On April 25th, the House leadership nominated Congresswoman Corrine Brown as one of the Transportation Committee Members to serve as a conferee on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill.
Congresswoman Brown made the following statement:
"As a seasoned Member of the House Transportation Committee, I wholeheartedly support a properly funded Surface Transportation bill, and, as a conferee, urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach agreement and come to an immediate compromise on a conference report.
We are at a time when our nation's infrastructure is at a critical juncture. The traveling American public and the men and women who build our roads and rails do not have time to wait any longer for the games Republicans have been playing with this bill.
The Republicans' My Way or the Highway attitude is no way to legislate. As long as I have been on the committee, well, up until this session, Transportation has always been bi-partisan, yet that entirely changed when the new Republican majority took control of the House. I think Secretary LaHood said it best when he said that "the House Reauthorization bill was by far the worst transportation bill he had ever seen.'
And now, our nation is in real danger of letting our transportation system fall into total disrepair, slowing the economy even further and putting the traveling public in harm's way.
In fact, The American Society for Civil Engineers gives America a "D' grade in infrastructure quality, and has estimated $2.2 trillion is needed to bring our nation's infrastructure to a state of proper repair. Transportation for America reports that there are over 69,000 structurally deficient bridges nationwide. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the nation will lose $336 billion in economic growth over next five years due to inadequate infrastructure, while the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranks the United States 24th in infrastructure quality. The United States is the world's greatest superpower and we should NOT be ranked 24th in any category! Now, adopting the Senate bill would sustain nearly 2 million jobs each year, provide a continued, dedicated funding stream for public transit, streamline project permitting in a responsible way, strengthen Buy America requirements, and increase funds for safety programs.
Equally as important, at a time when our nation still faces an 8.2% unemployment rate, Transportation and Infrastructure funding is a critical tool for job creation. Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics show that for every $1 billion invested in transportation- infrastructure, 44,000 quality jobs are created, as is $6.2 billion in economic activity.
There are infrastructure projects in my home state of Florida that are critical to improving the economy and need the vital funds the Senate bill will provide, such as the new Sun Rail commuter rail system in Central Florida, transportation access to the new VA hospital and Medical city in Orlando, as well as new access roads to the Ports of Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. Additionally, it would provide critically needed buses and para-transit vehicles for the transit systems in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Gainesville, as well as High Speed Rail from Orlando to Miami.
And I reiterate that we need to get to work immediately on the conference report, adopt the Senate version, give a jolt to our transportation system, and bring outstanding employment opportunities to our nation's transportation sector!"