Statements and Speeches

Opening Statement: "Hearing on Mobility and Congestion in Urban and Rural America"

U.S. Committee on Enviroment and Public Works

Mar 22 2010

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) opening statement for the Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on mobility and congestion in urban and rural America: 
“Chairman Boxer, thank you for holding this important hearing on the transportation needs of rural and urban America.
“My state of Delaware is a representative sample of the congestion problems and mobility needs of America.
“Our biggest city of Wilmington is bisected by Interstate 95, which is plagued by capacity constraints and severe bottlenecks.
“The Port of Wilmington is the largest port-of-discharge of bananas in the world, and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service moves millions of passengers through Delaware each year.
“To the south of Wilmington lie many suburban communities.
“My constituents in these communities face severe traffic as they travel to jobs near Wilmington, and they have few alternatives to driving. Transportation costs consume a significant portion of their paycheck.
“Further to the south in rural Sussex County, we face the challenge of maintaining vast stretches of roads that are ineligible for federal funds.
In Sussex County, my constituents need safer roads and more reliable rail service to transport agricultural products.  
“The transportation challenges in Delaware are no different than those in other states.
“There is no question that the existing transportation programs are not well-suited to deal with these challenges.
“As I said at last week’s hearing, more than 60% of Americans live in urban areas of one million or more people.
“However, these large metros represent 90% of traffic congestion, 90% of transit ridership, and 90% of population exposure to auto-related air pollution.
“I support efforts to create a Metropolitan Mobility program in the next transportation bill.
“This new program should empower regional officials to coordinate transportation and land use policies to better protect the environment and provide economic development.
“It should provide cities with mode-neutral funding to increase highway capacity, improve transit service or build faster intercity passenger rail.
“I also support efforts to improve connectivity and safety in rural areas.
Local jurisdictions are responsible for the maintenance of 76% of highway miles nationwide and they face a monumental task in maintaining these roads.
“The next transportation bill should provide sufficient funding to get our rural roads and bridges back to a state-of-good repair.
“Our committee must address all of these challenges in the next transportation bill.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to write a bill that is good for urban and rural Americans.”