Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations president and chief executive officer, said that while President Obama's jobs proposal could boost employment temporarily, it is no replacement for passing long-overdue multiyear transportation legislation.
“We certainly appreciate that President Obama is again looking at using infrastructure investments to boost the economy,” Graves said. “However, his jobs legislation will do little to address our nation's pressing infrastructure needs and may hinder Congress' progress on crafting a long-term highway bill.”
Graves said the $27.5 billion in Obama's jobs proposal would help the nation's economy by funding needed repairs and expansion of our roads and bridges, but it doesn't solve the real problem.
“For almost two years, we've been playing the dangerous game of passing extension after extension, casting doubt on our ability to undertake significant projects,” Graves said. “This jobs proposal gets us no closer to passage of a multi-year bill, and in fact, may contribute to even further delays in passing one. While this proposal would help in the short term, if the president wants to foster job creation through infrastructure spending, he should demand Congress pass a well-funded, multi-year bill with a focus on core highway programs that address critical regional and national transportation needs.”
Graves also said ATA was skeptical of the president's plans for an infrastructure bank and for using increases in other taxes to pay for roads and bridges and other programs in the jobs bill.
“We've long advocated that roads and bridges should be paid for primarily by their users through the most direct taxes possible — fuel taxes,” Graves said. “Allowing private capital to take their cut as part of an infrastructure bank, or by taxing other sectors to pay for roads and bridges, takes us further away from this core principle.”