TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - June 14, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, this bill is far from perfect, but I believe it is worth supporting.
The bill provides important resources to help support our nation's transportation systems, community and economic development. Examples of this include $8.9 billion for federal transit programs, which is an increase above the Fiscal Year 2006 allocation and the request made by the Bush Administration. Included in this funding is support for light rail projects in the Denver Metropolitan Area, which will help to reduce congestion on Colorado roadways.
Communities throughout Colorado and the nation rely on CDBG funds to provide decent housing and expand economic opportunities so I am pleased the legislation rejects the Bush Administration proposal to cut funding to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
I am also pleased the full house has supported projects specific to the 2nd Congressional District including: $4.2 million for a replacement tower at the Jefferson County Airport, $500,000 for construction to relieve peak hour overcrowding, reduce accidents, and improve access for pedestrian and cyclists along the US 36 Interchange and Wadsworth in the city and county of Broomfield, $500,000 for construction of a climbing lane on Interstate 70 in Clear Creek County, $100,000 for property acquisition and renovation costs of a new facility for the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) located in the town of Winter Park.
Of course, I do not agree with all its priorities included in the legislation. I believe it was shortsighted to eliminate funding for Small Starts in the Department of Transportation (DOT) budget. This much needed program is designed to provide discretionary grant funding for public transportation projects that run along dedicated corridors or guideways. I am hopeful the Senate takes a different approach and provides funding for this vital program.
Additionally, with the increasing federal budget deficits caused by the recent recession, the costs of responding to terrorism and increasing homeland security, and the excessive and unbalanced tax cuts the Bush Administration has pushed through Congress I think the idea of eliminating a cost-of-living increase in Congressional salaries is worth considering.
I thought the House should have been able to have a separate vote on this increase, and voted against the restrictive procedure that prevented that. Unfortunately, I was in the minority on that vote.
I also supported a number of amendments to improve the legislation, including an increase in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program, the Section 8 Tenant-Based assistance and for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which improved the bill.
While the legislation is still not all that I had hoped for, it deserves support and I will vote for it and will hope that it is improved further as the legislative process continues.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT