Right away, over 4,000 workers would be furloughed without pay. If it’s delayed for just 10 days, we will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding that we can never get back. And if we wait even longer, almost 1 million workers could be in danger of losing their jobs over the next year.President Barack Obama • Speaking in his weekly radio address about the importance of passing the Surface Transportation Bill — a bill that funds the construction of highways, bridges and so on — before the end of the month. If not, he claims it could cost thousands of jobs, if not more. The AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce —a.k.a. unions and big businesses — both support the bill. But Republicans, of course, take issue with the way Obama is framing the debate. Sigh. JUST WORK, GOVERNMENT! source (via • follow)
New Jersey’s governor just gave public works projects a body blow today. Why, you ask? Well, Chris Christie, frustrated over the possibility of putting taxpayers on the hook for billions in cost overruns, ordered the shutdown of a massive, long-in-the-works plan to build a passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City. While his reasons are fiscal conservative to the core, let’s just emphasize a few things about what he’s costing his state by shutting down the largest public works project in the country:
» And lots of people are pissed, too. Even considering the costs of this project (which had bipartisan support, by the way), the potential benefits could’ve been long-term and might’ve paid for themselves. Homeowners lost out on higher home prices. Commuters lost the possibility of less-annoying commutes. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sounded like he wanted to shout in Chris Christie’s face so loudly it ripped the governor’s skin off. And Christie, while bolstering his support among the right, could hurt his re-election chances because of the perceived flip-flop. This is dangerous ground no matter the fiscal benefits.