Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.
Creating jobs and boosting our economy is of paramount importance if we are to keep building on the slow rebound our country is now seeing. This is not a Republican or a Democratic goal, but one we all share. And one the President focused on in his State of the Union address earlier this week. He spent some time discussing transportation and infrastructure -- critical areas for Missouri's Fifth District.
Lawmakers must work together, and work together quickly, to pass a comprehensive transportation bill. Transportation funding creates the largest number of jobs while servicing a desperate need. Every dollar invested in Missouri transportation generates four dollars of new economic activity. And the Federal Highway Administration estimates for every billion dollars spent on transportation, 34,000 direct and indirect jobs are generated. That is why I take every opportunity to listen to my constituents, talk with other members of Congress, attend meetings, and fight for the improvement of roads, bridges and waterways in my district. Bridge after bridge after bridge is in danger. Highways are crumbling. And we cannot sit by and play partisan politics and argue while our infrastructure continues to deteriorate.
It often feels like there is a lot of movement on Capitol Hill -- yet things seem to be going nowhere. The great tragedy here is to do nothing. The President discussed several good proposals for rebuilding and upgrading our nation's infrastructure. This is critical to create jobs and help businesses with the tools they need to be successful.
Since the President took office:
* More than 300,000 miles of U.S. roads have been improved.
* 22,000 bridges have been repaired or replaced.
* 6,000 miles of rail have been built or improved.
But there is much more that needs to be done. The President is calling for a "Fix it First" program that will invest dollars to focus on the most urgent infrastructure repairs. Across the country there are 70,000 structurally deficient bridges. This is unacceptable in the most powerful nation in the world. The President is also calling for a long-term increase in surface transportation and rail funding financed by reductions in spending. I believe this will create jobs, help businesses, and make travel more efficient and safe.
There are many challenges ahead. Working together in a civil and respectful way is imperative as we navigate these issues and find solutions that will best serve hardworking Americans. I know in Missouri's Fifth District transportation and infrastructure are too important to let politics and partisan games get in the way.