Dem lawmaker criticizes Rep. Mica for tying highway bill to former President Eisenhower

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Lawmakers in both parties have invoked Eisenhower in the wake of the approval of the transportation bill last week. The measure provides road and transit funding for the next two years, and allowed lawmakers to averted further extending the transportation funding that was supposed to expire in 2009.

"Achieving what Democrats failed to do in the two years they controlled the Congress and the White House, Congressman John L. Mica passed the most historic transportation reform bill since the Eisenhower legislation in 1956," Mica said of the bill in an email to supporters.

"This measure includes historic reforms — cutting red tape and consolidating or eliminating nearly 70 federal programs — all, without earmarks and without raising taxes or deficit spending," he continued. "The previous transportation law contained over 6,300 earmarks."

The transportation bill has been criticized by some transportation advocates for not last long enough, or spending enough, on road and transit projects.

"Though at the last possible second, we are pleased Congress has averted a shutdown, and the associated loss of jobs — but this is literally no way to run a railroad,” Washington, D.C.-based Transportation For America group said in a statement after the bill was approved.

“As the result of backroom maneuvering around election-year politics, the end result looks exactly like what it is: A stopgap representing the last gasp of a 20th century program that has run out of steam,” T4A continued.

President Obama is scheduled to sign the transportation bill Friday afternoon in a White House event with construction workers.