Mica: Dem attacks on highway bill proposal are 'disappointing'

The Republican chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chided Democrats for criticizing his proposal for a new surface transportation bill Monday, saying it was too important for partisan attacks.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who unveiled a proposal for a six-year, $230 billion highway bill last week, said his plan was the result of "bipartisan hearings and meetings across the country" and the best way to utilize the dollars in the trust fund that pays for the measure.

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Democrats sharply disagreed last week, criticizing Mica for not including them in drafting the bill and arguing the plan did not authorize enough spending to spur the stagnant economy. Mica's counterpart on the panel, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), called it "the Republican road to ruin."

Mica said Monday he was sad to see that kind of rhetoric about the transportation bill.

"It is disappointing and sad that some Democrats have launched a personal and partisan attack on the Republican proposal for a six-year transportation reauthorization," Mica said in a statement released by his office. "The outline responsibly presents how we can dramatically leverage Highway Trust Fund dollars within the current spending rules and restrictions imposed by the House-adopted budget."

Mica defended his proposal, saying, "Anyone who takes time to evaluate the proposals outlined will realize that they can ensure that even more transportation projects will move forward, the trust fund will be preserved, and significant job creation over a six-year period will result.

“Even though there may be disagreement at this time, for the sake of our nation we must act in a positive manner to move this legislation forward as soon as possible," he said.

The Senate has proposed a two-year, $109 billion transportation bill.

Both numbers are far below the $556 billion, six-year bill that had been proposed by President Obama.