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Rep. Bishop Driving Transportation Bill

Democratic leadership in House of Representatives calls on Southampton Congressman Tim Bishop.

As the Republican-controlled House of Representatives mulls how to tackle the pending expiration of federal funding for highways, the Democratic minority leadership has turned to Southampton’s .

Bishop, a five-term Democrat, is tasked with being the primary sponsor of the House version of MAP-21, or Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, a bill already passed in the Senate that would extend transportation funding for two years.

“It’s extremely important and there’s about 3 million jobs wrapped up in this bill,” Bishop told Patch on Friday. He has gathered 118 co-sponsors so far.

A new funding bill must be passed by Saturday, or many transportation programs will be suspended, wsj.com reports.

The Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was approved March 14 by a vote of 74 to 22.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pushed for a five-year bill, but Bishop said Boehner never brought the bill to the floor because it could not garner enough votes as some Republicans rejected it and not one Democrat would vote for it. “It basically eliminates the guarantee of transit funding that has been carried forward on a bipartisan basis for 30 years,” Bishop said. He added that, under the bill, New York would have lost about $1 billion in highway funding over five years.

Because Congress has banned earmarks, Bishop said he cannot say exactly what passing MAP-21 would mean for highway projects in his district. But he could say that New York State would be better off if the House adopts the Senate's MAP-21 rather than the five-year bill.

“Under the Senate bill, New York would gain funding, so the Senate bill is vastly preferable for New York,” Bishop said. “If New York gets more money, Long Island will get more money, if Long Island gets more money, my district will get more money.”

Past projects in Southampton that received federal funds include work on Millstone Brook Road and Noyac Road and the the widening of County Road 39, Bishop said.

MAP-21 is not a perfect bill, Bishop acknowledged. “One of the things I don’t like about the Senate bill is that it is two years instead of five, but two years is vastly preferable to what the House Republican leadership is talking about now, which is a 45-day extension or a 90-day extension,” he said. The extension would give the House leadership more time to work on an acceptable five-year bill, but Bishop said highway project planning can't happen in 45-day or 90-day increments.

Mary Beth March 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Thanks, Tim, for continuing to fight for the working class.
Seminar 88 March 30, 2012 at 03:11 PM
MAP-21 would reduce the number of highway programs from roughly 90 to 30, and restructures the overall federal-aid highway program. It would also: Expand the use of alternative financing mechanisms and private-sector investment to supplement traditional highway grant funding; (be very wary of anything that expands the use of alternative funding mechanisms) Eliminate the requirement that states spend federal funds on transportation enhancement projects, and amend the list of activities eligible for funding as transportation enhancements; (translation, the unions can just pay themselve the cash instead of using taxpayer funds for actual projects meant to benefit the taxpayer) Alter the criteria for Tier I and Tier II metropolitan planning organizations and create a new class of non-metropolitan planning organizations; (translation, continues consolidating and increasing power with the federal government) The primary funding mechanism for this b.s.? Most of the funding would come from a federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents on each gallon of gasoline. Appropriate $1 billion from the general fund to Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS), a program that subsidizes large projects with multistate impact. This would be the first time in recent history that a transportation bill that was not a stopgap extension appropriated general fund revenues for transportation capital projects.
Preliator April 09, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Dim Tim was given the lead on the bill by democratic leaders in the House so he could have something to champion for the upcoming election cycle. The Dems know Bishop is in for a tough fight, like Obama he has no record accomplishment to run on and has pretty much failed Long Island.

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