Things You Missed in the House Transport Bill

The combative congressman from Oregon, Democrat Peter DeFazio, took the Republican majority of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to task for not giving Democrats enough time to read the 458-page American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.

He asked, how many members — either side — had read the whole thing? One raised his hand — Chairman John Mica, R-Fla.

For sure, policy-making for the entire transportation system of the U.S. is worthy of a document the size of a phone book for a mid-size city. But if T&I members had read the whole shebang, they would have come across these nuggets:

You will no longer be able to transport your string of race horses in a double-decker trailer. Spoils the view for the horses in the upper deck, but better for highway safety.

Is there anybody other than anglers and boater who knows there’s a Sport Fishing and Boating Trust Fund? It’s a $700 million pot (as of 2009) administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Some $480 million of it is fuel tax revenue transferred from – guess where? – the Highway Trust Fund. The Coast Guard also gets a piece of the HTF to pay for boating safety programs.

This last one comes from Mort Downey, former DOT deputy secretary and freight transportation advocate. It seems that Amtrak hasn’t been beaten down enough, so the majority decided to give railroad’s contracting authority to the Federal Railroad Administration.

“Amtrak is to go out of the food and beverage business. FRA will issue the contracts and select the food and beverage providers, and Amtrak will have to use them,” Downey said. “I’m really looking forward to what a sandwich will look like on the Acela if FRA does the procurement and Amtrak serves it. “

Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobinWash.

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