On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to support H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II when it is considered on the House floor later today.
We have long maintained that the reauthorization of surface transportation programs is among the most important jobs legislation before the 112th Congress. Passage of H.R. 4348 would allow the House and Senate to go to Conference on this vital bill, which is desperately needed to restore our failing transportation system and put America back to work.
This legislation marks a significant improvement over the divisive proposals included in H.R. 7. It avoids measures we strongly opposed including those that would have decimated public transit and undermined Amtrak, transportation and worker safety, federal pensions and workers’ rights.
When amendments are considered, TTD asks that you support the Boustany Amendment, which provides that all funds collected from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) are in fact used for harbor maintenance. In recent years, money from the HMTF has often been diverted to other purposes, creating a backlog of critical maintenance projects in our nation’s harbors and coastal waterways. The Boustany Amendment is a significant step toward fixing this problem and ensuring that ports receive the necessary maintenance that the industry pays for through the HMT.
Passage of H.R. 4348 will provide a clear path to Conference and move Congress one step closer to a comprehensive surface transportation reauthorization that will create or maintain two million jobs, sustain vital investments in our transportation infrastructure and boost our economy.
I urge you to support H.R. 4348 and work towards a House-Senate conference agreement on this critical transportation legislation.