Senators Inhofe and Jeffords released the following statements:
Sen. Inhofe, chairman of the EPW Committee
“I am pleased to introduce, by request, President Bush’s legislation to reauthorize the federal surface transportation program, along with Senators Jeffords, Bond, and Reid. Although I am not in complete agreement with the President’s bill, I believe the President deserves the courtesy of getting his bill introduced.
I do agree with the President’s desire to build upon the achievements of the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998 and the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. In the hearings conducted by the Committee on Environment and Public Works over the last 12 months, we consistently heard that TEA-21 works.
SAFETEA focuses on reducing highway fatalities and injuries, reducing congestion, protecting the environment, increasing funding flexibility for state and local governments, and providing economic stimulus to the nation’s economy-all very worthy goals. Unfortunately, the funding proposed in the President’s bill is inadequate.
As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I am looking forward to working with the President and my Congressional colleagues to develop a Senate bill that strengthens the national transportation system.”
Sen. Jeffords, ranking member of the EPW Committee:
"The Administration's bill sets the right target with its emphasis on safety and continues programs that have produced better roads and stronger bridges. However, this bill fails to provide sufficient funds to meet our nation's transportation needs. This legislation has a long road ahead, and I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Inhofe, the Administration and others to improve this bill to benefit our entire nation."