Washington, DC - In a letter sent today, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Tim Johnson (D-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to oppose cuts to funding for transportation programs included in the six-month continuing resolution and called on Speaker Boehner to restore the funding for these programs in fiscal year 2013. The continuing resolution is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives today.
The letter states that failure to honor the bipartisan, bicameral agreement in MAP 21 means a funding cut to highway, highway safety, and transit programs of over $620 million and the loss of almost 22,000 jobs over the year. These are funds that could have been used to hire unemployed construction workers to repair our roads and bridges and improve public transportation facilities or to enforce vital safety requirements for cars, trucks, and buses. The full text of the letter is below.
Senator Boxer said: "When Congress passed MAP-21 it made a commitment to the American people that we would invest in our nation's infrastructure at a time when our economy needs it most. It is critical that Congress keeps this pledge and restores the MAP-21 funding levels so workers can be hired to repair and improve our transportation systems across the country."
Senator Johnson said: "The transportation bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, because everyone understands it will help create and support jobs when we need them most. Ignoring the agreed-upon funding levels will put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, and American workers simply can't afford for Congress to renege on its commitments."
Senator Rockefeller said: "MAP-21 passed with overwhelming support from Congress and provided critical funding increases - fully paid for - to support the advancement of transportation safety in this country. I'm concerned that shortchanging transportation in the CR will hinder implementation of critical new vehicle safety requirements. The fact that the CR does not allow for the release of over $200 million allocated in MAP-21 for important initiatives to prevent drunk driving, reduce distracted driving, and more is especially troubling. Congress agreed to provide these funds, and we must push to make sure they're properly allocated."
September 13, 2012
The Honorable John A. Boehner
United States House of Representatives
H-232 United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner:
As Chairmen of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, we are writing to express our concern and disappointment that the continuing resolution, H.J. Res. 117, fails to protect the funding levels that were negotiated in the recently-passed surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the six-month stopgap measure this week.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, every $1 billion in Federal highway funding that is matched by State and local investments creates or sustains over 34,000 jobs through all sectors of the economy and every $1 billion in Federal public transportation funding that is similarly matched supports 37,500 jobs. Failure to honor the bipartisan, bicameral agreement in MAP 21 means an unacceptable funding cut to highway, highway safety, and transit programs of over $620 million and the loss of almost 22,000 jobs over the year.
These are jobs that could have been filled by unemployed construction workers, who have been hard hit by the recession, to repair our roads and bridges and improve public transportation facilities and infrastructure. The funds could have also been used to enhance and enforce vital safety requirements for cars, trucks, and buses.
The funding levels in MAP-21 were fully paid for with offsets included in the bill, and therefore honoring the bipartisan and bicameral agreement in MAP-21 will not increase the federal deficit.
In addition to our concerns with the funding levels, the continuing resolution does not allow the federal government to spend more than $200 million that MAP-21 allocated to prevent drunk driving, reduce distracted driving, promote teen safety, and develop new driver safety programs.
MAP-21 passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, with a vote of 373 to 52 in the House of Representatives and a vote of 74 to 19 in the Senate, and the commitments made in that bill must be honored. For the businesses and the working people of this country, for the drivers of cars and trucks, for the users of public transportation, for the safety of our families in this country, and for this economy, these funding cuts must be restored for fiscal year 2013.
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
John D. Rockefeller IV
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation