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LaHood: No such thing as Democratic or Republican bridge, job

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, shown here beside President Barack Obama during a Cabinet meeting, Thursday called on Congress to pass the transportation portion of Obama's so-called jobs bill. (Associated Press)

The Trucker News Services

11/3/2011

NORRISTOWN, Pa. – Saying there is no such thing as a Democratic or a Republican bridge or job, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday called on Congress to pass the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act during a visit to the Bridgeport-Norristown Viaduct outside Philadelphia.

The viaduct is a century-old passenger rail bridge that is among the hundreds of pieces of transportation infrastructure across Pennsylvania in serious need of upgrades and repairs, a LaHood spokesman said.

The investments made under the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act could put hundreds of thousands of people to work in Pennsylvania and around the country, renovating and rebuilding our roads, rails, and runways, according to the DOT.

“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 LaHood, who was joined by state and local officials. “Congress needs to pass the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act as soon as possible so we can continue to modernize our transportation systems and keep our economy moving forward.”

The DOT said the transportation piece of President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act would make an immediate investment of $50 billion in America's transportation infrastructure and put people back to work upgrading 150,000 miles of road, laying or maintaining 4,000 miles of train tracks, restoring 150 miles of runways, and putting in place a next-generation air-traffic control system that will reduce travel time and delays. 

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The legislation would also make a $10 billion investment to create a nonpartisan National Infrastructure Bank that would operate independently and issue loans for major transportation and infrastructure projects based on two criteria: how badly a road, bridge, transit, water, or energy project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy.  These investments would also be paid for without adding a dime to the deficit; resources would come from a balanced deficit reduction plan that includes closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

The 3,175-foot bridge carries approximately 24,000 Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) Norristown High Speed Line passengers over the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County each month.  The viaduct also connects passengers to the Norristown Transportation Center, a major intermodal transfer point that’s also served by eight local bus routes and the Manayunk/Norristown commuter rail line, as well as inter-city bus service.

“Southeastern Pennsylvania, home to some of the oldest transit infrastructure in the nation, is in need of a 21st Century overhaul,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.  “Passing the American Jobs Act will put nearly a thousand Pennsylvanians to work rehabilitating the Bridgeport-Norristown viaduct alone, modernizing the Jenkintown power substation, or upgrading the Levittown Station on the Trenton Line, giving hundreds of thousands of SEPTA riders a more reliable and desirable commute to work each day.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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