WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held the hearing, “Hearing on the Nomination of Paul Trombino III to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.” Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as submitted for the record:

“Thank you, Chairman Barrasso, for holding this hearing on the nomination of Paul Trombino III to be the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. Mr. Trombino, congratulations on your nomination and thank you for joining us here today.  

“First, I would like to express my gratitude to the career Federal Highway employees, particularly those involved in providing emergency funds and other assistance for the people of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

“If confirmed, Mr. Trombino, you will play a critical role in helping to support communities in need across this nation when disaster strikes. More broadly, you would be responsible for administering our nation’s Federal-aid highway program. Under this program, State, local, and tribal governments own and maintain most of the Nation’s highways and bridges. It is Federal Highway’s role to distribute funding to these units of government for construction, improvement, and preservation of this infrastructure – and to work with all levels of government to ensure that highways and bridges are safe, support economic development, and protect and enhance our environment. 

“I have long maintained that if something is worth having, it’s worth paying for. I believe it is worth it to invest in a safe, reliable and modern transportation system, and I look forward to working with you and others on creative ways to address our long-term transportation needs in a fiscally responsible way.

“To that end, Mr. Trombino, your nomination comes at a critical juncture for the agency, the transportation sector, and the traveling public as we confront the enormous challenge and opportunity to modernize and rebuild our aging infrastructure. The condition of America’s infrastructure received a grade of ‘D+’ on the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers’ report card and our nation’s crowded and underfunded roadways got a lower grade of ‘D.’ America’s roads have also become more dangerous. 2015 data indicates that over 35,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on the nation’s highways. 

“Sadly, that figure is a seven percent increase from 2014, and is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. The latest estimates show that highway deaths surpassed 40,000 last year for the first time in a decade. In my home State of Delaware, we have one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates of any State in the country. 

“Unfortunately, we’re not alone. The number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased 25 percent from 2010 to 2015 and it is estimated that the number of pedestrian deaths increased by another 11 percent in 2016 over 2015.  To put that in context, nearly one in six deaths on our roads is a pedestrian. If confirmed, we expect to work closely with you to make sure safety is a priority when it comes to funding our federal highway system. 

In closing, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these and other issues. Thank you again for your willingness to serve in this important leadership role and for appearing before this Committee today. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”