Union targets GOP leaders over transportation funding

A construction labor union that hopes to break the logjam in Congress over long-term transportation funding has begun to target the GOP leadership of both houses with radio advertising in their home states.

The advertising paid for by the Laborers’ International Union plays off the theme of “London Bridge Is Falling Down” and the union said it is running the ad in Ohio and Kentucky, homes to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

The jingle focuses on the nation’s bridges, 70,000 of which are considered structurally deficient, and suggests that Republicans in Congress want to cut money from the highway bill that could be used to repair them.

While some GOP members, particularly in the House, have expressed concern that bills in play in both houses would spend more than the country can afford, neither Boehner nor McConnell have been in the forefront of efforts to curtail the spending plan.

The Senate bill emerged from three committees with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. The House bill is undergoing surgery in Boehner’s office after taking a beating from some members on both sides of the aisle.

In addition to the radio jingle, the union said it would target voters in both states with direct mailings that list deficient bridges in the states and include a pointed parody entitled “How to Survive a Collapsed Bridge.”

Current funding for surface transportation programs will expire on March 31, and with Congress struggling to pass a new bill a temporary extension at current funding levels seems inevitable.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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