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Legislative Alert

 

Posted May 2014

The Obama Administration Initiates New Program to Fund Infrastructure

 

Together, we can GROW AMERICA
 
GROW AMERICA: creating jobs, providing certainty
The GROW AMERICA Act, or Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America, will do exactly what its name implies:

 

  • It will support millions of American jobs repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems;
  • It will help ensure that American businesses can compete effectively in the global economy and grow; and
  • It will pave the way forward by increasing access to the ladders of opportunity that help Americans get ahead.

I visited eight states and 13 cities as part of my Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour this month and everywhere I went, I heard the same thing –people want more transportation options and better roads and bridges to get them where they need to go. Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable and un-affordable. 
 
GROW AMERICA offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve. It represents a number of proposals that have historically attracted bipartisan support.
 
What GROW AMERICA will do:

 

  • Address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide $87 billion to address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems;
  • Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
  • Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls;
  • Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
  • Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment;
  • Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
  • Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.

I have been pleased to see that members of both parties are already working together to solve these challenges, and I look forward to continuing our discussion and to supporting and building on the good work that’s already been done.
 
Please take the time to browse through our GROW AMERICA Fact Sheets to learn what this bill will do to keep our nation and our economy moving forward.
 
Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
 
More information is available at: http://www.dot.gov/grow-america


 

Posted March 2014

Is a Higher Minimum Wage Counter-Productive?

Political Maryland reports that,  since it's an election year, Democratic politicians in Annapolis are eager to pass an increase in the minimum wage. Gov. Martin O'Malley is poised to promote a higher minimum wage law in Maryland as part of his incipient campaign for national office. But is it a good idea? Will there be unintended consequences in the form of job reductions?
 
Bottom Line: A jump in the minimum wage by 10 percent (Maryland's proposal is 13 percent in Year One and a cumulative 39 percent over three years) will have a significant negative impact on future job hiring. The non-partisan CBO forecasts that a federal hike in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour could mean a likely loss of 500,000 jobs nationwide, although there's a chance the job loss could top one million.

Source: Chris Costello, MDSPE Lobbyist
 

 

Maryland Purple Line Holocaust Bills Would "Complicate" Bilateral Talks.

The Washington Post (3/19, Shaver) reports that, in addition to jeopardizing $900 million FTA funds, recent bills in the Maryland state legislature concerning Holocaust reparations from the French-owned SNCF railroad and its Purple Line contract bid would “complicate” ongoing bilateral negotiations between the Americans and the French “over such payments.” At issue is providing reparations for Jewish families who settled in the United States after World War II. Department of State-sponsored negotiators are concerned that the Maryland initiatives might poison the water for the bilateral talks. The article notes, though, that the Maryland bills missed a significant legislative filing deadline on Monday, making their passage much less likely.
 
Source: NSPE, Daily Designs

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