Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this latest hearing on reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century - TEA-21, and I'd like to join you in welcoming Administrator Dorn and the other witnesses.
Mr. Chairman, as the Banking Committee focuses on the state of the nation's mass transit infrastructure, it is clear that the amount of funding Congress is providing for mass transit does not meet the demands that are being made. It's true that TEA-21 greatly increased the amount of funding available for mass transit. But the Department of Transportation shows us in its report on the status of the nation's transit system that we need much more just to maintain transit at the level it is currently at.
As a Senator who represents a state with the third largest mass transit system in the country, I can attest to the need that is out there. New Jersey's transit system has been impacted by the events of September 11th as well as by the fact that is home to many of the people who work in Philadelphia and New York and crowd road and rail every day. As a 25-year commuter to New York City myself, I can testify that things are getting worse and a dramatic increase in funding is necessary,
As I have testified to this committee in the past, New Jersey is working hard to create mass transit opportunities to get more drivers off the road. Rail lines such as the Hudson-Bergen and Newark-Elizabeth Light Rail lines are being built to alleviate traffic congestion as well as help revitalize New Jersey's urban areas. I will fight to secure sufficient federal funding for these projects in the next TEA-21 legislation. I will also work hard to secure funding for an additional rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you to develop legislation that will meet the needs of New Jersey and the other states in the nation. Thank you for holding this hearing and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.