Last week, the American economy lost 71,400 jobs — in a single day. The International Monetary Fund warned that world economic growth is set to fall to 0.5% in 2009, its lowest rate since World War II. And at the just-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, business leaders from around the world were gloomy and skittish. Their mood reflected the global fear about the state of the world economy.
We have a unique opportunity to achieve two important goals with the stimulus package that recently passed the House and is now awaiting action in the Senate: to create jobs and get commerce moving again through a combination of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and other fiscal stimulus, so that families can maintain their income, standard of living and health care; and to make investments in our future and promote our long-term prosperity.
One of the major pillars of the stimulus package is infrastructure spending that will quickly create jobs while rebuilding the nation’s transportation networks. Los Angeles County is expected to receive $447 million for transit-related projects and at least $380 million in highway funding in the House version of the bill. While we must disburse these funds quickly, we must ensure that they constitute a significant and lasting investment in our country, such as building ready-to-go capital projects like the Gold Line Foothill Extension, which will benefit our community for decades.