House on the verge of releasing a transportation bill tied to increased oil drillingJanuary 24, 2012
By Stephen Lee Davis
According to sources cited by numerous outlets this morning (Politico’s Morning Transportation, Transportation Issues Daily and others), the House is planning to mark up a five-year transportation bill in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee next Thursday, February 2nd. It could be released as early as this Friday, though that date may slide somewhat into next week.
So what’s in the bill? Politico has a copy of the leaked 14-page summary, but it covers the policy only in very broad strokes, so it’s not possible to reach any sort of real conclusions about the bill just yet.
One of the most notable aspects of the bill is the proposal to raise the billions needed to cover the yawning gap in anticipated gas tax revenues with money from increased oil drilling — an intent also illustrated by the title: “The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.” The fact that the bill was written entirely by committee Republicans and tied to such a controversial new revenue source could result in a bill that gets little Democratic support in committee or on the floor.
Leaving speculation behind, no specifics are offered as to where the drilling would take place or how much revenue it’s expected to raise. On the subject, the summary says, “By removing barriers to new energy production, this fiscally responsible proposal will create a new, sustainable, revenue stream for infrastructure improvements, lower energy costs, and create infrastructure and energy sector jobs across the country.” We’ll have to wait for details on which “barriers to energy production” will be removed and how much revenue might be created.
We’ll have much more on this in the week to come as the full text is released and we can take a closer look.