December 04, 2006

Wyden's 'Build America Bonds' Would Ease Transportation Budget Crunch

Bipartisan initiative introduced today would let Americans invest in transportation projects; $30 billion in bonds would fund new construction and create jobs

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today introduced the bipartisan Build America Bonds proposal with U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.). This major transportation construction initiative has the potential to create nearly 1.5 million new jobs, generate $171 billion in economic activity and save thousands of lives by improving transportation safety. Wyden and Talent were able to include a similar proposal in the Senate highway bill last year, and are working with bipartisan cosponsors including U.S. Senators Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) to see this legislation's passage by the full Congress. Build America Bonds would provide $30 billion in additional Federal transportation funding. This one-time federal bonding program can empower cash-strapped states like Oregon to complete critical infrastructure projects. These funds would be in addition to the dollars states receive through the transportation bill Congress writes every six years. "The Build America Bonds proposal looks beyond the bleak budget headlines and taps the big potential of bonds to create more than a million jobs and improve our country's transportation system at the same time," said Wyden. "Oregon alone would see thousands of new jobs and have access to at least $150 million in new transportation construction funds - if the Federal government will just use bonds to pay for critical infrastructure projects in the way businesses, states and local governments do now." 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 $30 billion infusion of cash from Build America Bonds can be applied to projects on all modes of transportation including roads, rail and transit.