LIUNA: Sanders Amendment Shows Leadership on Infrastructure

March 23, 2015

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement March 23 on Senator Sanders’ amendment to the Budget Resolution calling for an investment in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure:

"Senator Sanders’ amendment to the budget providing $478 billion investment over six years to modernize our country’s infrastructure is both commendable and urgently needed.  At a time when the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s overall infrastructure a grade of D+ and estimated needs amount to $3.6 trillion by 2020, the proposal for increased investment couldn’t be more welcome. 

LIUNA has been a strong supporter of several proposals for increased infrastructure investment including Senator Sanders’ Rebuild America Act and Representative Blumenauer’s UPDATE Act. Investment in making our roads and bridges safer not only creates good jobs, it is also key to ensuring the safety of millions of Americans on the roads each and every day. According to the independent transportation research group, TRIP, potholes, and other poor road conditions contribute to a third of traffic fatalities, equating to more than 10,000 lives lost every year.

It should be noted that the Sanders amendment is meant as a supplement, not a substitute, for a long-term Highway Bill reauthorization and serves to further highlight Congress’ inexcusable inaction on crafting a long-term vision for transportation infrastructure. Congress has dodged making tough decisions by extending Highway Bill legislation in short-term patches and allowed investment through the gas tax to continue to stagnate. The current gas tax – the main source of funding for the Highway Trust Fund - has lost nearly half its value since it was last adjusted 22 years ago, contributing to our deteriorating and increasingly unsafe surface transportation system. The most realistic and practical way to address the immediate shortfall is to make a modest adjust to the gas tax.

LIUNA hopes that Congress will adopt the Sanders amendment and move quickly to develop a consensus on a long-term full-investment Highway Bill."