To the editor,
The need for a long-term highway reauthorization bill before the end of the current extension of the law on September 30 cannot be understated. According to Federal Highway Administration data, every $1 billion in federal highway investment creates 30,000 jobs.
Currently, nearly two of every 10 unemployed workers are from the construction industry - 2 million construction-related jobs have been lost since the recession began.
Congress and the administration need to commit to long-term funding. Presently, the Highway Trust Fund draws its revenue through a federal gasoline tax that has remained unchanged since 1993 — neither indexed to inflation nor the price of gasoline. The series of short-term extensions since September 2009 has made it impossible for American businesses to plan for the future. We are continuing to lose jobs and put our economy at risk.
Adequate transportation infrastructure capacity and reliable and cost-effective transportation services are essential to economic growth, increased productivity and maintaining the competitiveness of American businesses across all economic sectors. Further, by creating jobs across construction, engineering, resources and manufacturing sectors, transportation investment serves as an important economic driver in and of itself.
Continuing with short-term extensions is not a viable option. Congress must make long-term transportation planning and investing a priority and develop legislation that provides policy and programmatic reforms as well as dedicated funding for highways.