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Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Trans-Texas Corridor Signing Ceremony
Friday, March 11, 2005, Austin, Texas

The last time I was in Austin, almost exactly a year ago, I brought the good news that Texas was approved for an innovative federal contracting program. The approval meant that Texas had the flexibility to pursue the Trans-Texas Corridor vision . . . you could move forward with planning and environmental analysis.

I'm glad to be back as the Trans-Texas Corridor crosses another very important milestone. What's happening in Texas is the result of a bold vision and a new approach to keeping people and our economy moving.

Governor Perry, under your leadership and the stewardship of Chairman Williamson and the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas is embracing an innovative, forward-looking plan to improve the transportation network on which our economy and our quality of life depend. The network of corridors for cars, trucks, rail and utility lines is a cutting-edge transportation system that will transform the way people and goods move across the region.

By unleashing the power of the private sector, through this public private partnership, you are cutting the congestion that's choking our economy and keeping families apart. And you're doing it with private resources, not relying completely on scarce taxpayer dollars!

Our goal in the Bush Administration is to make it safer, easier, faster and less expensive to move travelers and freight across our great nation. As you may know, Congress is currently considering surface transportation reauthorization. The House passed their version of the bill yesterday.

The President's proposal is focused on giving states and local governments the flexibility they desperately need to pursue market-based solutions.

Market based solutions such as tolling that serve as a means to fund transportation improvements and fight traffic congestion. And market based solutions such as public-private partnerships that bring capital, efficiency, and cost savings to the table. All of which help us deliver transportation improvements to the public faster and at much less cost to taxpayers.

At the national level, our objective is to mainstream for every state the kind of innovation, flexibility, creativity and cost-savings that we're talking about today.

Texas is already far along this path.

Governor Perry, Chairman Williamson, what you and TxDOT are doing is fulfilling that plan and fulfilling that vision. Texas is definitely a leader in finding new ways to plan, design, finance, build, operate and maintain transportation projects, working with private sector partners. You are a model other states can follow.

On behalf of President Bush and Transportation Secretary Mineta, I want to applaud Texas for its innovative, multi-modal approach to transportation. There is still a long way to go. But we at the Federal Highway Administration look forward to working with you along the way.

Thanks to the leadership of the Governor, the Chairman, and hard work of Texas DOT . . . the Trans-Texas Corridor vision is becoming a reality.

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