July 12, 2011
RE: House Transportation Reauthorization Bill Slashes Spending and Consolidates Programs
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica and other committee leaders last week outlined a $230 billion six-year transportation authorization bill that would slash transportation spending by $76 billion. The legislation would replace the current program, which expired in September 2009 and has been extended seven times.
The House bill would slash current transportation programs by more than 33 percent, calling for consolidation of the current individual programs into a flexible state program that will allow states to maximize the available revenue.
The House bill also would cut the waiting time for building projects by giving states greater control over regulatory review, putting deadlines on administrative sign-off for meeting regulatory requirements and creating concurrent rather than sequential review.
The bill would consolidate 100 transportation-related programs into 30 and end programs such as transportation enhancements that have funded pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths in many cities, although the states would be allowed to spend funds on those programs if they wish.
Congressman Mica gave no indication of when the bill could reach the House floor after a committee mark-up, scheduled for today.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer reiterated her intention to introduce a bipartisan, two-year bill maintaining current spending levels adjusted for inflation, which will require $12 billion in additional revenues.
Senator Boxer also released state-by-state job-loss totals if the final bill adhered to the House 33 percent reduction in funding, estimating a loss of 490,627 highway construction jobs and close to 100,000 transit-related jobs.
We will keep you posted on all developments on this matter. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.