On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I encourage you to support the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century legislation (MAP-21) offered by Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter. This bipartisan bill, which will be marked up in the Environment and Public Works Committee this week, would reauthorize the federal-aid highway program for two years.
Almost 14 million Americans are unemployed today, including over 1.1 million construction workers. By investing in transportation infrastructure, MAP-21 will keep almost two million transportation workers on the job and create one million additional jobs in this important sector. More than two years after the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, it is time for Congress to reauthorize surface transportation programs and help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.
MAP-21 would make significant improvements to the highway program by consolidating federal programs, streamlining the project approval process and speeding the construction of transportation infrastructure throughout the country. The bill would increase federal investment in the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program which builds new transportation projects by leveraging significant funding from public and private sources. Additionally, the new National Freight Program would increase the efficient movement of freight on the National Highway System and ease traffic congestion throughout the country. By including these and other program changes, MAP-21 will make significant advancements in federal surface transportation policy.
I urge you to support MAP-21 during markup this week. This bill will improve transportation policy, help rebuild our economy and put one million Americans back to work.