Congress has now passed 33 short-term extensions of federal highway and transit funding over the past six years. That’s inexcusable. Now federal transportation funding is set to run out in a matter of days and the House and Senate are nowhere close to agreement on how to end the gridlock. Once again, we are back in the same position we were in barely two months ago.
Congress has now passed 33 short-term extensions of federal highway and transit funding over the past six years.
The July 31 deadline to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out—federal funding to maintain and improve the country’s highways, bridges, transit systems and more—looms large. Recent extensions have lasted anywhere from a few months to a year. The problem with this lies in the fact that infrastructure investments require lead-time for planning and implementation.
As long as Congress continues the cycle of only patching the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund every six months or so, we’re stunting America’s growth—preventing the long-term investments that could create good, family-sustaining jobs, reduce traffic jams that worsen carbon pollution, and ensure a strong economy for our communities and our families.
On the other hand, we could be doing more to grow good, family-sustaining jobs in the transportation industry. These types of investments are a win-win for the environment and the economy.
Modern transit and passenger rail systems are major generators of jobs and economic growth—especially manufacturing jobs—not just in the metropolitan areas they serve, but also in the towns and cities across the country where they are made. Transit and rail system investments are far-reaching economically, but they also benefit our environment.
A joint report from the Environment Law and Policy Center (ELPC) and the BlueGreen Alliance illustrates the true size of the U.S. transit and passenger rail manufacturing footprint, showing where these jobs are being sustained by state and federal investments in rail and transit.
The report found more than 750 companies in at least 39 states manufacture components for transit and passenger rail today. Of those companies, 212 of them in 32 states manufacture the passenger rail cars and locomotives themselves or major components and systems.
We rely on our nation’s transportation infrastructure on a daily basis—to get to school, to get to work, to compete in the global economy, and for much more. That’s why it’s time to make the investments that can create economic certainty, steady job creation and consistent environmental benefits.
Urge Congress to pass a long-term fix that will ensure we make the needed investments in transit, roads, bridges, and other transportation essentials before time runs out. Tweet at Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Boehner and tell them we’re tired of waiting. We need long term transportation investments that will create jobs and economic growth now.