Rep. Mica promises highway bill next week

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Last year, lawmakers in the House and Senate each discussed a renewal of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.

But the chambers offered differing plans for the bill. Mica first proposed a six-year, $230 billion extension of the surface transportation bill, which he said was the amount that would be brought in by the federal gas tax over that period.

Democrats countered by arguing the GOP bill would cut transportation spending across the board, offering instead to approve a two-year, $109 billion bill.

GOP leaders in the House have since signaled that they plan to tie the next highway bill to an expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling.

“There’s a natural link between the two: As we develop new sources of American energy, we’re going to need modern infrastructure to bring that energy to the market,” Boehner said during a speech last fall.

The current funding for federal highway projects, which was extended last fall by lawmakers, is set to expire March 31.