Statement of Senator Jim Jeffords
Highway Bill Funding Mr. President, I rise today in support of manager’s package for the Highway bill. This package, which combines all four titles of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, increases funding for our highways and transit systems by $11.2 billion. I commend Senators Grassley and Baucus for putting together a package that not only increase the resources for our states, but does not add to the federal deficit. Mr. President, you can't drive this highway bill on empty. Funding is its fuel. And we need to make sure this bill has a full tank when it leaves the Senate and heads to conference. The White House argues that the financing of the manager’s package is based on gimmicks. To that I say nonsense. If Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus tell me it is paid for, then I believe them. Frankly, compared to the funding levels in last years’ highway bill, today’s package is modest. The President should be claiming victory and applauding our actions rather than threatening a veto. This additional funding will mean we can make more roads safer, make sure more Americans face less traffic, and create more jobs. This additional funding benefits every state, every city, every county and every town. This additional funding makes all the world of difference.