Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Environment & Public Works Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement regarding the EPW Committee’s markup on the “Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act,” or DRIVE Act.

"I would like to thank Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Boxer and Senator Vitter for their leadership on drafting a strong, bipartisan bill that gives our country a plan for how to rebuild and improve our crumbling network of roads, highways, bridges and transit systems.

"One of the most important things we do as members of Congress is to help provide Americans with a transportation system that is worthy of this country. As a former governor, I have seen first-hand the impact that a federal transportation system has on the economic growth and success of a region, a state, and a nation. It’s how we move people and goods, and it’s the key to an efficient and growing economy.

"Abraham Lincoln once said that it is the role of government to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves. I believe the federal government has a clear role in ensuring that our country has modern, high quality roads, highways, bridges, and transit. People can’t provide these things for themselves.

"To that end, I'm very proud of the hard work that has gone into putting together this strong, bipartisan legislation that plans for America's future and provides the increased funding levels required to meet those needs. I'm particularly proud that we were able to include a program focused on freight investment that will provide $2 billion annually for states to improve the flow of freight on key corridors. Creating such a program is one of most effective actions we can take to support economic growth.

"But this reauthorization bill is only half of the job. We must now follow through with the funding certainty needed to make the DRIVE Act a reality. The McKinsey Global Institute recently reported that making a major effort repair and improve our roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems could add about 1.5 percent to annual GDP growth and create at least 1.8 million jobs.

"By approving a long-term funding plan to execute this six-year transportation bill, we will capitalize on this potential growth. It’s an opportunity we cannot pass up, and I know we’re up to the task.

"I like to use an analogy to demonstrate how foolish we are to provide only short-term, stopgap funding patches to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. Imagine trying to take a cross-country road trip– from Delaware all the way to California – in a new, American–made car. But the person driving only fills up with five dollars of gas at a time. That’s a waste of time and it sure doesn’t make for an efficient trip. That’s what we’re doing with funding for our transportation system. We can’t build a world-class highway system if we only fill up the trust fund a few months at a time.

"There is an amazing coalition of stakeholders from all parts of the community – business, labor, construction, transit, and lots of American families – who are asking us to do just that. Their message to us is the same: 'It's time to do the right thing. Give America roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems that we can be proud of, and that will help this nation to continue to be great.'

"I am proud to have played a small part in this committee’s role in making that a reality, and I will continue to work hard with my colleagues in the Senate Finance Committee to find a principled compromise to finish the other half."