As Congress rushes to finish its work for the year, one piece of legislation that could play a key role in the nation’s economic recovery is the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Congress was unable to complete action on a highway and transit reauthorization bill before it expired September 30. While a five month extension has been passed to keep the program operating, the construction industry is telling Congress that a six-year, $375 billion bill is necessary for long-term planning, job creation and to meet the federal share of investment needs identified in the U.S. Department of Transportation report to Congress.
To keep pressure on Congress, members of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) have launched a new national grassroots activity to remind lawmakers that failure to enact a reauthorization bill jeopardizes hundreds of thousands American jobs.
"Jobs are the missing link in the economic recovery," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America and co—chair of the TCC. "If Congress and the Administration are looking to create jobs, they need to look no further than a six-year transportation bill."
Construction industry workers will be sending postcards that have the orange MEN/WOMEN Working road signs with the word "NOT" stamped across them to the White House and Congress. The TCC has set a goal of sending 1,000,000 of the MEN/WOMEN NOT WORKING postcards. The postcards will also be inserted in the November 6 issue of The Hill and an as an advertisement in upcoming issue of Roll Call. The postcards describe the economic benefits of enacting a robust transportation bill.
"The TCC supports the six-year, $375 billion TEA-21 reauthorization highway and transit investment plan that has been proposed by the bipartisan leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee," American Road & Transportation Builders Association President and TCC Co-Chair Pete Ruane said. "Their proposal would create 1.3 million new American jobs and be the sparkplug that could really jump-start the economy."
The TCC is planning other grassroots and communications activities targeting members of Congress back in their local districts once the House and Senate adjourn for the year.