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. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the conference report for H.R. 3, the Transportation Reauthorization.
The sad fact is that American transportation infrastructure is not keeping pace with population growth, traffic, the increase in the movement of goods, and the basic need to have better freeways that connect us as a Nation.
Our freeways and transit systems have been key components of American society. They enable us to exercise our fundamental freedom to travel, explore and move cross-country with ease.
Just as important, our freeways allow for the movement of goods and interstate commerce. That is why this bill is such an important federal priority, and why we should have funded it more generously.
We know that the United States of America is the single largest exporter and the single largest importer on the face of the earth. We have an $11 trillion economy.
The region I represent in California, called the Inland Empire, is growing by leaps and bounds. The Inland Empire is among the few remaining areas with affordable housing within driving distance of Los Angeles.
The Cities of Fontana, Ontario, Rialto, Colton, and San Bernardino stand to nearly double their populations by the end of the decade. The Inland Empire will grow by another 1.6 million people by 2020, bringing the population to 4.8 million.
The growth in my district outpaces that of 45 States. This growth requires a significant investment in transportation infrastructure to allow our residents to commute safely through our roads, rail and highways.
My region also has a constant flow of traffic and rail to and from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, two of the busiest ports in the entire world.
Trucks from all over the nation travel Interstates 10, 15 and 215 to deliver their goods to port or to a warehouse.
Because of the high volume of movement in my region I understand the challenges we face in improving our roads and freeways to make them safer, cleaner and less congested.
This conference report includes funding for important grade separations that are badly needed in my district so we can improve the safety of rail traffic and rail crossings. Also, this conference report invests in freeway interchanges and overpasses in the fast-growing region I represent.
I am also glad that this bill contains funds to do the final upgrades to the Santa Fe Depot.
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