Issue Position: Transportation
Efficient, safe, and secure transportation infrastructure is paramount to our economic development. According to the United States Department of Transportation, every $1 billion investment in our highways results in an additional 47,500 jobs annually. Perhaps more importantly, our highways, railways, waterways, and airways link population centers, providing for the efficient movement of people and goods. We have made vast strides in updating and securing our national transportation system in recent years, but much work remains to be done.
Building and maintaining the most efficient national transportation system requires significant investments. During 2005, I strongly supported the bipartisan highway bill which provided historic investment levels in our national highway system. I fought hard with the rest of the Arkansas Congressional delegation to secure over $2.3 billion in highway funding for Arkansas, an increase of over $100 million a year. For the first time, Arkansas will receive more than $1 for every tax dollar we send to the Highway Trust Fund.
I will continue my efforts on the Senate Commerce Committee to alleviate congestion at our airports and in our skies through modernizing our national air traffic control systems and will continue to strongly support the existence of the Essential Air Service, which provides commercial air service to rural communities. I also joined in a bipartisan effort with many of my colleagues to pass the short-line railroad tax credit to encourage development of short distance railroads linking our rural communities to main line railroads.
Too many families suffer tragedy on our nation's highways. I remain committed to increasing safety on our roadways through responsible measures to encourage seat belt use and reduce drunk driving. I helped develop legislation that required auto makers to install Electronic Stability Control on sport utility vehicles for the first time and required the government to develop tough new standards to prevent rollover accidents.
After the painful lessons of 9/11, Americans realized the need for more security in transportation systems, and I support measures designed to protect passengers and goods on the roads and in the skies. During my time in the Senate, I have worked hard to increase the inspection of containers at our nation's ports, reform our hazardous materials (HAZMAT) transportation laws, and spearhead efforts to prevent unsafe foreign trucks from operating in the United States.