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Public Statements

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Florida and fellow Rules Committee member to allow me to speak today on behalf of this.

It's interesting to stand up here and listen to what comes across from the other side. They talk about the FAA bill. That's a bill that while they were in control of this area, since 2007, there was not a reauthorization of that bill until this year, until the 112th Congress came into power. We now have a 4-year reauthorization of the FAA bill that sat over on the other side while they had control of this House since 2007. There's been no action other than just temporary fixes. The same goes now with this bill today in regards to transportation.

They want you to believe that the Senate passed this great bill out of the Senate, a 2-year fix. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, a 2-year fix in this industry is like nothing at all.

In speaking with developers and road construction folks in my State, they said a 6-month extension is as good as a 2-year extension, and basically all it does is keep their doors open. They don't hire new folks; they don't go out and purchase new equipment; they don't go to Caterpillar up in Peoria, Illinois, and buy more equipment. What they told me was that when the Senate came back out with an 18-month and 2-year extension, they canceled major equipment orders in Peoria, Illinois. They canceled those orders because there's no reason for them to invest millions of dollars in equipment on a 6-month, an 18-month, or a 2-year extension.

We should be standing here talking today about a 5- to 7-year extension of the highway bill. That's what we should be talking about. That gives those builders some certainty.

We talk about certainty. The other side talks about it at great length, but what certainty did they show when they had control of both houses, the Senate and the House, and the President? What did they show for an accomplishment, other than short-term fixes that have nothing to do with certainty? The construction industry hires based upon certainty, how far they can look out.

A major road builder that I talked to said: ``Listen, Rich, it's just not going to work that way.''

Mr. Speaker, what they're saying to us is that for them to spend money to hire new workers, they need to have some certainty that they're going to have a 5- to 7-year window to start building upon, not a 6-month fix, not an 18-month fix, not a 2-year fix.

Once again, the builders I'm talking to are saying that on these short-term fixes, all it does is keep the status quo alive. It allows them to keep the employees that they have, but they will not invest in new equipment, and they're not going to invest in hiring new employees because it's a short-term fix for them, not a long-term fix.

We had the opportunity to do a pay-for, and I agree with my friend from Worcester when we talk about we should have a pay-for 5- to 7-year transportation bill, not a short-term fix. But if we don't do a short-term fix today--you heard my colleague from Florida talk about what's going to happen on Sunday--all projects stop as we know it. That's not what this House should do. We need to pass the 90-day extension. We need to support this rule and pass the bill so we can eliminate uncertainty, not what we have today.

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