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Worcester Chamber of Commerce Supports Extension of Transportation Bill

Thursday, March 05, 2015

 

Worcester's Regional Chamber of Commerce has joined a national movement to extend a long-term federal transportation authorization bill.  260 chambers of commerce and economic development councils from all 50 states have signed a letter advising Congress to oppose the bill's expiration. 

“With the great recession finally in our rearview mirror, we must continue this important program to support the economic development projects that are underway and in the pipeline with a transportation infrastructure that supports this growth,” stated Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “To not do so would jeopardize those projects and potentially cause us to suffer an economic setback.”

The bill in question is the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  Expiring in May, MAP-21 helps surface-transportation programs as part of a continuing highway authorization project.  Without this funding, the federal Highway Trust Fund may have to make drastic cuts and postpone its projects. 

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives drafted the letter which opposes the bill's expiration.  It explains how inconsistency in funding stunts the nation's economic growth, and how funding must continue in order for the U.S. to remain a global competitor.  The letter also requests greater flexibility of funding, cost-effective bond programs,  greater local control, and a commitment to reduce freight bottlenecking.

Allowing MAP-21's expiration would particularly and negatively affect the Northeast, impeding the region's economic development strategies.

“In the Northeast, the lack of federal monies to repair and upgrade our aging roads and rail systems would hit businesses especially hard,” stated Murray. “Coupled with some of the oldest roads in the nation and the especially harsh winter we have had, roads in Massachusetts have taken a beating.”

 

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