Washington State Construction Group's Statement on Deficit Commission and Gas Tax

Dec 03, 2010, 14:34 ET from Associated General Contractors of Washington

SEATTLE, Dec. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington released the following statement today in response to the Deficit Commission's decision to recommend a phased-in 15 cent increase to the federal gas tax as part of its sensible plan to fund critical transportation needs and address the country's growing fiscal imbalance:

"We are pleased that the Deficit Commission included infrastructure investments in its final proposal," said Tom Zamzow, President of the AGC of Washington.  "Although the plan did not receive enough votes among Commission members to be delivered to Congress, the Commission has spurred an important national discussion.  As the Congress addresses the alarming budget deficits, we encourage the Washington State Congressional delegation to ensure that infrastructure investment is part of any comprehensive plan."

"The construction industry in Washington State lost more than 10,000 jobs in the last year, putting the state among the worst in terms of percentage job loss," Zamzow added.  "Construction employment in the state has declined 33 percent over the last three years, with more than 68,000 jobs lost. Plus, our trade-dependent economy requires the ability to move freight and people quickly in order to accommodate the expansion of our local businesses and to attract new ones." 

"Infrastructure investments are the best way to both boost private sector employment in the short term and facilitate long-term economic growth," Zamzow continued.  "Including the gas tax element in the plan could almost double the funding our state currently receives from the feds," he said.  "This could provide critical resources to address safety and preservation needs for our streets and highways which currently are not being addressed," he concluded. A key element of the Commission's recommendation is that the gas tax revenues be directed to "the most pressing [transportation] infrastructure needs" and not wasted on "low-priority projects."

NOTE TO MEDIA:  Below is a link to the Commission's proposal; the gas tax section is Recommendation 1.7.

http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf

SOURCE Associated General Contractors of Washington