Press Releases

Hearing Recap: T&I Republicans Enumerate Concerns with Biden DOT Policies at Hearing with Secretary Buttigieg

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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At an oversight hearing with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg yesterday, Republican Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee called into question various policies and priorities of the Biden Administration’s Department of Transportation (DOT), including regulatory proposals such as the onerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions proposal, the ongoing impacts of high inflation on infrastructure projects, the heedless push to electric vehicles (EVs), and the billions of dollars in federal spending on the California high-speed rail project.

Highlights from yesterday’s oversight:

Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR) raised the concerns that he and many other Members of Congress have expressed about the Federal Highways Administration’s proposed imposition of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions performance measure on states and metropolitan planning organizations, a proposal that federal courts have found, “demonstrably exceeds the Administration’s authority.  The policy was specifically considered and disposed of during negotiation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”   Crawford asked the Secretary, “Why are you squandering time and resources to appeal a decision that’s been adjudicated in court, and clearly you had no authority to make that rule?”

 click here to watch Rep. Crawford's Q&A

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) raised concerns about the large amount of taxpayer funding that has been dedicated trying to force a premature fleet conversion to electric vehicles (EVs) in order to address a very small percentage of global GHG emissions.  Westerman said, “If you could make every vehicle in the United States an EV overnight, you would be at less than 0.9 percent of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions.  We’re creating great turmoil and change in our country, with taxpayer dollars being spent inefficiently.  I’m all for EVs, but let the technology catch up, and don’t try to ban internal combustion engines at the rate that you’re doing.”

 click here to watch Rep. Westerman's Q&A

Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA) noted how the particularly high level of inflation in the construction industry during the course of the Biden presidency, coupled with a burdensome regulatory agenda and the slow rate of spending IIJA dollars, has devalued the amount of that infrastructure funding: “From when the Biden Administration came in until now, we’ve seen about a 69 percent increase in costs of construction…. I think when you add in the regulatory agenda of the Administration, you’re seeing delays, and as you know, the burn rate of the IIJA dollars is not really appropriate.”

 click here to watch Rep. Graves

Rep. Tracy Mann (R-KS) highlighted the fact that the far-heavier electric batteries in EVs lead to more wear and tear on the nation’s highways compared to standard car batteries and weights, yet EV users do not pay their share into the Highway Trust Fund.

 click here to watch Rep. Mann's Q&A

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT)
questioned the Secretary about the Administration’s reliance on sourcing critical minerals for the production of EV batteries from countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which uses child labor mining practices: “How does the Administration justify the use of the taxpayers’ subsidy for this type of environment where many children are being used for labor?”
 click here to watch Rep. Owens' Q&A

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) discussed the need for more infrastructure project streamlining, and she highlighted a proposal she cosponsored with Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-UT) that “reduces wait times, minimizes bureaucratic delays, and focuses on compliance enforcement rather than lengthy initial reviews of the permit application.”  Secretary Buttigieg noted that he is interested in anything that reduces unnecessary project delays.

 click here to watch Rep. Chavez-DeRemer's Q&A

Rep. John Duarte (R-CA) raised the long-delayed and overbudget $128 billion (and counting) California high-speed rail project, and posed the question to the Secretary, “are you capable of recognizing a hopeless boondoggle, because that’s what we are discussing right now?”

 click here to watch Rep. Duarte's Q&A

Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) followed up with additional questions about the Secretary’s and DOT’s support, in the form of billions of the taxpayers’ dollars, for the California high-speed rail project, which the New York Times labeled a “multi-billion dollar nightmare.”
 click here to watch Rep. Kiley's Q&A

Click here for more information from yesterday’s hearing.