Today, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., a member of the joint U.S. House and Senate conference committee on the Highway Bill, released the following statement regarding the highway bill agreement:
"I am thrilled to announce that Congress will pass a two-year highway bill, the first long-term reauthorization since 2009. Most important, this bill will create jobs in the construction industry, which has been especially hard hit over the past few years.
"I fought hard to make sure West Virginia's interests were well represented in negotiations. I'm pleased to announce that our state will maintain its funding levels at $423 million for FY 2012, with increases to $423.3 million for FY 2013 and $426.9 million for FY 2014. Furthermore, the bill gives states greater flexibility to use funds on projects they deem important.
"One of the biggest concerns I heard from state officials and construction companies was the web of red tape and complicated approval process that comes with building a road or bridge. This bill includes hard deadlines on environmental reviews and reduces red tape for states to begin construction projects, keeping federal agencies accountable. This means projects can get started faster and completed more efficiently, which saves money and time.
"However, this agreement is not perfect. Two provisions that the House fought hard for--the Keystone Pipeline and coal ash provisions--were shot down by the Senate during negotiations. Keeping these bipartisan measures out of the bill is a missed opportunity to create thousands of jobs. It's unfortunate that agenda-driven politics won in this instance."
Capito voted for each provision separately when each came before the House for a vote. The coal ash bill, H.R. 2273, originally passed the House in October 2011.