TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 20, 2004)
HON. JOE BACA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2004
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 3550) to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
Mr. BACA. Mr. Chairman, I reluctantly support this transportation reauthorization.
While this bill includes important projects for my district, it does not adequately fund our nation's transportation priorities.
A population boom in the Inland Empire has created a desperate need for federal funding.
Commuters and emergency vehicles must be able to access our highways safely and efficiently.
In name of homeland security and economic vitality we, in the Inland Empire, must improve our infrastructure.
The average commute time in our district is 30 minutes to an hour. This is outrageous for an exurb community.
Last year my district grew by approximately 60,000 people.
Sixth in the nation for population growth.
These are thousands of Californians that deserve better investments in transportation infrastructure to correspond with the population growth.
I am not happy that this legislation will further condemn Californians to subsidize the transportation spending of other states.
I am not happy that this administration believes that deficit spending for millionaire tax cuts is necessary, but federal spending for job-creating transportation improvements is wasteful.
By limiting funds well below the Senate highway bill, Republicans are missing a prime opportunity to begin job creation and recover some of 3 million private-sector jobs lost under the Bush Administration.
That is why I will enthusiastically support the Davis amendment. This alternative increases the funding in the bill to the Senate-passed level of $318 billion.
This would create about 1.8 million more jobs than the House GOP leadership bill without adding to the deficit.
This Democratic amendment would create about 1.8 million more jobs and $235 billion more economic activity than the House GOP leadership bill without adding to the deficit.
The increase for highway and public transit over the House bill is fully paid for by cracking down on abusive corporate tax shelters and companies that move off-shore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a $318 billion compromise measure by a vote of 76 to 21 on February 12.
Mr. Chairman, that is why I reluctantly support the reauthorization, but ask my colleagues to please enthusiastically support the Davis amendment to create jobs, fix our roads, and invest in the future.