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Barbara Boxer

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

2:49 PM EDT on September 1, 2011

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.

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