TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS -- (House of Representatives - April 01, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of Tuesday, March 30, 2004, and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 3550.
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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this legislation. I concur with many of the previous comments about the need for greater investment than what this legislation calls for, but this is such an important step. I also rise to praise the gentleman from Alaska (Chairman Young), the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Oberstar), the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Petri), and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Lipinski), the leadership of this committee. They have operated in the great tradition of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, working together to pursue a bipartisan outcome. I am proud to be associated with this committee because of that type of leadership. I think everyone in Congress could take a good cue from taking a look at the behavior exhibited by leadership of this committee.
This is a program that represents an investment. People talk about whether this is increased spending or whatnot. The reality is when we spend money on infrastructure, we are investing. We are investing in good jobs, and we are investing in our economy. And in an increasingly globalized world where we feel the pressures of globalization and competition from around the world, the notion of investing in our own transportation infrastructure and making our economy more efficient in the way we move people and the way we move products seems to be all the more compelling in our current circumstances. That is what this legislation helps to do.
There are significant and important needs in this country to invest in this type of infrastructure to allow our economy to realize those efficiencies, to put the United States in a better position to compete with the rest of the world.
We hear so much these days about job loss. We hear so much about outsourcing. We hear so much about globalization. Vote for this bill today because it puts us on a path to take on those issues. I wish we were at the higher number, a majority of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I suspect, wishes we were at that number as well. But this is an important first step and the legislation will give us opportunities in the future to address adjusting that level of investment in the future. But today is the day, with this bill in front of us. I encourage all of our colleagues to support this legislation.