Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Joins Call for $50 Billion in Infrastructure Investments

Jun 26, 2003
Press Release

A real economic stimulus, the plan would create more than
2.3  Million Jobs nationally and over 33,000 for New Jersey

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th) joined his Democratic colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today to unveil a $50 billion economic package designed to create millions of jobs and to get the national economy moving quickly toward recovery.

The Rebuild America Act of 2003 stimulates the economy by creating jobs - especially jobs in nonresidential construction - and rebuilding our nation's infrastructure.  This bill provides $50 billion to enhance the safety, security, and efficiency of our rail, highway, transit, aviation, maritime, water resources, environmental, and public building infrastructure.  The plan proposes leveraging federal infrastructure investments, reducing the 10-year cost to the Treasury to under $34 billion.

The proposal would greatly benefit New Jersey by introducing a massive influx of dollars to upgrade the state vastly deteriorating and under funded transportation system.  The bill will also create 33,000 jobs in New Jersey and produce over $4 billion in economic activity for the state.

Most of the funding for highway, transit, airport and water resources programs would come from surpluses in the highway, aviation and waterway trust funds.  The remaining projects would be funded by cracking down abusive corporate tax shelters,
preventing American corporations from avoiding paying U.S. taxes by moving to a foreign country, thus the bill prevents any increase in the federal deficit.

To have the greatest economic impact in the shortest time, the bill concentrates on projects that are past the planning and design stages and are ready to be bid out for contract.

 "We have an economy that has put millions of Americans in dire circumstances.  Families are badly hurting. We have got to get the economy moving again and as we all know the only truly proven answer is jobs.  We must start investing in people," stated Pascrell, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"This is not pork as some would have you believe.  Rather, we are advocating for major direct investments in ready-to-go infrastructure projects.

"The work is ready to be done, but money in our states is tight.  Particularly in New Jersey, we have backlogs of bridge repairs that will ensure traveler safety.  We have a backlog of rail improvements to reduce congestion.  We have a backlog of sewer construction projects to meet clean water regulations and protect our environment.

 "We have seen time and time again how federal investments can boost a nation's economy, versus the crapshoot we take with irresponsible tax cuts."

Some of the major components of the plan include:

                                           Nationally                      New Jersey
Highways:                           $5 billion                       $128.37 million
Transit:                               $3 billion                       $175.91 million
Aviation:                              $3 billion                       $18.55 million
Clean Water                        $8.5 billion                     $343.01 million
Safe Drinking Water             $1.5 billion                     $33.98 million

The bill's $34 billion cost to the Treasury consists of approximately $9.6 billion from existing balances in the Highway, Aviation, Harbor Maintenance, and Inland Waterway Trust Funds; $4.5 billion from changes to the tax code; and $19.5 billion from the General Fund.

The bill requires these funds to be invested in ready-to-go projects.  Priority shall be given to projects that can award bids within 90 days of enactment.  The bill also requires funds to be obligated within two years.

The bill includes a maintenance of effort provision to ensure that recipients continue their current investment levels, particularly with regard to infrastructure security.

Finally, the bill allows recipients an extended period of time to meet their state and local match requirements.

$50 billion of Federal infrastructure investment will create more than 2.3 million jobs and $310 billion of economic activity.  Each $1 billion of Federal funds invested in infrastructure creates approximately 47,500 jobs and $6.2 billion in economic activity.

A recent national survey found that transportation construction contractors hire employees within three weeks of obtaining a project contract.  These employees begin receiving paychecks within two weeks of hiring.

In addition, this infrastructure investment will increase business productivity by reducing the costs of producing goods in virtually all industrial sectors of the economy.  Increased productivity results in increased demand for labor, capital, and raw materials and generally leads to lower product prices and increased sales.

This investment will help create jobs for the 3 million people who have lost jobs in the two years of the Bush Administration.  This investment will specifically help unemployed construction workers.  The number of unemployed private construction workers is 715,000 - an 80 percent increase over the comparable period in the last year of the Clinton Administration.  The unemployment rate for construction workers is now 8.4 percent - 68 percent higher than the rate in May 2000.

Minority-owned Business Impact:

This investment will also help address the disproportionate effect that the increase in unemployment has had on people of color.  The rate of unemployment for African Americans is 10.8 percent - twice the rate for whites.  The unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans is 8.2 percent, more than 50 percent higher than the rate for whites.

Under the existing highway, transit, and aviation laws,