Union tour visits Louisville, wants Congress to act on highways - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Union tour visits Louisville, wants Congress to act on highways

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Union members and Democrats issued a call to action on Friday.

They want to get construction workers back on the job and back to work repairing the nation's crumbling highways and infrastructure.

The Laborers' International Union of North America, which represents building and construction workers, is calling on Congress to pass a long term highway trust fund bill.

Residents around Kentuckiana know all too well the consequences of failing infrastructure.

"When the Sherman Minton Bridge went down, we saw what happened in our community, we had increased traffic, we had gridlock, we had lost hours of productivity which affected commerce", Metro Council member David Tandy said at a news conference sponsored by the union known as LiUNA.

The union even brought along a school bus with a large concrete slab covering its windshield as a backdrop for the news conference to symbolize what can happen when the nation fails to invest in its highways and bridges and lets them fall into disrepair.

"We don't want, what you see here, to happen to anybody that's passing by an overpass in a car or a school bus," says Lawrence Wilburn, Sr, the business manager for LiUNA Local 576.

Congress has passed a temporary highway bill that keeps money in the budget for highways and bridges through next year, but has yet to act on long term highway legislation.

Third District Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says Congress needs to pass the long term bill ASAP.

"Our infrastructure is rated D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers", says Yarmuth, "we've become the laughing stock of the world, we have bridges that need serious repairs like the Sherman Minton."

Despite the Ohio River Bridges Project and its $2 billion dollar cost and all the other road projects underway in the region, the local union says too many of its workers are still looking for good jobs.

"We want safe highways for people to travel in order to create jobs, we need jobs in American right now," says Wilburn.

Yarmuth says despite the gridlock in Washington he continues to hold out hope that a long term highway bill bill can be approved by Congress.

He says he supports President Obama's plan for a $300 billion infrastructure investment over the next six years.

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