PLATTSBURGH — The Surface Transportation Act of 2012 will help keep some North Country manufacturers rolling.
Passed Friday by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the legislation is great news, said North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, as it authorizes approximately $54 billion annually for two years for federal surface transportation programs — primarily roads, bridges and mass-transportation systems.
“This important legislation finally provides two years of predictability regarding federal highway and mass-transit investment,” he said in a press release. “This should mean additional contract opportunities for Bombardier, Nova Bus and our other transportation-equipment companies in the region going forward.”
Douglas said Congress had only been approving short-term extensions for more than two years now.
“We were in Washington just last month with our Bombardier and Nova Bus partners, stressing the urgent need for this bill, and we thank Congressmen Bill Owens and Chris Gibson and Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for their support.”
Owens said he has discussed the need for a long-term transportation bill with county highway administrators, trade associations, local unions and businesses such as Graymont Quarries in Plattsburgh.
“This bill represents bipartisan support for job growth and a commitment to improve our aging transportation infrastructure that will allow local and industry leaders to plan for the future,” he said. “This legislation will kick-start road, rail, bridge, mass transit and other projects critical to making overdue repairs, putting local businesses to work and creating a more attractive environment for businesses to hire and invest in New York state.”
Gillibrand said a provision she wrote to reauthorize the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program to invest in border regions was included in the bill.
That provision would allow states to use funding to improve motor-vehicle and cargo mobility across international borders, enhancing commerce at border regions. Last year, New York state and Canada traded $627 billion in goods and services.
“From the Peace Bridge to the Thousand Islands Bridge to Rouses Point, New York state is home to some of the largest and most significant border crossings in the country,” she said. “When we invest in infrastructure upgrades at New York’s border regions, we create new construction jobs immediately, and help grow our local economies over the long term by connecting more businesses in New York to Canada.”
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