A coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations called on Congress today to break a legislative deadlock that threatens billions of dollars in funding for road construction and mass transportation.
Standing outside the CATA Transportation Center at 420 S. Grand Ave., Mark Schauer, national co-chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance Jobs21, called on the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to reach agreement on reauthorizing a five-year package. The House version would offer $260 billion for transportation funding nationally. Since Sept. 2009, partisan gridlock has resulted in Congress passing nine short-term extensions instead of passing a six-year transportation bill. The latest short-term extension expires June 30.
“Historically, this is not normal,” said Schauer, a former Democratic Michigan congressman who was a member of the House Transportation Committee. “Transportation bills have been bipartisan.”
Mike Nystrom, a coalition member and executive vice president at the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, said the short-term extensions have created uncertainty among road construction companies in Michigan, hurting the state’s economy. The association represents road construction companies.