Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) from today’s Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Aligning Federal Surface Transportation Policy to Meet 21st Century Needs”:
As everyone here knows, the FAST Act, which provided $281 billion for federal surface transportation programs, expires on September 30, 2020. Chairwoman Norton and I, along with Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves, will work together to develop a long-term, bipartisan bill to reauthorize surface transportation programs.
With this being our first hearing on reauthorization, it is important to note how critical this bill is to ensuring a good quality of life for all Americans and to supporting the U.S. economy. The surface transportation reauthorization bill will allow the federal government to continue its long-standing role in infrastructure investment. But we have some big challenges and opportunities before us. Let me highlight a few of them.
First, the Highway Trust Fund is not able to meet our surface transportation needs as they stand today, let alone our future needs. Congress and the Administration must come together and find a way to shore-up the Highway Trust Fund, providing sustainable funding for our Nation’s surface transportation programs.
Second, while our current surface transportation system has significant needs, we must also begin to prepare for the future. Underinvestment has taken its toll on the system’s ability to move people and freight – we face increasing congestion, delays, and safety issues. Not only is adequate infrastructure investment important to mobility, it also creates jobs and allows our economy to prosper.
Third, as the reauthorization process moves forward, it is essential that we find ways to build more efficiently – to stretch the federal dollar. We need to identify and attack hidden project costs by streamlining the project delivery process and reducing burdensome regulations.
And lastly, by incorporating technologies and other innovations, we have the opportunity to increase safety and efficiency in our surface transportation system.
In closing, to quote the greatest band of the 90’s and 2000’s, “if today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late,” can we reach an agreement on reauthorization? I believe we can and look forward to working with my colleagues this Congress to achieve this goal.