Uncertainty Dominates House's Next Step in Transportation Reauthorization

The House is working to amend its transportation bill, but what takes its place is far from certain. Burgess Everett reports on speculation that the GOP is aiming to shorten the length to two years, and make a host of other changes.
March 1, 2012, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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However, even the shortened time frame is uncertain now as Transportation Committee Chair John Mica appears to be having second thoughts. There is one certainty though: the current extension expires March 31.

According to Everett, "Last week's announcement from House GOP leaders that they've given up on a five-year bill and are working on a "revamped" measure that may match the Senate's two-year bill is just the latest twist localities are getting used to after eight transportation policy extensions that have hamstrung large projects across the country."

"We have no idea whether [the bills] are going to be short or long. We're telling the states [to prepare] for probably a series of stopgap funding bills," said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. "We've been in this position before. I would say it's actually sort of worse."

Meanwhile, Ashley Halsey III is reporting that in an effort to revive the stalled bill, GOP leadership will, "broker a tricky deal to appease friends and foes of mass transit." Mica, in comments to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and to Halsey, says that Mass Transit proponents erred advocating continued reliance on revenue from the beleaguered Highway Trust Fund.

"They've caused more problems, sort of shooting themselves in the foot," Mica said in the interview. "Why would you want to be part of something that is already hemorrhaging, which is the trust fund?"

Thanks to Association of American RRs: SmartBrief

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Published on Monday, February 27, 2012 in Politico
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