Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Environment and Public Works Committee hearing "The President's Proposed Federal Highway Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2012."


A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows: 


"Secretary LaHood, I thank you for testifying before our Committee today. I also thank you for submitting details of the Administration's six-year transportation reauthorization proposal with the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Many of us have been eagerly awaiting details of the Administration's proposal so this is a step in the right direction. 


"There are many aspects of this proposal that I like. First, the proposal recognizes that significant investment is necessary to improve the deteriorating condition of our nation's infrastructure, to build for the future, and to put the construction industry back to work.  As many experts have pointed out, the proposed investment levels are necessary and justified. 


"Second, the proposal brings greater transparency and accountability to the federal transportation program. By consolidating numerous programs, the proposal provides states with greater flexibility to build a multi-modal transportation network while ensuring that the investments make measureable progress at reducing congestion, improving safety, and protecting the environment. 


"Last, the proposal demonstrates an understanding of our nation's multi-modal transportation needs. Simply put, our problems are not restricted solely to highways. I applaud the proposal to rename the Highway Trust Fund as the Transportation Trust Fund and provide dedicated, mandatory funding for passenger rail. When I ride Amtrak from Wilmington to Washington most weekday mornings, I see tens of thousands of vehicles stuck in traffic on Interstate 95. Building a robust passenger rail network in this country will help ease congestion on the highways and airspace and will have significant public health and environmental benefits.


"With all that said, we cannot lose sight of the need to fully pay for the transportation bill.  I believe that if something is worth having, it's worth paying for. If it's worth having a better transportation system, it's worth paying for it. 


"It is high time that Congress has an adult conversation about funding the transportation bill.  Two weeks ago, two leaders from opposite ends of the political spectrum, Tom Donohue and Richard Trumka, sat at the same table that you sit at now and called for an increase in the gas tax. 


"I am on the record in support of a penny per month increase in the gas tax for 25 months – to be devoted to transportation funding and deficit reduction. A penny per month is quite reasonable when you consider that the price of gas has risen 38 cents in the past month.  None of that extra 38 cents is being used to build better transportation in the United States.  Most of it is going to countries that are hostile to U.S. interests. 


"I look forward to hearing your testimony."