T&I Committee has a new ‘big four’

| 1/20/2011

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-FL, has announced the chairmen, vice chairmen and other top Republicans to the six subcommittees that make up the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In return, ranking Democrat Nick Rahall of West Virginia has named the top Democrats to the committee and subcommittees.

Notable to truckers and others with an eye on infrastructure, Mica named Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-TN, to chair the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, with Richard Hanna, R-NY, as vice chairman.

Prior to the November 2010 elections, Mica and Duncan were the top two Republicans on the full T&I Committee, but the committee at that time was under the Democratic leadership of Chairman James Oberstar of Minnesota and Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

The election shook things up, including the makeup of surface transportation?s ?big four.?

In a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Mica and Duncan are now on top in the realm of surface transportation, with Rahall and DeFazio the top Democrats. The November elections saw Oberstar lose his re-election bid by a narrow margin of votes to Republican Chip Cravaack.

As subcommittee appointments were revealed on Thursday, Jan. 20, Rahall named DeFazio as the ranking Democrat for the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

That means the new ?big four? for surface transportation are, in order of rank, Mica, Duncan, Rahall and DeFazio. A lot of eyes will be on them.

The subcommittee level is where many things happen, including the pen-to-paper work on transportation authorization bills.

The 2005 surface transportation authorization bill, known as SAFETEA-LU, expired in 2009 and the next one is long overdue. OOIDA intends to urge the committee?s new leadership to advance a new authorization bill as soon as possible. Mica also says it?s one of his top goals.

In other appointments, Mica named Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, and Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY, as the respective chairman and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. Rahall countered with Corinne Brown of Florida as ranking Democrat.

Mica and Rahall also made appointments to subcommittees on Aviation; Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management; and Water Resources and Environment.