To view Congresswoman Murphy’s committee remarks, click here. To download video, click here.
BROADCASTERS: Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, a member of the all-powerful House Ways and Means Committee, took part of a hearing in Congress where she raised local transportation priorities like increased funding for upgrades to I-4. The hearing was part of the effort by the U.S. House of Representatives to begin deliberations on an upcoming major infrastructure proposal and to bring attention to the urgent need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure and transportation systems. Murphy pointed to an alarming report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which raised concerns about Florida’s ability to keep up with infrastructure investments to meet the demands of its growing population.
The hearing included the testimony of the leaders of our nation’s major labor and business organizations, including Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as Gregory E. DiLoreto, Past-President of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
A transcript of Congresswoman Murphy’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below. Video of her remarks can be found here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to the witnesses.
I’m proud to represent Florida on this committee. I can tell you, if my kids ever bring home a report card like the one Florida received from the American Society of Civil Engineers, they’d be grounded with no iPad privileges for a month.
In my Orlando-area district, I hear about infrastructure challenges from my constituents all the time, and my family and I experience it firsthand. I can’t tell you how many hours we’ve spent stuck in traffic on I-4.
In part, we’re a victim of our own success. The Orlando area is booming. New residents contribute so much to our economy and our social fabric, but they put added pressure on our infrastructure systems.
Plus, Orlando gets more visitors than any other city in the country—over 70 million a year.
Simply put, our infrastructure hasn’t keep pace with our growth. The same thing is happening all across the country.
That’s why I hope to be part of a bipartisan effort—by this committee and other committees—to pass a smart, fiscally-responsible bill that is equal to the problem at hand. I think there is a real opportunity to get something meaningful done.
Mr. DiLoreto, there was a recent piece in the Orlando Sentinel noting that central Florida is home to many lower-income workers desperate for public transportation—folks who struggle to afford rent, groceries, AND monthly car payments. The article observes that—despite this high level of demand—use of the region’s public bus and rail systems is relatively low, because there just hasn’t been enough investment in these systems to make them a practical and convenient option for many working families. Do you agree that robust federal funding for public transit should be part of any infrastructure package that Congress crafts?…
On another issue, Mr. DiLoreto, I’m concerned about Florida’s water-related infrastructure. We have serious challenges protecting water quality from things like harmful algae blooms. It’s bad for the environment, for human health, for tourism, for recreational and commercial fishing, for the broader economy—for Florida’s fundamental way of life. The Corps of Engineers invests considerable resources in projects throughout the state that can reduce algae blooms. But these projects take a long time and compete for funding with other national priorities. Should Congress, as part of any comprehensive infrastructure package, make additional investments in water infrastructure to preserve water quality in Florida and other states?…
Mr. Spear, the federal government invests in surface transportation projects through funding in the form of formula and competitive grants; through financing in the form of loans and loan guarantees; and through favorable tax treatment for things like muni bonds and private activity bonds. You heard me mention my travails on I-4, which is currently being upgraded through a public-private partnership supported by a federal loan program. As Congress looks to improve our highways to promote commerce and improve quality of life, should we prioritize funding, financing or tax?…