The House approved today an extension of surface transportation law which includes important provisions to significantly cut the red tape that delays highway and bridge projects across the country. The measure also includes a provision that will lower energy costs for Americans and decrease reliance on unstable foreign sources of energy.
The House approved H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II, by a vote of 293 to 127.
"This bill contains no tax increases, earmarks, or new federal government programs, which may disappoint Democrats, but this legislation will help move the process forward in working to resolve differences with the Senate," said U.S. Rep. JohnL. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Mica continued, "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.
"This bill also includes provisions to help ensure funds collected for the maintenance and improvement of our nation's harbors are invested for that purpose," Mica added. "In addition, this 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."
"This legislation will allow programs to continue through the fiscal year and provide predictability during the summer construction season," said U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. "The environmental streamlining provisions would also eliminate duplication by providing a single system to review decisions. 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."