WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today joined with Washington, D.C. officials and construction industry leaders at the construction site for D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Project and called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act and make significant investments in job-creating infrastructure projects. He was joined at the event by Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, DDOT Director Terry Bellamy, and Associated General Contractors CEO Steven Sandherr.
Secretary LaHood said, “We’ve got unemployed construction workers, standing by, ready to roll up their sleeves right now. This is the moment for Congress to set aside the politics and partisanship, to pass the American Jobs Act, and to put America back to work.”
In his address to the nation last night, President Obama called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, which will invest in job-creating transportation projects and establish a National Infrastructure Bank, a concept with strong bipartisan support. There is also wide agreement among business leaders, labor unions, economists and elected officials that making significant investments in America’s roads, rails, and airports will not only put hundreds of thousands of people to work quickly, it is crucial to the nation’s future economic growth and prosperity.
Steven Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors, said, “There are few more effective ways to create good jobs, deliver great roads, build a strong economy and protect taxpayers than to invest in infrastructure. That is why the Associated General Contractors of America stands with the President and everyone else that is willing to make the investments needed to revive our industry and rebuild our economy.” Associated General Contractors is one of the nation’s largest trade associations for the construction industry.
Secretary LaHood also called on Congress to immediately pass an extension of the surface transportation bill, which is set to expire on September 30. If Congress allows the current surface transportation extension to expire, more than 4,000 federal employees will immediately go without pay. If Congress delays actions for just 10 days beyond that, nearly $1 billion in highway funding that could be spent on construction projects across the nation would be lost. And if Congress waits even longer, almost 1 million workers could be in danger of losing their jobs over the next year.
Secretary LaHood spoke at the construction site of the 11th Street Bridge Project in Washington, D.C., which could be shut down if Congress fails to pass a surface transportation extension by September 30. There are roughly 380 workers on the 11th Street Bridge project, which will reduce congestion by replacing two existing bridges with three new bridges and improving interchanges for local and freeway traffic. By 2030, these bridges will serve almost 180,000 vehicles every day – helping the region become more economically competitive. Scheduled for completion in 2013, the $300-million project is being completed with $189 million in federal-aid.