Hutchison Opening Statement for Building American Transportation Infrastructure through Innovative Funding Hearing

July 21, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, made the following opening statement today at the Building American Transportation Infrastructure through Innovative Funding hearing:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you having this hearing and also that we share a common interest in addressing the challenge facing our nation’s aging transportation infrastructure.

“We certainly need a new approach. The American Society of Civil Engineer’s most recent estimate says that the US needs to invest $2.2 trillion in order to keep pace with the national infrastructure needs

“The Federal Highway Trust Fund is broke. It has been bailed out, now, three times at a cost of $34 billion. So, clearly we need to be looking for other more innovative answers. More of the same is not going to work. Raising the gas tax is off-the-table, from my stand point and instituting a vehicle miles traveled tax is also a non-starter, from my stand point.

“I think it is time to start looking for new solutions that don’t involve higher taxes and I am supporting an infrastructure bank that would foster private sector investment in the nation’s large scale infrastructure projects to ensure that the most cost-effective projects will generate the most growth.

“I will leave the synopsis of that to its major sponsor, Sen. Kerry, who has done an incredible job of pushing this and gaining support and I certainly worked with Sen. Kerry to ensure it was something that would be a major down payment; a revolving fund that would leverage the federal government money with private sector money and make it go farther. I think our bill is the answer and I really want to commend Sen. Kerry for not only starting the ball rolling, but also working with people who had concerns, as I did, to get a bill that I could support and do whole-heartedly support.”