Experts Weigh Mica's Transportation Bill

Since the release of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica's proposed $230 billion surface-transportation bill, reviews have been mostly negative. <em>National Journal</em> asks its panel of experts for their take.
July 14, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The measure would dedicate $6 billion to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program, which, in theory, would finance $120 billion in projects. It also would consolidate or eliminate some 70 projects considered duplicative and limit Highway Trust Fund money to just highway spending. In the familiar Republican slant away from federal government, the measure would distribute more than 90 percent of federal highway program funds to states, 'allowing state and local transportation officials to prioritize projects.'

Democrats hated it. 'Based on the funding levels alone, it appears that this bill can best be called the 'Republican Road to Ruin,' ' said Transportation ranking member Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. Other Democrats got a few scattered Republicans to join in asking for the Republican sponsors to put forth a "robust" bill instead of the meager measure. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said the funding is 'disastrously stingy,' and Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, said lawmakers can't keep putting the transportation bill 'on the back burner.'"

Though most of the experts are happy the bill was even formulated, many experts argue that it doesn't go far enough towards solving the nation's transportation funding problems.

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Published on Monday, July 11, 2011 in National Journal
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