Today, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Department of the Treasury released a report titled, "An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment." Below is a statement by Transportation Equity Network (TEN) executive director Laura Barrett:
The report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Department of the Treasury drives home the point that TEN made just weeks ago with our own report, More Transit = More Jobs: investing in transportation infrastructure is a crucial way to drive economic recovery and reconnect communities. Investing in public transportation and highway and bridge repair is one of the best ways to get the most bang for our buck with our tax dollars. At a time when tens of million of Americans are struggling to access jobs, education, health care, and opportunity, we need smart infrastructure investments more than ever.
The Obama administration’s report points that the high cost of transportation and inadequate public transit hit low-income people hardest. Transportation expenses eat up nearly twice as much household income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans than for the top 10 percent. It’s little wonder that 82% of Americans—including 79% of rural Americans—said in a recent poll that they support expanded transportation options, including more bus and rail.
Most importantly, the report signals the Obama administration’s commitment to fight for the passage of a six-year, comprehensive transportation bill. TEN and our national allies will be engaged in that fight every day. As TEN has long argued, a comprehensive transportation bill needs to prioritize public transit and highway repair over new highway construction to maximize job creation and access to opportunity. It also needs to include the Green Construction Careers workforce development guidelines to guarantee fair access to the jobs created; local control over how transit funds are spent; support for equitable transit-oriented development; and civil rights protections for all communities.
When Abraham Lincoln built the transcontinental railroad at the height of the Civil War, he was living out a radical faith in the idea of America as “one nation, invisible,” even while it was at war with itself. Transportation was central to Lincoln’s vision of how to make our nation whole. The Obama administration’s report reminds us how transportation investment can do more than spur our economy during a time of crisis—it can help make us whole again.
TEN Media Director