Washington, DC -- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, held a press conference today to make a major announcement regarding the reauthorization of the transportation bill, entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
"I am so proud to be here as Chairman with rest of the Big 4 from the Environment and Public Works Committee, which includes EPW Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Tom Carper (D-DE), and Subcommittee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY), to announce that we have reached agreement in principle on a transportation bill.
"These principles, which reflect the priorities of each of us, include:
o Passing a long-term bill, as opposed to a short-term patch;
o Maintaining the formulas for existing core programs;
o Promoting fiscal responsibility by keeping current levels of funding, plus inflation;
o Focusing on policies that expand opportunities for rural areas;
o Continuing our efforts to leverage local resources to accelerate the construction of transportation projects, create jobs, and spur economic growth ; and
o Requiring better information sharing regarding federal grants.
"The reason the four of us are standing here is to send a strong signal to this country that we, as leaders of this Committee, have worked across party lines to act before the Highway Trust Fund cannot pay its bills. For those of you who follow this issue, you know that the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money later this summer, which would be devastating to thousands of businesses and millions of workers across the country.
"Republican President Dwight Eisenhower had the vision to set up our federal Interstate system in the 1950s, and I am proud to stand here today, united with my colleagues, to say that we intend to keep the promise he made to the American people -- that we will always have a strong national transportation system.
"At a time when 70,000 of our nation's bridges are structurally deficient and less than 50 percent of our roads are in good condition, we must act, and that is what we intend to do."