Letter to Congressional Leaders on Transportation Legislation
Since taking office in 1993, my Administration has made a commitment to both fiscal discipline and the strategic investments we need to lay the foundation for a strong and healthy economic future. Our initiatives have helped produce economic conditions never imagined when I first took office. We have reduced the budget deficit from $290 billion in 1993, and may realize a potential surplus in 1998, reaching balance years before our target date. We now enjoy low unemployment, modest inflation, sustained economic growth and a level of prosperity that is a model for other countries.
Our economic policy has always demonstrated our commitment to public investments in our people to complement our commitment to private investments, fueled by successful deficit reduction. Our priorities have always included a combination of vital investments in education and training, environment, community empowerment, research, infrastructure and transportation.
Certainly investing in a reliable, efficient, and a well-constructed system of highway and mass transit is an important domestic priority and critical to our economic success. In fact, the budget I submitted this year asks for 40 percent more for transportation than the average annual expenditure in the previous administration.
However, I have serious concerns that the extent of proposed new spending in this transportation bill goes too far and could threaten both our fiscal discipline and our commitment to education and other critical investments in our future. Transportation is an important domestic priority, but we must strike a balance so that we do not allow one priority to squeeze out other critical investments such as education or undermine our fiscal discipline.
We should not and need not reject fiscal discipline or force cuts in critical programs on which our citizens and country rely to build a strong America in the 21st century. If we show a balance of our values as we reach a truly balanced budget, we can maintain fiscal discipline while maintaining strong investments in both our people and our physical infrastructure.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
NOTE: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker, and Richard A. Gephardt, minority leader, House of Representatives, and Trent Lott, majority leader, and Thomas A. Daschle, minority leader, United States Senate. An original was not available for verification of the content of this letter.
William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Transportation Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/225238