Opening Statement By Chairman David Wu
The bill before us today is the result of House Subcommittee Hearings in the 110th and the 111th Congresses. The focus of these hearings was to establish the R&D priorities appropriate for the 21st century rather than a continuation of programs that were created twenty years ago.
In addition, the Subcommittee asked the stakeholder community what R&D needs must be prioritized rather than developing an R&D authorization without collaboration with the stakeholder community’s input.
Also in developing this legislation we have worked closely with Secretary Lahood, Mr. Appel (RITA Administrator), and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
This bill is consistent with the general principles outlined by Secretary Lahood and by the draft bill that the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is developing.
- Creates a formal mechanism for stakeholder input and evaluation into a surface transportation R&D strategic plan;
- It increases the accountability of the research programs at the Department of Transportation as well as the University Transportation Centers;
- It improves the transparency of Department of Transportation R&D activities allowing for improved oversight
The bill also sets priorities in areas such as climate, green transportation infrastructure, congestion mitigation and pavement research.
The focus of these programs is to ensure that research programs are firmly anchored in the needs of the user community.
The bill does not yet include authorization levels. As the bill moves forward and funding levels are established for the comprehensive surface transportation authorization, it is my intent to set funding levels by the time this bill reaches the Full Committee Markup.
I would urge my colleagues to support this bill to ensure that the Science and Technology Committee plays an active role in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization process.