U.S. Congressman Mike Pence issued the following statement in support of the Conference Report on the federal highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21):
"I have always believed that roads mean jobs, and this highway bill will create jobs in Indiana. I want to commend my Indiana colleague, Rep. Larry Bucshon for his hard work and advocacy for the Hoosier state in the Conference Committee.
"I believe our nation must put its fiscal house in order, and this legislation is a modest step in the right direction. It does not contain earmarks and while the spending levels exceed the Highway Trust Fund revenues, it includes offsets to make up for the shortfall.
"This legislation also reduces federal red tape and sets firm deadlines for federal agencies so that they cannot needlessly hold up Hoosier transportation projects. It takes a step toward solving the funding formula disparity that Indiana has long faced. While Indiana will still be a donor state, its share of federal highway dollars will increase.
"I am especially pleased that this legislation rejects the notion that states like Indiana should be unfairly penalized for finding innovative solutions to fund state priorities. Finally, this legislation fast-tracks the process for obtaining a commercial drivers license for veterans with military driving experience, which will help our veterans get back to work when they return from their service.
"While I am pleased to support this legislation, I am disappointed with the last-minute inclusion of language that could lead to the separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River. I have long believed that Asian carp pose a serious but manageable threat to the Great Lakes region, and I do not believe the language included in this legislation at the last minute reflects a reasonable solution to the issue. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a solution to this issue that will protect the nearly 18,000 jobs in the Hoosier state tied to Great Lakes commerce.
"This highway bill will benefit Indiana and enable Hoosiers to continue their efforts to create the best transportation infrastructure in the nation, and I support it."