Just in case you missed yesterday’s news, here is a summary from Metro’s government relations staff:
Today, the United States Senate voted down two different Transportation/Infrastructure bills. The Senate voted down 51 to 49 the Infrastructure portion of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The bill would have funded $50 billion in additional infrastructure and would have created a $10 billion National Infrastructure Bank. The second bill, which is the Republican-led extension of the current Transportation authorization with environmental streamlining riders, failed on a 47 to 53 vote. Next Wednesday, November 9, 2011, Senator Boxer will be holding her Environment Public Works (EPW) Mark-Up on the Democrat two-year Highway Extension Bill (MAP-21). Metro’s Government Relations team is in close contact with the Senator’s staff on these issues and will keep Board members apprised of any future developments.
Here’s how the New York Times summed it up in an editorial:
There’s nothing partisan about a road or a bridge or an airport; Democrats and Republicans have voted to spend billions on them for decades and long supported rebuilding plans in their own states. On Thursday, though, when President Obama’s plan to spend $60 billion on infrastructure repairs came up for a vote in the Senate, not a single Republican agreed to break the party’s filibuster.
That’s because the bill would pay for itself with a 0.7 percent surtax on people making more than $1 million. That would affect about 345,000 taxpayers, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, adding an average of $13,457 to their annual tax bills. Protecting that elite group — and hewing to their rigid antitax vows — was more important to Senate Republicans than the thousands of construction jobs the bill would have helped create, or the millions of people who would have used the rebuilt roads, bridges and airports.
And my take? This is a Senate vote and it’s certainly not fair to assume that Senate Republicans speak for all Republicans across the country. That said, at some point the many fine Republicans who support mass transit must change the course of their party if they want their transit-talk to be taken seriously.