SENATOR GEORGE V. VOINOVICH
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Hearing on the Perspectives on the National Surface
Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission Report
February 6, 2008
Thank you, Madame Chairman, for holding this hearing today to hear the views from these groups on this commission’s report.
It is no secret that this nation has an aging transportation infrastructure. And I believe that it’s the government’s role to provide funding for our nation’s infrastructure so our businesses can compete in this global marketplace.
Federal transportation policy is of particular importance to my state because Ohio has one of the largest surface transportation networks in the country. The state of Ohio has the 10th largest highway network, the fifth highest volume of traffic, the fourth largest interstate system and the second largest number of bridges. 14 percent of all freight that moves in the United States moves in, through, or out of Ohio – the third greatest amount of any state.
Throughout my career, I have worked to increase funding for infrastructure. As Governor, during ISTEA, I fought to increase Ohio ’s rate of return from the Highway Trust Fund from 80 percent to 85 percent. In 1998, as Chairman of the National Governors Association, I was involved in negotiating TEA-21 and I fought to even out highway funding fluctuations and assure a predictable flow of funding to states.
During consideration of SAFETEA-LU, I pushed for increased funding. I thought the total funding levels were well below what was appropriate and necessary for the nation’s infrastructure needs. Even, the Federal Highway Administration acknowledged that more funding was needed. In 2004, Federal Highways stated that the average annual investment level needed to improve our highways and bridges would be $118.9 billion. The average annual investment level necessary to just maintain the current condition and performance of highways and bridges would be $77.1 billion.