By Keith Laing
Mica supports a new long-term highway bill and not simply extensions of legislation.
Mica said that passing a longer term SAFETEA-LU measure could help the sagging national economy.
"Nothing is going to put people to work like a major transportation bill for this country," he said.
He called President Obama's decision to back an 18-month extension of the highway bill instead of a six-year proposal supported by Mica and then-Democratic House Transportation Chairman James Oberstar "a major mistake."
Mica similarly lamented delays in the Federal Aviation Administration authorizing bill, which was criticized Tuesday by union groups because it contains provisions that would make it harder for aviation and railroad workers to collectively organize. Mica did not address that criticism in his remarks to NACo, but said he hoped the final FAA bill would be approved within the next 50 to 60 days.
"In 2003, I wrote the FAA reauthorization bill, and we did it for four years," Mica said. "Unfortunately we did not pass another one. The way things work around here, what we did was we passed 17 extensions."
However, the final long-term FAA bill is "well on its way to completion" having already cleared the Senate, Mica said.