March 15, 2005
Senator Says Administration Ceiling of $284 billion for 6 yr. Bill "Falls Short"
During his first hearing as chairman of a new transportation appropriations subcommittee, Senator Kit Bond today urged the Bush Administration to support more funding for a six-year transportation bill, saying the $284 billion limit set by the White House falls short in addressing the needs of America's transportation infrastructure.
"I am pleased to see that the budget request adjusts the total spending level for the six-year surface transportation authorization bill to $284 billion," said Bond. "The willingness to increase the funding level for the reauthorization bill by $28 billion is a step in the right direction.
"Nevertheless, this accommodation on the part of the Administration falls far short of the investment that is needed to maintain and repair our nation's crumbling infrastructure."
Bond asked for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta's "support and commitment to reaching an accord with adequate funding for a six-year highway bill." Mineta testified today before the subcommittee on the Administration's fiscal year 2006 budget request.
Bond, as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has been leading the fight in the Senate to reauthorize a new six-year transportation bill.
Last year, the Senate passed a six-year bill totaling $318 billion. Bond said that level of funding was needed to modernize America's roads, bridges and transit systems.
Bond said passing a bill will help boost the economy and save lives. Recent studies show nearly 43,000 Americans lose their lives each year on America's highways and that every $1 billion in new federal investment in highways will create 47,500 jobs.
"Funding our transportation programs at sufficient levels is critical to improve highway safety, alleviate congestion, create jobs and spark economic growth," said Bond. "The Administration needs to continue to move in the right direction and support efforts to provide more resources. If we don't pay now, we will pay even more later."