‘Consolidate duplicative federal programs’: Duncan at reauthorization hearing

The Highways and Transit Subcommittee began a two-day hearing on March 29 on a pending surface transportation reauthorization and is seeking suggestions from the transportation community on how to streamline and consolidate programs, cut red tape to speed up the infrastructure project approval process, and create jobs through wise investment of limited resources.

During the course of the two-day hearing, the Subcommittee will hear from approximately 40 witnesses.

During the past month, the Committee has conducted a series of 16 field hearings and listening sessions around the country to gather similar input from states and local communities.

Following hearings in Washington, work will begin on writing a six-year bill.

The following is the statement of Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) from today’s hearing:

“Today [March 29] the Subcommittee is convening a two-day hearing to receive testimony from the transportation community on their ideas for the reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs.

“This reauthorization of the highway, transit, and highway safety programs will be more challenging than any other in recent memory. Fiscal constraints and calls for Congress to redefine the federal role in surface transportation will require us to consider dramatic changes to these programs.

“One of the key initiatives that the Subcommittee will focus on is streamlining the project delivery process. Time delays and inefficiencies in project delivery not only postpone needed improvements in our Nation’s transportation infrastructure but also result in increases in the cost of projects.

“The Subcommittee will also be looking at innovative financing. Bonding, loan programs and public private partnerships are just some of the innovative financing techniques that the Subcommittee can utilize to leverage the Nation’s limited Highway Trust Fund dollars.

“Additionally, the Subcommittee must take a hard look at the number of federal surface transportation programs. Today, there are more than 100 highway, transit and highway safety programs.

“We should consolidate duplicative federal programs to eliminate waste and eliminate programs that do not serve a national need.

“I want to thank the witnesses for being here today. I believe that they will provide us with valuable information that will help us move in the right direction.”