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(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today I want to share with my constituents and the people of the country a letter I have sent to President-elect Obama which gives him the benefit of the many hours of work undertaken by the Environment and Public Works Committee the past two years.
I want to make sure the President-elect has this information, which includes a number of key findings about the state of America's transportation infrastructure. For example:
Substantial additional funding is needed to repair and improve our nation's infrastructure. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission found that between $241 and $286 billion is needed for all transportation infrastructure annually through 2020. This includes roads, bridges, transit and rail.
The U.S. is rapidly falling behind our competitors around the world in infrastructure investments. One expert witness at a recent Environment and Public Works Committee hearing testified that China invests nearly four times more than the United States in its infrastructure, as a proportion of GDP.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, traffic congestion costs the economy $78.2 billion annually in lost productivity and wasted fuel.
Twenty-seven percent of the Nation's 585,000 bridges are deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
In 1982, there was only one metropolitan region where the average traveler experienced 40 or more hours of delay per year - Los Angeles. Today, that number has grown to 28 metropolitan areas in every corner of the Nation.
U.S. investments in infrastructure have yielded returns many times their initial investments. The net rate of return from highway investment was found to be about 34 percent on average from 1949 to 2000.
Each $1 billion infusion of Federal-aid highway construction spending supports approximately 35,000 jobs.
This is important because the facts back up the wisdom of mobilizing aggressively to rebuild our infrastructure. Even if we were not in this economic crisis, it is clear that if America is to thrive in this century, if we are to compete in this century, we must move people and goods in an efficient manner and right now we cannot do it.
We also need to mobilize to achieve energy independence and to combat global warming. The good news is that when we tackle this challenge, we create millions of jobs, become more energy efficient, save money in energy costs and invest in new technologies. These actions will restore our leadership in this area as all nations look for solutions.
I also want to announce today that on January 7th, one day after the new Congress is sworn in, I am hosting a briefing in the Environment and Public Works Committee. The title of the briefing is "Investing in Green Technology as a Strategy for Economic Recovery."
I am pleased to announce that I have two extraordinary speakers confirmed for this briefing - Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman, author of many influential books on the global economy, including "The World Is Flat" and his latest, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America."
Our second speaker will be John Doerr. John Doerr is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He has been a visionary investor backing companies like Google and Amazon. He is passionate about the role that technology and innovation will play in achieving energy independence, creating jobs and combating global warming.
The EPW committee has many areas of jurisdiction which will be part of the economic recovery plan for our nation - including infrastructure, the Economic Development Administration at the Department of Commerce and global warming. We will focus on all of these areas in the new Congress.
I think it is critical to work in partnership with the President to achieve economic recovery. The time for action is now.
One more point I want to make.
My staff in California and I have been on the phone to all 58 counties in California.
On Friday, I will release information on the impacts of the recession on the ground in my state. I can tell you that so far, it is a bleak picture -- but we are ready to turn it around in California and in the nation.
- 12.8.2008 America's Most Congested Cities - (14.9 KBs)
- 12.8.2008 Letter from Senator Boxer to President-elect Obama - (425.1 KBs)