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If You’re Surprised By America’s Wage Stagnation, Then You’re Not Paying Attention

By Larry Willis, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the economy and how well it’s doing. The unemployment rate has steadily fallen for years now, and jobs are being created.

But wages? Not so much.

The latest jobs report shows that while the unemployment rate remains low, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation. Instead, they are falling flat.

Some economists and policymakers seem baffled — but TTD and our affiliated unions aren’t.

Yes, there are a number of reasons for this trend. But, as we reflect ahead of Labor Day, it is clear that anti-union policies, like so-called “right to work” laws, and failure to invest in our crumbling infrastructure are contributing factors that need to be called out and addressed.

Unions act as a check against corporate power, making union representation one of the most reliable ways for working people to improve their quality of life and secure a living wage. In fact, data shows a direct correlation between high union density and higher wages and better benefits. And while union members are more likely to have a pension, employer-paid health insurance, and earn an average of 13.2 percent more than their non-union counterparts, the union difference doesn’t just affect those covered by collective bargaining agreements. Strong union contracts influence competition, driving up wages, benefits, and standards of living for non-union workers too.

So what happens when working people don’t have access to unions? Take a look around – we’re seeing it right now. While millions of Americans struggle just to get by, the average CEO makes nearly $14 million annually – 200 times what an average employee earns. This is not a coincidence. It is the result of ruthless, decades-long attacks on the rights of working people to demand better for themselves and their families.

As for all those jobs being created, it is time we ask ourselves what kind of jobs they are. Based on an analysis from MIT’s living wage calculator, it takes a typical family of four (two adults, two children) more than $58,000 annually to have their basic needs met. A minimum-wage, non-union job just won’t cut it.

This country needs more good jobs — the kind that allow people to own a car, buy a house, and put their kids through college. Attacks on the rights of working people to negotiate together for better wages and benefits are not the only reasons these jobs are lacking. Failure by political leaders to invest in our nation’s transportation system hasn’t just left us with infrastructure that’s crumbling and dangerous — this inaction has also resulted in missed opportunities to create as many as 900,000 long-term, good paying jobs, annually.

Thanks to high union density in transportation and infrastructure industries, people working in these sectors — including frontline workers who build, operate, and maintain our transportation system — earn higher pay, better benefits, and more job security than their low-wage counterparts. In fact, at $38,480, the median annual wage paid by occupations in infrastructure is nearly $4,000 higher than the national median wage.

When Congress considers transportation and infrastructure spending, TTD and our affiliated unions will fight for policies that ensure these investments will continue to create the type of jobs we know our country needs. We cannot support an infrastructure plan that threatens long-standing labor standards or undermines the collective bargaining rights of working people.

There are ways to turn things around and make our economy work for everyone. But doing so requires taking a stand against the rich and powerful — something working people cannot do alone. America needs a commitment from political leaders on both sides of the aisle, not only to invest boldly in infrastructure, but to end attacks on the rights of working families, and understand that strong unions aren’t part of the problem — they are part of the solution.

Ten Years After Minneapolis Bridge Collage Progressive Warn About Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

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On 10 Year Anniversary of Minneapolis Mississippi River Bridge Collapse Tragedy, Progressives Warn ‘Trump’s Radical Infrastructure Privatization Plan Will Hurt American Consumers & Workers’

On the tenth anniversary of the Minneapolis Mississippi River Bridge collapse, which killed thirteen and injured dozens after the bridge’s central span gave way during rush hour traffic, Working Families Party National Director Dan Cantor released the following statement of the Millions of Jobs coalition:

“A decade ago this week, the nation watched in shock as a bridge crumbled in Minneapolis during rush hour traffic, killing and injuring dozens. This tragedy never should have happened in America. But today, our nation’s’ roads, highways and transportation infrastructure are deteriorating from lack of public investment. We can’t let it happen again.

“Democrats in Congress and the Millions of Jobs coalition believe we have the opportunity to put millions of Americans to work rebuilding bridges and roads and repairing our unsafe water systems — and also creating modern jobs for the 21st century by investing in clean energy and high-speed Internet.

