WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to extend legislation to fund highways and mass transit projects, stressing that a failure to do so will cost thousands of construction jobs and delay needed infrastructure repairs, according to Bloomberg.
Obama also directed the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development to each select three "high-priority" construction projects already funded that can be completed within 18 months.
The current surface transportation bill extension expires at the end of September. For the full story, click here.
America Public Transportation Association President William Millar released the following statement in support of Obama's call:
"On behalf of the more than 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I applaud President Obama for calling on Congress to pass an extension prior to September 30 of the long overdue transportation bill. Continuing delays of this critical bill that invests in both public transportation and highways, will only hurt the economy and the many Americans who need jobs. After the extension is passed, Congress needs to come together to pass a long-term, well-funded, multimodal surface transportation bill.
Investing in public transportation creates jobs and provides access to jobs necessary to move the economy forward. It also addresses the country's backlog of critical infrastructure projects. Every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates and supports 36,000 American jobs.
Last week APTA released a study titled "Impact of the Recession on Public Transportation Businesses." One of its findings was that 74 percent of the private sector transit business responding said that uncertainty regarding passage of the federal transportation bill is having a negative impact on business revenue.
It's time to move on this legislation. The last federal surface transportation bill, called SAFETEA-LU, expired almost two years ago, on September 30, 2009."