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14K transportation jobs are on the line

Time is running out for the state Department of Transportation and the MBTA.

Time is running out for the state Department of Transportation and the MBTA.

If Congress doesn’t extend a federal transportation bill aimed at upholding transit and highway operations by Sept. 30, the Massachusetts agencies could face 14,000 job losses and cuts to more than 30 scheduled T projects.

During a MassDOT and MBTA board of directors meeting yesterday, members of the T Riders Union spoke up and invited officials to join them in an effort to get Congress to extend the transportation bill before its looming deadline.

President Barack Obama also called on Congress earlier this week, in his address, asking delegates to do what they have done seven times over the past two years — pass a clean extension of the bill.

According to a new report from the National Economic Council, a lapse in the federal program that supports road, bridge and transit work would put 14,297 jobs, 2,814 active highway projects and 38 active transit projects in the Bay State at risk.

TRU Program Director Lee Matsueda asked the board to join TRU on Sept. 20 for a press conference in Boston joining forces to fight the fiscal challenges fueled by possible federal cuts.

“This is a first step to maintain safety for our riders,” said Matsueda. “Why can’t we stand together and ask for the extension?”

MassDOT CEO and Secretary Rich Davey said he plans on traveling to Washington, D.C., next week with Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray to speak with members of Congress about the extension.

Davey said they will also discuss a meeting time with members of TRU.



Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannaer.