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Rick Capka, Deputy Administrator, FHWA
Remarks as prepared for delivery
2005 Environmental Excellence Awards
April 22, 2005

Welcome to the 2005 Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony!

And a special welcome to our distinguished guests from the United States Congress. Thank you for supporting the winners in your states and districts who are so worthy of recognition.

The Bush Administration, Secretary Mineta and all of us at Federal Highways believe we can and must deliver the transportation improvements on which our economy and quality of life depend . . . And at the same time protect and enhance our natural environment.

The dedicated people we honor today show we can have a high quality transportation system and a healthy environment. They delivered excellent projects that keep our economy moving . . . While they protected what we cherish so much -- clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.

Indeed, the projects that we honor have gone beyond protecting the environment to improving it for the communities they serve.

As you probably know, today is the 35th anniversary of Earth Day.

Thirty-five years ago, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin called for a grass-roots effort to bring the environment to the forefront of the American political agenda. Earth Day is the result of this call to action.

The Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs have formed a durable partnership to enhance the human and natural environment. This kind of environmental stewardship improves communities and protects the environment . . . our lives are all a little bit better.

In one project you will hear about shortly, community groups and resource agencies improved water entering a bay and restored the community's relationship with its shoreline. Another used an extensive public outreach program to help remove a barrier that separated neighborhoods for decades. Each project provides innovative ideas that can lead to more remarkable projects in the future.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta put it very well when he said: "These projects represent the highest commitment to environmental stewardship and serve as models for the rest of the nation."

Congratulations to all of you!

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