Representative Steve Southerland, II applauded House approval today of the highway bill conference report, which streamlines the approval process for construction projects and consolidates duplicative federal programs while eliminating all earmarks. As the only House conferee from the Gulf Coast, Southerland was particularly pleased that the report includes RESTORE Act language he authored directing 80% of BP fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the economic recovery of the hardest hit coastal counties.
"This is a bipartisan, bicameral jobs bill for the American people," Southerland said. "By cutting bureaucratic red tape, growing private sector investment, and empowering states to have more flexibility in addressing their own unique infrastructure priorities, we've improved conditions for job growth while ensuring that states can better allocate their limited resources. I am particularly pleased with the bipartisan support that the RESTORE Act received. After months of collaboration with North and Northwest Florida counties and colleagues from similarly impacted districts across the Gulf Coast, today is a major victory in strengthening our coastal economies."
The highway bill conference report, which passed the House an overwhelming 373-52 margin, would:
Provide funding through Fiscal Year 2014.
Contain no tax increases.
Streamline the approval process for highway construction projects.
Consolidate the number of federal transportation programs by nearly two-thirds.
Provide states with increased flexibility.
Eliminate all federal earmarks, while the previous surface transportation law included 6,300 earmarks.