Our transportation systems drive the American economy by moving people and goods quickly across our large nation. Today, there is an increasing demand for more efficient and speedier modes of transportation to satisfy the needs of today's traveler and shipper. This demand places more pressure and strain on our transportation infrastructure, which is already struggling to keep up. It is evident through traffic jams on our nation's roads and highways, long airline delays, and regulatory obstacles for businesses that move their products, that our nation faces many challenges that require solutions.
The 2nd District relies heavily on nearby George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the nation's 6th busiest airport, the highways that connect the sprawling suburbs of Houston, the nation's 4th largest city, and the inland waterways, such as the Houston Ship Channel, which leads to Southeast Texas' dominance in the energy, chemical, and shipping industries.
Because of the importance of this waterway and the Port of Houston to our community, I, along with Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) co-chair the Congressional Ports Opportunity, Renewal, Trade, and Security (PORTS) Caucus.. The PORTS Caucus’ mission is to promote the importance of our ports to the nation’s economy and the need to secure them by promoting dialogue and coordination between Congress, the Administration and relevant federal agencies, as well as important industry officials.
Ports create jobs, economic growth, and opportunity. Our nation’s ports support 23.1 million jobs and generate $4.6 trillion in business activity to the economy. Every congressional district in the country is dependent on U.S. ports, from the jobs created by trade and tourism to the products and prices on store shelves. Ports allow U.S. producers and consumers access to markets around the world. Each day around $3.8 billion worth of imported and exported goods move in and out of our ports and throughout America.
Ensuring that people can travel safely is also an important aspect of our transportation system. In July of 2012, after working closely with the West Brook bus crash victims from the 2nd District, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and I introduced legislation for new and increased Motorcoach safety into the final conference report for the highway bill. I will continue to work to ensure the safety and efficiency of people and products both in the air and on our roads.