Mica Confirmed as Transpo Committee Chair

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) was confirmed today as the next Chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

John Mica was confirmed today as the next Chair of the T & I Committee. Image: ##http://dailyme.com/gallery/industry-term/transportation.html##Daily Me##
John Mica was confirmed today as the next Chair of the T & I Committee. Image: ##http://dailyme.com/gallery/industry-term/transportation.html##Daily Me##

There have been some contested leadership elections this month but this wasn’t one of them. Mica’s position as chair was basically a foregone conclusion as soon as November’s election results came in.

After the Republican conference voted to confirm him, Mica said in a statement, “It is critical that Congress jumpstarts transportation projects to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and get people working.” He affirmed his eagerness to “pass stalled major surface transportation, aviation, and water resources bills.”

He also emphasized “cutting red tape to complete stalled projects,” which observers take to include limiting environmental assessments for planned infrastructure projects.

Mica enjoyed a close working relationship with Committee Chair Jim Oberstar before the elections flipped control of the Congress and ousted Oberstar after 18 terms. Since November, Mica has clarified some of his positions on transportation issues, including the fact that, while he believes high speed rail is basically a good idea, he doesn’t like the way the DOT is going about it.

“I am a strong advocate of high-speed rail, but it has to be where it makes sense,” Mica told the Associated Press. “The administration squandered the money, giving it to dozens and dozens of projects that were marginal at best to spend on slow-speed trains to nowhere.”

He’d even like to see his own state of Florida be removed from the high speed propects list.

He’s also a strong proponent of private sector investment in infrastructure, a theme we’re likely to see echoed often during the next session of Congress. As federal belts tighten, the money that is disbursed will need to have strong local and private partnerships.

In other committee news, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) was named Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) had wanted the position but House term limits didn’t allow him to serve more than six years as top Republican on the committee, no matter whether the Republicans were in the majority or the minority. Rogers is considered far friendlier to earmarks than Lewis.

And Rep. Fred Upton will be the new chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) ran into the same term-limits problem as Lewis. A waiver for him was deemed even less likely, as he’d embarrassed the party earlier this year with his famous apology to BP.

  • Willie Green

    During the current decade, it is projected that global oil consumption will deplete traditional sources of relatively inexpensive petroleum, and fossil fuel production will have to shift to more costly, “unconventional” sources such as shale oils and tar sands. This will make airline and highway travel less affordable than we currently enjoy.

    Especially susceptible to rising fuel costs will be regional “short-hop” commuter flights (less than 450 miles) utilized most frequently by business travelers. To be competitive in a global economy, it will be necessary for business travelers to have access to more fuel efficient modes of transportation for these shorterer trips. In many instances, simply upgrading and reviving traditional passenger rail is the most pragmatic approach to providing business travelers with competitive transportation options. Unfortunately, John Mica’s bias against traditional passenger rail will leave many of our travel corridors with noncompetitive infrastructure.

  • Traditional passenger rail got wiped by the car and the airplane in the 1950s. Traditional passenger rail speeds could still be useful on some branch routes, if operating costs were kept to the minimum possible, but the current Amtrak-plus plans most states are floating have very high operating costs. Read this and ask yourself whether it’s worth it spending a single cent on traditional rail in the US.

  • Nathan H.

    Florida’s HSR allotment, in particular, would have been better directed to NE Corridor improvements. It’s like no one in the administration bothered to calculate and compare the potential passenger hours saved per dollar invested. Somehow they convinced themselves that spreading the money around “like peanut butter” would build political support for rail, a childish idea appropriately put in childish terms. Who could have predicted that Floridians with cheap gas and clear interstates would immediately scoff at paying actual money to ride a train and be separated from their automobiles unnecessarily?

    But Amtrak is so terrible I hardly care at this point. I tried Bolt Bus for my Thanksgiving trip along the corridor and was happier with it, even though we got the traffic we expected on the way back. At least private bus companies are cost-effective and don’t randomly turn you over to the police to have your bags searched. I was not surprised to see today that Amtrak is next in line for this disturbing nonsense, part of the train company’s pathetic and wildly counter-productive effort to be on par with airlines in America’s security state bureaucracy. All aboard!

  • Daniel Clark243

    ya nice lines
    ========
    Sunshine Coast real estate

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