FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and more than 110 bipartisan colleagues urged President Barack Obama to support a bill that would address the country’s transportation and infrastructure needs and create jobs in the private sector.
“When people can’t get from here to there and when products get slowed down by broken train tracks and trucks clogged on bridges, efficiency goes down and prices for consumers go up,” Himes said in a statement. “Improving our transportation infrastructure is the most surefire way to boost the economy and create jobs, both now and in the long term.”
The letter calls for a six-year fully funded transportation reauthorization with investments above current funding. This time frame would allow state departments of transportation to plan, approve and implement large-scale projects across the country.
The bipartisan group said it would push funding options for a six-year authorization. The last surface transportation authorization bill expired in September 2009 and has been temporarily extended eight separate times. The latest temporary extension is set to expire at the end of March.
Here is an excerpt from the letter: "Global employers considering a presence in the United States will require a modern transportation infrastructure that enables them to move their finished products to the global market place in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Our aging and congested system is a strong disincentive for firms to expand their presence in the United States and create jobs here at home. A long-term transportation authorization will help make America more competitive in the global marketplace and create jobs in all sectors of our economy."
The American Society for Civil Engineers gives the nation’s transportation infrastructure a grade of “D” and estimates the cost of failing to invest in roads and bridges would total $2.1 trillion in lost economic growth and 877,000 jobs by 2020. The group also says congestion could cost an additional $276 billion a year by 2020 in lost time and inefficiencies. The cost of using more fuel, lost productivity and accelerated auto wear on worsening roads would cost every family $1,060 a year.