17 Democrats Urge Reid: Don’t Forget Infrastructure in Your Jobs Push

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to call up a job creation bill on Monday that includes a stopgap rescue of the highway trust fund but none of the new infrastructure spending okayed
by the House. Even that pared-down measure faces a GOP filibuster
threat, but many Democrats remain undaunted in their push for more
federal aid.

In a letter sent this afternoon, 17 Democratic
senators urged Reid "to make transportation infrastructure investment a
top priority in any jobs package debated in the coming weeks." Senate
environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said yesterday that
Reid plans to call up further jobs legislation this spring that would
include transport spending, but few details have emerged as to the
timing or makeup of any future bills.

The letter — a full list of senators who signed on is available after the jump — cited the strong demand on the state and local levels in the stimulus law’s competitive TIGER grants, as well as its high-speed rail funding. An excerpt:

you move forward with legislation to to create jobs, it is critical
that any such legislation include significant investment in
transportation infrastructure. We can sustain and create hundreds of
thousands of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges,
expanding access to mass transit, building a comprehensive high-speed
rail network, investing in our freight infrastructure, and modernizing
our nation’s air traffic control system. …

[A]lthough the funding for transportation infrastructure in
the [stimulus law] was a good first step, we must do more. Around the
country, transportation projects stand ready to create jobs while
repairing and revitalizing our infrastructure — all they need is a
funding boost. …

Transportation infrastructure
investment is one of the most effective and efficient ways to create
good-paying jobs and boost our economy. It helps us remain competitive
abroad, become energy independent, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

signers of the Reid letter were: Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Jay Rockefeller
(WV), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Patrick Leahy (VT), Mary Landrieu (LA), Ron
Wyden (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), John Kerry (MA), Bernie Sanders
(VT), Robert Byrd (WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom
Udall (NM) Jack Reed (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Mark Begich (AK), and
Robert Menendez (NJ).


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