This just in from Rep. Blumenauer’s office:
Bipartisan House Transportation Leaders Urge House Leadership to Move Quickly and Support Bipartisan Senate Transportation Legislation
Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Robert J. Dold (R-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Charles Bass (R-NH) released a letter to House Leadership asking the House to provide certainty to transportation agencies, construction workers, and commuters across the country and bring the bipartisan Senate bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, to the House floor.
“A ninety day extension puts us squarely in the middle of construction season, ensuring that transportation agencies will not have the funding necessary to begin any significant projects this year,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). “While the Senate bill is by no means perfect, it will provide much needed certainty to transportation agencies, while Congress figures out how to deal with our long term funding issues. I hope that my colleagues in the House will realize that it’s time to act like grown-ups and pass the bipartisan Senate bill.”
“With funding for transportation and infrastructure projects expiring at the end of the week, it is critical that we act as soon as possible to provide certainty in the transportation and infrastructure sector that employs so many Americans,” said Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL-10). “I firmly believe transportation is a bipartisan priority that extends beyond partisan politics- that is why I am urging the House to consider the bipartisan Senate bill if it cannot bring a viable longer-term bill to the House floor by the March 31 expiration. We must reach a bipartisan consensus now to ensure that local transportation agencies can better plan for the future, and so that these important projects and jobs can continue.”
“Transportation and infrastructure investments create jobs and provide substantial economic growth, but only when they are backed by long-term commitments to funding and policies,” said Rep. Quigley (D-IL-05). “By taking immediate action in the House on MAP-21, we can provide some much needed certainty to the transportation sector in these tough economic times.”
Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH-02) said, “To ensure the safety of our roads and strengthen the economy, we need a long-term highway bill reauthorization so states, local communities, and contractors have the funding certainty they need to advance critical infrastructure projects. In New Hampshire, for example, the I-93 widening project will have a significant economic impact on the southern part of the state and improve safety on one of New Hampshire’s most heavily-traveled roadways. We can’t expect states and contractors to plan and execute infrastructure projects in the face of such uncertainty caused by a series of short-term extensions, so we need to work together to move a longer-term highway reauthorization forward.”
“Every day we wait to pass a long-term transportation bill is another day of uncertainty for construction workers and transportation planners. These construction jobs to repair our roads, bridges and highways can’t wait another 90 days,” said Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA-02). “The Senate bill was negotiated and passed on a widely bipartisan basis. It would support hundreds of thousands of jobs by investing directly in our critical infrastructure, laying the foundation for long-term economic growth. Instead of a ninth short-term extension, the House should move forward with the Senate bill.”
“For suburban motorists in districts like mine, this isn’t about politics or policy, it’s about getting to work on time,” said Judy Biggert (R-IL-13), who represents Chicago’s south and western suburbs. “We need to act quickly so our regional transportation managers can plan and invest in the roads, railways, and bridges that keep people and commerce moving. A long-term bill is ideal, but a series of short-term extensions just won’t do. We need to work together and send a multi-year plan to the President’s desk.”
The bipartisan Senate legislation was passed 74-22 on March 14th, 2012. Current legislation runs out March 31, 2012. The House plans to bring up a three month extension on suspension today.