Alaskan Congressman Don Young met with a White House official in his office yesterday to discuss his concerns with the stimulus package, namely the lack of adequate transportation infrastructure funding. He followed up with signing on to two letters regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In the first bipartisan letter, addressed to President Obama, Rep. Young asks him to support “Buy American” provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This letter asks the President to make sure that the hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars are leveraged to put American workers to work producing insulation, windows, solar panels, advanced batteries, and other goods called for in the package. It also asks him to make sure that the application of existing “Buy American” statues is completely transparent by requiring that any waivers of the Buy American Act of 1933 are publicly reported and justified.
Rep. Young also signed a letter addressed to the conferees who will hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of this bill. This letter addresses the issue of transportation and infrastructure funding in the stimulus package and asks that additional support be made available. According to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation, for every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure, 38,000 jobs are created, as well as $6.2 billion in economic activity.
“These letters address two of the biggest problems we face in this economic crisis,” said Rep. Young. “We don’t invest in our infrastructure until we face a crisis, and we have ceased production of viable goods at home. We send all of our money overseas to producing nations like China and in a bill like this one, that is supposed to stimulate OUR economy, it is completely counter-productive. We need to focus on keeping our dollars at home.
“The requests in these two letters go hand-in-hand. Transportation funding is such an important part of growing our nation. It will produce countless jobs, take care of the crippling infrastructure we currently have, and add billions to our economy. The purchase of the materials used in the construction of new projects should be made in the U.S.A. where they are made at the hand of American workers.
“Whether I agree with this bill or not, I acknowledge that it will pass and be sent to the President for his signature. If that is the case, let’s keep the money, the jobs, and the projects here at home.”