September 11, 2019

Chairs DeFazio, Norton Statements from Hearing on “Pricing and Technology Strategies to Address Congestion on and Financing of America’s Roads”

Washington, D.C. — The following are opening remarks, as delivered, from Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) during today’s hearing titled “Pricing and Technology Strategies to Address Congestion on and Financing of America’s Roads.”

Chair DeFazio: “Thanks, Madam Chair. You both made points that Congress needs to pay attention to. The cost of congestion on an annual basis are about four times our Federal investment in surface transportation and transit. Just think about that. We’re wasting four times as much money as we’re investing on an annual basis year after year after year.

But around here we’re paralyzed! We can’t figure out how we’re going to pay for this…how are you ever going to pay for this?

Oh, let’s see. We haven’t adjusted the gas and diesel tax since 1993. I’ve proposed something that’s so de minimis, that it’s just embarrassing that we can’t do it. Let’s just index the gas and diesel tax and do some bonding and limit the annual increase to one and a half cents a gallon a year.

And I keep saying, ‘You think you’re going to lose your election if gas goes up one and a half cents a gallon?’

When you drove to work today you drove by the gas station—it probably went up a nickel or down a nickel on the digital sign. No one’s going to notice that. And people around the country have shown that they are willing to pay to get out of congestion.

But Congress hasn’t got the message. The White House hasn’t got the message. They love to talk about a big infrastructure bill, we were up to two trillion dollars for three weeks and then we were down to zero.

In fact, the proposals in the President’s budget consistently cut transportation investment.

The states can’t do it on their own. They’re trying, the states are trying. A lot of all red states have raised their gas tax, raised their registration fees and states that have mixed governments and blue states.

It’s not a partisan issue out there in America. Just seems to be a partisan issue here in Washington, D.C…”

Chair DeFazio’s full remarks can be found here.

Chair Norton’s full remarks can be found here.