House T&I Committee submits outline of next highway bill

Recommendations filled with spending cuts and facility consolidation

March 29, 2011

As expected, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is looking to low-ball its version of the next long-term highway bill. The Committee recently submitted its outline to the House Budget Committee, and is calling for spending cuts, program streamlining and facility consolidation. It will reject the President’s proposed $556 billion bill over six years.

The House T&I Committee also is in favor of a “user-financed” approach instead of the current system that relies on gas-tax revenue to support the Highway Trust Fund. A gas-tax increase to help fuel the next long-term bill also is being rejected, as are future transfers from the general fund to support the transportation program.

Amtrak also takes a hit in the outline, as the committee rejects capital improvements and operating funds for the rail program.

The House T&I Committee does support expansion of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program and an infrastructure bank proposal from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) that requires less federal investment than the President’s National Infrastructure Bank.

The House hopes to have a bill completed by early summer, and Congress is still aiming to have a bill on the President’s desk by the end of August.