Congressman Sires' Statement for the Record for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
“The Federal Role in America’s Infrastructure”
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall, thank you for holding this timely hearing. Taking this opportunity to look broadly at the Federal Government’s role in America’s transportation infrastructure sets a positive tone for the work we need to accomplish over the next two years, and I thank you for that. I want to also thank our panelists for attending today’s hearing.
As we’ve heard today, investing in transportation infrastructure is absolutely critical to the health of our economy and the creation of jobs here in the United States. In addition to the jobs directly created by investing in transportation—more than 12 million in 2010— every single American business relies on the ships, trucks, and trains that move their products, as well as cars, busses, and commuter rail that gets their employees to and from work. We simply cannot allow this vital resource, along with the employment opportunities it creates and sustains, to crumble away any longer.
Unfortunately, my district recently suffered a major blow to its transportation network as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Let me be clear about this: our robust transportation network is our economic competitive advantage in New Jersey’s 8th District. But while tens of thousands of New Jersey’s workers suffered, it is important to remember that this is not just a local issue. When we can’t move goods from ports in my district to other parts of the country, our entire economy suffers. With that fact in mind, I encourage my colleagues to work together over the next two years to find smart solutions that not only restore our infrastructure, but to do so in a smart way with a focus on resiliency so that we do not find ourselves crippled by the next major storm that hits our coast.