“Trump wants to use this crisis as cover to sell off our our nation’s public infrastructure to Wall Street investors and foreign corporations, who would levy tolls that Americans would have to pay for generations to come. It’s a scam, not a real plan to rebuild. The difference between the progressive vision of job creation and Trump’s scam of jobless corporate handouts could very well  save innocent people from another tragedy like what happened on the the Mississippi River Bridge 10 years ago.

“The president’s radical privatization plan will hurt American consumers and workers, and we implore our elected officials to block Trump’s corporate giveaway of this country’s  infrastructure future.” 

Leo W Gerard: Trump Offers Fool’s Gold to Fund Infrastructure

Image from USW / Getty

Donald Trump surrounds himself in gold. The signs on Trump buildings shimmer in it. His penthouse in New York is gilded in it.

He claims now to have found the alchemy to conjure $1 trillion in infrastructure gold. He plans to put up a mere $200 billion in federal funds and stir it together with $800 billion in private investment and state dollars.

That is fool’s gold. A falsely-funded infrastructure program is a massive broken promise. America needs real improvements to roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, water systems and railways. That requires a commitment of real tax dollars, not the relinquishment of America’s public assets to profit-seeking private Wall Street entities. Americans should not be charged twice for maintenance of the public good, once through tax breaks to investors and again in outrageous tolls and fees the investors charge.

On Wednesday, standing on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Trump reiterated the pledge he made repeatedly on the campaign trail to put $1 trillion into infrastructure. He said “restoring America” is a promise that Washington, D.C., has broken. “It has not been kept, but we are going to keep it,” he said.

“Taxpayers deserve the best results for their investment,” he said, “and I will be sure that is what they get.” But the plan to turn over public assets to private corporations for tax-supported investment is gold only for the 1 percent who can afford to invest.

The Wall Street Journal reported last fall that to raise the private funds, Trump planned to give massive tax breaks of 82 percent of equity to investors that help pay for infrastructure repair. For citizens, that’s a crappy deal – giving Wall Street control over public assets in addition to being forced to fork over the taxes that rich investors will not pay.

That financial alchemy creates poison, not gold.

In addition, there is no profit in many types of infrastructure that need repair, like schools and hospitals. A corporation can’t collect tolls from children entering their elementary school each morning.

Despite Trump’s promise in Cincinnati that he would take care of rural areas, there’s no profit in many crucial infrastructure projects in such regions. Investors won’t pay for a highway needed to connect two isolated towns in West Virginia.

And the profit in some projects is highly questionable. Several corporations that have bought or built toll roads have filed for bankruptcy. This includes highways in Texas, California, Indiana and Alabama.

In other cases, the profits reaped are outrageous. After Chicago sold its 36,000 parking meters to Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street bank doubled the parking rates and charged the city tens of millions annually for meters Chicago took out of service for street repairs, mass transit stops and safety. A city inspector general report on the deal says Chicago under-priced the meters by nearly $1 billion when former Mayor Richard M. Daley signed the 75-year contract in 2008. The bank is expected to make back its $1.15 billion investment by 2020, giving it 60 more years to rake in pure profit on the backs of Chicago taxpayers who paid to install the meters and who feed them daily.

That’s gold for Morgan Stanley, grief for taxpayers.

Another part of Trump’s financing plan is to shift infrastructure costs to states and towns. This also cheats too many citizens. Sure, some places high on the hog like Silicon Valley might be able to afford that. But too many will be left out.

That’s because large numbers of cities and states are facing fiscal crises. Chicago sold its parking meters to fill a budget shortfall. In Oklahoma, where there’s a $900 million budget gap, schools are so underfunded that 96 of the state’s 513 districts have reduced the school week to four days and another 44 may be forced to do that in the fall. The state has shuttered rural hospitals, overcrowded its prisons and limited state troopers to 100 miles of driving a day.

In Kansas, with a $1.1 billion budget deficit, the state Supreme Court just ordered the legislature to properly pay for its schools. The court said Kansas’ under-funding meant inadequate education in basic reading and math for students in one fourth of its public schools. The state shortchanged half of the state’s black students and a third of its Hispanic pupils.

Illinois hasn’t had a budget for two years. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded eight times. It has accrued $14.5 billion in unpaid bills. As a result, more than 1,500 public university and community college workers have been laid off and untold numbers of social service agencies have closed or severely curtailed services.

