March 6, 2012

U.S. mayors to Congress: Pass transportation bill

The United States Conference of Mayors renewed their call for enactment of job-creating bipartisan transportation legislation now pending in Congress. 

In a letter signed by 188 U.S. mayors, including conference leaders, the mayors urged the House and Senate to enact bicameral, bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization legislation. "Next year, cities and their metro areas will generate 90.4 percent of our Gross Domestic Product and 85.6 percent of the nation's jobs,” the letter said. “Our local areas are the engines of the U.S. economy, and investment in our future is an investment in the nation's future prosperity."

In addition to urging passage of the measure, mayors also reiterated their strong opposition to a pending House bill that proposes to shift gas tax revenues away from public transportation.

"As mayors, we urge adoption of final bipartisan legislation that provides adequate funding, at least at current levels with an adjustment for inflation, to help us invest in needed transportation infrastructure and preserves the fundamental elements of current law. As such, this explains why we so strongly oppose the pending House proposal to redirect existing federal gas tax commitments away from public transportation, undermining years of bipartisan support in Congress for balanced investment in our nation's highway and transit systems," the letter said.

Mayors also warned of the transportation projects that would be halted and the subsequent job losses that would result from inaction. "There is a significant demand for major transportation now, at a time when construction is less costly and the resulting jobs are so urgently needed in our local and regional economies. The current extension expires March 31, and the Highway Trust Fund runs out of funds next year. If Congress does not address these challenges, the potential consequences for the nation could be devastating."

"As mayors, we believe it is crucial that bicameral, bipartisan surface transportation legislation move forward to help us accelerate the financing of highway and transit infrastructure, create well-paying jobs and help get our economy back on track," the letter concluded.

View the full text of the letter here.

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