Democrats try to put more to work in transportation industry

News AASHTO Journal June 30, 2003
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Ranking member James Oberstar (D-Minn

Ranking member James Oberstar (D-Minn.) of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was joined by five colleagues Thursday in a call for support of their freshly filed bill to trigger job growth through $50 billion in transportation and environmental spending, with a heavy focus on rail-related spending.

The bill would be financed via balances in federal transportation trust funds, backers said, coupled with crackdowns on corporate tax miscreants including firms that move offshore to dodge U.S. taxation. It also would boost user fees on people passing through U.S. Customs.

The "Rebuild America Act" would supply $14 billion for high-speed rail lines; $7.5 billion for passenger and freight rail; $11 billion for environmental infrastructure; $5 billion for highways; $3 billion for transit; $3 billion for aviation; $2.5 billion for port security; $1.5 billion for water resources; $1.5 billion for economic development; and $500 million for public buildings.

"We're here with a blueprint to get the economy moving again," said Oberstar. If the measure won passage by the August Congressional recess, Oberstar said the measure has potential to return millions of Americans to work by Thanksgiving.

A similar bill introduced by Oberstar and others last fall did not become law.

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