WAMU 88.5 : News

Transportation Funding Debate Could Have Big Impacts In D.C. Region

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Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) wants a budget deal to allow for transportation infrastructure funding that would benefit his Northern Virginia district.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) wants a budget deal to allow for transportation infrastructure funding that would benefit his Northern Virginia district.

If the House-passed budget were signed into law, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland would see more than 20,000 construction workers lose their jobs. That's according to numbers released by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“She might be right short term," says Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). "Long-term, we're killing the country by spending ourselves into oblivion."

Griffith says he can't support increasing funding for roads without cuts elsewhere. Democrats, such as Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), say serious investments are needed to spur economic growth.

"Well, if you want to revive the construction industry, which has been at depression level unemployment levels for two years, frankly, public sector infrastructure investment is the key," he says.

The debate over issues such as transportation funding is beginning to show strain in the Democratic Party. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says President Obama needs to speak more forcefully for investments.

"I think the White House needs to get on the same script, when they're talking, when they're emphasizing program cutting instead of finding the revenue to regenerate the economy," he says. "I think they've lost focus."

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chair of the House Transportation Committee told WAMU he's exploring ways to bring in additional revenue for roads, but as yet there's been no agreement.


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