Washington D.C. - Today, Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Committee Member, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), delivered the following statements at the opening of today’s Surface Transportation Bill Conference Meeting.

Chairman Hall:

I want to thank Chairman Mica for his leadership in this Conference, and for his commitment to reforming federal surface transportation programs to ensure that hardworking taxpayers’ dollars are being used more effectively and efficiently.

As Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I believe it is crucial that transportation research programs be focused on enhancing safety, reducing congestion, and improving quality in the transportation system.  I introduced legislation to achieve those goals for surface transportation research programs. 

The goals of the task before us must provide:

  • Better coordination to help avoid duplication in transportation research programs,
  • More competition and merit review to ensure that the strongest research programs are carried out, and
  • Greater flexibility to keep research programs focused on the most pressing national transportation needs. 

In this Conference, I will be supporting Chairman Mica’s efforts to ensure that surface transportation funding is used for its intended purposes as we move forward with the repairing and rebuilding of our Nation’s infrastructure.          

It has been two years since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, and the people of the Gulf Coast are still suffering the consequences.  The steps we take here in Washington could very well determine the success and the rate of the recovery of the Gulf Coast, so it is vital that we make sure that if resources are made available they are efficiently directed to those areas and those purposes where most needed.

As a supporter of an all of the above energy strategy, we have an opportunity here to create jobs and begin the process of alleviating energy prices by including language directing the approval of the entire Keystone XL pipeline.

Finally, it is my hope that each of the provisions within our Committee’s jurisdiction be negotiated on its merits alone and not used as leverage for areas outside our jurisdiction.

Again, I would like to express my appreciation for Chairman Mica’s leadership.  I also look forward to working with my fellow Committee member, Mr. Cravaack, who also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  And I would like to thank the Speaker for the opportunity to work with the Senate to craft a bill that will provide more certainty to States, localities, and to industry for infrastructure planning purposes and job creation.

Rep. Cravaack:

We need to put the American people first on this transportation bill, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to craft this crucial legislation.

Maintaining 21st Century infrastructure is critically important to our nation’s economic competitiveness.  However, given our current budget environment, we need to ensure that this bill makes more efficient use of taxpayer dollars without adding to the debt.  This is the new reality.  

As a Member of both the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I have the opportunity to witness how removing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy can improve our nation’s infrastructure, and how prudent investments in research can yield game-changing innovations to make our nation’s roads and bridges safer and more durable.

I look forward to working with Chairman Mica and Chairman Hall and all those in the Senate to reform and update our transportation systems to provide the world’s best infrastructure at a strong value to the taxpayer, and to ensure that transportation research projects yield long-term benefits.

I would like to thank Chairman Hall for his leadership on the research and development provisions, and I would also like to thank Chairman Mica and Speaker Boehner for the opportunity to be a Conferee on this bill.