Carper Statement on Vote Against Proceeding to McConnell Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued the following statement today after voting against cloture on H.R. 22, the legislative vehicle for a highway bill.

“I cast my vote against moving forward today because this bill falls well short of the obligation Congress has to address one of the most important issues facing our country. Americans deserve world-class roads, highways, bridges and transit systems, and it would be tough to find a person who is more dedicated to solving our transportation problems than me. But I can’t, in good conscience, go along with a bad deal that doesn’t get the job done, just for the sake of saying we did something.

“This is the wrong policy, and it’s the wrong way to pay for it. In this case, two wrongs certainly don’t make a right.

“It doesn’t provide any dedicated funding to make our rail system safe for the thousands of passengers who use it every day, and it falls dangerously short on measures to warn and protect drivers from auto safety defects. And there are serious questions about how this bill invests in public transit systems that are critical to major cities in nearly every state.

“Meanwhile, it seems like we’re asking everyone in our country to pay for this except for the people who actually use roads and highways. We have an absolutely critical need to stop our reckless, six-year-long habit of lurching from one transportation crisis by passing a long-term, responsibly funded transportation bill. This bill fails on each count, and agreeing to bad policy that doesn’t even solve the problem for more than a few years is a bad choice.

“Last month, Senators Boxer and Inhofe introduced an authorization bill that reflected the hard, bipartisan work they put into writing legislation that would help build a transportation system worthy of this country. I commend their strong effort, but I know we can do better. It’s my sincere hope that Senate leadership, each of the authorizing committees, and the rest of my colleagues can work together to find a better way to move forward.”