BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. WELCH. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Speaker, America needs a long-term, sustainably funded surface transportation bill. You know it. I know it. The Governors in all of our States know it. We need it to repair our roads and bridges and to fix our crumbling infrastructure.
Every single one of the 435 Members in this body has needs in his district. Speaker Boehner has 136 deficient bridges in his district. Leader Pelosi has 29. In my State of Vermont, we have 252 structurally deficient bridges. A photo of one of them is right here. It is disgraceful and it is unnecessary.
Yet, instead of facing up to this problem that we all share and doing something that a proud and confident country would do--invest in its future--with reckless irresponsibility, we are acting, once again, to dodge our duty with yet another short-term extension of our highway bill.
This time, the plan is a bold extension for 5 months, through December 18. Can our transportation agencies really plan a bridge replacement or a major repair in the next 5 months?
By the way, how is it paid for? It is not by asking users to pay, which has traditionally been the way we have funded our roads and bridges, but by, in this case, among other dubious devices.
We are asking airline passengers 10 years from now to pay a few billion dollars to fix our highways tomorrow. Think about it. Airline passengers in 10 years--2025--will pay for road repairs we make tomorrow.
By the way, this resort to gimmicks is not new. It has become a habit. This is the 35th short-term extension in the past 6 years. The last one in July of 2014 was paid for by the gimmick of all gimmicks, pension smoothing. We created a pothole in somebody's pension in the future to fix a pothole in his highway today.
Mr. Speaker, we need a long-term plan. We need it first to restore some semblance of duty and responsibility to this House of Representatives that has failed to do its job.
We need to have those 600,000 good-paying jobs start digging dirt and fixing those roads and bridges, and we need it to make America more competitive.
Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. I urge you to join me in voting ``no'' to this joke of a short-term plan. No more Band-Aids, no more patches, no more smoke and mirrors, no more gimmicks.
American contractors and workers are ready to do their job. It is time for Congress to do its job and pass a long-term highway transportation bill.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT