Map-21 Senate Bill Enjoys Rare Bi-Partisan Support
The Senate EPW committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D- CA) with ranking conservative member Sen. James Inhofe (R- OK) created the Map-21 spending bill (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) to help create highway and bridge construction jobs. Other functions it’s intended to serve are consolidation of some federal transportation offices, and leveraging money to states for loans and lines of credit to repair their assets. This means local, state and federal workforces will be able to repair a majority of the nation’s more derelict sections of freeways. The two year, 109 billion dollar spending bill is scheduled to be voted on Nov. 8th and expected to pass.
European Debt Stabilization Helps Temper Diesel Fuel Costs
The Dept. of Energy reports gasoline prices, which rose for 17 straight weeks, are finally falling. Yet diesel gasoline remains much higher in early November 2011 than it was in 2010, by around .55 cents a gallon. This week it’s averaging $3.88. Stabilizing oil demands as the Americas and Euro zone enters the colder seasons have forced oil prices slightly higher to a closing price of $95.50 on Nov. 7th.
Transportation Secretary LaHood Uses Tough Talk in Support of Fed Job Bill
“There’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican bridge, and there’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican job when it comes to rebuilding our aging infrastructure,” said Secretary LaHood during a visit to the Bridgeport-Norristown Viaduct outside Philadelphia. He went on to illustrate that all investment for infrastructure upgrades could be paid for without adding any significant burden to the growing federal deficit. Financial resources would come from a balanced deficit reduction plan based on closing corporate tax loopholes and establishing a higher, but progressive tax rate on the nation’s wealthiest class.
The transportation investments made under the Obama administration’s American Jobs Act include:
- $27 billion for rebuilding roads and bridges
- $9 billion for repairing bus and rail systems
- $5 billion in grants for innovative large-scale projects
- $4 billion for private high-speed rail networks
- $2 billion for improving airports
- $2 billion for upgrades to stations, equipment and rail cars owned by Amtrak
- $1 billion to put in place NextGen air traffic control system