Menendez, Transportation Advocates, Union Members: NJ to Lose 50,000 Jobs if GOP Holds Surface Transportation Funding Hostage

Menendez, Transportation Advocates, Union Members: NJ to Lose 50,000 Jobs if GOP Holds Surface Transportation Funding Hostage

Failure to reauthorize The Surface Transportation Program by Sept. 30 equals halted projects; 1.5 million jobs at risk

Jersey City - Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Tri-State Transportation Campaign Federal Advocate Ya-Ting Liu, and Amalgamated Transportation Union AFL-CIO NJ State Council Chairman Ray Greaves stood besides dozens of union workers to avert the a potential failure to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Program, when Congress goes back in session in September. The federal program, which provides funding for road, bridge, and transportation projects, will expire on September 30.

Following Tea Party tactics to hold the debt ceiling and the FAA bill hostage, some have expressed worry that they will use the same strategy with the surface transportation bill to try to gain leverage necessary to force the Senate to agree to a 35% surface transportation funding decrease. If the surface transportation bill is not extended on Sept. 30 the federal government would stop reimbursing states for transportation spending, all major projects would halt and 1.5 million workers' jobs would be in jeopardy.

"Infrastructure in dire need of repair like the Pulaski Skyway behind us as well as numerous New Jersey roadways in need of maintenance should not be used as leverage for an agenda that will not only endanger drivers and pedestrians; it will endanger thousands of jobs in New Jersey," said Senator Menendez. "Extending transportation funding is so vital to states it has rarely encountered major opposition in the past. American jobs should be our number one priority and the highway and transit programs are proven job creators."

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a six-year Federal highway and transit reauthorization proposal that represents a 35% reduction in funding. A 35 percent cut would threaten 600,000 transportation jobs including 18,000 in NJ.

"New Jersey has some of the oldest and most heavily trafficked infrastructure in the country that needs to be repaired, maintained, upgraded and improved. Nearly half of New Jersey's transportation funding comes from federal sources. To cut federal transportation investment by a third could bring the state's economy to a grinding halt." said Ya-Ting Liu, federal advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

In New Jersey, federal funding cuts will threaten the purchase of buses in Camden and Gloucester Counties, the Carteret Ferry Terminal project and the entire ferry program, and the South Amboy Intermodal Center, as well as New Jersey's bikeways, waterfront projects, river improvements and our Safe Routes to School Program.

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