WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today applauded the passage of the Inhofe-Boxer highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21), which will create and maintain 45,000 jobs in Oklahoma and strengthen the state’s economy.
“I am pleased today that the Senate has passed an important bipartisan jobs bill that will have far-reaching benefits in Oklahoma and across the nation,” Inhofe said. “The Inhofe-Boxer highway bill will ensure that we repair our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, maintain and create hundreds of thousands of construction jobs, and get our economy moving again. This bill will support 45,000 jobs in Oklahoma and our state will receive the funding it needs to improve our highways and bridges.
“As we worked to get this bill passed, my priority has always been to ensure that we have the most efficient and fiscally sound bill possible. I’ve been rated the most conservative member in the U.S. Senate by a number of organizations – and it is from this conservative platform I have maintained that there are two areas that the federal government is obligated to fund: defense and infrastructure. In fact if we hadn’t passed this highway bill today, we would have had to do a highway extension, which would have cost dramatically more.
“Another priority was to make sure that Oklahoma and other states have the flexibility to implement the highway program in a way that is best suited to their needs. In this bill, states will no longer be required to use the Transportation Enhancement funding for beautification projects such as the construction of bike paths, landscaping, and scenic byways, but can instead spend it on greater needs such as unfunded environmental mandates, including stormwater and wetlands mitigation.
“I greatly appreciate Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley and all those at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for their support for passing a bill that is so important for our state. With the momentum of today’s victory, I look forward to moving this bill to conference so that we can get it to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”