As the Senate seems ready to move forward with floor debate on its version of a transportation authorization legislation, House leaders have stated their intent to revise what came out of committee.
It is widely known that the House bill has been meeting stiff opposition on a number issues and from a number of people, including House Republican members. So, Speaker Boehner and Chairman Mica have decided to make some changes. Two of the major revisions include removal of the provision to eliminate dedicated funding for transit and reducing the length of the bill from five years to probably two years, similar to the Senate.
Still, and much like the Senate bill, there remain other policy based issues of contention. This includes, project streamlining and giving more authority to state DOT’s, funding for bike and pedestrian projects and the provisions on energy exploration. And last but not least, the House bill is severly underfunded.
Nonetheless, it is apparent that the work of our members, and other advocates is making a difference and there remains hope that both chambers will be able to move forward. Keep up the discussion with your congressional representative and let them know that we need legislation that funds transportation and works to create a transportation network for all users.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail