WASHINGTON—Reauthorizing funds for surface transportation projects is vitally necessary to protect this nation's interest, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin testified at a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Surface transportation and infrastructure help sustain quality of life and enable the flow of interstate and international commerce,” said Gov. Fallin, who chairs the National Governors Association, at the Jan. 14 hearing.
“There is bipartisan support among government that surface transportation requires both a long-term vision and funding stability to provide for our nation's diverse mobility needs,” Gov. Fallin said. “Surface transportation infrastructure also requires an intergovernmental partnership.”
This was the first of a series of hearings planned by Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., on the subject of surface transportation reauthorization. All stakeholders—including the tire, auto and trucking industries—stress the urgency of passing a new surface transportation bill this year and replenishing the severely depleted Highway Trust Fund.
To succeed in passing a surface transportation bill, Congress must fashion fiscally responsible legislation that builds on the reforms of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) signed by President Obama in July 2012, according to Rep. Shuster. MAP-21 provided $105 billion in surface transportation funding for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and sunsets Sept. 30, 2014.
“This bill needs to be fiscally responsible and to build on the reforms in MAP-21,” Rep. Shuster said in his opening remarks at the hearing. “We need to continue to reduce regulatory burdens. And we need to make sure our federal partners have flexibility in how they spend their money and approve projects.”