Rep. Tom Petri won't seek re-election to Congress

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Monday, April 14, 2014

Tom Petri, the current chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, will not seek re-election in the fall.

The 18-term Republican congressman from Wisconsin was scheduled to formally announce his retirement during a town hall meeting Monday, April 14. He intends to serve out the remainder of his term. He’s been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1979.

As chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit – which is part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – Petri holds a key position in the drafting of the next surface transportation authorization, also known as the highway bill.

Petri and others in transportation leadership positions say the next highway bill remains a priority for the House.

The House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit has jurisdiction over highway and transit projects; motor carrier safety regulations; highway safety research and grants; the Clean Air Act; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Recently, Petri joined Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., to commission the U.S. Government Accountability Office to take a closer look at a pair of studies used by the FMCSA to justify changes to the hours-of-service regulations for commercial drivers.

Petri has typically been a proponent of small government and supported the cutting red-tape for transportation projects in the current highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21.

MAP-21 reformed, consolidated or eliminated 70 federal programs that Petri said were “duplicative or not in the public interest.”

In March, Petri spoke in favor of electronic logging devices and a federal drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial drivers that were included in MAP-21.

MAP-21 is set to expire Sept. 30, and Petri and others are working to draft legislation for the House version.

Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., recently announced a tentative deal in the works for the Senate version of the highway bill.

Eventually, the House and Senate must agree on final bill language before a highway bill can advance to the president’s desk for signature into law.

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