September 09, 2011


WASHINGTON – Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) applauded President Obama’s call tonight for Congress to pass important transportation funding.  The current surface transportation bill is set to expire at the end of the month and if Congress does not act 1.8 million jobs will be threatened. The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is responsible for oversight of our nation’s public transportation systems.  Below is Chairman Johnson’s reaction to the President’s speech. 
“What the economy needs most right now is well-paying jobs, and President Obama clearly understands, as I do, that transit funding creates and sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“I agree with the President that Congress needs to pass transportation funding that strengthens investment in infrastructure.  Public transportation systems, which help millions of Americans travel to their jobs every day, can’t afford to lose funding right now.  But that’s exactly what the House is contemplating.  House Republicans have proposed cutting highway and public transportation funds by more than one-third. 
“In contrast, I am working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass a clean extension, followed by a 2-year bill that preserves our investment.
“There are more than 5,600 active transit projects across the country that could be forced to shut down if an extension isn’t passed by the end of the month. Construction workers, mechanics, employees of bus manufacturers and rail car suppliers, and many other hard-working Americans could lose their jobs if we don’t renew the transportation bill.
“This is no time to play political games with our economy. It is time to make wise investments in our infrastructure, our workforce, and our future.”