TEA-21 reauthorization vital to S.D. by U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson Because of the great distances we travel in South Dakota, we are extremely dependent on good roads for economic development and daily transportation. Without adequate roads and infrastructure, the economy and residents of South Dakota will suffer.�
As of March 1, 2004, the Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-First Century (TEA-21) will expire. This comes after a five month extension that was passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to allow more time to develop a fully funded multi-year bill.��
This program is vital to South Dakota. For every dollar South Dakotans pay into the Highway Trust Fund, we receive $1.85 in return.
The purpose of TEA-21 is to improve South Dakota�s transportation infrastructure. We need timely reauthorizations of federal transportation programs in order to provide safe travels for all who travel South Dakota roads and for continued economic development in rural communities.�
� Because South Dakota has such a short construction season due to weather conditions, extensions on road rebuilding can carry over from year to year. Extensions create uncertainty for our state�s general contractor and decisions become clouded about whether or not to let contracts for road projects extend to the following year.�
Furthermore, in South Dakota for each $1 million in projects that may be delayed, approximately 34 jobs are lost. Reauthorizing federal aid to transportation programs would boost South Dakota�s economy and help create good-paying jobs.
� Overall, due to the five month temporary extension the nation lost more than 90,000 new jobs and $2.1 billion in project delays. On the other hand, passage of a six year bill last October, would have created more than 650,000 new jobs nationwide and eased the budget crunch facing dozens of cash-strapped states.
The Senate is expected to address this bill in the coming weeks.� As a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, I will work to make certain South Dakota receives its fair share of funding during the TEA-21 reauthorization process.