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April 16, 2012

House Republican Leaders: Building Big Oil Profits Instead of a 21st Century Transportation System

TrafficAs construction season begins, it seems Speaker Boehner and House Republican leaders are more concerned with building Big Oil's profits than ensuring we have a safe, efficient transportation system.

This week the House of Representatives will vote on yet another three-month extension of the current transportation bill, only this time they’ve added a poison pill – the automatic approval of the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

States and localities around the country can see the need to invest in transportation. Our roads and bridges are in need of repair, and at a time of high gas prices, almost half of Americans lack access to cleaner transportation options, such as public transit and safe biking and walking. Repairing roads and building new, modern infrastructure doesn’t happen overnight. Towns and states need long-term certainty in order to plan for and fund new transportation projects.

The Senate has already passed a two-year transportation bill that would take steps to reduce our dependence on oil and move our transportation system into the 21st century. In an age of bitter partisanship, the Senate transportation bill was passed with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority, 74-22.  Indeed, the charge to pass the Senate bill was led by two Senators at polar opposites of the ideological spectrum – Senator Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Inhofe (R-OK).

Tacking on controversial provisions like an approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline does nothing to address our nation’s transportation needs, but it does threaten the passage of any transportation legislation, with millions of jobs hanging in the balance. It is time for House leaders to actually show some leadership and pass the bipartisan Senate transportation bill in order to invest in America’s infrastructure.

Write to your Representative today, tell them to oppose the Surface Transportation Extension Act and instead support HR 14, the bipartisan transportation bill that has already passed the Senate. It is critical that Congress focus on building a 21st century transportation system for America, not on building oil company profits.

- Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Washington Representative for the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign

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