WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04), a bipartisan group of over 110 of his colleagues, and over a dozen transportation organizations sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to support a long-term transportation reauthorization bill. This legislation will address the country’s urgent transportation and infrastructure needs, create jobs for Americans, and give the private sector incentives to hire in the US.

“When people can’t get from here to there and when products get slowed down by broken train tracks and trucks clogged on bridges, efficiency goes down and prices for consumers go up,” Himes said. “Improving our transportation infrastructure is the most sure-fire way to boost the economy and create jobs, both now and in the long-term.”

The letter calls for a six-year, fully funded transportation reauthorization with investments above current funding. This time-frame allows state departments of transportation to plan, approve, and implement the large-scale transportation projects that are desperately needed across the country. The bipartisan group expressed their eagerness to work with the administration on funding options for a six-year authorization. The last surface transportation authorization bill expired in September 2009 and has been temporarily extended eight separate times. The latest temporary extension is set to expire at the end of March 2012.

From the letter:

Global employers considering a presence in the United States will require a modern transportation infrastructure that enables them to move their finished products to the global market place in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Our aging and congested system is a strong disincentive for firms to expand their presence in the United States and create jobs here at home. A long-term transportation authorization will help make America more competitive in the global marketplace and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.

The American Society for Civil Engineers gives the nation’s transportation infrastructure a grade of “D” and estimates that the cost of failing to invest in roads and bridges would total $2.1 trillion in lost economic growth and 877,000 jobs by 2020. Congestion could cost an additional $276 billion a year by 2020 in lost time and inefficiencies. The cost of using more fuel, lost productivity, and accelerated auto-wear on worsening roads would cost every family $1,060 a year.

Click here for a PDF of the letter.

The letter has been endorsed by a number of labor, professional, & manufacturing groups, including:

American Trucking Associations
American Road and Transportation Builders Association
American Iron & Steel Institute
Institute of Transportation Engineers
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
Associated General Contractors of America
National Association of Manufacturers
American Society of Civil Engineers
International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers
American Council of Engineering Companies
Steel Manufacturers Association
American Institute of Architects
BlueGreen Alliance