CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 3, SAFE, ACCOUNTABLE, FLEXIBLE, EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS -- (House of Representatives - July 29, 2005)
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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the conference report for H.R. 3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005. I want to acknowledge the work of the Transportation Committee on this complex bill and especially thank my friend and colleague from Wisconsin, Mr. PETRI, for his leadership on the legislation; the Wisconsin delegation is lucky to have such a strong advocate for our citizens.
H.R. 3 is a significant economic development and job creation bill, and now is certainly the time that we need more jobs throughout the country. I consistently hear from constituents who are searching for work; who have sent out dozens of resumes and updated their skills but remain unemployed. Each billion dollars spent on highway funding creates not only safer and better roads, but it also creates an estimated 47,500 news jobs. An investment in highway funding is an investment for steady work for those in Wisconsin and around the nation.
In addition, I am pleased that the bill recognizes the importance of funding crucial highways and bridges in Wisconsin's Third Congressional District. Specifically, the inclusion of funding for the Stillwater Bridge, which connects Houlton, Wisconsin, and Stillwater, Minnesota, is great news for those of us who have been working on this project for years. The bridge is only one example of an important project that will provide our citizens with safer roads, shorter commutes, and better jobs.
Furthermore, I would like to recognize the important conservation provisions that are included in H.R. 3. As a hunter and fisherman, I am particularly pleased with a provision which recaptures the final 4.8 cents of the 18.3 cents per gallon tax on motorboat fuel and directs it back into the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act's Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF). This full recovery of the motorboat fuel excise tax will provide about $110 million a year for recreational trails, new funding for signage identifying access for anglers and hunters, and vital safety programs dealing with wildlife-vehicle collisions. These important provisions make H.R. 3 the most comprehensive transportation bill for sportsmen ever created.
I am proud to have served on the conference committee to help reconcile this bill so it could reach the House and Senate for a final vote. Moreover, I would like to thank Senators KOHL and FEINGOLD for all the work they have done with this bill to make sure that it benefits the citizens of Wisconsin. The long-awaited passage of this bill is great news for western Wisconsin. I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
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