Other states, including Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, face massive pension shortfalls after years of failing to properly pay into the funds.

These places aren’t going to be able to jump up and take on the federal government’s responsibility to invest in infrastructure.

Even the $200 billion that the Trump administration is saying the federal government will provide is in question. It’s in the budget Trump submitted to Congress, but also in that budget is $206 billion in cuts to existing infrastructure programs, including those conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Army Corps of Engineers. That’s the very Corps of Engineers that would pay for the river lock and dam projects that Trump complained Wednesday in Cincinnati were grossly underfunded, causing costly breakdowns.

That kind of budgeting is bad alchemy. That’s not $1 trillion in infrastructure gold.

Trump said Wednesday, “We will build because our people want to build and because we need them to build. We will build because our prosperity demands it. We will build because that is how we make America great again.”

That sounds wonderful. But to build, projects must be properly paid for. And so far, the Trump administration has offered only pyrite.

Transportation Unions Roll Out Strategies to Move $1 Trillion Transportation Infrastructure Package

Labor Leader Release List Of Priorities For 2017 And Beyond 

San Antonio, TX – Transportation labor leaders laid out an aggressive strategy yesterday focused on shaping the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package and tackling unprecedented challenges faced by frontline transportation workers. Some of those challenges include the looming transportation automation wave, risks to jobs and safety, and reckless political forces taking aim at workers’ rights to bargain collectively for good wages and benefits.

“We committed to rally behind a $1 trillion infrastructure package that doesn’t rely mostly on tax incentives but instead includes an infusion of billions in new federal funding and embraces high labor standards,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We cannot toll our way to modernizing and expanding our transportation system and creating millions of new jobs.”

TTD hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for a discussion on the pressing issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package. Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said. “I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.” 

Transportation labor leaders laid out key issues for 2017 and beyond, including:

 Responding to the Wave of Transportation Automation

  • Automated technologies will drastically change the nature of work in transportation industries, will put millions of jobs at risk and pose new safety and security threats requiring rigorous federal regulations.

Views on President Trump’s Call for a $1 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Initiative

  • Any transportation infrastructure plan advanced by the President and Congress must include a significant infusion of new federal funds and embrace strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

Mobilization Against Job-Killing Right-to-Work Laws

  • Transportation labor will engage in an aggressive effort to stop national right-to-work legislation, which is part of an orchestrated, deliberate attempt by extremists to crush the wages and benefits of working Americans.

Protecting Airline Customer Service Agents from Assault

  • Too many airline customer service agents are verbally or physically assaulted on the job. Federal legislation must mitigate the problem by providing clear protocols for violent situations, preventing violent travelers from boarding planes and subjecting those who assault customer service agents to arrest and prosecution.

Strengthening Transportation Buy America Rules

  • Billions in new transportation investments must be used to not only grow the economy, but to maximize middle-class job creation through vigorous and strongly enforced Buy America policies.

Protecting and Expanding Middle Class Freight Rail Jobs

  • Transportation unions are committed to policies that strengthen and expand freight rail and will oppose reforms that would weaken the freight rail sector’s ability to expand business, invest in its network and workforce, and support middle-class job creation.

Supporting Cargo Preference Laws that Strengthen Our National Defense

  • The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support mariner jobs.

Protecting Official Time for Federal Employees

  • Transportation unions will mobilize against the Official Time Reform Act, which is a thinly veiled attack on public sector unions and federal employees.

The Executive Committee heard a presentation from Wytkind, who was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal advisory committee on transportation automation, on the safety and security challenges as well as massive job impacts from emerging automation technologies.

“Every sector of the transportation industry faces massive change and significant job loss from the development and deployment of automated technologies,” said Wytkind. “Our priority going forward is to ensure that these technologies are tools for frontline workers to enhance safety, security and service, rather than enablers of massive job and wage destruction.”

AFL-CIO Launches Online Ads Targeting Senators On A Variety Of Issues Including The TPP

Ads to Target Senate Candidates in Six States

To view ads click here: http://bit.ly/293dN2i

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(Washington, DC) – Today the AFL-CIO launched the first round of ads in six key battleground states: Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida and Wisconsin. The ads are uniquely targeted to reach working people and draw attention to Senate candidates whose policies are against the interests of working families.

