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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Bipartisan coalition urges Obama to support six-year transportation bill


U.S. Reps. John Carney (D-Del.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) have sent a letter to President Obama urging him to support a “fully paid-for” six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

More than 111 other House members also signed the letter, including 62 Democrats and 49 Republicans, according to a press release from Carney’s office.

The letter states that short-term extensions of the legislation “fail to recognize that meaningful, large-scale transportation projects take years to plan, approve and implement.”

With the construction industry facing an unemployment rate of 13.3 percent, “a modern, safe and efficient transportation authorization will not only create jobs now for the construction industry, but it will also set the table for long-term job creation and economic growth,” the politicians wrote.

The House members also expressed a willingness to work with the Obama administration on funding options for a six-year bill. The surface transportation reauthorization bill expired in September 2009 and has been temporarily extended eight times, with the most recent extension set to expire March 30, 2012.

“Repairing our infrastructure is a critical priority, and ignoring this issue is simply not an option,” Carney said in a prepared statement. “A six-year transportation bill will create jobs, ease congestion, improve the safety of our roads and bridges and make America a more attractive place for international companies to grow their business.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/8/2011