Boxer: 600,000 transportation jobs at risk

U.S. senator Barbara Boxer says that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal allows cuts to transportation by 30 percent, threatening 600,000 infrastructure jobs.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

If a transportation reauthorization bill isn't passed by Congress soon, almost 600,000 jobs will be lost, according to U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The Democrat from California and chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee says a two-year bill must be passed to extend the existing SAFETEA-LU legislation, which expires on Sept. 30, Streetsblog reports.

Boxer originally asked for a six-year bill but reduced her request to just two years and a $109 billion price tag, which she says will merely cover existing funding, with accommodation for inflation.

Alice Ollstein reports from the ground:

She said the Finance Committee is “very optimistic” that it can find the needed $6 billion per year in addition to the Highway Trust Fund revenues. There are “various ways to get there,” she said, but her preferred method is to redirect funds from the expensive wars abroad.

“We are now spending $12 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said. “We need $12 billion over two years. We are winding down those wars. It seems to me there’s a lot of funding available for this. It’s a very small amount compared to what we’re spending every month.”

Specifically, the jobs in question include 500,000 construction sector jobs and 100,000 transit jobs -- 43,000 in her home state, I should add -- at risk if Congress passes Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which allows for 30 percent cuts in transportation funding.

The question, of course, is whether Boxer can draw a line between transportation spending and economic growth -- then convince lawmakers and the American public of the validity of her claims.

Photo: Sen. Barbara Boxer/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards