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-- has announced today that it plans to take have a billion dollars in spend highway funds make available to be put Americans back to work.
Transportation secretary trailer and says the money you go towards repairing crumbling roads and bridges at a time when hundreds of thousands of construction workers -- -- and work.
Joining us now democratic congress.
Jason on my from Pennsylvania.
Also member of the transportation and infrastructure committee.
Certain that the first question has to -- why would there -- 170 million unspent dollars to begin with.
Most of these are projects that just never got off the ground some of them of actually been completed in some cases.
It's money that was a federal match for state there were local money that never came through the pipeline projects were canceled other things were done.
Political changes occurred in states in projects were taken off the books.
But the money's already been allocated so unless as the president has done that money is re allocated to other priority transportation projects it's gonna do what it's been doing for the past nine years in just sit there not helping anybody.
It's really sketchy it's a little disheartening -- we got a lot of state -- cities in municipal accounting gone bankrupt they couldn't use this money month.
I agree they could use that nine years ago I went -- -- -- was first appropriated by that some last water under the bridge right now we have to repair our roads and bridges we have to spend this money it's been allocated specifically.
To repair our infrastructure needs in this country and I think the president still on the right thing by releasing the money for other projects.
Okay but you know from.
We Donna money's fungible I mean you -- release this money to the cities in music -- -- -- -- -- -- to cover their pension costs for all we know.
-- secretary lahood has been very specific this is transportation infrastructure spending it's gonna go to the states the states are gonna decide what projects can qualify for the funding.
And if the money is not obligated by the end of this year it's gonna be taken away from those states.
So I assume we'll -- that will leave us states start to see this money mean.
Somebody gonna get a check on Monday.
Well what happens is it's generally a draw down account so you qualify for funding you have to do the work and then once the work is completed -- reimbursed for the funding.
And often as I say -- state and local matches that -- so these are real projects that are gonna be completed in and no one can argue we don't have infrastructure need in this country I think this is the right thing to do.
I agree with you but you can't help a question the timing right wouldn't it be really nice and we have really nice rose.
And people drove on on the way to the election election -- that -- Well look you can make that case but I don't think that means just because there's election coming up we should do nothing in this country I agree with you this should have been done years ago maybe in the previous administration.
It wasn't I don't know why it wasn't but look that money's been sitting there in some cases for up to nine years it's time to get the infrastructure work in this country moving.
And get jobs created because of that and that's what we're doing.
And part of the problem though the money's there to your point earlier is that these are projects that never even went through.
So I mean the whole system has one big -- all over it doesn't.
Well in some cases and again that there's multitude of reasons why the money wasn't spent in states that had to do it changes in the political environment projects that just never got off the ground matches that never came through.
And that's why you have 473 million dollars that's available nine years after the fact.
Representative Jason Aum are from Pennsylvania thank you for answering our questions and taken -- time.
Thank you Tracy happy to do it.