Boxer and Johnson Warn Senators of Job Losses If Transpo Bill Isn’t Extended

State-by-state impact from shutdown of federal highway and transit programs. Source: Senate EPW Committee.

Two key Democratic senators today released state-by-state numbers showing how many jobs would be lost if the current surface transportation authorization bill is not extended by September 30. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), chair of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, sent a letter to their Senate colleagues urging them to act and highlighting the job loss numbers for their state.

Across the country, they say, 1.8 million jobs will be threatened nationwide if the SAFETEA-LU transportation law is allowed to lapse. They say they are working on “a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize surface transportation programs for two years at current funding levels” but they need an extension in the meantime “to allow time to complete work on this legislation.”

Boxer’s home state of California stands to lose the most in case of a lapse: More than $4.6 billion and nearly 165,000 jobs are at stake. But that doesn’t mean that rural, low-population states like Johnson’s South Dakota are unaffected. According to Robert Puentes at the Brookings Institution, South Dakota is one of six states that rely on the federal government for more than half of their road money. And five other states spend more federal money than state or local money on roads. That could give Republican senators from states like Wyoming, Alaska, and Alabama pause before letting the federal transportation program founder.

You can see the state job numbers here.

  • icarus12

    Chris Matthews on MSNBC has long advocated this kind of approach, but when he worked for House Leader Tip Oneal (spelling?) they took it a step further.  They showed each congressperson exactly what bridge, road, and transit projects would be affected, then provided that information to local news reporters from each congressperson’s district.  Once constituents learned that their bridge, road, or trolley line wasn’t going to get repaired or extended, they complained to their congressperson.  National transportation bills therefore got funded.  Let’s make the ideology of budget cuts and tax cuts real for real people. 

  • Lets Get Real

    Because wealth is impossible without infrastructure spending, for example, courts, roads, bridges, police, water, sewage, and all the rest, we should tax extreme wealth heavily, at 80-90% above some amount, and use most of the proceeds to fund infrastructure to ensure we can continue to generate wealth. Plus these projects guarantee jobs in this country that will continue generation after generation. And people with those jobs will need to buy food, clothing, and shelter which will sustain more jobs.

    icarus12, please don’t confuse tax cuts for real people with tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. We’ve had the latter and we have had a massive unfunded infrastructure spend for decades. It is common sense to tax heavily those who benefit most from infrastructure paid for by taxpayers. We’re investors, in short, in any wealth created from the infrastructure we create and, therefore, deserve a significant rate of return.

    Billionaires refusing to pay significant taxes so we can repair and maintain the infrastructure that made their billions possible are deadbeats, plain and simple.

  • Anonymous

    Get Real, you’ve got it all wrong.  “Job Creation” is best done through eliminating a ton of actual jobs so the “Job Creators” work their magic by sitting on cash or buying Swiss Francs and gold.  Or cars from Europe.  Everything else is just class warfare/socialism, which angers our Job Creating Overlords, and makes them sad about being rich.  Poor them.

  • icarus12

    to LetsGetReal:  I think you misunderstood by 180 degrees what I meant.  I wrote, “Let’s make the ideology of budget cuts and tax cuts real for real people.”  By that, I meant that when everyday people (some of whom vote for tax-cutting zealots and tea party candidates) see what a national transportation bill funds for them locally, they will be much more likely to howl about that national transportation bill getting pared back.  Better connecting the dots between the local project and the national legislation will mean more support for infrastructure funding.  So in that respect you and I agree that greater taxation is necessary.

    I think if you read the context of my comment — Chris Matthews and Tip O’neil taking budget cutters to task by taking the latter’s opposition to transportation funding to their local constituents — you would have understood my comment exactly as it was written.

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