NAACP Calls For Swift Passage of Highway Reauthorization Bill Which Focuses on Job Creation
If Congress does not pass a comprehensive surface transportation bill by the end of March, 2012, our country runs the risk of a cessation of all federal funding for maintenance, repair and / or construction of our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, mass transit and rail systems. Not only will this put at risk and devastate our already crumbling infrastructure, it will mean 1.8 million Americans will lose their jobs. This is unacceptable.
At a time when our national unemployment rate is hovering stubbornly between 8% and 9% (and is even higher, over 13%, for African Americans) and our country’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair (70,000 of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient and over 50% of our roads are not up to standard), we need an aggressive and thorough plan which creates jobs, meets the transportation needs of all Americans and conforms with existing civil rights laws. Specifically, the NAACP calls on Congress to adhere to five standard principles when developing their transportation policy for the foreseeable future. These principles are:
- Preserve and expand existing programs that fund essential transportation options, to include bicycling, walking, and multiple forms of public transportation;
- Expand access to quality transportation jobs for the chronically-unemployed, low-income people, individuals with disabilities, women, and communities of color;
- Strengthen enforcement of existing civil rights provisions, including Title VI of the civil Rights Act of 1964;
- Improve transportation outcomes through strategic planning with measures that promote economic and social equity; and
- Reform transportation funding to lower household expenses and foster community development.
Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are currently crafting their versions of the transportation reauthorization bill. We need to be loud and advocate clearly for an aggressive, comprehensive plan which invests in our nation, creates jobs, addresses the transportation needs of all Americans and strengthens the enforcement of existing civil rights laws.