|3:02 PM EDT||
John Mica, R-FL 7th
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his leadership, and I also thank Mr. Johnson for his comments.
When you don't have an energy policy and when you don't have a comprehensive plan to deal with the escalating costs of fuel, you create a crisis. We have created a crisis in the pocketbook and in the checkbook of most Americans. We have also created a crisis here in Congress and in the United States Department of Transportation, because the highway trust fund has gone bust. It is broke. There is no money in it. In fact, tomorrow they will be issuing, if we do not act, notices of termination of
That has consequences. That means not a few jobs will be lost, but there will be 380,000 jobs potentially lost across the country. There will be projects across the United States that are put on hold. So there are consequences to our inaction of adopting a sound energy policy and resolving this issue. And we can solve the energy issue, but we do need a comprehensive approach to do that.
People responded by driving less, so there is less money going into the fund. We have a more efficient fleet of cars on the roads, so we have less money coming also into the fund. And we have alternative fuels that are starting to be used, like plug-in electric and hybrids, that we don't collect the gas tax on. So the trust fund is broke.
Now the House did act responsibly. I partnered with Mr. Oberstar, the Chair of our Transportation Committee, with Mr. Rangel, and Mr. McCrery. We did act, and this House passed on July 23 a fix for what is wrong. Mr. Johnson is right, this is a Band-Aid on a major problem that we have in funding transportation, and we are just kicking the can down further down. But we have got to sit down immediately as a Congress and resolve these funding issues in our highway
trust fund, or we will be back here taking money out of our children's future and out of our general treasury to fund transportation. That is not the way to do it. It's not the right way to go.
We must begin immediately, because the bill we are working under expires next September 30, and we have in place no mechanism to replace and replenish those funds. So this is a Band-Aid, it is a temporary fix. It is not the way I like to do business, but we need to get down to business, solve the energy problem, and have a long-term fix for the highway trust fund that is broken today.