“Working people will be a force in this election,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “These ads are just one of the many tools we will use to speak to our members and the community about what’s at stake. Our job is to educate working families on the candidates who aspire to lead America. We will stand together with politicians who share our values and oppose those who do not.”

The ads will run initially on Facebook and drive traffic to specific petitions on issues that matter to working people, including restoring the Voting Rights Act, comprehensive immigration reform, infrastructure investment and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

America Deserves A-Plus Infrastructure, Not Near Failing Grades

‘Long-Term Infrastructure Investment Can Create the Family-Supporting Jobs Our Nation Needs’

(Terry O'Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America - LiUNA)

(Terry O’Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America – LiUNA)

Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2016) – America deserves an A-plus infrastructure, not one with near failing grades, LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan told a news media briefing today as part of Infrastructure Week.

O’Sullivan was speaking on behalf of the half-million working men and women of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – who predominantly work in the construction industry, building and maintaining the nation’s transportation, energy and water resources infrastructure.

“Investing what is needed in our infrastructure is crucial to our safety and economic competitiveness,” O’Sullivan said. “And, it goes beyond abstract policies: It’s about good-paying, family-supporting jobs that provide a ladder to the middle class and can’t be exported abroad.”

LIUNA is a long-time advocate for greater infrastructure investment. The union is a participant in Infrastructure Week, which brings together a diverse coalition of unions, employers, business associations, and non-profit research and advocacy groups.

While once No. 1 in the world in its infrastructure, the United States has fallen to No. 11, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“For those of us in the Building Trades, investment in a strong, robust and expanded 21st century infrastructure is about leaving a legacy for future generations,” said O’Sullivan. “The alternative is allowing our infrastructure to crumble around us – strangling our economy, worsening our lives, and endangering us all.”

LIUNA has launched high-impact public outreach efforts in the past – including billboards warning motorists of deficient bridges, a 10-foot roll of duct-tape on a flatbed truck to highlight inaction on infrastructure and a school bus which traveled the country crushed by a fallen bridge prop.

“As the men and women who work every day to build America, we will continue to fight for Congress and all elected officials to invest until we have the first-class, A-plus infrastructure we so desperately need,” O’Sullivan said.

Our Failure To Invest In Infrastructure Is Actually Costing You Thousands

Crumbling Road

Just drive down the road and you will quickly realize that our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair. However roads and bridges are not the only part of our crumbling infrastructure that needs to be addressed before its too late. Our infrastructure includes water, wastewater, electricity, airports, inland waterways & ports, and rail.

Failure to act“Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy and a necessary input to every economic output. It is critical to every nation’s prosperity and the public’s health and welfare,” wrote the American Society of Civil Engineers in their new study, Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Future.

“Each Failure to Act study demonstrates that deteriorating infrastructure, long known to be a public safety issue, has a cascading impact on our nation’s economy, impacting business productivity, gross domestic product (GDP), employment, personal income, and international competitiveness,” ASCE added.

Failing to properly invest in maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure is costing Americans thousands of dollars a year and it is about to get worse.

“From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies.” ASCE warned that if this infrastructure gap is not closed, by 2025, households would lose $5,100 annually and the economy could lose over $4 trillion in GDP.

ASCE 3400 lossIf we do not make the needed repairs today, they will ultimately cost us more in the future. It is the Republican led budget austerity that is leading us down this dangerous path. Since 2002, spending on roads and highways alone has fallen 23%. That is millions of dollars lost in our GDP and thousands of jobs lost, every year, by not investing in our future.

“America is currently spending more failing to act on our investment gap then we would to close it. Inefficient infrastructure is costing every household $9.30 a day. However, if every family instead invested an additional $3 a day per household, we could close the infrastructure investment gap in 10 years,” added ASCE.

“By increasing the investment by $144 billion a year for the next 10 years at the federal, state and local levels, we can upgrade our infrastructure, and protect our GDP, jobs, families’ disposable income and our nation’s competitiveness.”

America cannot wait any longer. The time is now.

