As Critical I-64 Bridge Remains Shut Down, LIUNA Urges Congress, Representative Todd Young to Take Action

Sep 23, 2011, 17:46 ET from Laborers' International Union of North America

Constituents urge GOP Congressman to seize opportunity to fix America's basics, create jobs and get economy moving

WASHINGTON, Sept 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LIUNA – the Laborers International Union of North America – is mobilizing members in the district of Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) to support action to repair and safely reopen the I-64 Sherman-Minton Bridge at the Indiana-Kentucky border crossing. The bridge – a high-traffic artery for commuters and commerce in the region – was closed indefinitely on September 9 by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels after inspectors deemed it unsafe.

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As frustration grows amongst constituents and commuters, Young – a freshman Republican from Indiana's 9th District, where the bridge is located – is on the record opposing the investments needed to build America's transportation systems and care for its bridges. A statement issued by his spokesperson only indicated that Young will "stay in the loop" with officials "to assess what could be provided at the federal level." Meanwhile, Young has signed onto House Republican budget outlines which continue the pattern of tax breaks for the rich and slashed investment in the nation's basic infrastructure, including a one-third cut in the federal Highway program.

Currently 1.2 million construction workers are jobless; under the House Republican Highway Bill, investment would be cut by a third and an additional 630,000 jobs would disappear.

In response to Young's inaction, hundreds of local LIUNA members in Young's district have mobilized, placing calls to his office and urging him to work though gridlock in Washington to support a U.S. Senate outline of the Highway Bill which would keep investment level and protect jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Sherman-Minton Bridge is one of nearly 150,000 – or one-in-four of the nation's bridges – that is in need of repair.

Earlier this month, LIUNA helped lead the effort to pressure Congress to pass a temporary extension of the Highway Bill to keep investment level for six months. The union is now pressing for a long-term Highway Bill along the lines of the Senate proposal.

"As Congress debates job-creation measures and the future of America's roads, bridges and highways on a national level, we're going to make sure Congressman Young knows where his constituents stand on the issue," said Frank DeGraw, Business Manager of the Indiana Laborers' District Council. "What remains to be seen now is how and when Congressman Young is going to act to repair this bridge, get it reopened, and get people and commerce moving again."

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

SOURCE Laborers' International Union of North America



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