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Conference Report on H.R. 4348, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the chairman for yielding me this time. I first would like to thank Chairman Mica and Chairman Duncan for their hard work in producing what I believe is a very solid bill with historic reforms in it. The chairman was a tough negotiator, and he came away with something that I believe we can all be very proud of.

We need to act on this bill. If we don't act, if we fail to act, the trust fund will default. We'd have to figure out a way to bail it out. And yet, here we are with a 2-year bill that is fully funded and has some significant reforms in it.

Those reforms include, first of all, the fact that it is a 2-year bill which puts certainty out there to the States and the companies and people who build roads and highways and supply them with the products that they need. That is extremely important.

Second, it consolidates nearly two-thirds of the programs, which is important in reducing red tape and in streamlining project delivery. That is significant. We believe that will reduce the amount of time it takes to build a significant highway project in half. That's a tremendous savings. When you look at a project I recently visited in Oklahoma City, the Crosstown Expressway, a $680 million job, it took 15 years. If you cut that in half, it saves somewhere between $60 million to $80 million just on the inflation alone. So that's a significant savings, and that's why I believe this bill has great reforms in it. It is something that we all need to get behind and pass.

Again, I want to congratulate the chairman for his great work, and also the staff, all of the staff on the committee, both sides of the aisle. Both sides of the Capitol worked hard, but a special thanks to Jim Coon, Amy Smith, Jennifer Hall, and Jim Tymon for their tireless effort. There were a lot of late nights, but they did a great job, and we owe them a great deal of thanks for what they did.

Again, I encourage all of my colleagues to support this bill.


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