CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 3074, TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - November 14, 2007)
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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this conference report for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations for 2008.
The funding provided in the conference report helps enhance our national transportation system at a critical time. Our transportation system is extended beyond its capacity. Public
and private use of highways, transit, and aviation systems are growing far beyond the current level of investment.
I am particularly pleased the agreement provides funds for a number of important projects not just in my own district but throughout Colorado. Our State faces a number of transportation challenges as a result of rapid expansion in the northwest Denver sububs and mountain and resort communities. Without the passage of this conference report, critical transportation and infrastructure needs for Colorado and the Nation will continue to be shortchanged.
I am committed to continue working with the rest of the Colorado delegation, local communities, the Transportation Committee and the administration to secure essential Federal funding to get people and goods from one place to another with a focus on transit and other transportation alternatives, and improving current modes of Colorado's transportation network.
The report also includes a number of important provisions with national implications.
The United States and Colorado are facing a housing crisis that has caused dire impacts to millions of homeowners. Very often a home purchase represents the largest single investment that individuals and families will make in their lifetimes. Homeownership is a cornerstone of the American Dream, and Congress needs to treat it as a top priority. I am pleased the report provides additional funding for counseling assistance for at-risk homeowners. Funding in the bill will assist thousands of borrowers with mortgage changes and restructuring to help them keep their homes.
I am also pleased the report makes changes to inequities in the retirement age of U.S. pilots. Like the Senate bill, the report raises the mandatory retirement age for pilots to 65, with certain exceptions. I supported similar provisions that passed the House in the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. We must take urgent action to ensure that more competent pilots are not lost.
Mr. Speaker this legislation is far from perfect but by passing the conference report, Congress will maintain its commitment to a safe, efficient and competitive transportation system that will fuel job creation. I urge its passage today.
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