The House Republicans’ proposal for a six-year $230 billion surface transportation bill is continuing to come under attack as a step backward. The proposal would eliminate 140,000 jobs, according to an American Public Transportation legislative alert. “The bill’s investment levels . . . are woefully short of what is required to address the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure investment needs,” according to an APTA statement issued last week. “This lack of investment in the nation’s public transportation infrastructure will have a chilling effect on our country’s ability to create jobs and provide access to jobs necessary to move the economy forward. One dollar invested in our public transportation infrastructure creates four dollars in economic return.”
An editorial in yesterday’s Sacramento Bee states that the House effort would be a big step backward. “The picture on the cover of the House Republican proposal says it all. It shows a multi-lane freeway, ramps, a barren landscape, no cars and not people,” the editorial states. “Oddly, it is called, ‘A New Direction’ when so clearly it is a turn to the past. House Democrats have dubbed it a ‘Road to Ruin’ – a bad sign, since transportation typically is a bipartisan affair.”
The National Journal has an interesting section of expert blogs. Here’s a comment from Laura Barrett, National Policy Director for the Gamaliel Foundation and the Transportation Equity Network (TEN): “The $230 billion would be a massive step backward. $230 billion over six years as an alarmingly low figure, a starvation diet for a transportation infrastructure system that’s already too weak to stand on its own. Such a bill would throw countless struggling Americans into crisis – especially the transit-dependent – while slowing our economic recovery even further. The only consolation is that (the) proposal was just that: a proposal. It marked out a negotiating position.”
What do you think? Now is the time to make your feelings known to your representatives.