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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House transportation committee to consider long-term reauthorization measure on Thursday, Mica says


On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider a long-term reauthorization and “reform” of federal surface transportation programs as part of House Republicans’ proposed “American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act,” committee Chairman John Mica’s (R-Fla.) office has announced.

The transportation proposal is expected to be introduced in the House prior to the bill’s markup, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 2. The proposal will “reform and streamline programs, cut red tape in the project approval process, increase states’ flexibility in determining their most critical transportation needs, and encourage private sector participation in financing and rebuilding our infrastructure,” said officials in Mica’s office.

The legislation “will contain no earmarks” and will be the largest transportation reform bill since the interstate highway system was created in the 1950s, they said.

Initially, Mica proposed a six-year, $230 billion surface transportation funding measure. But late last year, House Republicans shifted course and instead called for a five-year, $260 billion measure that would be paid for in part by fees on expanded domestic oil drilling.

Last week, Mica said he objected to President Obama’s suggestion, made during his State of the Union address, to shift the funding no longer being used on the war in Iraq to “do some nation-building here at home” by investing in infrastructure.

While agreeing that the country needs to rebuild infrastructure, “I do not support what appears to be the president’s plan to finance that effort by downsizing the military,” Mica said.

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More News from 1/30/2012