WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Association of Manufacturers today endorsed legislation introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), and co-sponsored by Sen. Norman Coleman (R-Minn.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), that would create a one-time, $50 billion bonding program for improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
“How does the world’s largest and most successful economy have 75,621 structurally deficient bridges and another 79,523 that are functionally obsolete?” said John Engler, NAM president and CEO. “This is first and foremost an issue of public safety, as was underscored by the recent tragedy in Minnesota. But it is also a critical economic issue. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Americans spend 3.5 billion hours a year stuck in traffic, costing $63.2 billion per year to the economy.”
The Build America Bonds will provide $50 billion in new transportation funding through a one-time bonding program that will empower the states and local governments to complete significant new projects across all modes of transportation including bridges, transit, rail and waterways. These funds will be in addition to current funding under the Transportation Reauthorization bill that expires in 2009.
Engler joined Sens. Thune and Wyden on Capitol Hill to announce the new Build America Bonds initiative.
“Modernizing our nation’s transportation infrastructure system is critically important for the nation’s manufacturers as we compete against emerging economies globally that are upgrading their transportation infrastructures at a rapid pace,” he said.
“Last March, the NAM board of directors concluded that the deteriorating state of the nation’s roads, rails, waterways, ports and airports is a major problem, and that the manufacturing community should rally support for broad-based investments in upgrades, expansion and modernization. Recently we announced the formation of the Alliance to Improve America’s Infrastructure to respond to this need. The first order of business for the Alliance will be to rally support for this important legislation,” Engler said.