“Paraphrasing …”

“And because the San Pedro Bay is the fulcrum of America’s trading economy, our hearing also focused heavily on freight and logistics and the many ways that congestion inside and outside the port taxes our businesses, our economy, and our environment.

“We know that the economic costs of congestion for the freight industry and its impact on productivity exceed $ 70 billion a year. And when businesses factor in their schedule changes, buffer time requirements, substitute deliveries, and lost customers to that total, the price we all pay for congestion climbs higher still …

“The bottom line is that congestion is simply costing us far too much, and we have become far too complacent about addressing it. We have allowed the very mobility that once enabled and empowered us to be overcome by traffic tie-ups across all forms of transportation — and it is endangering our freedom, our economy, and our independence.

“That is why it is so important that we begin to fundamentally re-think how we finance and manage transportation systems. New approaches will provide economic benefits, relieve family stresses, and, of course, improve our natural environment and air quality …

“This is not a challenge that we can put off … expanding trade is fueling the growth …

“But growing trade volumes mean increased pressure on an already strained transportation network — threatening more logjams, longer backups, and new threats to our freedom of movement, and our financial and physical health.

“When the performance of our ports, highways, and railways breaks down, they not only become a chokepoint for our economy, they can literally choke the communities surrounding them.

“The answer is not to throw up our hands and accept congestion and the pollution that comes with it as a fact of life or as just another cost of doing business. Nor is the answer to turn our backs on progress and prosperity and stop the flow of goods so vital to our economic success.

“Congestion is a solvable problem, but we need to do a better job of employing 21st Century solutions to get our transportation systems moving again …

“Americans understand that our transportation systems are key to the unprecedented freedom that has helped build the world’s leading cities, the world’s strongest businesses, and a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren …”

— Remarks by The Honorable Mary Peters, U.S. Secretary of Transportation

[Ms. Peters sees things as we do. She’s so much more eloquent, though.]