Mr. President, I rise today because this cloture vote has historic implications. Chairman Inhofe and I are urging a 'yes' vote to move the transportation bill to the Senate floor where it can be fully debated and amended. This bill will strengthen our nation's transportation system, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and improve the safety of our transportation system. Our nation's roads, bridges, and transit systems need immediate attention. Passage of the bill will provide essential federal funding to the states so they have the resources needed to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure. We cannot afford to wait any longer to make much-needed investments in our transportation infrastructure. Fortunately, unlike many other bills, our transportation bill will be fully offset and fully paid-for. The Finance Committee did a tremendous job working this out. Let us not forget, that each time you go to the gas pump you are paying for this bill. Our transportation bill better spends the gas taxes you are currently paying. We do not increase the federal gas tax, we better spend that tax to help states, counties, and cities address their transportation needs. A six year bill will allow us to better spend the gas taxes and fund state efforts to: reduce congestion, improve transit programs, repair dangerous bridges, and improve freight mobility. A six year bill will create over 2 million new, high-paying jobs. Chairman Inhofe is absolutely correct, since this bill is deficit neutral, putting off our bill until next year will only make matters worse. An extension simply means that urgent highway and bridge repair costs will be more heavily born by states and local governments. A simple extension means that commuters will spend more time stuck in traffic. A simple extension means that visits to the grocery store, or the doctor's office, or the drugstore, or the restaurant, will take longer. Thirty-two percent of our major roads are in poor or mediocre condition; almost thirty percent of our bridges are in bad shape. We have to address these problems and our transportation bill will help get that job done. We are asking for a 'yes' vote to move this bill to the Senate floor for a full debate on its merits. It will be open for amendment and the Chairman and I will work with all Senators in this effort. Do not forget that the EPW bill increases the amount of funding provided to each and every state. Chairman Inhofe has been a very forceful leader in this massive undertaking to reauthorize our nation's transportation laws. He has thoughtfully devised an innovative plan that balances the interests of the great majority of donor and donee states. Chairman Inhofe is to be commended for his creativity and energy in crafting major aspects of the bill, which the EPW Committee is putting before the Senate. As head of the subcommittee on transportation, Senator Bond has worked closely with Senator Inhofe and led the charge to obtain a strong level of funding for this effort. Senator Harry Reid, the ranking member of the subcommittee, and I have worked together with Senators Inhofe and Bond throughout the Committee process and stuck together at the Committee markup to protect and enhance the package. History should also record that many fine staff worked long hours and proposed some excellent approaches for our consideration. They have done a tremendous job. Before I conclude I would like to mention my old friend John Chafee. Six years ago, Senator Chafee was the Chairman of the EPW Committee. He moved this massive bill with the grace and the tenacity that was his trademark. John Chafee was a giant in this body, and he is missed each day. I can only hope that we all draw on the lessons of bipartisanship, of cooperation and of consensus that John taught us. Mr. President, to sum up - we are asking for a 'yes' vote to get this bill to the Senate floor for a full debate on its merits. Our nation needs this bill and needs it now.