WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, challenged today the Statement of Administration Policy regarding S. 1072, the Safe Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA) issued this evening:

“I am pleased that the President clearly supports the enactment of a six-year highway and transit bill that will create nearly 2.8 million job opportunities for the American people. Unfortunately, the $256 billion requested by the Administration is not adequate to fund equitably the transportation infrastructure, safety, and public transit needs of our country. I believe that due to the great work done by Senators Grassley and Baucus of the Finance Committee, that the bill in its current form meets the transportation needs of our nation in accordance with the President’s three criteria, no increase in the gas tax; no funding through bonding; and no money taken from the general fund. There would be no reason for the President to veto this bill since it is being paid for 100% by the highway trust fund.

“True conservatives like myself have always been willing to spend precious tax dollars on two very important national priorities - the defense of our country and the maintenance and improvement of our infrastructure. That is what we are sent here for. Coming from a state that ranks dead last in the maintenance of our bridges, I am highly aware of the critical importance of this legislation. We need to pass the biggest job creation bill of this Congress and I look forward to working with the Administration during the conference to help alleviate their concerns and explain how this bill is wholly paid for through the highway trust fund.”