Amid today’s unnecessary partisan debates over formally bipartisan issues, the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) and Republican Senator Jim Inhofe (OK), passed legislation today to invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and put up to 2.8 million people back to work.

This action by the EPW committee in passing a two-year renewal of the federal surface transportation law restores faith in our Congress and sends a message that we cannot stand still while the world passes us by.  In today’s rapidly changing global marketplace, economic growth and job creation is closely linked to key transportation hubs, such as airports, ports and public transit networks.  These economic anchors have a daily impact on our cities residents, workers and travelers, providing access to jobs, the means by which goods are delivered and a gateway to the global market place.

Now we need the rest of Congress, both red and blue, to join their colleagues on the EPW committee and redouble their efforts to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill.  This is an opportunity to inject life into our economy, create millions of jobs nation-wide, increase productivity of our workforce, while leveraging billions of private dollars to fix our nation’s deteriorating roads and highways and bridges and put Americans back to work.

Cities like Los Angeles have highlighted their ability to fund their local transportation projects and the federal government’s ability to accelerate key projects with fewer federal dollars.  That’s why mayors across the country created America Fast Forward, a national jobs and transportation plan, that improves the way transportation projects are financed so that cities and states can fund projects sooner, creating a faster and more efficient system that puts people back to work now.

In LA, Mayor Villaraigosa started with a local idea called 30/10—a first of its kind plan to accelerate funding to build 30 years of transit projects in only 10.  Now the plan has gone nation-wide, and a coalition of more than 100 mayors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the AFL-CIO is working hard to get the transportation reauthorization bill passed and America on the fast track to recovery.

America Fast Forward can create one million new, good-paying private sector jobs nationwide and166,000 in Los Angeles alone. But cities can’t do it alone. Congress needs to put their ideological bickering aside and work together like they did today to get workers back on their feet.

Today’s action should be considered a symbolic and also real milestone:  innovative policies such as America Fast Forward, do exist and can be turned into legislative action.  I look forward to supporting Senator Boxer and Inhofe’s efforts moving forward and further leadership from our business, university and civic leaders in supporting this effort and getting American’s back to work.