2:59 PM EDT
Bill Pascrell Jr., D-NJ 8th

Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on an issue on which our Nation is united, an issue that has had an impact on millions of Americans, and that is the issue of restoring the highway trust fund.

I stand today as a proud cosponsor of H.R. 6532, and I wish to thank my distinguished colleagues, Chairman Rangel, Chairman Oberstar, and Ranking Member Mica for bringing it to the floor for our consideration.

H.R. 6532 put $8 billion into the highway account for the highway trust fund. It is critical to address the projected shortfall in the highway trust fund that would endanger nearly 380,000 jobs. The solvency of the trust fund is necessary to preserve highway investment and provide predictable, long-term Federal funding on which highway projects and State transportation budgets depend.

[Time: 15:00]

This funding enables States to continue to finance highway projects that improve safety, ensure mobility, accessibility, increase the movement of people and goods, and promote a sound economy. Our Federal-State highway partnership is essential to the success of our Nation's surface transportation system, and those States must be assured the transportation funding pledged to them under Federal law, we hope, that will be available.

Coming from the State of New Jersey, which has the highest per capita population in the Nation and is dealing with an aging infrastructure, I know that this projected shortfall would have been devastating not only for the transportation projects but especially for job creation at this difficult time. In New Jersey alone, we have seen the loss of over $305 million in Federal highway funds, which would have been compounded by the loss of over 10,000 jobs. That is why it is so imperative that we

come together in a bipartisan fashion, to ensure that this shortfall is addressed properly.

I am glad to see that the Bush administration finally acknowledged the crisis with the highway trust fund, despite the President's earlier veto threat.

Looking ahead, we know that families are using less gasoline, hybrid cars are increasing mileage rates, and car pooling is taking more cars off the roads.