Backlash Builds Against the House Transportation Bill
The House transportation bill that emerged from various committees this week is getting hammered from all sides. And the media coverage is a testament to the political firestorm that has erupted. Here's a sample of some of this week's headlines:
Politico – LaHood: GOP highway bill 'the worst'
Roll Call – Club for Growth Comes Out Against Highway Bill
National Journal – Rough Road Ahead for House GOP Transportation Plan
The Hill – Environmental group to lawmakers: 'Don't drill and drive'
Roll Call – Transit Bill Could Be a Tough Sell
Politico – Opposition to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling takes right turn
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – New transportation bill drawing lots of hate
Streetsblog – House Transportation Bill Officially Drops, Lands With a Thud
Obviously, NRDC and our allies oppose the House transportation bill because it represents a reckless assault on the environment. Among other threats, it proposes to expand drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Widlife Refuge, permit construction of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, expedite highway projects at the expense of natural resources, and de-fund dedicated funding for mass transit. It's a transportation bill only Big Oil lobbyists could love.
Everyone else hates it. Indeed, more than 600 organizations that work on transportation policy have come out against the bill. That list includes the influential groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and two of the nation’s biggest road building groups—the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Fiscal watchdogs like Taxpayers for Common Sense oppose the bill, and so do conservative think tanks, including the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation.
While the Senate took a bipartisan approach to federal transportation policy with its bill, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood lamented,“That’s not what happened in the House." A former Republican congressman, LaHood decried “the most partisan transportation bill that I have ever seen” and added that it's "the worst transportation bill during my 35 years of public service."
Some current Republican lawmakers are also up in arms over the House GOP's decision to abandon bi-partisanship. “This has to be a bill that everybody signs off on and actually puts people back to work," said Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), as reported today by Politico. "It can’t be an ideological punching bag or else it’s dead.”
There you have it. Thanks to extreme partisanship, the House transportation bill is too bad not too fail. So let's turn this roads bill into road kill. Tell Congress to vote NO when the bill comes to the full House for a vote.