How Mica's Approach to the Highway Bill Differs from Oberstar's

Funding everything without raising taxes is likely to slow passage of new legislation to authorize transportation spending

Representative John Mica (R-Fla.) is likely to do things as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee committee in the House of Representatives quite differently, and that is likely to slow approval of the highway bill.

"You'll see a pretty significant shift from Chairman Oberstar (D-Minn.) to Mica," said Mary Phillips, senior vice president of legislative affairs for the American Trucking Assns. "Mica has said he does not want a fuel-tax increase and that he wants to fund everything."

The highway bill Oberstar proposed in 2009 relied for funding on increasing fuel taxes while Mica will be looking for other revenue sources. Mica is in favor of public-private partnerships, and supports limited use of tolls. According to Phillips, Mica is not in favor of adding tolls to current roads, but he does support adding tolls if new lanes or new roads are added. 

"It will definitely slow it (highway-spending reauthorization) down because I think John Mica intends to write his own bill," said Brian Deery, senior director of highway and transportation for the Associated General Contractors of America. "There were a lot of things in there (Oberstar's bill) he didn’t like."

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