In case you missed it: Gov. Rendell in D.C.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, July 8th, about the need for a second stimulus directly targeted at job-creating infrastructure programs. While the Governor praised the first $787 billion stimulus, stating that it created close to 2,000 new jobs in the state, an infrastructure stimulus could raise this number even higher, provided that it focuses solely on such projects.
However, it is not clear whether the timing is right for such a consideration. At the moment, the U.S. House Ways and Means is bogged down with healthcare reform, defering other pieces of national legislation. The likely 18-month extension of the current transportation act is a recent example of back-burner legislation. Moreover, the Obama administration has formally stated that they are not considering a second stimulus, and while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has expressed some dissatisfaction with the first stimulus, he stated that a second stimulus was not an option at this time.
Representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN), who has been pushing lawmakers to consider passing the new Surface Transportation Authorization Act, commented that the last stimulus did not include enough funding for rail and road projects. Rep. Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would like to see more investment put into transportation projects, and he argued that more jobs would be created from such a stimulus.
For now, Gov. Rendell did not push for any specific stimulus outline, but rather wanted to stress the importance of infrastructure in creating viable jobs. Indeed, given the recent raise in unemployment, it is important to weigh all options seriously.
Catch the full story at The Hill and keep checking back here for continous updates on transportation and infrastructure issues.