By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor
As expected, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-FL, has been confirmed to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the next Congress. He is currently the ranking Republican on the committee, and will take the helm as chairman when the Republicans assume control of the House of Representatives in January, 2011.
When the Democrats lost control of the House in the November elections, among those defeated was current T&I Committee Chairman James Oberstar of Minnesota.
As chairman, Mica will appoint a vice chairman for the full committee and chairs of various subcommittees including Highways and Transit.
The T&I Committee, the largest committee on Capitol Hill, has prided itself on being bipartisan in its approach to transportation funding, roadways, railways, aviation and the Coast Guard among its charges.
Mica has been tipping his hand bit by bit in recent weeks, saying transportation will have to do more with less money. He favors responsible private-sector involvement in transportation and says high-speed rail proposals are good for the country but must make sense.
With the White House refusing to raise federal fuel taxes, and Congress stalemated on ways to fund a long-term surface transportation authorization bill, a number of states have been left to develop transportation funding on their own. This has included a growing number of tolling proposals in recent years.
Mica said in a recent statement that it’s time to pass a long-term transportation bill to provide direction for policy and funding.
Oberstar rolled out a blueprint for such a bill, but it has not made it to the full House. The Senate and the White House have, at least until recently, pushed for shorter-term funding bills.
Because the next authorization bill originates and must pass through the T&I Committee before it can advance, a lot of eyes are on the new chairman, including those of OOIDA members and leaders.
See related article:
‘Doing more with less’ a likely motto for Mica
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