Newly released jobs numbers show thousands of Kentucky’s construction workers may have to hang up their tool belts unless Congress can find more money for road construction. If the House passed budget becomes law, the Federal Highway Administration says nearly eight thousand construction workers in Kentucky would lose their jobs. Kentucky Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie says Democrats tried to create jobs with their $787-billion stimulus package and proved government spending cannot salvage an economy.
“You know if you supported the stimulus bill thinking that was going to keep unemployment below eight percent and we know that it’s 9.2 percent today, then it’s hard to make the argument that spending out of Washington is going to create economic growth and opportunity,” said Guthrie.
To spur economic growth, Guthrie says it’s more important to unwind regulations than spend more money.
“I’m a big believer that we have to get the economy back on track. And one thing you don’t raise taxes, you know the president talked about raising taxes. The other thing, you really have to get spending under control. Business are really concerned about several things,” said Guthrie.
The American Public Transportation Association says the draft House transportation bill amounts to a thirty percent budget cut for the nation’s roads and bridges. Kentucky Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler says infrastructure spending is one of the most important things Congress can do right now.
“Transportation funding is incredibly important. It is important for our infrastructure, it’s certainly important for jobs. This is investment in the future and in the future economy of our country, anything we do with transportation. Essentially they are jobs that cannot be exported,” said Chandler.
Republicans on the House Transportation Committee hope to raise more revenue for roads and bridges, but their party has come to no agreement yet.