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Pa. Advocate Takes Funding Case to Washington

December 17, 2009

Pennsylvania played a prominent role last week in telling a congressional panel why a timely, significant infusion of construction funding is essential in order to continue the momentum of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

James Van Buren, of New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. and vice president of PHIA, told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that ARRA helped to prevent thousands of layoffs at construction firms and their suppliers.  However, without additional resources in the short term, the market could retract again as early as 2011, he said.

Testifying on behalf of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Van Buren noted that even with the recovery act, the industry as a whole continues to suffer from the recession and is experiencing disproportionate levels of unemployment.

“That reality is not an indictment of the recovery act, but rather illustrates how much worse our situation could have been,” he said.  “Without the recovery act’s transportation investments, our markets would have continued their freefall this year.”

Renewal of the multi-year surface transportation measure would be the best approach, Van Buren said.

“Clearly, the robust, six-year investment levels proposed by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee would be ideal to stabilize and grow the U.S. transportation construction market,” he said. “If, however, that is not attainable, an alternative measure that significantly boosts infrastructure investment in the short-term and retains the integrity of the Highway Trust Fund can also provide a critical economic boost.”

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