Union Message ought to be Maximize Airport Infrastructure Development while not Maximizing Federal Funds

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ARTICLE: Unions to Obama: Replace LaHood with transportation funding defender

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AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind, pictured above, appears to be making the candidate’s ability to spend on infrastructure a litmus test for selecting a new Secretary of Transportation. To be fair, the AFL-CIO executive was more precise in his statement:

“I think it’s important that the next secretary comes in with a primary strategy in mind to figure out a way to fund our transportation system’s needs… That’s the largest problem the [new] Transportation secretary will have. You’ve got a president who has made infrastructure a centerpiece of his agenda. The challenge is finding the funding to make that vision a reality.”

The union’s position ignores that the federal government faces a Fiscal Cliff. It also appears oblivious to the fact that the FAA’s unionized employees, NATCA and PASS (the two largest groups, both AFL-CIO members), face furloughs due to sequestration.

Perhaps a better way to express one of the search criteria might be a Secretary who is both able to reduce federal outlays for infrastructure spending while optimizing the level of actual construction. Federal salaries may not be supplemented by private dollars, but there may be room for (if not benefit from) investments from private sources.

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