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House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

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The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota) currently chairs the committee.

House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

Members of the
House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittees

Subcommittee on Aviation

Members of the
Subcommittee on Aviation,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation

Members of the
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


[1] [2]

Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency Management

Members of the
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines

Members of the
Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Railroads

Members of the
Subcommittee on Railroads,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment

Members of the
Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment,
111th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


See House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment

Action in the 111th Congress

Kingston coal ash spill

On March 31, 2009, the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill in December 2008. The massive release of the fly ash -- over 1 billion gallons of sludge spilled [1] -- flooded 12 homes, spilled into nearby Watts Bar Lake, contaminated the Emory River, and caused a train wreck. [2]

"The Kingston collapse has opened our eyes to the issue of coal combustion waste storage and highlighted the need for us to pay attention to it," remarked Rep. Oberstar. "We have seen that there are risks associated with the storage of coal combustion waste. We will do what is needed to protect the public from the ill effects of improper and unplanned storage." [3]

Legislation

Priority legislation listed on the committee's website includes the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 (H.R.1262), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L.111-5) and the FEMA Independence Act of 2009 (H.R.1174). [4]

Action in the 110th Congress

Minnesota bridge collapse

Following the August 2, 2007, collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which resulted in at least five deaths, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) moved to provide the Twin Cities with $250 million in emergency funds to help recover from the tragedy. With the accident highlighting problems with infrastructure across the United States, Oberstar also called for an increase in gasoline taxes to provide greater investment in transportation and infrastructure around the country. The emergency appropriations measure easily passed the committee and went to the House floor. The Senate was also expected to pass the legislation quickly, in order to be sent to the President's desk for approval prior to the August Congressional recess. Oberstar also promised to revamp transportation and infrastructure legislation when Congress is set to reauthorize the current highway bill.[5]

Bush authorizes funds for bridge repair

On August 6 President George W. Bush signed the emergency measure authorizing funding for Minnesota to repair the collapsed bridge. Though there was a speedy authorization process, the funds were still subject to the appropriations process and Bush had previously vowed to veto the $104.4 billion FY 2008 Transportation-HUD bill.[6]

Senators Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) previously butted heads with the administration over funding for transportation infrastructure. Young commented,[7]

"I don’t do this often when I say ‘I told you so.’ As chairman, with Mr. Oberstar, we tried to put the money in to identify the weaknesses of the bridges and to repair them, and we were unsuccessful. We ended up with a $286 billion bill instead of a $375 billion bill.

“Mr. and Mrs. America, I believe it is time for us to wake up. We have to repair our outdated infrastructure, especially our bridges. ... We have to, as a Congress, grasp this problem and, yes, lo and behold, I would even suggest fund this problem with a tax. May the sky not fall on me, but with a tax.”[8]

Nationwide bridge repair legislation

On August 8, 2007, in response to the Minnesota bridge collapse which highlighted infrastucture problems on the National Highway System across the nation, Chairman Oberstar announced his intention to introduce a bill to establish a dedicated funding source for the repair and replacement of impaired bridges nationwide. According to the Department of Transportation, over 70,000 bridges in the U.S. are "structurally deficient." Oberstar, who planned to introduce the legislation after Congress reconvened in September following the August recess, cited a backlog of $32.1 billion in bridge repair on national highways. The chairman had not yet specified a source for the funding, but possibilities included taxes on gasoline, diesel, or imported oil. The bill would also direct the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to distribute funds based on public safety concerns and update its bridge inspection standards, prohibit earmarks for the funding, and require states to immediately inspect impaired bridges. The committee already set a hearing date for September 5 to discuss bridge repairs. Immediately, the proposal gained criticism for not being strong enough to address the problems of national infrastructure. Ranking committee member, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), called for a more comprehensive strategy to improve the nation's highways, bridges, ports, airports, and high-speed rail. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) also announced her intention to set a broader policy of national infrastructure improvements as part of her campaign. Meanwhile, the White House warned of increasing taxes to provide more federal funding, citing the importance of state and local funds for transportation and infrastructure.[9]

Previous committee membership

110th Congress (2007-2008)

Members of the
House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Aviation

Members of the
Subcommittee on Aviation,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation

Members of the
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency Management

Members of the
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines

Members of the
Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Railroads

Members of the
Subcommittee on Railroads,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment

Members of the
Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment,
110th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


109th Congress (2005-2006)

Members of the
House Committee on Energy and Commerce,
109th Congress
Democrats: Republicans:


Contact information

Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure
US House of Representatives
2165 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC 20515

Phone: 202-225-9446
Website: http://transportation.house.gov/
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/HouseTransInf

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. "Tennessee sludge spill estimate grows to 1 billion gallons," CNN, December 26, 2008.
  2. Chloe White, "Dike bursts, floods 12 homes, spills into Watts Bar Lake," Knoxville News Sentinel, December 22, 2008.
  3. Press release, "Opening Statements from the hearing on The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Ash Slide: Chairman Oberstar's and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chair Johnson's comments from today's hearing on the impact of coal ash waste storage," House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, March 31, 2009.
  4. "Issues in the spotlight," House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure website, accessed April 2009.
  5. Mike Soraghan and Elana Schor, "House panel OKs $250M for Twin Cities," The Hill, August 3, 2007.
  6. Avery Palmer. "Bridge Collapse Spurs New Focus on Infrastructure Needs," CQ. August 7, 2007.
  7. Avery Palmer. "Bridge Collapse Spurs New Focus on Infrastructure Needs," CQ. August 7, 2007.
  8. Avery Palmer. "Bridge Collapse Spurs New Focus on Infrastructure Needs," CQ. August 7, 2007.
  9. Avery Palmer, "Transportation Chairman Unveils Nationwide Bridge Repair Proposal," CQ, August 8, 2007.

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.