Passage Caps Multi-Year Fight by LIUNA Members for Investment in Roads, Bridges and Transit; Opens Door for Bigger Discussion of Critical Infrastructure Challenges
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – praised Congress for passing a multi-year Highway Bill which will support millions of jobs fixing deteriorating roads, bridges and transit systems, and help restore certainty to the struggling construction industry.
"For men and women in the construction industry, who have been battling Depression-era levels of unemployment, passage of this bill will be a lifeline," LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan said. "By insuring multi-year investment, it will help restore the certainty needed to launch long-term projects. And for the nation, this is a step toward fixing our roads, bridges and transit systems that were once the envy of the world."
Passage of the bill comes after LIUNA members mounted a multi-year effort to overcome partisan bickering in Congress that had blocked what is traditionally bi-partisan legislation. LIUNA members have placed or written thousands of phone calls or letters, rallied around Build America events in more than a dozen cities and spoken out to fellow members and news media about the need for transportation investment.
This spring, LIUNA was on the forefront of the effort, calling on House Speaker John Boehner to get a Highway Bill passed. The union launched intensive radio ads and direct mail in the Speaker's home state of Ohio. In addition, the "Emergency Bridge Repair Team" truck traveled through Boehner's home state of Ohio, and onward to the U.S. Capitol. The truck carried a giant roll of duct tape to symbolize the approach of elected officials to the serious problem of deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
O'Sullivan congratulated LIUNA members on the victory, saying, "every LIUNA member who wrote a letter, made a call, attended an event or talked to a fellow member about the need for a real Highway Bill should be proud." In addition, O'Sullivan commended Senator Barbara Boxer of California for spearheading the drive to passage.
He noted that while passage of the bill – the single largest piece of job-creating legislation in the country – is an historic milestone, much work remains to be done. America's bridges, for example, are on average 43 years old – dangerously close to the 50-year average bridge lifespan. One in four bridges is deficient or obsolete and a fourth of roadways are in poor condition.
Meanwhile, unemployment in the construction industry is 14.2 percent, with more than 1 million jobless.
"Passage of this bill is a step toward putting men and women who desperately need work back on the job doing work that desperately needs to be done," O'Sullivan said. "This is great progress. It opens the door to the bigger conversation of how our country can face the challenges of investing adequately in critical infrastructure needs for the future. LIUNA will continue to be on the frontlines of raising public awareness and fighting for the investment that America deserves."
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