ORLANDO, FL—Seeking to end a stalemate on long-term federal support for public transit and highway investments, AFL-CIO transportation unions are calling for a bipartisan solution to fix a “broken and outdated funding system” for these critical national investments.
In a policy statement unanimously adopted by the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), transportation union leaders said that the purchasing power of the Highway Trust Fund has fallen 33 percent in two decades. “No nation in the world can run a 2013 surface transportation system on a 1993 budget,” they said in their statement. TTD affiliates support an increase in the gas tax indexed to inflation, as well as possibly replacing the current excise tax with a sales tax.
“The Highway Trust Fund is headed toward insolvency after 2014,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind, pointing out that transit investments would drop from $11 billion to $3.5 billion and for highways funding would plummet from $40 billion to $4.5 billion. “These reckless cuts will devastate our public transportation systems and highways, destroy tens of thousands of jobs and tank our national economy.”
The transportation unions offered a variety of federal funding sources that should all be on the table as Congress works to write a multi-year bill and avert this crisis.
“As this debate unfolds, we will focus our energy on seeking a bipartisan political solution to the gridlock in Washington that is strangling our economy,” the Executive Committee wrote, adding that America faces a “mobility cliff” if Congress and the President fail to act.
CONTACT: Jennifer Michels, Jenniferm@ttd.org, 202.628.9262, 703.395.2195