November 02,2011

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier (Hatch), (202) 224-4515
Don Stewart, Michael Brumas (McConnell), (202) 224-2979

Senate Republicans Unveil Common-Sense Transportation Infrastructure Proposal

Legislation Would Speed Approval of Transportation Construction, Provide Relief from Burdensome Federal Regulations, Includes Provisions Supported by President’s Jobs Council

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Republicans, led by Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), unveiled legislation, the Long-Term Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, that would speed up transportation construction projects, and provide employers with relief from burdensome federal regulations, without taxing job creators or adding a dime to the nation’s debt.  The provisions included in the bill draw from bipartisan recommendations, including those from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  This legislation is an alternative to Senate Democrats’ latest tax and spend proposal that includes a risky so-called “infrastructure bank.”

“Built on several of the President’s Jobs Council’s proposals, this legislation is a better way of speeding transportation construction, while scrapping burdensome regulations that are hurting our nation’s job creators,” said Hatch.  “It isn’t funded with job-killing tax hikes.  It doesn’t add a dime to the debt.  And unlike the Democrats’ stimulus proposal, it should garner bipartisan support.”

“Unlike the Democrats’ stimulus/tax increase proposal, the Republican alternative to extend the federal highway program for two years would prevent a tax hike while reducing the deficit,”  said Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).  “And unlike the Democrats’ proposal in which less than a tenth of the funding would be spent this fiscal year, our approach cuts through regulatory red tape and eliminates mandatory transportation enhancements, giving states more flexibility to create jobs right away.”
Specifically, the Long-Term Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011:

• Fully funds continued infrastructure spending on the nation’s roads, highways, public transportation, and assorted other federal infrastructure projects by including:

o A two-year extension of federal highway and highway-safety programs and trust fund authority.  It also provides for transportation infrastructure project acceleration, efficiencies in contracting, and reforms of National Environmental Policy Act processes.
o A 2-year extension of public transportations programs
o A 2-year extension of surface transportation programs.

• Reforms designed to accelerate infrastructure projects that are held back by what the President’s own Jobs Council cites as regulatory “red tape.”

• Reins in the tsunami of regulations facing employers that create the very uncertainty that job creators and the Federal Reserve repeatedly cite as factors holding back job growth and business investment by:
o Providing regulatory relief from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules;
o Giving Congress greater oversight of agency rules and regulations; and
o Requiring Congressional approval for major rules with significant economic impact.

• Is fully paid for and reduces the deficit.