U.S Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters joined Governor Rick Perry for a tour of the new Samsung Electronics Manufacturing Facility in the north Austin area, followed by a press conference on how congestion affects local businesses and the economy. Peters spoke against the moratorium on private investments for road construction, which was introduced by Sen. Robert Nichols (R) Jacksonville, formerly a member of the Texas Transportation Commission.
"Companies like Samsung rely on safe and unclogged highways," Peters commented. "The trail you are blazing here in Texas is being followed around the country as states turn to public-private partnerships to keep their economies moving and fund transportation needs.
"There are three solid reasons why the nation needs the type of model that is being developed here in Texas," said Peters. "First, the status quo is not meeting our transportation needs. Second, we are projecting a deficit in the Highway Trust Fund as early as 2009 as we spend far more money than is being taken in. Finally, as we increase the use of alternative fuels and improve automobile fuel efficiency, it is simply not feasible to depend on petroleum-based taxes for needed investments in the long term. The steps Texas is taking to fund and manage transportation projects in innovative ways will allow it to continue to be one of the country's most attractive destinations for business."