By Keith Laing and Erik Wasson - 11/15/11 09:52 PM EST
Mica said Tuesday that he prefers a longer term bill than the chairwoman of that panel, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), does and that is still an issue.
On sources for the funding beyond the roughly $35 billion that is brought in by the federal gas tax, Mica said he will leave it up to colleagues outside the committee to find the money for surface transportation.
“We are authorizers. We are counting on our colleagues in leadership to find the money,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called for tying energy production to infrastructure projects, using money from an expansion of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fund transportation projects. Republicans have sought to counter Democratic claims they are rejecting President Obama's efforts to create jobs by framing the highway bill as their version of a jobs act.
Mica said Tuesday that he is not opposed to using revenue from expanded energy production to pay for the bill.
“I would like to see us mining more coal. If we could quadruple production and putting people to work, we can use that money,” he said. “I am open to anything that works.”
The current extension of highway funding that was approved in September expires at the end of March.