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Public Statements

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Madam Speaker, H.R. 662, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, extends the highway, transit, and highway safety programs through the end of the fiscal year at the 2010 funding levels. It does not make any programmatic or policy changes but instead only continues what is currently in law.

I'm proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill with the chairman, my subcommittee vice chair, Mr. Hanna, Ranking Member Rahall, and Subcommittee Ranking Member DeFazio. I want to commend Chairman Mica for his hearings and listening sessions that he's done all over this country. I had the privilege of attending several of those, and we heard from local and State officials all over this Nation about their needs.

Without this extension, these programs are set to expire on Friday. This extension will allow the highway and transit programs to continue to operate as the spring construction season kicks off. With unemployment in the construction industry at an all-time high, it is imperative that we extend the surface transportation programs through the end of the fiscal year.

A front page story in USA Today last week said that gas would soon go to $5 a gallon or higher. We need more domestic oil production in this country. We simply cannot allow or let environmental radicals drive the price of gas to $5 or higher. This will hurt many poor and lower income and working people and stop our recovery in its tracks.

This bill is important to our economy. Additionally, this extension will provide a level of predictability for State DOTs and local transit agencies to embark on major construction projects that will create jobs; and as I said, it will certainly stimulate the economy.

I support the passage of this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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