"Rebuilding America is a national security issue. 90% of our oil imports are used for transportation. With investments in public transportation, more efficient roadways, and a broadband backbone that removes commuters from roads, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce its implications on our foreign policy.
"Rebuilding America is an economic issue. By improving our efficiency, we improve our competitiveness and create the next generation of good-paying jobs.
"Rebuilding America is an equality issue. Earlier this month, when I held an Infrastructure Forum in the Capitol, Darren Walker of the Rockefeller Foundation spoke eloquently to us about transportation as a matter of basic fairness. As he said, the civil rights movement in America was sparked by one brave woman, and one public bus. Transportation is the road to opportunity.
"Rebuilding America is an environmental issue. Making greener choices will bring us cleaner air and water, reduce sprawl and congestion, and cut greenhouse gases, to the benefit of the American people and our planet.
"Preserving our planet for future generations is our most urgent challenge.
"With the economy slowing down and job losses accelerating, we must also look for opportunities to take advantage of the stimulative effect of investing in infrastructure.
"In conversations with the White House, leaders in Congress have placed a number of proposals on the table, including funding for infrastructure projects - clean water, passenger rail, transit, highways - where dirt will fly and people will be put to work that simply lack the funds to begin now.
"We will explore these options in addition to all the regular order transportation and appropriations bills which give us built-in opportunities to be innovative and creative.
"Right now, both the House and Senate are at work on legislation that has the greatest potential to address climate change yet: a cap-and-trade system, which will not only limit emissions, but also generate revenue through the sale of greenhouse gas permits. Some of these revenues could be used for public transit or other infrastructure that further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"In order to renew and rebuild our nation, we need to engage the public in our 21st century vision.
"Once again, Congressman Blumenauer is leading the way, with legislation for a new national commission that would involve the public, members of Congress, and stakeholders all around the country to determine our priorities and look at all the dimensions of this challenge together.