Statement on Signing the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3, the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users." The Act is designed to improve the Nation's highway safety, modernize roads, reduce traffic congestion, and create jobs.
Sections 1909, 1141, and 1142 of the Act establish commissions—solely to provide advice on transportation systems, motor vehicle taxes, and infrastructure financing— whose memberships are predominantly or wholly appointed by Members of the Congress. The executive branch shall construe these provisions, including subsections 1909(b), 1141(f), and 1142(g), relating to access by the commissions to agency information, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair the deliberative processes of the Executive or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties. Also, the executive branch shall construe section 1914(a) of the Act, which purports to require execution of that section in consultation with congressional committees, as calling for, but not mandating, such consultation, as is consistent with the constitutional provisions concerning the separate powers of the Congress to legislate and the President to execute the laws.
Provisions of the Act—including sections 2003(f)(3)(B), 2016(d), 3011(f), and 3016(c), section 5503(f) of title 49, United States Code, as contained in section 4149 of the Act, and section 111(d)(4)(F) of title 49, as contained in section 5601 of the Act—purport to require executive branch officials to submit legislative recommendations to the Congress. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the Constitution's commitment to the President of the authority to submit for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President judges necessary and expedient and to supervise the unitary executive branch.
The executive branch shall construe the described qualifications and lists of nominees under section 4305(b) as recommendations only, consistent with the provisions of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.
The executive branch shall construe section 5305(g)(3) of the Act to be a statute to which section 552(b)(3)(A) of title 5, United States Code, refers, as the text and structure of section 5305(g) indicate.
The executive branch shall construe section 326(e) of title 23, United States Code, as contained in section 6004 of the bill, which deems a State agency to be a Federal agency for certain purposes in limited circumstances, in a manner consistent with the President's exclusive constitutional authority to faithfully execute the laws and supervise the unitary executive branch, and with proper regard for the role of the States in our Federal system.
The executive branch shall implement section 39 of title 18, United States Code, as contained in section 4143 of the Act, and section 5121 of title 49, as contained in section 7018 of the Act, which relate to warrantless searches and seizures of vehicles, drivers, cargo, property, packages, and records, in a manner consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Section 1603 of the Act refers to legislative reports accompanying prior public laws as if they had binding legal effect. Such reports do not satisfy the constitutional requirements of bicameral approval and presentment to the President needed to give them the force of law.
The executive branch shall construe provisions of the Act that make legislative classifications based on race, ethnicity, or gender in a manner consistent with the requirement of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to afford equal protection of the laws.
GEORGE W. BUSH
The White House, August 10, 2005.
NOTE: H.R. 3, approved August 10, was assigned Public Law No. 109-59.
George W. Bush, Statement on Signing the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/213102