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DeFazio Secures Vital Northwest Programs in Job Creation Package

Jan 27, 2009
Press Release

January 26, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) stood up for Oregon workers this week when he ensured that two key legislative initiatives for the Northwest were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Those projects include $3.25 billion in increased borrowing authority for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and $10 billion in investment in public lands to reduce the backlog of capital and maintenance projects. The provisions were included as a result of specific requests DeFazio made in December, and will create thousands of jobs in the Northwest. Unemployment in Oregon has reached nearly 10% and it is much higher in rural parts of the state. More Oregonians were out of work last month than any time since 1983. In the face of such dire unemployment, DeFazio’s initiatives, which invest in infrastructure, are particularly important. Infrastructure investments are a proven way to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

–Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) stood up for Oregon workers this week when he ensured that two key legislative initiatives for the Northwest were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Those projects include $3.25 billion in increased borrowing authority for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and $10 billion in investment in public lands to reduce the backlog of capital and maintenance projects. The provisions were included as a result of specific requests DeFazio made in December, and will create thousands of jobs in the Northwest. Unemployment in Oregon has reached nearly 10% and it is much higher in rural parts of the state. More Oregonians were out of work last month than any time since 1983. In the face of such dire unemployment, DeFazio’s initiatives, which invest in infrastructure, are particularly important. Infrastructure investments are a proven way to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

"Infrastructure spending is good bang for the federal buck. It has been proven time and again as a way to create jobs and stimulate and an ailing economy. It is clear that the needs in Oregon are dire and these initiatives are a good way to get our economy going again and get people back to work." DeFazio said. "It is an investment that we can in good conscience pass on to future generations, as opposed to a tax cut that will be gone, with little to no benefit to the economy, in a matter of months."

Increasing the borrowing authority for BPA will help build critical infrastructure to facilitate renewable and energy efficient projects that the BPA has planned but cannot currently build due to a lack of capital and the frozen credit markets. Under the plan, BPA is required to repay the U.S. Treasury. The increased borrowing authority will directly and immediately create 1,000 construction jobs in Oregon, a sector that has been particularly hard hit, and will eventually create tens of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy industry in the Pacific Northwest. The inclusion of the BPA provision in the package is the result of broad northwest delegation efforts lead by DeFazio.

DeFazio also worked with other senior members of the Northwest delegation to secure $10 billion of major investments for the restoration and maintenance of public lands, public lands infrastructure, wildlife conservation, water resources and hazardous fuels reduction to reduce the threat of wildfires and save money on future firefighting costs. These projects will mean a large federal investment in Oregon which will create thousands of jobs for many of the people who have been laid off in the timber and constructions industries.

"These projects will, create real jobs, provide real stimulus, fix problems that have been neglected for years and jump start our economy," DeFazio said. "This is smart and needed investment."

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Wednesday.

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