The details: T&I Committee approves American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act
The Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, on Feb. 3, approved the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act jobs legislation to reauthorize and reform federal surface transportation programs and rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure.
The nation is currently operating under an extension of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the surface transportation bill enacted by George W. Bush on Aug. 10, 2005. The bill that originally expired on Sept. 30, 2009 has undergone a series of extensions since then. The latest extension is set to expire on March 31, 2012.
On Feb. 1, the T&I Committee began consideration of the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, a bill introduced in the House by Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.).
“No other bill before this Congress will create jobs, lower energy costs, or improve our deteriorating infrastructure as effectively as this legislation,” Mica said in a written press statement. “With millions out of work, particularly in the construction industry, Americans deserve a long-term transportation, energy, and jobs bill from Congress.
“The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act will be the most significant reform of transportation programs in decades,” Mica continued in the written statement. “This bill will cut red tape, reduce the federal bureaucracy, move major infrastructure projects forward, attract more private sector participation, and give states the flexibility they need to address their most critical transportation needs.
A year ago, the Committee began holding bipartisan hearings and meetings around the country to gather input from state and local officials for a bill to reform and improve federal transportation programs, Mica said.
“Since then, we have worked to incorporate as many ideas from our Republican and Democratic colleagues as possible,” he said. “With today’s extensive and open debate, we have adopted many amendments, including 21 Democratic amendments, and we will continue to work with our colleagues as this bill moves forward.”
He likens this step forward to the progress that has been made on a long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill. “Some thought our committee would never complete a long-term FAA bill, but we have reached a bipartisan bicameral agreement on that critical measure,” Mica noted. “The President also recently signed a bipartisan pipeline safety bill that we sent him. We can also find common ground on this essential legislation to move our country and economy forward.”
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