New House Rules Allow for Cuts to Highway Funding

January 7, 2011
The House rules package adopted this week for the 112th Congress includes a provision that has the potential to dramatically alter the process Congress uses to provide funding for highway and transit programs. The new rule repeals the guaranteed funding requirement for annual federal highway investment and the House Point of Order that protects and enforces that guarantee.  These guaranteed funding levels are established by the multi-year surface transportation authorization and have been protected since 1998 from any legislation that would fund the programs below the authorized levels. During a closed meeting of the Republican Conference, Representative Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) offered an amendment that would have retained some of the guarantees of the program while giving the House members a chance to cut funding through floor amendments. While the AGC-supported amendment failed, several Republican Members of Congress – including newly elected members – expressed their support for keeping the current rule in place. This support will be critical as we head into the FY 2012 House appropriations and budget season. Many AGC members took the time to contact their Congressman on this issue. We must remain committed to working with the full Congress on enacting a multi-year highway bill. The current extension of the program expires on March 4. As that date approaches AGC will again ask for additional grassroots support for extending the program at current funding levels.  It is likely that the move to cut overall federal spending during the 112th Congress will include efforts to cut surface transportation funding.
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