January 29, 2008

Senators Say Infrastructure Investments are Key to Economic Stimulus

Transportation officials point to 3,027 transportation projects that could be underway weeks before rebate checks reach the mail.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bipartisan coalition of twenty U.S. Senators joined U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) today to urge congressional leaders to include $5 billion in the economic stimulus package for transportation infrastructure projects that can be started immediately.

In a letter addressed to both House and Senate leadership, the senators wrote: "Infrastructure spending is one of the best investments the federal government can make in the economy: every dollar spent generates about $5.70 in economic activity, and more than 47,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion provided."

The senators included information on 3,027 projects in 46 states that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials say could be awarded for construction within 90 days of receiving funds. The letter states: "Once these projects are funded, it will be only three months before supplies are purchased and workers start receiving - and spending - their paychecks."

"This kind of targeted investment will mean more people working this summer and new roads by this fall," said Wyden. "Workers getting and spending family wage paychecks in May will do more to boost the economy than tax rebates many people won't even get until the fall and some won't spend until Christmas."

"By investing in America's infrastructure we would not only be creating jobs and pumping money into local economies, but we would also be helping states address critical infrastructure needs that only grow more expensive with time. It is important that we pass a stimulus package quickly, but it is equally important that we spend tax payer dollars wisely," said Thune.

Wyden and Thune are the lead sponsors of S.2021, the Build America Bonds Act of 2007, a one-time federal bonding program, which would provide $50 billion in additional Federal transportation funding for states to complete critical infrastructure projects.

Also signing the letter are: U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), John Kerry (D-Mass), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (D-Alaska), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I - Vt. ) Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).

The complete text of the senators' letter is available at: http://wyden.senate.gov/issues/Transportation_in_Stimulus.pdf

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