Stabenow: Quick Passage of Transportation Bill Needed to Build Michigan Roads, Create Michigan Jobs
The U.S. Senate needs to quickly pass a long-delayed, multi-year transportation funding bill and begin the important tasks of renewing the nation's transportation infrastructure and creating jobs, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said today.
"The highway bill under consideration in the Senate will do more than provide the funds desperately needed for Michigan roads," Stabenow said. "The bill will create 47,500 jobs - good-paying jobs - for every $1 billion in highway spending. Michigan badly needs both the road work and the jobs that this bill will provide."
Current Senate consideration of a highway bill follows by more than a year the Senate's initial approval of an earlier version of such a bill. It passed with strong bipartisan support in 2004 and would have created more than 99,000 jobs in Michigan. Despite the 76-21 vote in the Senate, the White House threatened a veto of the bill, and the measure died without conference agreement with a U.S. House version.
"This delay has cost Michigan jobs, and it has cost us additional highway funding that we badly need," Stabenow said. "Our communities are growing, congestion is getting worse, and our roads are worn down from the increased wear and tear, but we are still working under funding formulas that are more than seven years old."
Easing traffic congestion is one of the targets of transportation funding, and Stabenow put dollar signs on the delays that Michigan drivers currently experience.
"Traffic congestion costs Detroit-area drivers almost $2 billion annually - that's about $481 per person," she said. "In Grand Rapids, congestion costs drivers $101 million annually, or about $191 per person."
Those problems, however, can't be fixed without a well-funded highway bill, Stabenow said. "We need to get this bill done, so that we don't miss a second construction season this year. The time is now to invest in the transportation needs - and the job needs - of our state and nation."
Stabenow said she would work with members on both sides of the aisle to help ensure a speedy and bipartisan passage of a transportation bill.