House passes transportation bill to extend highway program through 2014
Program Reform & Consolidation – Since the creation of the Highway Trust Fund and the core highway and bridge programs, numerous additional federal programs have been created, diluting the focus of the Trust Fund. Currently there are well over 100 programs. In the last four years, $35 billion in General Fund transfers have been necessary to maintain Highway Trust Fund solvency.
This measure consolidates and eliminates programs, and better focuses limited gas tax revenues on critical needs:
- Consolidates the number of surface transportation programs by two-thirds.
- Eliminates dozens of programs and makes more resources available with flexibility to states and metropolitan areas.
- Lowers total Transportation Enhancements program funding by $200 million and gives states the flexibility to use 50 percent of this money on construction projects.
- Incentivizes, rather than penalizes, states to partner with the private sector to finance and operate transportation projects.
No Earmarks – While the previous surface transportation law contained over 6,300 earmarks, this is the first surface transportation bill in decades that does not contain any earmarks.
Mica continued, “‘Shovel ready’ became a national joke because projects get bogged down for years in the wasteful, bureaucratic project review process. The dramatic reforms in this measure will get projects moving by cutting the red tape that delays projects across the country and drives up construction costs.
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