Take action by sending a message to your elected leader.

Share this post with the hashtag, #InfrastructureMatters


 

Related reading: Business and Labor Agree: Let’s Fix our Crumbling Infrastructure Now

PA Public Utilities To Investigate CWA’s Claims Of Infrastructure Neglect By Verizon

In response to CWA petition on hazardous conditions across the state, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Announces Hearings into Verizon’s Systemic Neglect of Telephone Infrastructure

p 13 top left Chester Co Honeybrook Rte 10 & WoodlandVerizon’s Negligence Statewide Results in Broken Poles, Sagging Cables, Ungrounded Conduit, and Abandoned Equipment

PUC Has Received Thousands of Complaints of Inadequate Service; Customers Unable to Receive Medical Calls, Call 911 

WASHINGTON – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) commended the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission today for its decision to hold hearings into the unsafe conditions at Verizon locations throughout the state, following a CWA petition that detailed hundreds of dangerous locations across 13 counties.  The PUC announced last week that the case has been assigned to Administrative Law Judge Joel Cheskis who will preside over hearings examining Verizon’s maintenance practices and quality of service. 

Image courtesy of CWA

Image courtesy of CWA

CWA, which represents nearly 5,000 Verizon workers in the state, has examined Verizon’s equipment in areas of the state where the company has refused to build its new fiber network and only offers service through traditional copper wiring, which is often left in a state of virtual abandonment. At multiple locations across the state, CWA documented severe instances of poles designated for removal that were broken or unstable; portions of old poles suspended in the air; terminals and other equipment not attached to poles; cables hanging perilously close to the ground; plastic coverings and splice boxes placed over damaged cable and other equipment that pose a risk of insect and animal infestation, and other similar unsafe, service-impacting conditions. 

“Pennsylvania families are paying top dollar every month for reliable telephone service and safe neighborhoods and streets. They deserve better than Verizon’s reckless disregard for public safety and service,” said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney. “CWA members across the state are climbing poles and fixing equipment every day to make sure that communities get the service they deserve and the service they pay for. Despite its billions of dollars in profits, Verizon knowingly is leaving its infrastructure in a state of disrepair, risking the safety of telephone workers and Pennsylvania residents.”

Since 2012, the PUC has received more than 6,000 complaints of inadequate service.  Because the PUC often transfers customers to Verizon before taking a complaint, the real number of complaints is likely even higher.  Many of these complaints document multiple days without service over several months, and have led to missed medical calls and an inability to call 911 in emergencies.

The union says that the dangerous conditions are due to Verizon’s systemic underinvestment in its traditional landline network.  CWA also asked the PUC to order Verizon to take immediate actions to correct these dangerous conditions throughout the Commonwealth, and to fine Verizon for what appear to be willful failures to safely maintain its equipment.  According to CWA’s petition, the PUC has the authority to fine Verizon up to $1,000 per day for each safety violation.

Hillary for America Releases Details of Clinton’s Plan To Create Jobs By Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

Hillary for America released the details of Hillary Clinton’s five-year, $275 billion plan to create jobs and increase wages by investing in the modernization of our nation’s infrastructure. Clinton’s plan is a comprehensive proposal to invest in infrastructure across the board: in our transit systems, roads and bridges, ports and waterways, our electric grid and energy system, in railways and airports, and more. These investments will cut costs for families and businesses, boost wages, enhance our competitiveness, help combat climate change, and protect our communities. 

The release of Clinton’s infrastructure plan this week is the first phase of a month-long focus on jobs, with further announcements planned in the coming weeks on boosting federal investments in research and manufacturing.

“Our roads and bridges are potholed and crumbling. Families endure blackouts because our electric grid fails in extreme weather. Beneath our cities, our pipeline infrastructure – our water, our sewer, you name it – is up to a century or more old. Our airports are a mess. Our ports need improvement. Our rail systems do as well,” Hillary Clinton said. “I want to use every tool we can to invest in infrastructure and build a stronger, more prosperous future. We’ve got to do this now.” 

