Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) offered the following comments after the house approved H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012.
The legislation would provide a two year extension of the nation's surface transportation programs, a five year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program and a one year extension of reduced borrowing rates for subsidized Stafford Loan borrowers.
"I support many of the reforms in this bill, but ultimately voted against it because it will leave our transportation programs penniless. The CBO predicts the Highway Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2015, meaning we will have to bail these programs out again.
"Congressional reforms should enhance the long-term fiscal soundness of federal programs -- averting the need for more taxpayer bailouts -- and not be used to fund unrelated spending, no matter how important they may be. Unfortunately, this legislation was financed by taking money from reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, two agencies already in deep financial distress.
"I am pleased this bill will put American construction workers, engineers, and transportation firms back to work, but deeply concerned our short-sighted tradeoffs will harm us in the long run."