May 01, 2019

Chair DeFazio Statement from Members’ Day Hearing

Washington, D.C. — The following are opening remarks, as prepared for delivery by Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), from today’s Members’ Day Hearing.


The hearing will come to order. Let me officially welcome Members of the Committee to our hearing room. Today is the first day the Committee convenes in our renovated space - it feels good to hold the gavel on home turf.  I am especially pleased that we are able to share our return to 2167 with Members of the House who join us today to present their transportation and infrastructure priorities.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join Leader Pelosi and other Members of the House and Senate at a meeting with the President. I went into that meeting hopeful that we could come together and chart a path forward to secure, at last, the robust investment in transportation and infrastructure this country desperately needs.

I made clear to the President that taking action to address our infrastructure needs is not optional – letting our roads, bridges, airports, transit systems, ports, and water systems crumble amounts to a national crisis. Every day that we wait to act also means the price tag to fix our infrastructure goes up.

We have let our infrastructure – and our infrastructure funding streams – stagnate to the point where we now need to invest hundreds of billions of dollars to make up for past neglect and plan for the future. There is no way around this reality if we expect improvement.

We must now act to address this challenge, by coming together and enacting legislation that will make a difference in every Congressional district and to every Member’s constituents. We must demonstrate to the American people that their government is still capable of working together and taking responsible action to complete critical projects, create family wage jobs, bolster U.S. industries, save lives, preserve affordable access to transportation and water infrastructure, protect our natural resources, and make smart investments and mitigate and adapt to climate change.

While I continue to press my colleagues on the Committee on Ways & Means, House Leadership, the Senate, and the White House on a path forward on funding, this Committee must do its legislative work.

That is why we have invited Members to speak today on infrastructure priorities under the jurisdiction of the T&I Committee, so that we are informed by what matters most to our colleagues as we move forward with the Committee’s legislative agenda.

Thank you to all Members who have made time to come before the Committee today. I look forward to your testimony.