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Conference Report on H.R. 4348, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HALL of Texas. Madam Speaker, I, of course, rise in support of the conference report accompanying H.R. 4348, a bicameral effort that provides States flexibility and eliminates duplication of effort. I want to thank Chairman Mica for his leadership in this conference and for his outstanding work in negotiating a strong surface transportation reauthorization. The conferees' commitment to reforming Federal surface transportation programs has ensured hardworking taxpayers' dollars are being used more effectively and efficiently.

Chairman Mica actually visited most areas of this country. At a time when we were at home in our districts, he could have been at his home in his district, but he was seeking to empower a bill that sought the greatest good for the greatest number. He worked hard at it. I don't believe in my 32 years here I've ever seen a chairman work so hard to get a bill that was very difficult to start with.

At the outset of the conference, many of us committed to ensuring that surface transportation and restoration funding is used for its intended purpose. As chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, I'm pleased that the transportation research programs in the reauthorization are focused on enhancing safety, reducing congestion, and improving quality in the transportation system.

The reauthorization before us provides, among other things, greater flexibility to keep research programs focused, and eliminates a number of unnecessary programs.

The inclusion of language contained in the RESTORE Act illustrates our commitment to the revitalization of those areas harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The addition of certain transparency requirements and the ability for the gulf States to dedicate funding to research and development and undertaking projects and programs using the best available science ensure the area most impacted will benefit.

I would also like to thank my colleague from Science, Space, and Technology, Mr. Cravaack. He worked hard to protect the interest of his constituents in Minnesota, and he was committed to ensuring that we come away with a strong research title. I believe we've done that.

Finally, I'd like to thank the Speaker for the opportunity to work with the Senate to complete a conference report that will provide more certainty to the States and the localities for infrastructure planning purposes.

I believe this bill helps to create jobs for the American people, which is vital in this troubled economy.

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