Issue Position: Transportation
As a conservative I have always advocated a limited government role, but I believe the development, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure is an inherently governmental function. In addition to providing for the national defense, I believe the single greatest service we as the federal government can provide our citizens is the necessary infrastructure to enable the United States to remain the economic engine that drives the world's economy.
Passage of the Highway Bill was an historic victory for Oklahoma. As the author of the legislation, I am particularly proud of the increase in funding the State of Oklahoma receives from this bill. One of my top priorities when I became Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was to increase the rate of return for donor states such as Oklahoma. Passage of this bill includes 32 percent more funding over the previous highway authorization bill for Oklahoma, and this highway bill increases Oklahoma's formula rate of return to 92 cents per dollar in 2008. Additionally, I secured over $300 million in funding for specific highway projects around the State of Oklahoma.
I was proud to have led the effort in the Senate in 2007 to ensure enactment of the critically important national infrastructure bill called the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Enactment of WRDA is a victory for addressing Oklahoma's as well as America's water resources needs in a fiscally responsible manner.
I was also pleased to lead the effort to pass a reauthorization of programs under the Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA has an excellent record of assisting local communities to create and retain jobs and spur economic growth. I worked to ensure that local officials and development organizations remain key players in EDA's process and that communities across Oklahoma are able to benefit from EDA's grant programs.
Additionally, as an active aviator for over forty years, I have first-hand experience as to how important our aviation infrastructure is for continued economic growth in Oklahoma. I am committed to helping the general aviation industry and working to provide small communities with access to commercial air service. I will also work to make sure that our existing commercial service airports get the resources they need to fulfill increased security requirements.