Building Trades: New Rules Will "Reduce Investment in Highways and Transit and Destroy Jobs"

Mark H. Ayers, Building Trades President, issues a harsh rebuke of House Republicans on rules change to highway and transit funding.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Building Trades President Mark H. Ayers issued the following statement on U.S. House Republicans adopting new rules for Highway and Transit Funding:

The 112th Congress convened this week and the first order of business by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives was, incredibly, to cut jobs and funding to highway and transit programs.  Specifically, House Republicans changed a number of longstanding rules, including one that historically ensured that money raised solely for highway and transit projects through the federal gas tax be spent on those projects.  

The new rule change by the Republican majority in the House will henceforth allow highway and transit funds that have already been raised to sit idle in a bank account, reducing investment in highways and transit, and subsequently destroying jobs.  Despite the best efforts of moderate Republicans like Steve LaTourette of Ohio to reduce the negative impact of this rule change, Republican leadership refused to modify their new rule.  Apparently, they are more interested in perpetuating a shell game where highway and transit funds are held back in order to make it appear that the deficit has been reduced in the short-term, thus allowing Congress to continue to spend money on pet projects and cutting one of the best job-creation programs in the history of the country.  

Last November, the American people demanded that Congress make economic growth and job creation their top priority.  For the millions of unemployed Americans in the construction industry, cutting funding that would put them to work repairing or replacing our crumbling bridges, highways and transit systems is not a solution; it's a slap in the face.  

We thank Congressman LaTourette for his efforts to prevent this rule from taking effect.  We will need more voices like his, if Congress plans on getting serious about fixing the real problem facing our country -- which is JOBS.

The Building and Construction Trades Department is an alliance of 13 national and international unions that collectively represent 2 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada.

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