Transportation Coalition Presses Highway Bill Extension

WASHINGTON — Americans for Transportation Mobility Executive Director Janet Kavinoky released the following statement regarding the expiration of key surface transportation legislation:

“The Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition is deeply disappointed that Congress is allowing the federal highway and transit programs authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) to expire. As a result, starting on Monday, March 1, 2010, states will start halting project lettings, the U.S. Department of Transportation will not be able to process reimbursements to states, and federal employees will be furloughed.

“The Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition requests that Congress pass an extension of SAFETEA-LU at fiscal year 2009 levels through December 31, 2010, and transfer $19.6 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund in any legislation that can be sent to the president’s desk immediately.

“While the Americans for Transportation Coalition continues to support congressional efforts to enact a well-funded, long-term surface transportation bill, the absence of progress on such a bill at this time makes an extension and funds transfer essential to creating and sustaining much needed jobs in the construction industry this year and to continuing to improve this nation’s transportation infrastructure.

“An extension through December 31, 2010, will provide certainty for transportation departments, contractors and their employees need to plan for a full season of work in 2010. After passing a long-term extension and providing resources to the Highway Trust Fund, the House and the Senate must turn immediately to passing a long-term highway and transit authorization package. Without a doubt, inaction on SAFETEA-LU reauthorization is the most significant contributor to the rising unemployment in the transportation construction sector. Construction unemployment now stands at a devastating 24.7%. In addressing persistent unemployment, passage of a long-term highway and transit bill should be at the top of the legislative agenda.”

The Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition is a nationwide effort by business, labor, transportation organizations and concerned citizens to advocate for increased federal investment in the nation’s aging and overburdened transportation system. Visit us at www.fasterbettersafer.org.

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