Chairman Mica Releases T & I Proposal for Authorization

Chairman Mica Proposed Bill released 7.7.11

In today’s release of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee proposal for a Transportation Reauthorization bill, Chairman Mica said, “I know folks would like to have a bigger bottom figure but we have to deal with the cards we’re dealt”.

It is clear that the Committee’s hands are tied, working inside the bounds of House Rules set forth in January. However, a proposal that cuts funding and proposes only $250 billion dollars over six years will leave the transit community without the resources to provide even basic service – forget about safe and effective.

The good news is we can now begin a dialogue. The proposal is just that, a proposal. We haven’t heard from the Senate EPW Committee yet. It looks like they will be proposing a 2-year funding proposal that will keep transit funding current with SAFETEA-LU. The deadline of September 30, 2011 is fast approaching. The House, the Senate, the transit community will need to work together to create something the President will sign by the deadline.

More details to follow. We want to hear from you. Please leave posts below or on the SWTA Facebook page

Here are some comments from around the Nation:

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), chair of the full Senate Banking Committee: “Transit systems are one of the most efficient and reliable forms of transportation… Proposals to cut public transportation funding, as contemplated in the House, won’t just make it harder for Americans to get to a job interview or the grocery store; cuts will also slow job growth at a time when we need it most. Construction workers, mechanics, employees of bus manufacturers and rail car suppliers, and many other hard-working Americans will lose their jobs if these cuts occur.”

Marcia Hale, president of Building America’s Future: “We appreciate many of the proposed policy reforms that were announced today but we are disappointed by the funding level. We applaud the fact that Chairman Mica recognizes states and cities want certainty when it comes to long-term transportation funding but this proposal shows a significant cut from current funding levels.”

John Horsley, executive director of AASHTO: ”Chairman Mica’s bill is the first step in the process to pass a new long-term surface transportation bill that is desperately needed to maintain our national transportation system. This proposed legislation features many reforms that state departments of transportation support including: consolidation of federal transportation programs resulting in greater focus on our core mission; strategies that will accelerate project delivery so states can deliver critical transportation projects faster; tools to leverage transportation funds so states can generate more value from public infrastructure investments; and distribution of nearly all federal highway funding by formula to state DOTs. States will work with Congress to assure that each state receives an equitable share of funding.”

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