The major elements of Clinton’s infrastructure investment plan include:

  • Boosting direct federal infrastructure investment by $250 billion over the next five years. She will fully pay for these investments through business tax reform.
  • Creating a $25 billion national infrastructure bank—supporting up to an additional $225 billion in federally supported investment for energy, water, broadband, transportation, and multi-modal infrastructure projects to ensure America’s competitiveness in the 21st century. This means that, adding up the direct federal investment with the infrastructure bank financing, Clinton’s plan would support up to $500 billion in infrastructure projects across the country.
  • Reauthorizing a Build America Bonds program to help finance the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure. In just two years, the Obama Administration’s Build America Bonds (BABs) supported more than $180 billion in infrastructure spending in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Applying best practices to improve the way we invest in infrastructure. She would work to ensure that projects are selected on impact, not politics, streamline permitting, break down silos that limit funds to a single type of transportation, and encourage 21st century design and technology.

Clinton’s plan would create good-paying jobs today and lay the foundation for rising incomes in the future. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, every $1 billion in infrastructure investment creates 13,000 jobs. Other studies show that every dollar of infrastructure investment leads to an estimated $1.60 increase in GDP the following year and twice that over the subsequent 20 years. 

Other key impacts that would result from Clinton’s infrastructure investment plan include: 

  • Fixing and expanding our roads and bridges.
  • Connecting all households in America to high-speed Internet by 2020.
  • Expanding affordable public transportation options for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Connecting businesses and farmers to their customers and suppliers with a national freight investment program.
  • Building a faster, safer and higher capacity passenger rail system.
  • Linking farms, businesses, and households to safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater systems.
  • Building and modernizing our energy infrastructure and capturing America’s clean energy potential.
  • Upgrading to next generation aviation technology and world-class American airports.
  • Modernizing our dams and levees.

A fact sheet detailing Clinton’s proposal is available here

Kuster Calls on House Colleagues to Pass Long-Term Extension of Highway Bill

July 06, 2015 |Kuster hears from local transportation planners about the importance of fully funding infrastructure projects

July 06, 2015 |Kuster hears from local transportation planners about the importance of fully funding infrastructure projects

Crucial infrastructure projects like the Route 4 Bridge could be threatened if Congress fails to pass a long-term highway bill 

West Lebanon, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) visited the Route 4 Bridge construction site in order to highlight the importance of immediately passing a long-term surface transportation bill in Congress. Across New Hampshire and around the country, local projects like the Route 4 Bridge construction could be threatened if Congress fails to pass legislation to preserve federal transportation funding. 

In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act to fund our country’s surface transportation network for two years, and it has since been extended one year beyond its original 2014 expiration. MAP-21 is set to expire at the end of July, which means funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund and projects around the country could run out of money right in the middle of summer, our country’s busiest construction season. During Monday’s tour, Kuster – along with state and city officials, business leaders, and project planners – called on her colleagues in Congress to immediately pass long-term legislation to prevent this funding shortfall, which not only threatens local construction projects, but also vital summer construction jobs that New Hampshire workers rely on.

“Throughout New Hampshire, construction workers are hard at work fixing our roads and bridges, and making improvements to our transportation infrastructure in order to improve safety and efficiency. We must ensure these projects can continue throughout the busy summer construction months and the rest of the year,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “We cannot put the safety of our drivers, or the livelihoods of our workers, in jeopardy because of partisan politics. I call on my colleagues to immediately bring a long-term bill to the floor, so we can ensure the funding for these projects does not run out.” 

The Route 4 Bridge project was first started in 2013. After completion, the new steel beam bridge will improve access between West Lebanon and Hartford, VT, and it will eliminate congestion and detours that have delayed traffic for years throughout the area. During the tour, project officials gave an update on the status of the Route 4 bridge project, and Kuster outlined her own efforts in Washington to encourage passage of a long-term bill.

Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated for increased federal investment in New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure.  She has proposed legislative solutions for increasing cost-savings at the federal level in order to replenish the Trust Fund in years past and she has toured the I-93 construction project in Windham, the Route 10 bridge replacement project in Winchester, and the Broad Street Parkway project in Nashua to highlight the urgent need to pass responsible, long-term funding legislation to support these projects.  Earlier this month, Kuster sent a letter to House Leadership urging them to bring a long-term surface transportation bill to the floor for immediate passage.

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