Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today announced growing support for the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, S.1647, a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. The legislation was unanimously voted out the EPW Committee on June 24.
Since its introduction, Inhofe and Boxer have received the following letter or statements of support from industry leaders and outside organizations:
“I commend Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer for their leadership and introduction of the DRIVE Act. Home to the second busiest U.S.-Mexico border crossing in terms of trade value, San Diego is a fundamental component of the national freight system. SANDAG looks forward to working with our partners in Congress to find a sustainable solution that supports goods movement and infrastructure improvements in San Diego and throughout the country.” – Gary Gallegos, executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
“We are pleased to see the Senate EPW Committee’s support for a long-term, six-year bill that will give state DOTs the certainty they need to actively pursue sorely needed maintenance and repair of the national transportation system. We specifically commend Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer for their ongoing focus on innovation and project streamlining that will help state DOTs improve efficiency and get more out of taxpayers’ investments.” – Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
"The Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority applauds the inclusion of a National Freight Program and freight-focused Assistance for Major Projects Program in the DRIVE Act. New and innovative Federal freight funding programs such as these are sorely needed to provide substantial Federal funding for multimodal trade corridor and gateway projects, especially given that America has fallen from #1 to #17 in the world in freight infrastructure and the efficiency of goods movement. These programs will provide opportunities to fund regionally and nationally significant freight infrastructure projects such as the Alameda Corridor-East highway-rail grade separation projects, which often are difficult to fund from existing modal programs." – Mayor Jack Hadjinian, City of Montebello, California and chairman of Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority
“On behalf of the nation’s governors, we applaud the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for advancing a bipartisan six-year reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. Strengthening our nation’s infrastructure is vital for governors to advance economic growth and global competitiveness, create jobs and improve overall quality of life.” – Governor Early Ray Tomblin, chair of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee and Governor Robert Bentley, vice chair of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee for the National Governors Association
“Unfettered goods movement is critical to supporting both Southern California’s economy and our national economy. We have a growing consumer base that is placing more pressure on our freight system and we need to embrace this growth by expanding capacity and increasing efficiency. I commend Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer for developing a proposal that invests in the system that drives our economy. To support jobs and remain globally competitive, a campaign of strategic investment in our freight system is necessary. The DRIVE Act’s National Freight Program and freight-focused Assistance for Major Projects Program will act as economic multipliers for years to come.” – Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments
“Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer have made great strides toward improving freight mobility through the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. Businesses rely upon a high-function freight network, but our system needs are currently going unmet. I applaud the EPW Committee for their leadership and commitment to providing investment in freight infrastructure. Improved goods movement efficiency is essential to bolstering national and regional economic competitiveness.” – John E. Greuling, president and CEO of Will County Center for Economic Development
“The Senate EPW Committee has taken bold and necessary steps in moving forward its recent reauthorization bill, Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (Drive) Act, and creating a much-needed national freight program. Florida ports support this proposal because seaports link the nation directly to the global economy. As the fastest growing region in the country, the Southeast’s ability to efficiently move freight into our ports to serve a significant consumer base, and out of our ports to meet the needs of growing economies around the world is essential. This bill recognizes the need for such critical infrastructure, and envisions a national freight system that will advance our country’s standing on the global stage. $27 million of freight moves on Washington state roadways every hour of every day. We applaud the Committee’s ongoing commitment to freight investments. Freight is not glamorous, but it provides the foundation for the United State to compete in the global economy.” – Don Johnson, commissioner, Port of Tacoma
"Washington's economy depends on the network of roads, railways, waterways and ports that connects our state to global markets. This legislation will enhance our region's competitiveness and supports quality family-wage maritime jobs by funding improvements to our goods movement system.” – John Creighton, commissioner, Port of Seattle
