COMMUNICATION TO THE CONFERENCE ON THE
REAUTHORIZATION OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM
June 5, 2012
The unemployment numbers that were released this past Friday are even more evidence that the Congress needs to act now to pass mutually acceptable surface transportation legislation.
While the overall unemployment numbers at 8.3 percent are chilling, the construction industry numbers are much worse at 14.2 percent and showing further job losses. I need not remind you that these are high paying American jobs.
We are deeply concerned about reports that suggest that progress is not being made in conference negotiations that will lead to completion of work by June 30th. We urge that serious action be taken immediately and we are prepared to work with all parties to reach a successful outcome.
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
National Asphalt Pavement Association
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
American Automobile Association
The Associated General Contractors of America
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Laborers' International Union of North America
American Public Transportation Association
American Highway Users Alliance
June 4, 2012
Re: Transportation Reauthorization Conference
Dear Senators and Representatives on the Conference Committee:
As leaders of Chambers of Commerce from across the country, we recognize that our nation faces many difficult economic and financial challenges. Maintaining a strong infrastructure, creating jobs and controlling government spending are three of those challenges. As the conference committee on transportation reauthorization nears the deadline, we call on you to write bipartisan legislation that addresses the urgent transportation needs of our nation and send it to the House and Senate for approval. A strong bill will adequately invest in our infrastructure, advance mobility and save and create jobs.
Our coalition sent letters in August and September of last year and February of this year, urging Congress to pass a robust transportation reauthorization. Since then, our coalition has continued to grow, united in agreement that transportation and infrastructure investment plays a critical role in our nation's economy to support commerce and create jobs, while laying the groundwork for 21st century competitiveness.
We applaud the fact that both the Senate and the House have advanced proposals for immediate consideration because we see transportation infrastructure as a top priority for our cities, states and nation. Nine short term extensions have only served as a stop-gap to addressing our long-term needs.
We specifically encourage you to consider the inclusion of innovative proposals that use local and private sector dollars to move projects forward as soon as possible. "America Fast Forward," as outlined in the Senate bill, would expand the existing TIFIA program (Transportation Infrastructure and Innovation Act) to give state and local agencies the ability to accelerate the financing and construction of local highway & transit projects.
The signers of this letter understand the significant demand for federal dollars. With so many in the construction industry out of work and the cost of projects at a historic low, passing a robust transportation reauthorization by June 30th is the best thing Congress could do to provide certainty to our transportation planners and put America back to work and on the right track for the 21st century. We strongly urge the conference committee to write a bill that addresses the urgent transportation needs of our nation and send it to the House and Senate for approval.
Thank you for your leadership.
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce
Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Springfield Chamber of Commerce (MO)
Seattle Chamber of Commerce
Orange County Business Council
Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
El Paso Chamber of Commerce The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
Portland Business Alliance, Greater Portland's Chamber of Commerce
Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce
Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce
Greater Louisville Inc.
Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
The Bridgeport Regional Business Council
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Daytona Chamber of Commerce
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Newark Regional Business Partnership
Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
Commerce Lexington, Inc.
Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce
Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Greater Topeka Chamber
Austin Chamber of Commerce
Greater Spokane Incorporated
Memphis Chamber of Commerce
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce
Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce