Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
DC Streetsblog

House Transpo Committee Promises Bipartisanship, to Tackle Aviation First

8:47 AM PST on January 27, 2011

Ranking Member Nick Rahall presents Chairman John Mica with a new gavel to run the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Ranking Member Nick Rahall presents Chairman John Mica with a new gavel to run the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Meet the new House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The committee’s meeting this morning, the first of the 112th Congress, included twenty new Republican faces, 19 of whom are freshman representatives. The mostly administrative agenda didn’t offer many chances for the committee members to talk policy, but even some of the freshmen’s short introductions proved potentially revealing.

Chair John Mica and Ranking Member Nick Rahall each forcefully restated his commitment to keeping the committee running on bipartisan terms. “This has been one of the most bipartisan committees and it will continue to be,” said Mica. In a rhetorical reach across the aisle, Mica also used the president’s State of the Union call to invest in transportation as a springboard for his own remarks.

“There’s no Republican bridges, there’s no Democratic bridges, there’s only American bridges,” said Rahall. He urged committee members to “stand together, even against party leadership if necessary,” to keep partisanship out of their work. He even serenaded Mica with a one-day-early rendition of Happy Birthday.

More importantly, both Mica and Rahall agreed on a proposed schedule for the committee: as previously reported, aviation reauthorization will come before the surface transportation bill.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the surface transportation bill is being abandoned. “We’re going to get the darn thing done,” promised Mica. He also announced that the committee will take a listening tour across the country in mid-February to gather ideas from across the country. “I’m going to be as flexible as a Barbie doll,” said Mica.

The Republican freshman also had a few interesting things to say. Here are a few that stood out.

    • Tom Reed, from Western New York, suggested that the House’s new anti-spending fervor should perhaps spare transportation. “It’s through our infrastructure that we can unleash the private sector,” he said. “That’s proper government spending.”
    • Two representatives, Pennsylvania’s Lou Barletta and New York’s Richard Hanna, cited their private sector infrastructure building experience. Barletta founded the Interstate Road Marking Corporation, which became the largest pavement marker in Pennsylvania, and Hanna’s construction company handled a variety of public and private projects.
    • Pat Meehan, who represents the Philadelphia suburbs, said that his district has “complex needs” ranging “from rail to ports to highways.” In contrast, Florida’s Steve Southerland only noted that I-10 and I-75 run through his district.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro September 2023 Board Committee Round-Up: C Line, 91 Freeway Widening, and More

Transit ridership and freeway funding are up. $14 million for MicroTransit was postponed. South Bay C Line extension draws both controversy and support. Law enforcement, Taylor Swift, bus lanes, and more!

September 23, 2023

Input Meetings Starting This Weekend for Ballona Creek “Finish the Creek” Extension Study

Learn more and give your ideas for extending the Ballona Creek bike/walk path upstream through Culver City and into Mid-City Los Angeles

September 21, 2023

Guest Opinion: Metro Should Treat Walk and Bike Projects with the Respect They Deserve

Prioritizing true first mile/last mile infrastructure isn’t somehow optional; it’s how your customers get to and from the transit stations.

September 21, 2023
See all posts