Transportation: Where it Currently Stands

Update 2/29: House Republican leaders will further delay (subs. req’d) action on the shorter-term transportation bill. Skepticism over the spending in the bill continued, which is why they originally scrapped the 5-year bill. Conservatives need to continue keeping up the pressure to ensure that any highway bill doesn’t spend more than revenues bring in.

Last week, we learned that House Republicans would rework their transportation bill due to continued opposition (including ours). Originally, they had postponed the vote until after last week’s President’s Day recess. Now we learn that the vote most likely won’t happen (subs. req’d) this week either.

Some details of the reworked transportation bill have been speculated, including the retention of Speaker Boehner’s key proposal to link energy production to the bill as a way to pay for elevated levels of spending. The reduction of regulations and permit expediting are all rumored to be kept in the new bill.

The length of the new bill is yet to be announced, but by all accounts it will be a shorter extension than the 5-year plan previously under consideration.

Special interest groups have put big money behind moving a massive transportation bill. A whole host of lobbying groups – including the Chamber of Commerce’s Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition and the Laborers’ International Union of North America – have been working hard over last week’s recess to lobby Members of Congress to support the bill. The Chamber even spent over $500,000 on TV, radio and online ads.

Opposing this bill takes a stand against special interests who lobby the Washington Establishment into maintaining the status quo. The current House highway bill (and the Senate version) spend more money than transportation taxes come in and continue Washington’s transportation central planning scheme. The fact that this bill, which was predicted to pass easily, is facing so much opposition that it needs to be reworked is a sign that Washington is changing.

Now we just need the Senate to follow suit and address the problems with their bill.

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