Senate passes legislation to reauthorize federal transportation spending of US$109B over two years; NRF urges House to pass bill before deadline, says bottlenecks and inefficiencies will increase, damage U.S. industries, jobs

WASHINGTON , March 14, 2012 () – The National Retail Federation today welcomed Senate passage of legislation to reauthorize federal transportation spending, and urged the House to move quickly before the current funding law expires at the end of the month.

“Our nation’s neglected transportation system has created bottlenecks and inefficiencies that are getting worse every day,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “As bad as things are, they will only get worse if Congress misses the deadline we face at the end of the month and leaves transportation funding in limbo. The House needs to follow the Senate’s example and pass a long-term funding bill as soon as they return from recess. Businesses rely on a dependable transportation system and jobs are at stake. Getting this bill done is critical to the competitiveness of U.S. industries.”

The Senate today voted 74-22 to pass S. 1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21 Act, sponsored by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The measure would provide $109 billion over two years. The House is still determining how to move its $260 billion, five-year transportation reauthorization bill, H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012. sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. The latest temporary extension of federal transportation spending is scheduled to expire March 31.

Retailers are among the nation’s largest shippers, moving hundreds of billions of dollars worth of merchandise through the nation’s ports, railroads and highways each year. The condition of the transportation system and its ability to handle cargo quickly and efficiently are vital to retailers’ businesses.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation.

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