On behalf of the unions who represent the nation’s front-line transportation workers, I urge you to support the Rebuild America Jobs Act (S. 1769). This legislation will put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work with transportation system and infrastructure improvements that create jobs today and accelerate the economy in the future.
The Rebuild America Jobs Act will invest $50 billion in transportation projects throughout the country. An additional $10 billion will support an infrastructure bank and leverage significant private sector transportation investments. Together, these programs will stimulate business growth by funding public transit, aviation, rail, highway and port investments. They will also provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans who ask for nothing more than an opportunity to work and support their families.
Today, the state of transportation infrastructure in the United States is poor and only worsening. A recent World Economic Forum report ranked US infrastructure a paltry 16th best in the world, down from 6th just a few years ago. The quality of our rail/transit infrastructure was ranked 20th; air transport infrastructure ranked 31st; highways was ranked 20th; and port infrastructure was 23rd. Meanwhile, Europe outspends us two to one in infrastructure improvements and China four to one. Most of our economic competitors around the world have spent trillions retooling and modernizing their transportation systems to win the global economic race. America can and must do better than simply standing still while the backbone of our economy, our transportation system, is collapsing. If these investments are approved they will also boost U.S. manufacturing jobs at a time when 1.3 million workers in this sector are out of work.
The Jobs Act will not require deficit spending. Instead, it will levy a 0.7 percent surtax on modified adjusted gross incomes above one million dollars. Surely it is reasonable to pay for a plan designed to put Americans back to work modernizing our badly deteriorating transportation system by levying a modest surcharge on millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the general public overwhelmingly supports this approach.
The 14 million unemployed Americans are tired of waiting for Congress to act. The proposal before the Senate is good public policy. It will target investments that America desperately needs and it will boost an economy still struggling to create jobs fast enough.
I urge you stand up for American workers and pass the Rebuild America Jobs Act.