Thu, Nov 10, 2011
Former Trans. Secretary Says Funding Issues Nothing New
If US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is tearing his hair
out over the serial budget impasses in Congress, at least he can
take comfort in knowing it's nothing new, and nothing personal.
Former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta (pictured) is
also a Democrat, but held his transportation post during the
administration of George W. Bush for more than five years. He told
The Hill in an
interview published Monday that the situation could "make a
grown man cry."
Regarding FAA funding, Mineta observed, "We're working on the
20th-plus extension...That's something we really have to get
resolved, and a long-term bill."
Recent talk on Capitol Hill has anticipated an FAA authorization
bill of two or four years, and similar terms for highway funding
legislation. But Mineta proposes aiming higher, more like six years
for highways, and something similar for the FAA. He adds long-term
reliability of funding is crucial to states trying to maintain and
"States can't put out an RFP for a project that costs $200
million that lasts three years when they're working on a
[continuing resolution] that gives you money on an annual basis. At
some point, bonding companies are going to say we're not bonding
you … if the money isn't there up front."
Mineta told The Hill the $297 billion highway bill approved in
2003 wasn't really enough to meet the country's infrastructure
needs, but looking at the current situation, even smaller proposals
by House Republicans, which range between $230-$280 billion, would
be better than another short-term extension.
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