Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) announced today that House and Senate conferees are concluding a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on a major transportation bill. The measure focuses on unprecedented reforms by cutting red tape and consolidating federal transportation programs.
Mica said, "This agreement will help strengthen our nation's construction industry and provide stability to highway, bridge and infrastructure projects across the country."
The tentative agreement establishes federal highway, transit and highway safety policy and keeps programs at current funding levels through the end of fiscal year 2014. Unlike the last transportation bill, which contained over 6,300 earmarks, this bill doesn't include any earmarks. This bill also does not increase taxes.
"This is the jobs bill for the 112th Congress," Mica continued. "The unprecedented reforms in this legislation -- cutting red tape, truly making projects "shovel ready,' shrinking the size of the federal bureaucracy, attracting more private sector participation, and giving states more flexibility to address their critical priorities -- will ensure that we more effectively move forward with major highway and bridge improvements and put Americans back to work.
"The Highway Trust Fund is going bankrupt, and this paid-for measure provides necessary, real reform that focuses our limited resources on critical infrastructure needs.
"This legislation is specifically designed to reform and consolidate our transportation programs, streamline the bureaucratic project process, and give states more flexibility to save taxpayers' hard-earned money," Mica said.
If a majority of House and Senate conferees approve the conference report, both bodies are then expected to take up the measure before the end of the week, prior to the expiration of the current extension of transportation funding on June 30th.