By Molly K. Hooper - 11/17/11 02:46 PM EST
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday will unveil his proposal to pay for improvements to the nation’s transportation system with revenues from expanded drilling.
At a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, Boehner told his conference the bill would give them “ammo” to use when they head home for the Thanksgiving recess.
He said his proposal would create jobs, by eliminating regulatory barriers that delay the implementation of projects funded by the transportation authorization bill.
Boehner has never voted for a transportation authorization bill, which in the past have typically been loaded with pet projects for lawmaker districts. He will unveil his proposal, "The America Initiative and Energy Act,” at a press conference later Thursday morning.
The bill would authorize transportation funding for five years.
It would pay for the projects with revenue from offshore drilling leases, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska for drilling and shale oil exploration.
A one-page GOP primer on the measure obtained by The Hill says the measure would “speed up bureaucratic approvals and streamline the project delivery process — the real hurdles delaying improvements to highways, bridges and other projects — with reforms like concurrent review that will cut the project review and permitting process in half.”
House GOP leaders anticipate the House will pass the measure before the end of the year, but approval in the Senate will be difficult given opposition by Democrats to drilling in ANWR.
Current transportation authorization funding runs out early in 2012.