Other priorities for the committee include a bill that reforms and improves passenger rail programs and legislation that lays the groundwork for the future of our aviation system. The United States still has the best aviation system in the world, and we are leaders in this industry that contributes more than 5 percent to our gross domestic product. However, we risk being overtaken ó as once happened in the automotive, textile, steel and other industries ó if we do not modernize the aviation system and stay on the cutting edge of technology.
In fact, all of these committee initiatives will help modernize our transportation system and infrastructure.
Repairing a pothole or adding a lane to a congested road where we live can improve our daily commute and create some important construction jobs. However, when we fundamentally enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our entire network for moving goods and people, we can help ensure that our businesses, farmers and manufacturers can be competitive. And thatís a key to long-term prosperity and job growth in the United States.
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.