Mica: New Federal Transpo Bill Should Have the Need for Speed

The allure of misguided rhetoric doesn't discriminate between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. For every moment of questionable logic from one of the parties, a moment of good sense can usually be found.

micacommuterrail196f.jpgRep. John Mica (FL), senior GOPer on the House transportation panel (Photo: Orlando Sentinel)

So it's worth pointing to an op-ed published in The Hill today by Rep. John Mica (FL), the House transportation committee's senior Republican. While some of his GOP colleagues were mocking the Obama administration's high-speed rail plan, Mica was offering a substantive critique of the stimulus plan as an insufficient investment in infrastructure.

Mica continues on that note today, lamenting the dense federal bureaucracy that often forces lengthy delays in transport projects. He suggested taking the 437-day reconstruction of Minnesota's I-35 bridge, which collapsed in 2007, as a model for future infrastructure timelines:

Cutting red tape and the inordinate amount of time it takes to get shovels into the ground to build projects will save money. These savings can be invested in other critical projects. Instead of throwing money into a bureaucratic black hole, we can invest more in our crumbling infrastructure and sooner realize the benefits of a safer, more efficient transportation system.

Mica also makes a healthy break from the politically safe line on funding for the next federal transportation bill, describing the gas tax not as off limits to increase -- as the White House has -- but wholly "obsolete." And it's not often that Republicans use the clause in the middle of this Mica sentence:

We should not be spending a decade on projects that can be completed, without trampling over the environment, in a year or two.