Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding the committee’s hearing on the importance of reauthorizing MAP-21:

“As a former governor, I have seen firsthand the impact of infrastructure investments on the economic growth and success of a region, a state, and a nation. Governors, mayors, and municipal officials from both parties across the country agree that the federal role in infrastructure investment is critical. States can do a lot, but they can’t do it all - we must continue to have a robust federal transportation program to partner with states to build and maintain our highways, bridges, and transit systems.

“However, our nation’s transportation investment has been suffering for years, especially compared to our global competitors. Infrastructure spending is only about 2.5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, compared to about 3.9 percent in Canada, Australia and South Korea, 5 percent for Europe, and 9-12 percent in China. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the U.S. must spend at least $150 billion more annually on infrastructure through 2020 to meet our needs to support both businesses and families.

“It is no easy task to find these new resources. However, doing so would offer our country tremendous benefits, and would add about 1.5 percent to annual economic growth and create at least 1.8 million jobs. A recent report from the National Association of Manufacturers came to similar conclusions – that transportation investment supports economic growth in American manufacturing and increasing our investment will boost America’s gross domestic product.

“To that end, passing a long-term, fully-funded transportation plan for our nation must be a top priority. The bipartisan bill that we passed unanimously out of the Environment and Public Works Committee last year was a strong proposal that would have continued to improve our nation's transportation infrastructure, enhancing our nation's economic competitiveness as well as the quality of life of millions of Americans. In particular, provisions to create a national freight program focused on making goods movement more efficient, reliable, and affordable is something that we should continue to make a centerpiece of any new bill. Our border crossings and highway freight routes, along with seaports, air hubs and freight rails, collectively move $51 billion worth of goods each day through the complex supply chains where every minute of delay we eliminate gives American businesses a competitive edge.

“Finally, we must continue to make progress on the work U.S. Department of Transportation and the states have been making to transition to a performance-based approach to transportation investments so that we can get the most bang for every dollar that we spend. When we passed MAP-21 back in 2012, we made fundamental reforms to all of our surface transportation programs, consolidating dozens of programs and eliminating many others. In return for greater flexibility, we asked U.S. Department of Transportation and the states to transition to a performance-based, outcome-oriented approach that uses data and analysis to ensure that the transportation projects we choose are supporting measurable progress toward making out nation’s transportation system safer, cleaner, well-maintained, and efficient. While this transition is still ongoing, we must not lose sight of this goal either at the federal or state level.”