Mica Touts House Transportation Bill Before Industry Leaders

AASHTO Journal, 2 March 2012

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Florida, told a crowd of about 200 state transportation officials and industry leaders Tuesday that the committee-approved transportation reauthorization bill is a good bill for America.”I think it is the best bill in history as far as getting transportation projects built,” Mica said of HR 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.

Mica, who spoke during a plenary session at the annual American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Washington Briefing, outlined several reasons why the House bill is important for transportation:

  • It is a long-term bill, funding transportation for five years;
  • It proposes to fund transportation at current budget levels;
  • It expands the federal commitment to the TIFIA loan program;
  • It uses Rail Infrastructure Financing grants to build transportation projects; and
  • He said the legislation would cut “red tape to speed up some of the process for federal approval.”

Despite its strong points, Mica acknowledged the opposition HR 7 faces in the House, blaming a lack of support by transit interests concerned about whether the legislation would guarantee funding for transit and the absence of earmarks that might help secure support from individual members.

In describing talks with House leadership, Mica said he was insisting that a reworked bill extend for as long as possible and that the bill retain as much of its programmatic reforms as possible. He also said he was ready to work with transit interests on language that would address funding concerns. (see related story on status of the House reauthorization bill)

A Transportation TV video of Mica’s remarks is available at bit.ly/TTV244. A slideshow of Washington Briefing photographs is available at bit.ly/WB12slideshow. This week’s “Transportation TV News Update” covering the Washington Briefing is available at www.TransportationTV.org.

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