Graves Statement from Hearing with Secretary Buttigieg on the Administration’s Transportation Infrastructure Priorities
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) from today’s hearing entitled, “The Administration’s Priorities for Transportation Infrastructure”:
Thank you, Chair DeFazio, and thank you, Secretary Buttigieg, for being here today. Your appearance before our Committee is timely.
While infrastructure means different things to different people, to me and my colleagues on the Transportation Committee, it’s the highway bill. And a bipartisan highway bill that improves our infrastructure, creates jobs, and strengthens the U.S. economy should be a top priority for this Committee.
Partnership – not partisanship – gets results. As you and I have discussed, the path to a bipartisan bill needs to meet a few key targets.
This bill cannot grow into a multi-trillion dollar catch all. It needs to be manageable and responsible.
We need to ensure equity between rural and urban areas. A major concern with the reconciliation bill – besides the process itself – was how little attention rural America received.
And finally, a transportation bill needs to be a transportation bill – not the Green New Deal. This needs to be about roads and bridges.
I hope that as this committee works on our next major bill, we remember to prioritize transportation infrastructure, and that we don’t reduce our core programs – roads, bridges, ports, airports, and rails – to an afterthought. There are ways we can work together to reduce transportation emissions and protect our environment, but this Committee’s focus should be transportation.
We also need to invest taxpayers’ money wisely where it helps them the most. After providing unprecedented levels of COVID-related relief this past year, we need to carefully consider what goes into this infrastructure package. The more massive any bill becomes, the more bipartisanship suffers.
I want to stress that we are ready to partner with you in making critical investments and strengthening our transportation system.
While passing a transportation bill is among the most important things this Committee does, it is not the only thing. So, I also want to highlight a couple key issues before the Department of Transportation that are top of mind for me.
First, preserving the FAA’s gold standard and standing internationally – specifically on safety. The FAA is the leader in safety and certification – without question.
Second, ensuring that the billions of dollars that have flowed to transit agencies are shared with transit contractors who have worked hand-in-hand with the agencies to keep these systems operating throughout the pandemic – all while retaining their workers, many of them union employees.
There are many more, but in the interest of time I’ll keep it at that. Thank you again for being here today.
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