CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 3, SAFE, ACCOUNTABLE, FLEXIBLE, EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS -- (House of Representatives - July 29, 2005)
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Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Alaska for yielding me this time; and I want, first of all, to thank him for the Herculean job he has done on this legislation. My dad told me years ago, and I do not remember what it was about, but he said everything looks easy from a distance. Well, I can tell you, this legislation did not look easy from a distance or from close up.
The chairman of our full committee, the gentleman from Alaska (Mr. Young), the ranking member, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Oberstar), and our subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Petri), and his ranking member, the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), had to work with 535 Members of the House and Senate. Each time we would come within a hair of finishing this bill, some glitch would develop and some problem; and I can tell you that I cannot express strongly enough my admiration and respect for Chairman Young and Chairman PETRI and ranking members OBERSTAR and DEFAZIO for the work they have done.
One national magazine, Mr. Speaker, estimated we lose $67 billion a year due to congestion costs and people being stuck in traffic. As one other Member just said a moment ago, this job will save thousands of lives over these next 5 years. We have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars each year in other countries, Mr. Speaker, through every department and agency of the Federal Government, but this is an American bill. This is a bill to do things for the people of this country and to put our own people first.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this. This is a 6-year bill with 5 years left. It sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but when you divide it by six, it really does not cover the infrastructure needs of this Nation. I can tell you that I especially appreciate what is in this bill for my constituents in east Tennessee.
This bill is progress for America. It is one of the finest products that has come out of this Congress in a long, long time; and it was a privilege for me to be a small part of it.
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