Friday, Feb. 3, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a five-year, $260 billion reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. After a contentious 18-hour meeting during which more than 100 amendments were considered, the vote was 29–24 to send H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, to the House floor. H.R. 7 provides, on average, $40.9 billion for highways thru FY 2016. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the measure "the worst transportation bill" he's seen in decades, describing it in an interview with Politicoas "partisan," "anti-safety" and inadequate in funding infrastructure investment.
Also, the House Ways and Means Committee approved 20–17 the revenue provisions of H.R. 7. The committee voted to shift the 2.86 cents per gallon gas tax used to fund mass transit programs into the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. Under the measure, transit programs would instead be funded through a new Alternative Transportation Fund. The full House is expected to consider H.R. 7 the week of Feb. 13. More information about H.R. 7 is available in the Government Affairs section of the NAPA Web site, www.asphaltpavement.org.