House Republicans on Thursday will introduce a surface transportation bill that calls for highway spending at current levels “for at least five years” to give states financial stability to take on long-term infrastructure projects.
Current spending would provide roughly $48 billion annually and be supplemented with revenue from new oil and gas exploration leases. Republicans haven’t said how much revenue they expect to gain through the expansion of domestic energy production.
Republicans are expected to introduce the bill to stakeholders Thursday, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is slated to mark-up the bill Feb. 2.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Act also calls for the Department of Transportation to reduce and consolidate nearly 70 highway programs in an effort to streamline the approval process for new projects.
The Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act program will get $1 billion to guarantee construction. The bill rejects the creation of a national infrastructure bank, but encourages the development of state i-banks.
The bill calls for all revenues paid in to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to be used on harbor and channel dredging. Lawmakers and water transport complain that the trust fund has accrued a $6 billion surplus that is used to offset deficits elsewhere in the federal budgets.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica, R-Fla., said he wants a new surface transportation bill in place by the time the current extension to the old law expires on March 31.
The Senate plans to move forward on a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation bill. Senators are looking to plug a roughly $12 billion funding shortfall in the bipartisan bill.