Terry O’Sullivan, general president of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed $302-billion, ‘Grow America Act’:
“I commend the Administration and Secretary Foxx for their leadership in putting forward a long-term transportation proposal. LIUNA has been concerned with the lack of will to act on this issue by Congress. DOT’s bill certainly helps advance the discussion about how to address our nation’s transportation infrastructure crisis. For too long, Congress’ duct-tape approach has made our roads and bridges unsafe, destabilized the construction industry and slowed our economy. Secretary Foxx is right to warn that, without action our nation’s highway trust fund will cease to disperse money to states all-together on Oct. 1, stalling projects and resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“While the corporate repatriation proposal merits serious consideration, the gas tax remains the most tested and logical way of meeting our critical investment needs. A recent Mineta Transportation Institute survey shows 67 percent of Americans would back an increase if funds go for their intended purpose of fixing potholes, roads and bridges. Meanwhile, the gas tax, which goes entirely to transportation projects, has been declining in value by about 40% due to rising construction materials costs and new vehicles using less fuel.
“Every dollar we invest now could save $14 late due to higher costs caused by further deterioration. Already, a third of our nation’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, according to TRIP, forcing drivers across the country to pay a pothole penalty of $377 a year in car damage and contributing to more than 33,500 traffic fatalities a year. And the average bridge is 45 years old, dangerously close to the typical 50 year lifespan. A fourth of U.S. bridges are deficient or obsolete, with 25 collapses a year on average.
“Now that we have legislation on the table, LIUNA urges Congress to pass a bill by year’s end. The working men and women of LIUNA are ready, willing and able to get the job done.”