“The DRIVE Act aligns strategically with the very real needs of our nation's transportation network. The integration of goods movement coupled with a sustainable, long term solution will allow for critical infrastructure investments imperative to our global competitiveness.” – Kristin Decas, CEO and port director of Port of Hueneme
“As the nation's central freight hub, metropolitan Chicago and Illinois are in great need of the policies and resources proposed in the DRIVE act. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), our region's counties, and the nation's MPOs have consistently called for much of what this bill now offers: $2 billion annually in dedicated freight funding, eligibility for rail projects, and a $300 million annual multimodal, competitive grant program. It is vitally important for America's economy that these provisions be upheld as the bill moves through Congress.” – Joseph C. Szabo, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
“The people of Florida, along with port communities across the United States, will greatly benefit with this new legislation. This is a great first step toward a solution to fully-fund our nation’s highway programs. Port Tampa Bay fully supports this pro-active proposal, as it will give the country a “roadmap” of our vital infrastructure, as well as creating a plan that will focus on a national freight program that will help spur trade and economic benefits that will be felt throughout our community for generations to come.” – Paul Anderson, president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay
"Caterpillar commends Senators Inhofe (R-OK) and Boxer (D-CA) for their bipartisan work in advancing a long term highway reauthorization bill. Our federal highway system is a pillar of our economy - with a direct tie between transportation efficiency and reliability and our economic growth. Unfortunately, that highway system is aging and underfunded. American businesses are relying on decades-old investments to operate in a 21st century economy. A renewed commitment to infrastructure investment is essential to Caterpillar's global competitiveness. While there is much work to be done, we encourage this important step forward in investing a 21st century transportation system." – Kathryn Karol, vice president of Global Governmental and Corporate Affairs, Caterpillar Inc.
“APWA commends the Senate EPW Committee for moving forward and marking up S. 1647, the DRIVE Act, as a first step in the process towards addressing our country’s long-term transportation infrastructure funding needs. This bill provides a serious starting point for Congressional consideration and discussion of funding and program solutions and the DRIVE Act would give state and local governments the long-term certainty and stability needed to do their important work of building, maintaining and operating our nation’s transportation infrastructure.” – Andrea Eales, director of government affairs for the American Public Works Association
“The DRIVE Act has many elements that AGC believes are necessary to continue the progress started in MAP-21 to make the surface transportation program more efficient and cost effective while addressing our transportation needs. Most importantly, the bill provides a long-term authorization that will allow states to plan needed projects and give our contractor members the assurance of stable funding that will allow them to invest in new equipment and hire and train new employees.” – Jeffery Shoaf, senior executive director of government affairs for the Associated General Contractors of America
“After so many short-term program extensions, it is encouraging that the DRIVE Act is a six year bill that increases investment and grows the program. This legislation continues MAP-21’s focus on performance and program outcomes, funds a new freight program, creates a competitive grant program for large projects, explores future user-fee based funding mechanisms through a state-based pilot program, and improves the project delivery process by streamlining regulations. These are all landmarks of the kind of bill that needs to be sent to President Obama’s desk by the end of next month.” – Robert Stevens, PhD, PE, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers
“On behalf of America’s cement manufacturers, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) supports the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act) and applauds the Committee’s efforts to advance a multi-year reauthorization of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).” – James Toscas, president and chief executive officer of the Portland Cement Association
“The DRIVE Act is a significant improvement over the status quo of short-term extensions that have inhibited the ability of state transportation departments and the transportation construction industry from making long-term plans. This legislation is an important first step in resolving the funding dilemma that has prevented the investments needed to sustain America’s highways, roads, and bridges.” – Mike Acott, president of the National Asphalt Pavement Association
“Goods movement and economic prosperity are implicitly tied, impacting business productivity, job availability, and quality of life. Robust federal funding for freight infrastructure signals a commitment to reestablishing America’s place in international trade competitiveness. I applaud the bipartisan leadership and support provided by Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Boxer and the Committee in prioritizing freight infrastructure and accelerating project delivery included within the DRIVE Act. This bipartisan proposal demonstrates the wide spectrum of support for freight infrastructure investment and we look forward to continued work with the Committee.” – Sharon Neely, chairman of Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors and chief deputy executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments.
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