March 14,2012

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Baucus Helps Lead Passage of Job-Creating Highway Bill

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Highway Bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which makes critical infrastructure investments across the country and supports or creates more than  a million good-paying jobs.  Baucus contributed the funding portion of the legislation in his role as Finance Chairman, and he also wrote much of the authorization for highway, roads, bridges and alternative transportation in his role on the Environment and Public Works Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  The bill passed by a vote of 74 to 22.

“The Highway Bill is an investment in our economy’s future.  This bill makes significant investments in our transportation system and will help create jobs in Montana and across the country,” Baucus said.  “Our economy depends on effective transportation to help it grow, so we need to build and maintain highways to meet our needs, create jobs and improve our economy."

The Highway Bill reauthorizes and fully funds the Highway Trust Fund, the federal funding source for roads, highways, bridges, alternative transportation options and mass transit projects.  Those projects ensure safety and mobility, create or sustain good-paying jobs, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and fund infrastructure projects of regional and national significance across the country.  The Highway Trust Fund primarily relies on fuel excise taxes for its revenue, but because higher gas prices are keeping many families off the roads, receipts have not kept pace with needs.  The bill helps recoup those losses and reauthorizes the trust fund to continue making critical investments.

According to the US Department of Transportation and industry experts, every billion dollars invested in roads creates or sustains nearly 35,000 jobs and every billion invested in transit creates or supports 24,000 jobs.  With nearly $40 billion in annual highway investments and more than $10 billion annually for transit, this legislation will support more than 1.6 million jobs.  Infrastructure improvements also cut operating costs for businesses and allow them to grow.