Shelby Opening Statement at Hearing on Surface Transportation Reauthorization
WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following opening remarks during a full committee hearing on “Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Building on the Successes of MAP-21 to Deliver Safe, Efficient and Effective Public Transportation Services and Projects.”
The text of Chairman Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.
“Any reauthorization proposal Congress considers must balance spending needs with long-term sustainability, flexibility, and innovation. Federal policies should encourage private sector investment in transportation and transit infrastructure in order to better leverage federal investments and increase economic growth.
“I have long advocated this approach and I am pleased that the Administration has launched the Build America Investment Initiative which seeks to expand the reach of existing financing tools and to promote the use of public-private partnerships. We cannot stop there, however.
“By eliminating burdensome regulations we will invite more innovation in the marketplace. By reforming the FTA’s internal administrative practices, project sponsors can achieve greater efficiencies.
“Projects that have a minimal federal investment and significant private investment should not be subjected to the same level of bureaucratic oversight as those with a significant federal investment. Experience tells us that large bureaucracies tend to delay projects and ultimately discourage infrastructure investment.
“In addition, federal policies should encourage a responsible and measured approach to transportation system management. This includes the funding of operations, preventive maintenance and, most importantly, fleet acquisition. ‘State of good repair’ must become an integral part of the public transportation dialogue and transit systems must take a ‘fix it first’ approach.
“We don’t need to look any further than Washington Metro for an example of what happens when an agency does not maintain its system in a state of good repair.
“Moreover, public transportation policy should support this effort and prioritize federal spending to maintain our aging public transportation infrastructure. Federal policy should not encourage more spending to expand systems that cannot maintain what they already have.
“The issues we are facing are difficult, but I believe that we can find middle ground.
Next Article Previous Article