GOP Will “Revamp” H.R. 7 and Reportedly Restore Dedicated Transit Funding

While there is no official statement yet, sources on the Hill (and CQ for subscribers) are saying that House Republicans are revamping their 5-year, $260 billion transportation bill and will discard their proposal to eradicate the dedicated transit funding mechanism enacted by Ronald Reagan in 1983. The bill is unlikely to see floor debate next week.

Michael Steel, a spokesperson for Speaker John Boehner, told the National Journal today:

Given Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to pursue a longer-term infrastructure and energy plan, House Republican leaders are considering a revamped approach that would retain the speaker’s vision of linking infrastructure to expanded American energy production, and allow Republicans to stay on offense on energy and jobs.

According to one Hill staffer, if the GOP are blaming Democrats for refusing to cooperate, it likely means they didn’t have the support they needed within their own party to win a simple majority. The source said the bill was facing negative reactions from the transportation industry and advocates, as well as more spending-averse representatives from the far right wing.

Whatever the House GOP offers in its place will not kick transit funding out of the highway trust fund, the source said. That would fix a huge flaw in the bill, but as T4America points out, there are many more shortcomings that need to be addressed.

Boehner already had to delay floor debate on his transportation bill before the President’s Day recess began. Streetsblog will have more on this story as it develops.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Six Northeast Republicans Join Nadler, Oppose Boehner’s Attack on Transit

|
The House GOP bill, drafted with significant input from Speaker John Boehner’s office, would eliminate mass transit’s dedicated funding stream, first signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1982. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former House Republican, has called it “the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.” Some congressional […]

What Happened to John Mica, Pro-Transit Republican?

|
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking member John Mica knew the value of good transit. “I became a mass transit fan because it’s so much more cost effective than building a highway,” he told PBS in 2009. “Also, it’s good for energy, it’s good for the environment – and that’s why I like it.” Flash […]

House Dems Release Alternative to GOP Budget, Separate From Obama

|
With the FY2011 budget finally settled, it’s time for Washington to start fighting over 2012. President Obama released his 2012 budget proposal in February. The Republicans introduced theirs last week. And the House Democrats have just released theirs [PDF]. Meanwhile, President Obama is giving a speech in just a few hours on his plan to […]