NEWARK, N.J., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In this week's Journal of Commerce, Washington editor John D. Boyd profiles Rep. John Mica and his challenges ahead to lead a suddenly thrifty Congress toward a sweeping infrastructure-improvement spending bill.
The first three months of Rep. Mica's chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have been marked by a definitive and forthright approach to communication, initiating dialogue and increasing awareness of the issues. Capitol Hill's latest transportation leader is asking shippers to step back for a reality check of available options but pleading with them to "stick with me," acknowledging their fundamental role in pushing his plan forward. He is also working earnestly to bridge partisan divides within the House and bring a responsibility for transportation planning back to Congress. For this, he will have to find consensus among Congressional members that include 19 fellow Republicans who were elected in last year's anti-spending wave, Tea Party freshmen resisting compromise and Democrats pushing back against his "do more with less" agenda.
"Nothing like a challenge, to stimulate," Rep. Mica said. "You just have to be more creative ... And I think sometimes when you do things under hard times, and you succeed, you have a greater sense of satisfaction."
Job creation benefits, overall support of the Obama administration and an exceptionally strong working relationship with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood bode well for his success. But his plans for a multimodal, long-term bill will require a fresh look at funding options, such as the exploration of little-used loan pools, forgotten earmarks and subsidy dollars currently stockpiled in modal trust funds. The JOC Cover Story highlights Rep. Mica's new approach to problem solving and consensus building, as he opts to guide a committee bill-writing process rather than presenting his own plan and goes to great lengths to get objections on the record.
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SOURCE The Journal of Commerce