Oversight of the Department of Transportation’s Policies and Programs and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Thursday, June 27, 2024 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446

This is a hearing of  the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Witness List:
  • The Honorable Pete Buttigieg, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation | Witness Testimony

Opening remarks, as prepared, of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) from hearing, entitled “Oversight of the Department of Transportation’s Policies and Programs and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request”:

Thank you, Secretary Buttigieg, for being here today to discuss the Department of Transportation’s policies, programs, and fiscal year 2025 budget request.

Last month, the House approved the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 by a strong, bipartisan vote of 387-26, and the President signed the bill into law the following day.  This legislation provides critical aviation safety enhancements, improves the flying public’s travel experience, ensures a robust general aviation sector, expands opportunities for America’s aviation workforce to grow, invests in infrastructure at airports of all sizes, and sets clear priorities for advancing the integration of new airspace entrants.

Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strong and decisive direction to help ensure America’s aviation system maintains its gold standard, and I look forward to working with you, Secretary Buttigieg, and the FAA to ensure this law is implemented in a timely and effective manner.  Now that the Committee has completed its work on an FAA reauthorization, and has passed legislation out of Committee to authorize the Coast Guard, reauthorize our nation’s pipeline safety programs, and a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), we must begin to contemplate the next surface transportation bill.

We are more than halfway through the current authorization – the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which authorized and appropriated nearly $661 billion for the Department of Transportation.  I remain concerned about the slow pace at which the Department is distributing IIJA funds.  Despite having received more than $364 billion since IIJA’s enactment, DOT has obligated a little more than half and outlaid only 27 percent of available funds.

We’re not seeing the realization of project benefits that were advertised following IIJA’s enactment.  Earlier this year, we heard from witnesses who testified that delays in distributing IIJA grant funding has caused project costs to balloon, ultimately forcing grant recipients to absorb the increased costs or abandon the project entirely.

We must also consider ways to pay for our infrastructure investments, including addressing the Highway Trust Fund’s funding challenges.  The Congressional Budget Office’s most recent budget projections indicate that the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent in fiscal year 2028 and will face a cumulative shortfall of $274 billion in the next decade.

We must maintain the “user pays” principle and offer solutions for putting the Highway Trust Fund on a more sustainable fiscal path.  The Department could help do its part by more aggressively implementing the alternative funding pilot program which is currently way behind schedule.

With that, I again want to thank the Secretary for being with us today and I look forward to a productive hearing.

Click here for more information, including video and witness testimony.
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