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Jobs. Energy, Infrastructure No. 368

Adopted 2005
Amended 2006
Amended 2007

Three critical economic issues combine to demand a coordinated public policy response NOW. The energy crisis, the infrastructure backlog, and a flattening labor market must be addressed by linked federal investment.

Concern about energy dependence and global warming is finally a political priority, a matter of full blown alarm. Since l992 ADA has urged reduction of dependence on imported oil and fossil fuels overall. So far, official response, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and current pending bills, is not in scale with increasing threats.

ADA has also demanded attention to the decaying state of the nation's infrastructure and has connected the needs to job creation. Katrina was a graphic wake-up call. From New Orleans Felix Fohatyn and Warren Rudman, co-chairs of the Commission on Public Infrastructure for the Center for Strategic & International Studies, reported on the nation's crumbling foundation: advanced states of disrepair in highways, schools, drinking water, bridges, waterways. They cite the American Society of Civil Engineers who estimates a $1.6 trillion backlog, $125 billion for schools alone.

The concurrent decline of prospects for American workers completes the obvious challenge. Serial layoffs, eroding wages, the widest income gap in the western world - all point to serious neglect of human capital and rising anxiety. 80,000 workers have been laid off by the big three auto companies - the largest exodus from a single American industry in decades. One in three American jobs pays low wages - $11 an hour or less. ADA will join evolving campaigns for job creation and training in areas of energy alternatives and infrastructure.

  1. The Transportation Equity Network is focused on workforce development tied to federal funding. Along with providing jobs and needed service, public transit is a key factor in reducing auto emissions. The program projects 11.6 million jobs, one million to be channeled to the unemployed or underemployed.
  2. Advocacy for broadly defined infrastructure investment - levees, schools, sewers, waterways, dams - aims at legislation which must include local hiring, targeted training. Public housing - HOPE VI and basic line items - is an essential commitment. Resident hiring and training are longtime mandated requirements. Research by the Low Income Housing Trust fund concluded that a $10 billion housing investment would produce 368,000 jobs.
  3. The Apollo Alliance proposes a $300 billion, ten year federal program to promote renewable energy, smart growth, biofuels, advanced grid technology and R & D. Estimated job creation: 3 million.

 

ADA is committed to a coordinated federal response to accelerating energy, infrastructure and worker needs.

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No. 368

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