the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Transportation Projects under the Recovery Act

Jared Bernstein, the Vice President's Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor, gives us this update:
Recovery Act includes $48 billion dollars for transportation construction projects, and funding has been announced for over 2,800 projects in all 50 states.  In order to obtain feedback on transportation policy issues related to the Recovery Act, Jared Bernstein, the Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President, recently met with labor groups.  The groups raised concerns about the fact that the Act funds capital costs but not operating costs.  They presented information showing that mass transit ridership is up, and because of state and city budget cuts, mass transit operating budgets have been flat or falling.  This is leading to layoffs and service reductions.  One substantive question raised in the meeting was whether it would be possible, with legislation, to shift some capital funds over to operations.
Present at the April 21 meeting were the following, each representing the entity noted: 
Edward Wytkind
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO 
Larry I. Willis
General Counsel and Chief of Staff
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Brendan Danaher
Legislative and Policy Representative
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO 
Cynthia P. Bradley
Legislative Affairs Specialist
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Ron Kloos
International Representative
Transportation Communications International Union 
Frederick P. McLuckie
Deputy Director of Legislation, Government Affairs
International Brotherhood of Teamsters 
Portia Reddick White
Director of Legislative and Political Affairs
Transport Workers Union of America