With 14 million Americans out of work, it’s time Republicans worked with Democrats to create jobs. The bill in the U.S. Senate, called the Rebuild America Jobs Act, would create hundreds of thousands of jobs by investing in roads, railways and runways in critical states of disrepair – and the time to pass it is now.
America agrees: the only way out of tough economic times is to invest in what makes this country great — its workers.
Seventy-two percent of Americans, including 54 percent of Republicans, support the bill. And 76 percent of them, including 56 percent of Republicans, agree with Democrats that it should be paid for by asking the nation’s wealthiest citizens to contribute their fair share.
Here’s a look at the key reasons to support it, according to Democratic senators:
#1 The Bill Creates Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs
Senator Coons (DE): “More than two million Americans who worked in construction have lost their jobs since this tragic recession hit. Including 8,000 in my home state of Delaware alone.”
Senator Merkley (OR): “More than 40,000 construction jobs have been lost in Oregon since 2007, all of which only thrive when we’re building homes in America.”
Senator Bingaman (NM): “Passage of this legislation would mean at least $284 million in my home state of New Mexico in immediate infrastructure investments. And that investment of $284 million would support a minimum of 3,700 local jobs.”
Senator Begich (A.K.): “This [bill] could put Alaskans to work on important projects: Bridge repairs outside the Denali National Park, a critical route between Alaska’s two population centers and a heavily traveled route for our tour operators and shippers.”
Senator Levin (MI): “In my home state of Michigan this legislation would result in more than $900 million going to infrastructure projects, it would create about 12,000 jobs.”
Senator Feinstein (CA): “The Federal Highway Administration estimates that for every billion dollars of federal transportation spending, 27,822 jobs are produced. It is one of the biggest bang for the buck programs I know of.”
#2 It Would Repair and Rebuild Important Infrastructure
Senator Bingaman (NM): “The Federal Highway Administration estimates that about 22% of New Mexico’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Nineteen percent of our bridges are structurally deficient, or functionally obsolete, according to the Federal Highway Administration.”
Senator Begich (AK): “We see it in the potholes in our streets, in the congested highways and public transit that lack the capacity to safely and efficiently get Americans where they need to go.”
Senator Feinstein (CA): In my state, 66% of our major roads are in poor condition, 68% of our urban interstates are congestion — congested, vehicle travel increased by 27% from 1990 to 2007, and 30% of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete…..”
Senator Klobuchar (MN): “The cracks in this system became abundantly clear to all of our country, and in fact the entire world, when on the afternoon of August 1, 2011, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the middle of the Mississippi river, taking the lives of 13 Minnesotans and injuring so many more.”
Senator Wyden (OR): “You cannot have big league economic growth in America with little league transportation systems. It’s just not possible.
#3 It’s Entirely Paid For
Senator Reid (NV): “Republicans say they oppose this plan to hire hundreds of thousands of construction workers and rebuild our nation’s collapsing infrastructure because they believe the wealthiest Americans can’t afford to pay a few pennies more. Even a majority of the people who would pay this tax say this isn’t true. They support our plan.”
Senator Bingaman (NM): “The legislation would impose a .7% surtax on income exceeding a million dollars.”
Senator Levin (MI): “Every member of this body, Democrat and Republican, fights for adequate infrastructure spending for their state. If Republicans reject this legislation because of the funding mechanism, they are voting directly in opposition to the will of the American people.”
Senator Schumer (NY): “This money will not be wasted; it will go directly to infrastructure. We’re all worried that China will get ahead of us economically, well, right now, China is spending four times as much on infrastructure than we are.”