February 10, 2004

Senate Support Growing For Wyden's "Build America Bonds" as Highway Legislation Moves Forward

Bipartisan initiative could be added to transportation bill currently before Senate;$56 billion in transportation funds would create new jobs in Oregon, nationwide

Washington, DC - As the U.S. Senate considers major highway funding legislation this week, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today said there is growing support for his bipartisan Build America Bonds proposal - a major transportation infrastructure initiative with U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.) that has the potential to create 2.5 million new jobs, generate $319 billion in economic activity and save thousands of lives by improving transportation safety. Joining Wyden and Talent in a press conference today were two additional bipartisan supporters, Senators Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.); the Senators said they are working to include the legislation in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFE-TEA) of 2003 currently being debated on the Senate floor. Build America Bonds would provide $56 billion in additional Federal transportation funding. This one-time federal bonding program can empower cash-strapped states like Oregon, as well as local governments, to complete critical infrastructure projects. These funds would be in addition to the dollars states receive through the transportation bill the Senate writes every six years. "As this vital highway bill moves forward, more folks are catching on to the idea that a new way of funding transportation projects can breathe new life into our economy in Oregon and across the country," said Wyden. "Our supporters now range from U.S. Senators to the workers who build our roads, bridges, airports, railroads and waterways to state transportation officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - and that's a coalition that can help this legislation become law." Thirty-year Build America Bonds would be available to corporate and individual investors for purchase in different denominations, so that all Americans can have the opportunity to support upgrading America's transportation infrastructure. For every $1 billion invested in federal highway and transit infrastructure, an estimated 47,500 jobs are created. For every $1 billion invested in federal transportation infrastructure, an estimated $5.7 billion in economic activity is generated. In addition to creating jobs and economic activity, the $56 billion infusion of cash from Build America Bonds can be applied to projects on all modes of transportation including roads, rail and transit.