Two key Democratic senators today released state-by-state numbers showing how many jobs would be lost if the current surface transportation authorization bill is not extended by September 30. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), chair of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, sent a letter to their Senate colleagues urging them to act and highlighting the job loss numbers for their state.
Across the country, they say, 1.8 million jobs will be threatened nationwide if the SAFETEA-LU transportation law is allowed to lapse. They say they are working on “a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize surface transportation programs for two years at current funding levels” but they need an extension in the meantime “to allow time to complete work on this legislation.”
Boxer’s home state of California stands to lose the most in case of a lapse: More than $4.6 billion and nearly 165,000 jobs are at stake. But that doesn’t mean that rural, low-population states like Johnson’s South Dakota are unaffected. According to Robert Puentes at the Brookings Institution, South Dakota is one of 11 states that rely on the federal government for more than half of their road money. That could give Republican senators from states like Wyoming, Alaska, and Alabama pause before letting the federal transportation program founder.
Tanya became Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor in September 2010 after covering Congress for Pacifica Radios Washington bureau and for public radio stations around the country. She lives car-free in a transit-oriented and bike-friendly neighborhood of Washington, DC.