Stateline.org asks the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for a quick assessment in the second of a series of questions and answers with policymakers about states and the recession.
How much of a difference will the
economic stimulus package make to states?
"While we're concerned with individual items in this package, the whole is more important than the individual parts. The global economy is in uncharted and dangerous waters, and inaction from Washington is not an option. No package of this size can be perfect, but we need a bill that will unlock capital markets, free up credit, and create momentum in the economy. …
With the economy in freefall and the credit markets in gridlock, this is just the beginning. Now comes the hard part of addressing the underlying causes of the crisis and refocusing on the long-term goal of fiscal discipline.
-Bruce Josten is executive vice president of government affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Transportation funding in the bill will allow the states to increase their highway project contracting by 25 percent to 50 percent this year. Our state DOTs said they could spend $65 billion on more than 5,000 ready-to-go highway projects. The $27.5 billion is very helpful, but we could have done more. We are also disappointed that transit funding was not provided at the level proposed by the House.
-John Horsley is executive director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials