WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 14, 2012) Today, after nearly three years of temporary funding extensions to our Nation’s transportation projects, the Senate approved by a vote of 74-22, legislation with bipartisan support that fully funds transportation investments for two years.
“This bill isn’t perfect but it’s an improvement over proposed House legislation that would be disastrous for our nation’s infrastructure and the economy,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Dave Foster. “We’re not in the clear yet, the House needs to follow the Senate’s lead and pass a bill that also fully funds programs, maintains transit, protects U.S. workers, and makes our transportation network more efficient. The clock is ticking on our current transportation policy, and this time Congress can’t fail to send a long-term bill to the president’s desk by March 31.”
The Senate legislation includes an important Buy America provision that encourages job creation by ensuring domestically produced iron, steel and other manufactured goods are procured for infrastructure projects that receive federal aid. Similar provisions have previously received bipartisan support in the House.
In contrast to the current House transportation proposal, the Senate bill ensures $109 billion of transportation funding for two years, and preserves the integrity of the Mass Transit Account, ensuring transit systems get the investments they need to reduce congestion and move people more efficiently. Additionally, compared to the lower chamber, the Senate preserves programs to encourage biking and walking and safeguards environmental standards.
An amendment folding in an extension of renewable energy tax credits into the larger bill did not pass the chamber however, preventing the bill from living up to its full job-creating potential. This measure would have renewed federal investments in our solar, wind and geothermal industries.
“We need action now to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Doing so will strengthen the U.S. construction and manufacturing sectors, which are pillars of the economy and proven job creators,” Foster added. “Today the Senate stood up for job creation and the House needs to do the same.”