Statement of Senator Max Baucus
ISTEA Reauthorization
April 7, 1997

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, first I want to say I know you join me in how honored we are to be with two of the Senate's premier Senators, Senators Moynihan and D'Amato, here in New York City. It's an honor for us to be here.

Second, as I'm sure most in the audience know, this subcommittee has held a number of hearings around the country: in Coeur d'Alene, ID; Kansas City, MO; and Las Vegas, NV. Now we are in New Yor City.

As everyone might guess, each part of the country has its own specific, unique needs, and I'm sure that here today we are going to hear more of the unique needs of New York City, New York State, and particularly the northeast region.

I might say, too, that it's very appropriate that we're holding the hearing today. I'm often reminded by the senior Senator from New York of the 1939 World Fair, the Futurama exhibit which laid the seed for the development and construction of our interstate system. The Futurama, in 1939, suggested something along those lines. It wasn't then financially or technically feasible, but it was the beginnings. It's another example of the kinds of references that the Senator from New York makes about needs for the future. He's always ahead of the rest of us.

ISTEA is a pretty good bill. The current highway transportation program we have works pretty well. It gives various parts of the country significant flexibility. Since I am from the West, I can testify that we rely very much upon highways. ISTEA enables us to make best use of the programs for highways. We have such long distances to travel, such open space, so few people.

On the other hand, in New York you rely much more on mass transit. You have other needs that we do not have in Montana. ISTEA does allow a lot of that flexibility.

Mr. Chairman, I'm here to learn. I'm here to listen. Just as a young lieutenant in 1919, in the U.S. Army, Dwight Eisenhower, learned when he traveled across the country about the need for a national interstate system, I am here to listen and learn about the unique, specific, and important needs of the northeast.

I thank you very much for having this hearing here.