July 1, 2014
By LIUNA President Terry O'Sullivan
Washington, DC – With the jobs and the safety of Americans at risk, Congress must feel compelled to act on a long-term Transportation Reauthorization bill, and not just a short term extension. A fourth of America's bridges are deficient or obsolete. Poor road surfaces, such as potholes, are now a contributing factor to a third of traffic fatalities, needlessly costing approximately 10,000 lives every year.
That is why LIUNA has been traveling through Congressional districts across the country with its crushed "getting schooled in infrastructure" bus, carrying a replica of a chunk of fallen bridge. The symbol has resonated with Americans from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Michigan, attracting crowds, elected officials and news media who believe Congress must pass a long-term, full-investment Highway Bill this year.
While there appears to be movement on ensuring that the Highway Trust fund does not go bankrupt by the end of this summer, Congress has no valid excuses to not act on a long-term plan. There are multiple viable options which would end the duct-taping of our failing roads and bridges and provide the long-term investment our nation, our people and our economy needs. If Congress fails, it will be due to cowardice in standing up to extremists who are willing to destroy the critical transportation infrastructure of our country to make an ideological political point.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has found the will to work in a bipartisan manner to pass its piece of the reauthorization. It is time for the rest of the Senate and House of Representatives to do the same.
Our failing transportation infrastructure does not discriminate by political party – we are all affected. We should be able to expect a bipartisan solution.