Statement of Sen. John Chafee
ISTEA Reauthorization
Kansas City, MO
March 26, 1997

Thank you very much, Senator Bond. I want to say what a pleasure it is for me to be here, as I mentioned earlier in the press conference. I am very pleased you invited me and have a chance to join you and our distinguished colleague from Virginia, John Warner, who is the chairman of the subcommittee that deals with this legislation.

To those gathered here, I wanted to say that your Senator, Senator Bond, is a leader in many of the issues that we deal with in Washington -- small business, environment, health care, defense, and today's issue transportation. As I mentioned in the press conference, he took the lead in introducing a Highway Trust Fund Integrity Act, and I was pleased to join with him on that.

Also, there is another interesting piece of legislation that has a lot of merit, I believe, and certainly I suggested to everyone here a bill that Senator Bond and I joined in together on. It's called the Highway Infrastructure Privatization Act. What it does is it authorizes up to 15 privatization projects that would have access to tax-exempt bond financing. In other words, if some company is going to build a certain facility, be it a bridge or an interchange or a section of highway, they would have the use of tax-exempt bonds. And it's an attempt to take advantage of private-sector resources by opening up avenues for the private sector to take the lead in designing construction financing and operating highway facilities. And looking back at the transportation debates that Senator Warner mentioned, we always know that Senator Bond is fighting for Missouri. He brings that to a new level. Senator Bond is a persistent and dedicated battler for this lovely State of yours. And I just want to say, this is an issue that he has particularly mentioned in connection with when we have had hearings in Washington, and that is the subject of safety, which is a great and deep concern of his.

I join with him in that concern as we move into the ISTEA reauthorization. We will do what can to reduce this horrible loss of life that is occurring on our highways. I want to thank you, Senator.