Take Two: House passes another SAFETEA-LU extension
However, since there is no clear idea of when a long-term reauthorization would be passed, Mack says AED believes a swift conference on H.R. 4348 and MAP-21, the Senate’s two-year highway bill, “is the best way to keep the reauthorization process moving forward and restore some near-term certainty to federal infrastructure programs.”
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, says this legislation will allow programs to continue through the fiscal year and provide predictability during the summer construction season.
“The environmental streamlining provisions would also eliminate duplication by providing a single system to review decisions,” Duncan says in a written statement. “It reduces bureaucratic delay by requiring concurrent, instead of consecutive, project reviews and setting deadlines for the completion of environmental reviews. These changes will cut the delivery process in half and save taxpayers a great deal of money.”
U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says the bill contains no tax increases, earmarks, or new federal government programs, quipping that it may “disappoint Democrats,” but the legislation “will help move the process forward in working to resolve differences with the Senate.”
In a press statement, Mica pounces on President Obama, noting that “when the President first sold the stimulus as an infrastructure bill, he failed to address the red tape that delays the approval of transportation projects. ‘Shovel-ready’ became a national joke because it takes so long to get the bureaucratic approvals for a project. This bill includes important provisions to significantly reduce the red tape that leaves projects and jobs behind.”
Mica also purports that the bill includes provisions to help ensure funds collected for the maintenance and improvement of our nation’s harbors are invested for that purpose. He also touts that the bill moves forward with the Keystone pipeline project.
“While the Administration meanders on developing any kind of real energy policy, this measure will help lower energy costs and create jobs for Americans, particularly important as gasoline prices continue to skyrocket because of the squeeze that the Obama Administration has put on production of our energy assets here at home,” Mica said.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Dennis Slater also applauded the House action to pass its highway bill and move to conference with the Senate. “After many failed attempts, partisan politics were put aside and there was bipartisan support for this critical job-creating legislation,” Slater said.
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