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Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Madam Speaker, Members of this body, I want to congratulate the staff, primarily. We mentioned some of them before. The work that they put in this bill is awesome, when they're dealing with the dark side. And you did such a good job of getting things done that we tried to get done in H.R. 7.
I will agree with the gentleman from Oregon about the future and what we have not done in this body because the public still does not believe we need to do what should be done, and that is to pay for the infrastructure through a system that's fair to everyone and quit thinking there's a magic wand to get this job done to build our infrastructure as it should be. We are declining each year.
I would like to thank the chairman also, Mr. Mica. He's absolutely right. When I was chairman, we had a $289 billion, 5-year bill. It's been in place now 8 years. And I'm quite proud of TEA-LU. But the chairman was, yes, with his hands tied, because we did not and have not in the Congress retained what I think is a constitutional right of every Congressman: direct money in directions that they know best, without costing the
budget one dime. Now we've transferred this money to the State Departments of Transportation, and I think that's really a wrong way to do it, because they're not elected. They don't know what's best for a State.
But Mr. Mica did an outstanding job. Mr. Duncan did an outstanding job. And the staff did an outstanding job to make really a small silk purse out of a sow's ear. But now we have to go forth and do another legislative bill in the very near future and explain it to the public: you don't like those potholes, you don't like that wobbly bridge, then you better support the concept of a user's fee or some way to raise the money, because you won't take it out of the general fund.
We have to do this for America if you want a sound economy. Our economy is based upon energy and the ability to move product to and from. If you don't do that, you don't have the America I know.
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