406 Dirksen EPW Meeting Room

Opening Statement

Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works

Welcome to today’s markup. As I have said many times, my top priority this year is to pass a fiscally-responsible, long-term highway bill. Ranking Member Boxer, Senator Vitter, Senator Carper and I have worked hard to put together a 6 year bill that we believe will put America back on the map as the best place to do business.

Unfortunately, what used to be the best transportation system in the world is now deteriorating, and our global competitors are greatly outpacing us in their infrastructure investment.

American businesses rely on an efficient and reliable transportation network. More than 250 million vehicles traverse the highway system each year and businesses require a reliable transportation network to operate.

But every day, 20,000 miles of our highways slow below posted speed limits or experience stop-and-go conditions. This type of congestion has a huge negative impact on America’s businesses.

“The Drive Act” has several key components that position America’s transportation system to support our growing economy. This bill defines the federal role to prioritize projects that are most in the national interest. This bill creates a new freight program that gives American businesses increased access to energy production, agriculture, mining and the ports where we trade with the rest of the world.

In order to implement these reforms, we are cutting red tape to accelerate project delivery. This is accomplished by improving collaboration, eliminating redundancies, and removing barriers that delay the process.

We are making the NEPA process more efficient so projects can be delivered in a timely fashion.

A solution is urgent, because today we quite literally sit at a crossroads. In order to repair deficient bridges, eliminate waste, and reduce congestion, Congress must act now and pass a long-term surface infrastructure solution. Beyond solving existing problems, a long-term bill will pave the way for the next 50 years of American excellence in infrastructure.

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