April 21, 2021

Chair DeFazio Opening Statement from Committee Markup

Washington, D.C. — The following are opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, from Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) during today’s committee markup to consider the committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Views and Estimates. Video of DeFazio’s opening statement is here. A livestream of the markup can be found here.

Chair DeFazio:

Before I comment on the document we plan to adopt in a moment—a document that serves as this Committee’s North Star for what we plan to achieve this year—I want to take a moment to congratulate six of our colleagues who have been chosen to serve as Vice Chairs for each of our Subcommittees.

They hail from six different states: Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Arizona, Washington, and Georgia.

They represent rural, urban, and suburban communities. All will play a vital role as we craft bold infrastructure legislation that creates jobs and Builds Back Better.

  • Conor Lamb will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation;
  • Jake Auchincloss will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation;
  • Chris Pappas will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management;
  • Greg Stanton will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit;
  • Marilyn Strickland will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials; and
  • Carolyn Bourdeaux will serve as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

Each of our subcommittees is focused on improving public safety, fighting for the right policies to strengthen our communities and our country, and making headway on some of our nation’s biggest challenges, including the existential threat of climate change.

That’s why we must act on a transformational infrastructure bill—because investing in our infrastructure can address all of that and more.

The reality is that if we are going to be successful in moving our infrastructure out of the Eisenhower era, we can’t do it with yesterday’s thinking—we need fresh perspectives and new ideas. I am confident our new Vice Chairs will bring just that, helping us think outside the box on how to go big on infrastructure in a way that creates millions of jobs and spurs American innovation and ingenuity, makes us more competitive in the global economy, addresses the climate crisis, and better serves the average American who is dealing with congested highways, slow-moving trains, and potholes that send them to the auto repair shop.

Our country—and this Congress—has an incredible opportunity with President Biden, who has made infrastructure investment a priority. I’ve met with him a few times now—and I know Secretary Buttigieg has been in touch with just about all of us on this committee. We know they are committed to finally getting something big done for the American people.

They are going need our help, so I look forward to working closely with all of our new and talented Vice Chairs. I know that I can count on them as we continue our efforts to move America’s infrastructure and transportation systems into the 21st century and beyond.

So welcome again to our new Subcommittee Vice Chairs.

And now to the business matter at hand, today we are considering the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Views and Estimates of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, as required by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and House Rules.

I want to thank the Ranking Member and all of our colleagues in the minority for partnering on this document.

In this document, we have laid out our Committee objectives, which include, among other things:

  • Making smart investments and ensuring modern, safe and resilient infrastructure;
  • Making our transportation and water systems affordable and equitable;
  • Working with our state and local partners;
  • Setting a path toward zero pollution from the transportation sector, which is currently the number one contributor of carbon emissions in the U.S.; and
  • Working toward innovative solutions.

I encourage anyone closely tracking the work of this committee—or anyone who is just learning about this committee—to read the full document.

Clearly, we continue to have a lot of areas of mutual interest and plenty of common ground. So let’s get to work on behalf of the American people who have made it overwhelmingly clear they want this Congress and this committee to deliver on investments to improve lives in every community in this country.