STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - February 01, 2005)
By Mr. DeMINT:
S. 248. A bill to amend title 23, United States Code, to permit States to carry out surface transportation program projects on local roads to address safety concerns; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, each State has unique road needs and different transportation priorities. In order to more effectively leverage limited dollars, State transportation agencies need increased flexibility to use Federal funds for projects identified as safety concerns.
Currently, when an urgent need arises, a State must apply to the Secretary of Transportation for a waiver and fill out mountains of paperwork in order to transfer funds to critical priorities. We need to empower States to make their own decisions when it comes to meeting their most urgent safety needs.
Today, I introduce legislation called the Surface Transportation Adaptability to Ensure Safety Act or "STATES Act," which allows States to undertake a surface transportation project on any State-maintained public road if the State determines that the project is necessary to address high fatality rates or other safety concerns.
This bill empowers States, such as South Carolina, to respond to serious needs quickly, while also allowing them to make the most efficient use of the transportation dollars they receive. Under this legislation, a State can decide to use its Surface Transportation Program funding on a road functionally classified as a rural or minor collector without getting permission from Washington.
No red tape. No Federal bureaucracy. Just a decision made at the local level by the people with the best understanding of the situation. It is time to bring safety decisions down to the local level and give each State the discretion to allocate funds to the most pressing safety concerns in its highway program.
I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the "Surface Transportation Adaptability to Ensure Safety (STATES) Act of 2005".
SEC. 2. LOCATION OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM PROJECTS.
Section 133© of title 23, United States Code, is amended-
(1) by striking "Except" and inserting the following:
"(1) In general.-Except"; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
"(2) Safety projects.-Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a State may undertake a surface transportation program project on any State-maintained public road, including a road functionally classified as a local or rural minor collector, if the State determines that the project is necessary to address high fatality rates or other safety concerns.".