House To Tackle Massive Highway Funding Bill
The House Transportation Committee plans a full-committee mark-up Thursday, Feb. 2, of what Republicans are touting as the largest transportation reform bill since the interstate highway system’s creation in 1956.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will be introduced before that meeting, according to Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.). The earmark-free legislation contrasts with the previous surface transportation law, which contained more than 6,300 earmarks.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is sponsoring the bill, set to be H.R. 7, which is the result of a multi-committee effort, Mica said.
“[This] week Republicans will introduce a long-stalled major transportation measure – killed two years ago by the President – that will be financed in part by increased American energy production, creating jobs and lowering energy costs.” Mica said.
The bill would “permanently remove government barriers to American energy production and use the revenues to repair and improve America’s roads and bridges,” the speaker said Nov. 17. It also would eliminate and consolidate nearly 70 surface transportation programs that are “either duplicative or not in the federal interest.”
Additionally, the legislation would:
- Lift the drilling ban on new offshore areas by requiring the administration to lease offshore areas considered to have the most oil and natural gas resources.
- Set rules for developing oil shale resources and promote shale technology research and development.
- Open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and natural gas development.
- Remove federal requirements that require states to spend highway money on non-highway activities.