Today’s hearing focuses on the need for transportation investment as we move forward with the next highway, transit and highway safety authorization. The current authorization legislation, SAFETEA-LU, will expire on September 30, 2009. The new bill will be called MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.
This legislation will impact all Americans because it sets the policy and provides the funding for transportation nationwide, and this Committee will be taking the lead to authorize this new legislation.
We held several hearings in the 110th Congress on issues including: bridges, goods movement, safety and the federal role in transportation. I also held field hearings in several California cities to hear directly from my constituents on their ideas for the next bill.
At this time I would ask unanimous consent that all the statements which were submitted as part of my California Field Hearings be inserted in the record.
We will continue to hold hearings, meetings, and listening sessions to make sure all points of view are considered.
We continue to hear loud and clear that the need for investment is great.
Congress passed and the President recently signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), which provided a total of $48 billion for transportation improvements. Of that $48 billion about $27.5 billion was included for the highway program. These funds are currently being used to improve our nation’s infrastructure and are creating jobs.
The funding provided in H.R. 1 was a good start, but it is not enough. We must have continued investment to maintain these jobs, and to make additional, needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure.
The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, which released a congressionally mandated report in January of 2008, called for investments of at least $225 billion annually over the next 50 years at all levels of government to bring our existing surface transportation infrastructure to a good state of repair and to support our growing economy.
Combined, our states, our cities and the federal government are currently spending 40% less than that amount.
The more recent, February 2009, report of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission estimates that we need to invest at least $200 million per year at all levels of government to maintain and improve our highways and transit systems.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2006 Conditions and Performance Report, the cost at all levels of government to maintain our current highway system is $78.8 billion per year, while the cost to improve the system would be $131.7 billion per year.
This same report shows that to address the backlog of needed improvements all at once to the current highway and bridge network alone is $495 billion.
Today’s witnesses will further highlight the need for investment in transportation at the Federal, state and local level. I appreciate each of the witnesses for taking time out of their busy schedules to be with us today, and look forward to hearing their testimony.
I’d like to give a special welcome to Secretary LaHood who is making his first appearance before this Committee as Secretary of Transportation. I appreciate his being here today and look forward to working with him and all of you on MAP-21. I also would like to welcome Governor Rendell and Mayor Novak.
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