Modernizing Massachusetts' Infrastructure
The President recently proposed The American Jobs Act, calling on Congress to work in a bi-partisan effort to put people back to work right now. Investing in infrastructure across the country, including our roads, rail, airports, and maritime, will lead to immediate construction jobs and support future economic development, job creation, and long-term sustainability.
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray reflects on transportation infrastructure that has supported economic growth in the Commonwealth:
As part of our economic development strategy, Governor Patrick and I have focused on investing in infrastructure in communities across the state. By combining state bonding and federal stimulus funds, we have invested in meaningful transportation infrastructure projects that have not only put people back to work, but have leveraged private investment that has resulted in regional economic activity.
Bridges in America were built to sustain for 50 years; today, the average age of bridges in America is 48 years old. Considering all of the structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick and I partnered with the state legislature in 2008 to establish the Accelerated Bridge Program. The Accelerated Bridge Program is an historic 8 year, $3 billion plan implemented to invest in repairing the state’s structurally deficient bridges. To date, the program has reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges from 543 to 457, a decrease of almost 16%. Without the Accelerated Bridge Program, the number of structurally deficient bridges would have actually increased.
Our administration is focused on making strategic investments to rebuild and modernize our state’s infrastructure system, which is why I’m proud to support the President’s American Jobs Act. The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, which will jumpstart critical infrastructure projects and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. Right here in Massachusetts, the President's plan would make $8.5 million available for these strategic investments, while supporting at least 11,100 local jobs.
The American Jobs Act would not only repair and improve infrastructure projects in all states, but it would put Americans back to work and set our country on a sustainable path for economic recovery. There are projects across the country just waiting to get started, and there are millions of unemployed construction workers looking for jobs. Congress should not delay. The time for obstruction and gridlock is over. Congress needs to put country ahead of politics, and pass the American Jobs Act.
Jewel James is the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs