Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following speech today at the Rally for Roads, sponsored by:

• American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA);
• Associated Equipment Distributors (AED);
• Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM);
• Associated General Contractors of America (AGC);
• American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA);
• American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA);
• American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE);
• American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA);
• Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI);
• National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA);
• National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA);
• Portland Cement Association (PCA);
• International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA);
• National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); and
• U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Barbara Boxer
Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee
Rally for Roads -Make Transportation Job#1
March 20, 2012

Let me start by thanking each and every one of you for your help in getting a transportation bill, called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) through four committees, onto the Senate floor, and passed with a very strong and bipartisan 74 votes.

And now let me ask you this - are you ready to get a fair and fully funded bipartisan reform bill through the House of Representatives?

This must happen. It must happen for the businesses and the working people of this country. It must happen for the drivers of cars and trucks in this country and the users of public transportation. It must happen for the safety of our families in this country. And it must happen for this economy that is moving out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

This is not the time to quibble. This is not the time to stall. This is not the time to reinvent the wheel. This is the time to act across party lines together.

We know we have to find a bipartisan, long-term funding source so that we can get a longer term bill. We know that.

But that work is not finished. We need time, and the Senate two-year bill gives us that time.

What the Senate did was pass a major reform bill that consolidates nearly 90 programs into less than thirty, eliminates earmarks, and speeds up project delivery.

This is a bill that Senator Inhofe and I compromised on. That Max Baucus and his Republican colleagues on the Finance Committee compromised on. That Senators Jay Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchinson compromised on. That Senators Tim Johnson and Richard Shelby compromised on.

A bill that fully funds our transportation programs for two years, and it does it fairly. And it does it in a bipartisan way.

Our bill protects 1.9 million construction jobs and many thousands of businesses. Our bill is fully paid for - anyone who says otherwise has not read the bill. And our bill has strengthened and reformed the TIFIA program so that we create up to one million new jobs, including construction worker jobs in construction companies.

So ladies and gentlemen, you helped Senator Inhofe and me so much during our battle to pass MAP-21 through the Senate, and I need your help one more time.

Will you give us your power and your energy to get a strong bipartisan transportation bill through the House? One that reflects the strong belief that our 70,000 deficient bridges MUST be fixed, and fifty percent of our roads must be brought up to standard?

Will you give your voice to the belief that a great nation like ours must have an infrastructure worthy of the name United States of America?

With your voice, we will get the House to move forward. When I was a House Member, the bipartisan leadership worked together to get to the magical number - 218. When there was a job to do, they all stepped up to the plate. I hope, and to be honest, I pray, that Speaker Boehner works with Minority Leader Pelosi to get this done. The American people want them to work together - just as they wanted us to work together in the Senate.

Thank you, and let's keep going. Not on short-term extensions, which are destructive and disruptive, but for a surface transportation bill we can all be proud of. MAP-21 meets that test. The House should follow the Senate's lead and get it done - now.