Mica and House Republicans Introduce Transportation Reauthorization Proposal
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and other Republican members of the panel held a news conference today in Washington to introduce a proposal to authorize federal transportation programs for the next six years that would rely on the amount of revenue deposited into the Highway Trust Fund during that time. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s in the Mica proposal and a few resources where you can read reaction and get additional information.
Mica proposed a bill that would spend $230 billion over the six-year timeframe, a drop of about 20 percent from the previous authorization bill, 2005’s SAFETEA-LU. The proposal (a full-length bill should be released next week in time for a Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill) emphasizes streamlining federal programs, providing greater flexibility to states in how they spend federal dollars, expediting project approval processes, leveraging federal funds and seeking additional private investment.
It would distribute 90 percent of all federal highway funding to state departments of transportation through formula programs. It would expand the well-regarded TIFIA loan program and provide incentives for states to create and capitalize state infrastructure banks, but not create a new National Infrastructure Bank as others have proposed. It would no longer require states to spend highway funding on non-highway activities, but permits them to fund those activities if they choose. It would hold states accountable for what they choose to spend federal highway dollars on through performance measures and transparency requirements. And it would incentivize state deployment of intelligent transportation system technologies, which can help improve safety and maximize existing highway capacity, often at a low cost.
You can read reaction from House Democrats on the committee here. At that link you can also listen to audio from their news conference today. This article from The Hill newspaper provides a summary of their reaction.
For Twitter followers, there is ongoing discussion about the Mica bill at the hashtag #micabill (you can also read the tweets from the Republicans’ news conference as it happened).
Also, I’m quoted in this article about today’s events from Governing magazine’s Ryan Holeywell.