Tags: highway | drive act | inhofe | republican | address

Inhofe: DRIVE Act Needed to Restore America's Highway System

By    |   Saturday, 25 Jul 2015 09:35 AM

More than half of America's major roads are rated as poor or mediocre and one out of every four bridges need significant repairs, Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday, and states need the certainty that federal funds will be available to repair them.

"With the DRIVE Act,  we can rebuild [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower’s vision, fight growing congestion, and maintain the mobility of goods and services necessary to move our economy forward,” the Oklahoma Republican, who chairs the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, said in Saturday's GOP address.  "It is one of the most important issues Congress will deal with this entire year."

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Inhofe said he and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.,  made the new bill the topic of their first full committee hearing in the 114th Congress, and pointed out that the issue "transcends" partisan fights in Washington.

"There is no such thing as a Republican road or a Democrat road," he said. "this issue always transcends the political fights in Washington. Why? Because funding our nation’s transportation system is our constitutional responsibility."

The Framers of the Constitution recognized transportation’s importance by explicitly vesting Congress with the responsibility to establish Post Roads and to regulate interstate commerce.

The National Highway System that was created through Eisenhower's vision is now more than 60 years old, Inhofe said, but was built with a 50-year design life and is "well beyond its warranty."

"Maintaining Eisenhower’s vision of economic opportunity and strength in defense requires a continued partnership between the federal government and the states – this is the hallmark of the DRIVE Act that the Senate is considering this week," said Inhofe. "Senator Barbara Boxer is a proud liberal and I’m a proud conservative, and we came together and agreed to author the DRIVE Act."

The bill passed Inhofe's committee unanimously on June 24, after several months of work to ensure it would be a strong, bipartisan bill, Inhofe said.

"The DRIVE Act has several key components that position America’s transportation systems and support our growing economy," said Inhofe. "It increases investment in transportation by three percent over the next six years and provides long-term funding certainty."

The DRIVE Act also streamlines regulations, enforces spending transparency measures and advances research and innovation so the United States' infrastructure system will be globally competitive, said Inhofe.

Congress has passed 33 short term patches since 2009, said Inhofe, resulting in highway dollars being used for maintenance, but building projects have slowed down and modernizing has stopped.

"Today, 54 percent of America’s major roads are rated poor or mediocre," said Inhofe. "One in four bridges require significant repair or are unable to keep up with current traffic. The 20,000 miles of our highways slow below the posted speed limits, that’s significant."

In 2011 alone, 5.5 billion hours and 3 billion gallons of gas were wasted while people sat in traffic, Inhofe continued. "Without a long-term solution, these numbers will continue to skyrocket."

But the bottom line, said Inhofe, is that the House and Senate are told in the Constitution that they are to 'defend America and build roads and bridges. This is exactly what Congress will accomplish by passing the DRIVE Act.”

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More than half of America's major roads are rated as poor or mediocre and one out of every four bridges need significant repairs, Sen. Jim Inhofe said Saturday, and states need the certainty that federal funds will be available to repair them.
highway, drive act, inhofe, republican, address
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2015-35-25
Saturday, 25 Jul 2015 09:35 AM
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