Mica Sees New Transportation Bill as a Jobs Bill

AASHTO Journal, 28 October 2011

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, told reporters this week that he expected the House to pass a new surface transportation authorization by March. According to the Associated Press, Mica told reporters that his bill would spend about $285 billion over the six years.”This is what we hope will be the core of not just a Republican, but a congressional jobs effort,” Mica told reporters during a Monday press briefing, the AP reported.

Several media outlets reported in September that Mica was given permission from House Republican leadership to seek additional revenue for a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization bill that could avoid a 34% cut proposed in a House budget earlier this year (see Sept 30, 2010 AASHTO Journal story).

On Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to Mica asking for clarification on his estimates for funding “current levels.” According to Boxer’s letter, “maintaining current levels of funding plus inflation over six years for the nation’s surface transportation programs would require $339 billion,” or 16% more than Mica’s anticipated bill.

Congress passed the eighth short-term extension of the 2005 surface transportation law known as “SAFETEA-LU,” which expired Sept. 30, 2009. That extension lasts until March 31 (see Sept. 23 AASHTO Journal story). Neither the House nor the Senate has introduced a multiyear reauthorization measure, although Boxer announced that her committee would mark up a two-year authorization proposal on Wednesday, Nov. 9 (see Oct. 21 AASHTO Journal story).

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