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April 3, 2014

Chairman Latham, Ranking Member Pastor, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the invitation to appear before you today to discuss the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget request for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Currently, while Administrator Victor Mendez serves in the role of DOT Acting Deputy Secretary, I am fulfilling all the duties and responsibilities of FHWA Administrator.

FHWA is continuing to work aggressively toward full and effective implementation of the programs and provisions in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). While MAP-21 authorized two years of funding and established a more streamlined and performance-driven program structure, which has helped grow our economy and create jobs, more needs to be done to improve the operation, safety, accessibility and condition of our Nation's highway system. President Obama's Budget for FY 2015 builds on the reforms in MAP-21 and lays out his vision for a four-year surface transportation authorization to spur further economic growth and allow States to make sound multi-year investments.


FHWA promotes the development, operation, and management of an intermodal surface transportation system that is economically efficient, environmentally sound, provides a foundation for the Nation to compete in the global economy, and moves people and goods safely. The President's Budget requests nearly $49 billion for FHWA in FY 2015 to invest in our Nation's highway and bridge infrastructure. The President’s Budget not only fills the looming shortfall in the Trust Fund for the next four years, it provides for sizeable growth in highway investment—a boost of 22 percent for four years with a total of $199 billion, to address the critical needs we have across the highway network.

This investment helps close what Secretary Foxx has called an "infrastructure deficit" in this country—too many miles of road in need of repair, too many bridges old enough for Medicare. It is the type of bold investment we need to make if we are going to meet the transportation challenges of the future, as our parents, grandparents and earlier generations did. Unless we take action—and do it soon—we run the risk of squandering that inheritance.

The President’s vision puts us on a path toward solving that problem. The proposal would also make the Highway Trust Fund solvent for the next four years. Without action this summer, FHWA will be unable to fully reimburse States on a timely basis for the work they have performed. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has started posting the Highway Trust Fund balance on our website to keep the American people informed, and we will continue to update it every month until the Fund runs out of money. We understand that this is one of the many important issues that you will be grappling with in the months to come, and the Administration looks forward to working with you to find a solution.

The President's FY 2015 Budget includes continued funding for a number of FHWA programs and includes several new initiatives we believe are essential to the Nation’s transportation infrastructure network.

The Budget proposes to continue using the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program (TIFIA) to leverage Federal dollars in a time of scarce budgetary resources, facilitating private participation in transportation projects and encouraging innovative financing mechanisms that help advance projects sooner than otherwise possible. The President’s Budget requests $1 billion for TIFIA for grant loan subsidies and administrative costs to assist with financing nationally- or regionally-significant transportation projects.

For a new Multimodal Freight Investment Program, the President requests $1.0 billion as a dedicated source of funding to advance critically-needed projects to improve goods movement, economic competitiveness, and sustainability. The program will incentivize regional freight planning by providing funding for multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional and corridor-based projects, and by requiring the development of statewide freight plans with regional planning participation.

The Critical Immediate Investments Program (CIIP), for which the President requests $4.9 billion, is part of the "Fix-it-First" initiative to focus on the reconstruction, restoration, rehabilitation, preservation, and safety improvement of existing highway assets. The program will dedicate needed resources to high-priority initiatives such as bridge repair and rehabilitation, safety on rural roads, and state of good repair on the National Highway System (NHS).

The FY 2015 President’s Budget includes $500 million for a new competitive grant program, Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation (FAST). This program will encourage innovative solutions to our most pressing transportation challenges. In awarding this funding, the DOT will evaluate State and local partners on their willingness to commit to performance improvements in important areas such as safety or congestion management.

Of all of our priorities, there is none more important than safety, and the President's Budget requests $2.5 billion for the Highway Safety Improvement Program to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. This program continues a data-driven, strategic approach that focuses on improving safety performance. Each State will continue its Strategic Highway Safety Plan that lays out strategies to address key safety problems, including bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The President’s Budget will ensure we continue to invest in the Nation's most important highways with a request of $22.3 billion for the National Highway Performance Program, which focuses significant Federal resources on improving the condition and performance of the National Highway System.

The Surface Transportation Program (STP) request of $10.3 billion provides States and localities flexible funding for projects to preserve and improve the condition and performance on any Federal-aid highway, bridge and tunnel projects on any public road, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and transit capital projects, including intercity bus terminals. These flexible funds enable States to direct funding to areas of greatest need while also fostering innovation.

The President's Budget also will help improve the environment and provide the public with safe transportation choices through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). With $2.3 billion for CMAQ in FY 2015, States and local governments can continue to fund projects that reduce harmful emissions and highway congestion. The President’s Budget requests $836 million for TAP to support the DOT Quality of Life strategic goal by providing policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services.

The President’s request of $320 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Program will provide funds for metropolitan planning organizations to use for multimodal transportation planning and programming in metropolitan areas, similar to MAP-21.

The President’s Budget requests $1.3 billion for the Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Programs and includes $150 million in "Fix-it-First" funding to support construction or reconstruction of large, nationally-significant transportation infrastructure assets on Federal and tribal lands.

The President’s Budget requests $451 million for the Research, Technology, and Education Program (RT&E) to provide for comprehensive, nationally-coordinated research, technology, and education that will accelerate innovation delivery and technology implementation. The proposal helps build on the successes of FHWA's Every Day Counts initiative, a State-based model in which FHWA coordinates the rapid deployment of proven, market-ready strategies and technologies to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion, and protect the environment.

The President's Budget also requests $502 million for important programs related to Emergency Relief; Territorial and Puerto Rico Highways; Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal facilities; On-the-Job Training; Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; Highway Use Tax Evasion; Other safety-related activities; Performance Management Data Support; and Ladders of Opportunity.


Thank you again for the invitation to appear before you today to discuss the President's Budget request. The investments proposed for FHWA in FY 2015 will not only help create jobs today that build and maintain our infrastructure, but also enable the movement of people and goods, tie communities together, and provide economic growth. I look forward to working with you and other members of Congress in the weeks and months ahead to ensure the success of this request.

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Page posted on May 21, 2015.
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