Transportation

Congress Keeps Transit Riders Guessing

July 15, 2014
By Marc Bussanich 

New York, NY—The Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by August 1 unless Congress acts to fund the fund. While China continues to build-out its high-speed rail network and exports the rail technology to Eastern Europe and Africa to help them build out high-speed rail, the U.S. Congress can’t agree on a long term funding solution.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that instead of a long-term solution, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee offered up a plan to fund the fund with $11 billion. The Republicans don’t want tax increases, but Democrats want business tax reform to pay for highway repairs and construction and public transit upgrades.

Meantime President Obama will be taking to the streets this week calling on Congress to act. In fact, the White House released a report on Monday from the President’s Council of Economic Advisors and the National Economic Council showing that the U.S. is lagging far behind its competitors.

“The U.S. lags behind many of its overseas competitors in transportation infrastructure investment. In the most recent World Economic Forum rankings, the U.S. had in less than a decade fallen from 7th to 18thoverall in the quality of our roads,” reads the report.

President Obama visited New York back in May where he stood at the foot of the Tappan Zee bridge and said also that the U.S. has to start catching up to other countries.

“China invests four times as much as we do in transportation. One study recently found we’ve fallen to 19thplace when it comes to the quality of our infrastructure. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like America being 19th. I want us to be first when it comes to infrastructure,” said Obama.

He warned then of massive layoffs if Congress didn't act by August.

“If they don’t act by the end of the summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out. The cupboard will be bear. Nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year,” the President said.

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

July 14, 2014

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