The U.S. Senate is considering a transporation bill this week that would offer long-term repairs for America’s roads and bridges. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla says that the Drive Act is about putting America back on the map as a place to do business.
Inhofe was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:
“Hi, I’m Senator Jim Inhofe and I have the honor of serving as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Passing a long term transportation bill has been my top priority since returning as the chairman of that committee.
It’s one of the most important issues congress will deal with this entire year and it’s why Senator Barbara Boxer and I made it the topic of our first full committee meeting hearing that we had in January.
You see there’s no such thing as Republican road or a Democrat road. This issue always transcends the political fights in Washington and why because funding our nation’s transportation system is our constitutional responsibility.
The framers of the constitution recognized transportation’s importance by explicitly vesting congress with the responsibility to establish post roads and to regulate interstate commerce.
Now, Thanks to the vision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the famous general, the national highway system was created and continues to serve as the backbone of a strong nation defense and economy through the movement of goods and serves.
This legacy system was built with a 50 year design life, now, more than 60-years-old and it’s way beyond it’s warning. Maintaining Eisenhower’s vision of economic opportunity and strength in defense requires a continued partnership between the federal government and the state.
This is the hallmark of the Drive Act. That the senate is considering…we’re considering this week. Senator Barbara Boxer is a proud liberal. I’m a proud conservative and we came together and agreed to come together and author the Drive Act and we worked for several months to ensure that this would be a strong bipartisan bill and it passed out of our committee unanimously on June 24.
The Drive Act has served key components to that position America’s transportation systems supports our growing economy, it increases investments in transportation by 3 percent over the next six years and provides long-term funding certainty.
We also streamline regulations, enforce new transparency measures so tax payers who will know how their money is being spent in advance research and innovations in transportation so that we can have a globally competitive infrastructure system here in the United States.
The Drive Act is about putting America back on the map as a place to do business. Unfortunately since 2009, Congress has passed 33 short-term patches.
This has resulted in highway dollars being spent only on maintenance and basic task like filling potholes. We have slowed building projects and stop modernizing. Today, 54 percent of America’s major roads are rated poor or mediocre.
One in 4 bridges require significant repair, are unable to keep up with the current traffic. The 20,000 miles of our highways slow below the posted speed limit, so that’s significant.
Due to congestion, 5.5 billion hours and 3 billion gallons of gas were wasted in traffic in 2011. Without a long term solution, these numbers will continue to skyrocket.
We have a new congress and a new Republican majority and it’s time for this trend to end. The Drive Act is a solution. It’s the solution, a bipartisan solution. It provides the need long-term funding certainty so that the major reconstruction projects can get off the ground.
Projects that are not possible with short-term extensions and it’ll signal to job creators that America’s economy is not only going to grow, but it’s going to be sustained because infrastructure will exist to support it.
With the Drive Act, we can rebuild Eisenhower’s vision, fight growing congestion, and maintain the mobility of goods and serves necessary to lead our economy forward.
The bottom line is this…there’s a great old document nobody reads anymore, it’s called the Constitution and the Constitution tells us, the House and the Senate, what we’re supposed to do. We are supposed to defend America and build roads and bridges and this is exactly what congress will accomplish by passing the Drive Act.”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.