APTA: House and Senate release plans for Surface Transportation legislation

Written by jrood

As the newly sworn-in 112th Congress begins to organize for the legislative business ahead, a few key committee leaders have begun to reveal their plans for the next surface transportation authorization bill. In a series of meetings with transportation industry groups (including APTA President Bill Millar), new Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced his commitment to writing a full six-year bill this year and outlined four guiding principles for the legislation. Chairman Mica plans to introduce legislation that will achieve the following:
 1) Stabilize the Highway Trust Fund by ensuring that spending authorized in the bill will not exceed actual Trust Fund receipts. 2) Recapture unspent federal funds within the transportation program.  Specific funds have not been identified, but the Chairman has noted that there are significant un-obligated funds available throughout the federal transportation program. 3) Utilizing public private partnerships and other alternative financing mechanisms to leverage federal funds.  Chairman Mica plans to encourage more investment from the private sector for transportation projects. 4) Streamline programs and speed project delivery. The Chairman noted that delays in project delivery add unnecessary costs to programs funded with federal dollars. Chairman Mica’s goals for the legislation are based on the premise that there will be no new resources available to increase trust fund revenues and that the political climate is not favorable for a general increase in spending without budget offsets. Therefore, he is committed to “doing more with less” and finding alternative means of continuing spending at the current or an increased rate.