Later today, the House of Representatives will consider a resolution proposed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan establishing the budget for FY2012 (H. Con. Res. 34, the “Ryan Resolution”). On behalf of the 32 member unions of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to oppose this resolution as it would deal a devastating blow to our transportation system and its workers.
The Ryan Resolution is a budget blueprint for sure: a blueprint to ruin the nation’s already failing transportation system. It is a recipe for massive job loss, reflects a total disregard for the needs of Americans who continue to suffer under high unemployment, and destroys any hope that America will finally address the well documented deterioration of our transportation system and infrastructure.
In addition to the devastating effects of the Ryan Resolution on the economy, jobs and vital services needed by the middle-class, the working poor and our seniors, the reckless cuts proposed to transportation must be rejected. These transportation cuts are especially irresponsible given the demonstrated ability of transportation investments to promote economic growth, increase productivity for our businesses and workers, enhance America’s competitiveness in the global economy, and create and sustain millions of good jobs.
The budget proposes cutting $29 billion from transportation spending in FY2012, which would cause job losses numbering well over half a million. Cuts of over 30 percent would stay in place for the next decade. This shortsighted approach, at a time when the nation’s leading engineers give our transportation infrastructure a D grade, fails to acknowledge that future private-sector economic growth depends on robust public-sector investment in transportation. That is why the labor movement and the nation’s leading voice for corporate America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have called for billions in new transportation investments. In fact, the Chamber has even endorsed a fuel tax increase to pay for a massive infusion of new federal investments in our surface transportation infrastructure.
The Budget Committee’s report on the resolution contemplates a number of specific policy options that would be particularly detrimental to our nation’s transportation system. Eliminating funding for high speed rail, the transit New Starts and Small Starts programs, and Essential Air Service would limit the interconnectivity that a 21st century transportation system requires. Furthermore, decreasing support for the Highway Trust Fund and Airport Improvement Program would only further undermine a neglected federal transportation funding mechanism that is failing to meet America’s needs.
Our transportation system and its employees serve as the backbone of our nation’s economy and are critical to its continued recovery. On behalf of transportation labor, I urge you to oppose severe cuts to investments in our transportation system by voting against the Ryan Resolution.