Statement of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
New York City Field Hearing on Reauthorization of
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA)
Environment & Public Works Committee
Subcommittee on Transportation & Infrastructure
April 7, 1997

Welcome to New York and this historic and beautiful Beaux-Arts building. Until the establishment of an income tax in 1913, the Federal government was financed mainly through the imposition of customs duties. New York being the busiest port, this Custom House became the nation's largest collector of such funds. The hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal taxes collected here were widely distributed to finance the development of the rest of the country. We were the ultimate donor State and much more. The interstate highway system was first envisioned in New York at the GM Futurama exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair, and then advanced in 1944 by President Roosevelt. The New York State Thruway was the system's first segment.

In 1991, working with my House counterpart Robert A. Roe of New Jersey, Chairman of the Public Works Committee, we crafted legislation that addressed this nation's imbalance in transportation investment in favor of an intermodal, economically-efficient, and environmentally-sensitive approach. ISTEA also included a provision to pay New York, New Jersey and other states back for their contributions to the interstate system. ISTEA was the most important transportation bill since President Eisenhower's Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.

I thank my colleagues, Senators Chafee, Lautenberg, and Lieberman, for their advocacy of ISTEA, and Senators Baucus, Warner, Bond, Kempthorne, Reid, and Inhofe, who have publicly stated their support for its principles. This Subcommittee has held field hearings in Coeur d'Alene, Kansas City, and Las Vegas. This is, essentially, our first opportunity to hear from the 60 percent of the nation's population living east of the Mississippi. I look forward to the testimony.