WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned Shailen Bhatt during a hearing to consider his nomination to serve as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

During the hearing, Ranking Member Capito urged Bhatt, if confirmed, to implement the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) as written, ensure states have the flexibility to address their unique transportation needs, and shared her disappointment in the Department of Transportation’s lack of responsiveness over the past six months.


ON THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NOT IMPLEMENTING THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW AS WRITTEN: “I'm concerned about the ongoing IIJA implementation. And so, again with the December 16 memorandum that was put out that really, I think, brought a lot of confusion, but also some concern that the flexibilities that each state has enjoyed to be able to make the determinations, whether it's equity or climate or capacity, those states have been able to make those decisions. It's also important to note that included in the memo was direct language from the bills that came out of the house, which the Chairman and I, in our negotiations, was not included in our bill. So that's the will of Congress.”

ENSURING STATES HAVE FLEXIBILITY TO ADDRESS THEIR OWN INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS: “I mentioned the thing that happened in West Virginia where the transfer of the funds, 50% of the funds, went to another program, which is allowable…and that they had received, three months after they were given permission to do that, a letter discouraging them from doing that, which makes you wonder who's writing the letters.

CAPITO: “But, I would like to know that you would uphold the right of states to transfer up to 50% of certain highway programs to other eligible highway programs, and if you have any thoughts on that particular issue…did you ever do that in Colorado?”

BHATT: “Absolutely. We’ve flexed dollars.”

ON SIX MONTHS OF RADIO SILENCE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: “I mentioned in my opening statement that I had submitted questions for the record for the secretary from his opportunity in March. It's been six months, we haven't received any answers. And so I would ask that you take that back...that my frustration at not having been responded to is not taken lightly by me. And I would appreciate some responses.”

Click HERE to watch Ranking Member Capito’s questions.

Click HERE to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening statement.

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