Ms. McCOLLUM. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. After nearly two years of Republican control, there is finally a true jobs bill on the floor of the House.
MAP-21 will protect and create 3 million American jobs. This two year transportation authorization will also provide much-needed certainty for state departments of transportation, construction companies and construction workers after nearly three years without a long term authorization.
Passage of this bill was inexcusably delayed by House Republicans for four months--first due to their refusal to negotiate with the Senate and then, due to a long list of misguided policy riders. I am pleased that a prohibition against coal ash regulation and many other unrelated riders were stripped from the final bill.
While I support the underlying legislation, I am concerned about reduced support for bicycle and pedestrian projects such as Safe Routes to School. This funding is necessary to create a modern, multimodal transportation system that gives commuters and families more choices. Under MAP-21 funding for these programs is cut by 34 percent. This is a disappointing step backwards at a time when Americans are seeing their budgets' under pressure from high gas prices. Moreover, the authorization timeframe should be longer, and the overall funding level for this bill should be higher in order to meet the country's mounting infrastructure needs.
This legislation represents a compromise between the House and Senate that is far worse than the original Senate bill. It is long overdue and far from perfect. Still, despite these shortcomings, I will vote for H.R. 4348. I refuse to gamble with the 3 million jobs that are at stake in this bill. Our country needs these jobs and our communities need the predictable funding this bill provides.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 4348.