Mica and Duncan issue transportation statements
Earlier today, U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, made the following statements at the Surface Transportation Bill Conference Meeting:
“We all share a commitment to build our nation’s infrastructure, and this legislation must do so responsibly. It must be paid for, it must not raise taxes, it must not include earmarks, and it must not add to federal bureaucracy.
“In order to achieve this goal, we must include serious reforms of federal transportation programs to get projects moving and people back to work.
“Particularly in this current economic environment, there is no appetite to keep funneling money into programs in need of a major overhaul, unless we make necessary, meaningful reforms.
“I am concerned that the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund is at risk, however the solution to the Trust Fund solvency problem is not more deficit spending or General Fund transfers. The solution is major reform of programs, cutting wasteful spending, and reigning in the federal bureaucracy.
“Federal programs are broken when red tape bogs down major highway projects for up to 15 years, increasing project costs and leaving jobs behind. During the stimulus debacle, ‘shovel-ready’ became a national joke because it takes so long to get the bureaucratic approvals for a project. We must cut the red tape and streamline the project approval process.
“Programs are broken when they dictate to states and localities through set-asides and Trust Fund-draining programs how their returned gas tax revenue must be spent. In order to better focus our limited resources on the most critical projects and improvements, we must give states more flexibility, and we must significantly reduce the federal bureaucracy by consolidating or eliminating duplicative and unnecessary programs.
“All of my House Transportation and Infrastructure Conferees are committed to serious reform as part of any legislation we produce. Real reform is necessary for House Republicans to support funding a surface transportation bill.”
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