From The US Chamber of Commerce September 02, 2011
As the expiration date for federal legislation authorizing investment in roads, bridges, and transit systems approaches, U.S. Chamber officials, labor union leaders, and the Obama Administration have joined together to call for timely renewal of the program.
U.S. Chamber Chief Operating Officer David Chavern joined President Obama and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a White House event on August 31 to call on Congress to extend separate surface transportation and aviation funding bills.
Obama also called on the government to speed up the process of reviewing “high-priority infrastructure projects with significant potential for job creation.” His memo to federal agencies instructed them to select three fully-funded projects that meet those criteria and get them moving as quickly as possible.
“The Chamber commends President Obama for focusing on the urgent need to extend the current federal transportation laws and resources, thereby creating time for Congress to pass key surface transportation and aviation legislation. We also appreciate his willingness to expedite the permitting and decision-making process for high-priority transportation projects that have already been funded. We urge this policy to be extended to all projects,” Chavern said in a statement.
Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue reinforced the link between jobs and infrastructure during an event hosted by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on September 1 in Dallas. The event was part of a series of “listening sessions” organized by the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to advise the administration on ways the public and private sectors can work together to stimulate job creation and the economy.
Congress must pass clean extensions and then move on to multi-year reauthorizations for core infrastructure programs—at current funding levels, Donohue said. Both the House and Senate are considering bills that would fund surface transportation projects at lower than current levels.
Also taking part in the listening session was Trumka, and representatives of several corporations with local interests including Southwest Airlines, BNSF Railway, Comcast, and AT&T.