Archive for November, 2011

House Unveils Controversial Transportation Legislation

Monday, November 21st, 2011

House Republicans unveiled plans for a five-year transportation reauthorization that would fund the Highway Trust Fund at current levels through revenues from expanding offshore oil and gas drilling, expanded oil shale production and exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR).

Though the legislation has not yet been released, House Democrats were quick to criticize the plan, saying it was short on details and failed to identify real, sustainable revenue solutions. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, issued a statement denouncing it as a “contentious” plan to mire the surface transportation bill in controversy.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the House bill will be considered before the end of 2011 and there has been talk of a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee mark-up as early as the week of Dec. 5.

Many in the transportation community believe it is increasingly unlikely that Congress will reconcile their differences with transportation reauthorization until after the Nov. 2012 election.

Senate EPW to Mark Up MAP-21; House Announces Plan to Move Transportation Bill

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Prospects for passage of a surface transportation reauthorization got much brighter last week with the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee preparing for this week’s markup of its two-year legislation, and an announcement by House-Speaker John Boehner that he will move a transportation bill by year’s end.

Following eight extensions of surface transportation legislation, late last week EPW released “MAP-21,” a two-year transportation reauthorization at current funding levels, scheduled for markup on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The Senate legislation does not expand tolling or allow commercialization of rest areas. While encouraging, the Partnership to Save Highway Communities will remain vigilant in watching for potential amendments as the legislation moves forward.

Meanwhile, in the House, Speaker John Boehner announced his intention to pass “an energy and infrastructure job bill” before the end of the year. The speaker intends to fund a six-year transportation reauthorization with new revenues from expanded domestic energy production.