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. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Chairman, I am delighted to rise in support of a piece of legislation that I think is very important not only to the folks back home in Kansas but to the folks of this country, and I am here to in part commend the gentleman from Alaska (Chairman Young) and his colleagues on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure but also especially the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert) for his continued efforts in trying to fashion a piece of legislation that can succeed here in the halls of Congress.
This legislation matters a lot to us as a Nation, matters a lot to Kansans that I represent. In many ways, this is about the creation of jobs at home. I think we often think about jobs being something that we see construction workers on highway projects, but I can tell my colleagues, from a Kansas perspective, our ability to get our manufactured goods to market, our ability to get our agriculture commodities sold in the world, very much depends on our ability to do that in a cost-effective, efficient way.
This country must invest in its infrastructure. We talk today about the outsourcing of jobs. One of the components that can help to address this issue, one of the things that can make a difference, is to make sure that the ability to get goods to market, manufactured goods, agriculture commodities can be taken to market in a way that allows us to continue to be competitive in world markets.
There are concerns here about the deficit. This is a bill that is funded by the Highway Trust Fund. What we are asking to have occur here is dollars that are paid for by users, by taxpayers, set aside for this purpose, be utilized for that purpose.
There are many things we do in this Congress that add to the deficit, but spending money in a trust fund for purposes of infrastructure is not one of those things. I, as a conservative Member of Congress, if I am going to put resources dollars, hard-earned, taxpayer funding into the spending here in our Nation's capital, I will tell my colleagues my constituents are better served by the utilization of those dollars in building infrastructure as compared to additional bureaucracy in our Nation's capital.
Put the money into projects, construction, infrastructure across our Nation.
And, finally, I know that there are concerns about the donor and donee issue, that States may contribute more than they receive. My State of Kansas is kind of neutral on this issue. We get about as many dollars back as we pay. And I would urge my colleagues to give the chairman and others the opportunity to work on this.
It reminds me of my days in State legislature. I was a State legislator for 8 years. School finance is always an issue, and as we tried to change the formula to improve the quality of education and to fund our schools across the State, you could not do it without additional dollars so that at least a majority of the school districts in our State and, therefore, their State legislators felt like they were better off.
So it is important as we work on this donor-donee issue that we take a look at the number of dollars available for spending on the highway bill so that we can address the inequities that may occur if you are a State that is paying more money into the trust fund than you are receiving.