This morning, President Obama urged Congress to pass a clean extension of key transportation programs as soon as possible. I was proud to stand in the Rose Garden with the President as he called for Congress to protect critical jobs and bolster our roads, bridges, runways and railways.
At the end of September, if Congress doesn’t act, the nation's surface transportation program will expire. This provides funding for highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems, and other essential projects that keep our people and our commerce moving quickly and safely. It also provides money for thousands of transportation projects currently under construction around the country. When the law expires, those projects will shut down, taking precious jobs with them.
For America's construction workers and their families, it represents the difference between making ends meet or not.
If we allow our transportation law to expire without an extension, almost 1 million construction and other workers will lose their jobs over the coming year. If the extension is delayed for just 10 days, our nation will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding, and that is money we can never get back. In addition, more than 4,000 of our professionals in the Department of Transportation will be immediately furloughed without pay.
Like the President, I think it is unacceptable to put jobs at risk in these difficult times just because Congress cannot work out its differences.