MAP-21, the bipartisan legislation which passed the House of Representatives with an overwhelming vote of 373-52, maintained current funding levels for the remainder of fiscal year 2012 and included an inflationary adjustment for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. This increase in funding would simply account for inflation in accordance with the Congressional Budget Office baseline.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, every billion of federal dollars invested in highway projects that is matched by State and local funds creates or sustains more than 34,000 jobs through all sectors of the economy. MAP-21, as passed by the House and the Senate, would create or save nearly 3 million jobs per year. Failure to honor the funding levels agreed to in MAP-21 means a cut of over $500 million and 17,000 jobs over the year that would have gone to repair our roads and bridges. As a result, thousands of Americans would not go to work on transportation projects across the country. A six-month continuing resolution at these funding levels is clearly unacceptable.
Congress made a commitment to the American people that we were going to invest in our nation's infrastructure at a time when our economy needs it the most. Congress cannot go back on that promise. The MAP-21 funding levels should be honored for fiscal year 2013. If the cut were to remain in the continuing resolution, it must be restored before any full year transportation funding bill proceeds.