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March 10, 2010 > $5.3 billion to improve California transportation

$5.3 billion to improve California transportation

Submitted By Donald Lathbury

The HIRE Act (HR 2847) is a jobs bill that provides immediate incentives for businesses to hire and retain workers and makes targeted investments to improve our transportation infrastructure.

"We took a big step along the road to recovery by passing the HIRE Act on March 4," said Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), the only Northern California member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 began our journey out of the Bush recession wilderness but Congress needs to do more to reach our destination of sustainable economic growth. The HIRE Act aggressively attacks our unemployment problem."

The House version of the bill varies from the Senate jobs bill by making sure the bill is fully paid for, allowing small businesses to benefit from the payroll tax holiday and increasing bond subsidies for cash-strapped states, such as California. The HIRE Act passed the House by a vote of 217-201.

The legislation provides incentives for businesses to hire and retain new workers. Businesses have witnessed the growth in economic activity but have been hesitant to expand their workforces because they are not yet confident they can afford to do so. The new payroll tax exemption will change that and result in an estimated 300,000 new jobs.

The HIRE Act also helps struggling states maintain and expand crucial infrastructure projects. Under current law, California would receive $3.3 billion for highways and bridges. The HIRE Act will increase this by $2 billion and invest at least $5.3 billion in highways and bridges.

"California's crumbling transportation infrastructure needs this landmark investment to ease congestion and leave a lasting legacy that will serve California well for decades to come," said Garamendi. "Without this and additional jobs bills, most economists agree the economy could soon slip back into decline. This occurred with both our Great Depression and the Japanese recession of the 1990s. We must learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it."

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