Keep America Moving Forward—A Plan to Create Good Jobs

The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director David Foster issued the following statement calling on Congress to keep America moving forward by passing investments and policies to create good jobs when they return next week:

September 6, 2012

Following his speech as a private citizen at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Wednesday night about his time as a union negotiator dealing with private equity firms, the BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director David Foster issued the following statement calling on Congress to keep America moving forward by passing investments and policies to create good jobs when they return next week:

“Job creation and retention are the issues America needs to debate. The BlueGreen Alliance, as well as our labor and environmental partners, believe the best way to create good jobs for American workers is by passing the critical parts of the Jobs21! plan calling for smart investments and tax incentives and strong private-public partnerships. Jobs21! is a plan to move America forward and today we are calling on Congress to end this political gridlock and immediately pass several of the plan’s priorities to create good jobs.

“We are better off today in many ways than we were just four years ago. We have seen rapid growth in clean energy and technology, and these changes have made our air, soil, and water cleaner; America more energy independent; and created good jobs for American workers. The U.S. auto industry was pulled back from the brink—saving good jobs—and it has been revitalized—creating thousands more.

“We need Congress to follow this prescription for a better future. Below are some of that Jobs21! plan’s policies and investments that will move America forward to a sustainable, prosperous economy.”

The Jobs21! Plan 

Making cleaner cars and advanced vehicles in the U.S.  The U.S. auto industry was brought back from the brink and it is thriving. From its low point in the summer of 2009, U.S. automakers have added more than 140,000 jobs. The recently finalized 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2017-2025 will further spur that growth, creating an estimated 570,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2030—with 50,000 of them in auto manufacturing and assembly alone.

  • To ensure that the advanced technology vehicles of the future are produced in the United States Congress should continue support for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which has helped create or sustain nearly 40,000 auto-industry jobs since 2009.  To make advanced vehicles more affordable, Congress should reform the advanced vehicles tax credit to make it available at the point-of-sale and eliminate the individual-manufacturer cap in favor of a structure that ramps the credit down by the end of the decade.

The Production Tax Credit for wind helped grow the wind industry. This credit has helped the wind industry expand from a fledgling industry to one with huge potential to meet America’s energy needs. Without an extension of this credit—currently set to expire at the end of the year—America stands to lose 37,000 jobs in our wind industry, and we will miss out on the opportunity to create 25,000 more jobs in the wind industry over the next four years.

Investments over the last four years have spurred growth in the clean tech sector. Nearly one million green jobs were created or saved by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). One of the important investments from ARRA that should be renewed right now is the 48C Advanced Energy Project Credit.

  • The $2.3 billion 48C Advanced Energy Project Credit for advanced energy manufacturing facilities provided a 30 percent investment credit to manufacturers who invest in capital equipment to make components for clean energy projects in the U.S. Oversubscribed by a factor a three, this wildly successful program requires at least another $5 billion,which will leverage billions more in private investment.

America now has an offshore wind industry. Just four years ago, there wasn’t an offshore wind industry in the United States. Today, there are serious efforts and interest in constructing offshore wind turbines in Massachusetts, as well as throughout the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes.

  • Passing the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind will spur growth in the American offshore wind industry. We could see 43,000 permanent jobs through 54 GW of capacity, stimulating depressed sectors of our economy—like the construction sector—and bring new life to American ports.

The American manufacturing sector has come roaring back, and energy efficiency is more important to our global competitiveness than ever. Over 500,000 jobs have been gained across the American manufacturing sector since 2010. To continue this trend, our manufacturing sectors must continue to innovate and achieve greater energy efficiency.

  • Improving the Investment Tax Credit for Combined Heat and Power (CHP)—in conjunction with the Executive Order “Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency”—will help drive the industrial sector to implement cost-saving and job-creating energy efficiency measures.

Modernize our schoolsand put our kids in position to compete and win in the 21st century. A green school in every community will be a living symbol of how to put America back to work, improve the health of our children and teachers, and move our economy closer to a clean energy future.

  • The American Jobs Act, as well as the FAST Act, provides $25 billion to renovate and modernize more than 35,000 public schools and $5 billion to upgrade infrastructure at America’s community colleges, creating good jobs making our schools safer, healthier and more efficient.

Reduce pollution while putting Americans to work. Energy efficiency is vital to reducing carbon emissions, saving money for consumers and taxpayers, and making the most of our energy resources. Investments in building efficiency, like Building Star or the full implementation of the Better Building Initiative program, will save energy and money, and get construction, operations, and maintenance workers back on the job.

  • One billion dollars of federal investment in energy efficiency in homes and building can generate upwards of $16.4 billion in private investment, creating and saving more than 300,000 jobs.

Connecting our future by expanding broadband. Communication services that guarantee adequate and affordable high-speed Internet connections for everyone, regardless of income level or location, will jumpstart business development; reduce travel and fuel costs; and provide significant benefit to our nation’s rural areas.

  • For every $10 billion invested in expanded and enhanced broadband technologies, 489,000 jobs can be created or retained.