U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman John Mica today briefed stakeholders on his proposal to reauthorize the surface transportation program, which is set to expire in September 2011. Chairman Mica released an outline of his proposal without bill text details calling for a six-year bill funded at approximately $230 billion. Building America's Future's president Marcia Hale issued the following statement in response to chairman Mica's briefing:
"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. Many of the announced policy reforms are welcomed as they will ensure tax dollars are invested more wisely and efficiently. We hope the House can work with the Senate to find an acceptable bill with adequate funding levels to rebuild and repair our crumbling roads, bridges and transit systems. We must fight hard to remain economically competitive in this global economy and we have much work to do as this process gets underway."
Chairman Mica outlined several important policy reforms which BAF has long recommended, and applauds, including: greater accountability, cutting through red tape to expedite project completion, leveraging federal dollars, providing increased funding for TIFIA, the elimination of earmarks, some increased flexibility to current tolling programs, and utilizing public private partnerships.
BAF awaits further details and supports inclusion of a National Infrastructure Bank which was not included in the background materials released by the committee.