The Clock is Ticking — Act Now on Transportation Infrastructure
|June 26, 2012|
|At midnight on June 30, the ninth extension of the federal surface transportation reauthorization bill will expire. Encouragingly, at the end of last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. John Mica issued a statement announcing, "The conferees have moved forward toward a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a highway reauthorization bill. Both House and Senate conferees will continue to work with a goal of completing a package by next week."|
Time is short and we have yet to see the details of the tentative agreement, but both prior versions of the House and Senate included America Fast Forward language that would expand the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Investment Act to facilitate the acceleration of Measure R projects approved by L.A. County voters in November 2008.
Meanwhile, another piece of legislation related to Measure R is working its way through Sacramento and is scheduled to be debated this Thursday at the Metro Board of Directors meeting. AB 1446, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, would authorize Metro to ask voters for an extension of Measure R, which currently sunsets in 27 years.
This extension, if approved by L.A. County voters, would enable Metro to use the additional bonding capacity to deliver the highway and transit projects much sooner than promised. Rather than relying on a pay-as-you-go approach, Metro would be able to start these projects during the next several years and rapidly deliver the congestion relief and jobs that were promised to the voters in Measure R.
There are 300,000 less people employed in L.A. County today than when the Great Recession began. In total, 560,000 people are unemployed in L.A. County. More than 50,000 jobs have been lost in the construction industry since 2007, and an estimated 40 percent of construction workers are without work.
Our region desperately needs congestion relief and new jobs. We need more transportation options to accommodate residents and visitors, enhance the delivery of goods and services, and improve our environment and quality of life. AB 1446 can provide a means to jump-start these projects and our economic recovery.
The Chamber urges Congress to pass a transportation bill, and the State Legislature and the Metro Board to support AB 1446. L.A. County residents are hungry for new jobs and congestion relief.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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