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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Mica: GOP leaders agree on five-year surface transportation bill


Yesterday, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) announced the five-year surface transportation bill passed by his committee in February will continue to be the focus of House efforts to pass a major transportation and energy jobs initiative.

During a meeting yesterday with House Republicans, “we had a productive discussion and outlined our hope to move forward with the committee’s five-year bill with a few changes, including the financing of transit from the Highway Trust Fund,” Mica said in a prepared statement.

Working with Republican leadership and GOP conference members, “we hope to move forward with a bill in the coming weeks,” he said.

Action on the bill has been stalled because of many objections, including from some Republicans concerned about the five-year term of the legislation and its $260 billion price tag, as well as objections from some Republicans and Democrats over a plan to eliminate federal gas-tax funding of transit agencies.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to take up amendments to its two-year, $109 billion transportation bill today.

In response to Boehner’s earlier comments that the House would be open to bringing up the Senate’s bill if the House doesn’t pass its own legislation, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) released the following statement:

“Senate Republicans have been using amendments to delay this bipartisan highway bill until Speaker Boehner could figure out a path for dealing with it in the House. Now that the Speaker has publicly signaled he is willing to buck his conservative bloc and give the Senate bill a vote, momentum is on our side. Senate Republicans have no reason to drag this out any longer.”

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More News from 3/8/2012