Mr. President, today I would like to spend a few minutes discussing an important provision in the Highway bill before us. Section 4(f) of the highway bill provides important protections for historic sites, parks, recreation areas, and wildlife and waterfowl refuges throughout the country. With the increasing demand for transportation projects, it is important that we not lose sight of our natural treasures. We need to balance the growing need for transportation with responsible stewardship of our history and natural resources. In my state of Vermont, we have a wealth of history and natural beauty. To see the wildlife that populate the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge or the covered bridges used by our forefathers is to experience a heritage that we all want preserved for future generations. 4 (f) has helped preserve these treasures. The Revolutionary War site at Fort Vehemence on Route 7 in Pittsford, Vermont, was avoided as a result of 4(f). An excellent collection of historic metal truss bridges across the Connecticut River were rehabilitated, not replaced, as a result of 4(f). A road in the Danville Historic District was narrowed in order to keep the historic characteristics of the historic village because of 4(f). While constructing a new highway in Vermont, we have discovered a significant archeological site containing artifacts from Native Americans, providing us with a piece of history that until now was not known. By documenting this site, we will expand our knowledge of Vermont’s Native Americans. Also, because of 4(f) protections. 4(f) is amended in this legislation. The objective of this amendment is to allow transportation projects and programs to move forward more quickly, while maintaining the protections of 4(f). Those protections assure that there will be public notice and opportunity for public review and comment on proposed “de minimis” determinations for transportation projects. And that affected agencies will concur in the decision of the Secretary of Transportation that there will be no adverse impact on a historic site, recreation area, park, or wildlife or waterfowl refuge. The provision would require the Secretary of Transportation, when making a finding that a transportation project or program will have a “de minimis” impact, to consider all avoidance, minimization, mitigation, and enhancement measures that have been incorporated into the project. This provision allows project sponsors to incorporate environmentally protective measures into the project from the beginning, in order to support a finding of “de minimis” impact. These mitigation measures must be carried out and be shown to have the intended impact. If they are not having the intended impact, other measures must be used to ensure no adverse impact. This is an important strengthening of the 4(f) program that will protect our heritage while planning for needed transportation projects. Mr. Presdient, I yield the floor.