More than two years ago we began a process for reauthorizing the nation's highway program. Legislation that became known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act. The Senate-passed legislation is one of the biggest public works bills in the history of this nation and provides vital resources for our nation's highways, bridges, and transit systems. The Senate-passed bill will create more than a million jobs and boost our economy from coast to coast. From the beginning this bill has been a model of bipartisanship. Both sides have made concessions on numerous issues – many contentious. But we all recognized the only way to move a bill of this magnitude was to work together. We were given assurances from the Chairman of the Committee and the Republican Leader that when we went to conference we would continue in that collaborative process and work together. Today we read that all deals are off. Because the White House has drawn a line in the sand, the Republican leadership has decided to move ahead without minority participation. At the request of the White House -- Chairman Thomas in the House – has put forward a proposal. I have not seen one shred of evidence that you can craft a bill at $299 billion in contract authority - and $284 billion in guaranteed funding -- that does not pit state against state and region against region. The Senate passed a $318 billion bipartisan bill that would benefit all states and support all of our national transportation systems. Let us not beat around the bush, the roadblock to this bill begins and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. When President Bush said he would veto both the House and Senate bills, he sent a clear message: it's my way or the highway. But that is not the way the legislative process works. Just as the White House has under-funded our schools, just as they have under-funded affordable housing programs, just as they have under-funded environmental programs – now I fear the White House is demanding we under-fund our highways and transit systems. I remain committed to working in a bi-partisan fashion to complete action on this important legislation. I am afraid on its current course this bill is headed toward a dead-end. It is not too late. What is at stake here is the safety of highways. If we do not work together our nation's highways will suffer.