Delay in reauthorization will hurt small businesses

With the above-the-fold, front-page news story that unemployment has reached 10 percent, it’s extremely disconcerting that Congress wants to delay the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU 18 months.

Today’s testimony from Michael Filipczak, president of Elkridge-based Midasco LLC on behalf of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), reiterated just how devastating this delay could be.

Filipczak, a Maryland specialty infrastructure contractor today told the House Small Business Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, that small businesses depend on the nation’s transportation network to move people and products around town and throughout the country. 

“Highway congestion has become a major drain on the energy and vitality of small businesses,” he testified, according to a written statement from ARTBA.  â€śWhen the day is spent dealing with the fall-out of highway congestion—scheduling, routing, late deliveries, missed appointments, unhappy customers—this takes time away from planning and growing the business.”

Filipczak cited a new national report by the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, which found that deficiencies in the U.S. roadway environment contributed to more than 22,000 fatalities and cost the nation $217 billion annually.

The study also found the cost to American businesses is $22 billion every year. 

“My company specializes in safety improvements.  Making the roadway environment more protective and forgiving is essential to reducing highway fatalities and costs,” he said

The bipartisan House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee reauthorization proposal, which includes a six-year, $337 billion highway investment, would generate almost 150,000 new jobs in 2010 alone, including many in the small business community, Filipczak said.  He urged Congress to take action this year on a robustly-funded bill.

For the full testimony, click here.