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Federal Stimulus

17 Democrats Urge Reid: Don’t Forget Infrastructure in Your Jobs Push

5:22 PM EST on February 18, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to call up a job creation bill on Monday that includes a stopgap rescue of the highway trust fund but none of the new infrastructure spending okayed by the House. Even that pared-down measure faces a GOP filibuster threat, but many Democrats remain undaunted in their push for more federal aid.

In a letter sent this afternoon, 17 Democratic senators urged Reid "to make transportation infrastructure investment a top priority in any jobs package debated in the coming weeks." Senate environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said yesterday that Reid plans to call up further jobs legislation this spring that would include transport spending, but few details have emerged as to the timing or makeup of any future bills.

The letter -- a full list of senators who signed on is available after the jump -- cited the strong demand on the state and local levels in the stimulus law's competitive TIGER grants, as well as its high-speed rail funding. An excerpt:

As you move forward with legislation to to create jobs, it is critical that any such legislation include significant investment in transportation infrastructure. We can sustain and create hundreds of thousands of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, expanding access to mass transit, building a comprehensive high-speed rail network, investing in our freight infrastructure, and modernizing our nation's air traffic control system. ...

[A]lthough the funding for transportation infrastructure in the [stimulus law] was a good first step, we must do more. Around the country, transportation projects stand ready to create jobs while repairing and revitalizing our infrastructure -- all they need is a funding boost. ...

Transportation infrastructure investment is one of the most effective and efficient ways to create good-paying jobs and boost our economy. It helps us remain competitive abroad, become energy independent, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Senatorial signers of the Reid letter were: Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Patrick Leahy (VT), Mary Landrieu (LA), Ron Wyden (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), John Kerry (MA), Bernie Sanders (VT), Robert Byrd (WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) Jack Reed (RI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Mark Begich (AK), and Robert Menendez (NJ).

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