June 02, 2011

Rahall Delivers Transportation Message to the White House

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today joined the House Democratic Caucus in a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on the federal debt.  Rahall discussed with the President the importance of investing in America’s transportation infrastructure to create jobs and keep our economy moving throughout the 21st century.

“The message I delivered to the President was about the importance of investing in job-creating transportation projects if we are to keep pace with China, India, and our other international competitors.  To continue to lead the worldwide economy, we should focus our limited resources and our energies on out-building other nations, rather than rebuilding them,” said Rahall.  “I asked the President to work with the Congress to ensure we can fulfill our duty to the American people to rebuild our Nation’s crumbling infrastructure – for the safety of our citizens, for our national security, and for the future of our children.”

The most recent multi-year surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) expired in September 2009, and the program has continued to operate through temporary extensions.  The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is currently crafting a new long-term reauthorization of highway, highway safety, transit, and rail programs.  Republicans have pledged to introduce a bill that would cut transportation funding by more than $100 billion, shortchanging transportation investments that are necessary to grow the economy.

“I told the President I strongly supported the Administration’s plan to invest $556 billion to restore and build a transportation system for the 21st century because I think it is the appropriate size and scope,” said Rahall.  “I was disappointed that the Administration chose to punt the ball on how to provide the necessary funding, but I said I would take him at his word to work with Congress to do so.  It is my opinion that all funding and financing options must be on the table because there is no one-size-fits-all revenue solution to this situation.”