Congressman Bob Gibbs released the following statement following the passage of the conference report for the two-year surface transportation reauthorization:
"After months of debate and work on the next transportation bill, I'm pleased that Congress was able to reach a compromise to enact a multi-year reauthorization. This critical initiative will improve our nation's infrastructure, reform transportation programs, cut through bureaucratic red tape, strengthen the economy, and create jobs for Americans."
"This legislation demonstrates the fundamental shift in how transportation bills are passed. The bill dramatically shrinks the size of federal bureaucracy by consolidating nearly two-thirds of current programs. By streamlining, setting deadlines and cutting red tape, new projects will be completed faster, cheaper and provide additional flexibility for state and local decision-makers. Furthermore, the previous surface transportation law contained over 6,300 earmarks. This bill contains none.
"This long-term transportation reauthorization promotes accountability and will allocate $109 billion over 2 years and is fully off-set by reforms and spending cuts. This is an investment in the future of our nation's economic competiveness and will immediately work to create jobs without raising taxes.
"This compromise legislation also helps families afford to send their children to college by extending federal student loan rates for an additional year. I am also pleased that the bill includes reforms and an extension through 2017 for the National Flood Insurance Program, which protects the investments of homeowners located in flood-prone communities."
No Earmarks or Tax Increases
Previous transportation bills were flooded with thousands of earmarks, including pet projects like the "Bridge to Nowhere". H.R. 4348 contains zero earmarks and doesn't raise taxes on gasoline or diesel fuel.
Shrinking the Size of Government
The bill recognizes that the federal government has gotten too big for its own good. By consolidating 2/3 of current programs, there are fewer hurdles to completing projects in our communities. Furthermore, states are provided with greater authority in accomplishing their priorities.
Streamlining Project Delivery
The bill would speed up bureaucratic approvals and streamline the project delivery process, the real hurdles delaying improvements to highways, bridges, and other project, with reforms like concurrent review that will cut the project review and the permitting process in half.