Lipinski Bill Eliminating Unnecessary Job-Killing Regulation Passes Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

This week, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unanimously approved Congressman Dan Lipinski’s (IL-3) bipartisan bill (H.R. 1346) that nullifies a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) final rule that hurts job growth and delays infrastructure projects by requiring governors and leaders from nearby states and regions to approve transportation projects in the Chicago area and across the nation.  The DOT’s rule would require Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) - groups, such as the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), that are charged with administering federal transportation funding based on a regional long-term planning process - to consolidate with nearby MPOs or develop a single, unified long-range plan.  The rule is broadly unpopular and received almost no support during the public comment period.

Forcing MPOs to merge with other MPOs in the vicinity, even across state lines, would cause significant jurisdictional issues.  In the Chicago area alone, this new MPO would be bigger than the state of Massachusetts, representing over 11 million people and encompassing 21 counties and over 520 townships and municipalities in three states, stretching from southern Wisconsin to northern Indiana.

“MPOs serve a unique planning role in our nation’s transportation system,” stated Rep. Lipinski.  “They bridge the gap between planning at the state and local levels to focus on regional priorities and deliver projects.  The DOT’s rule would stifle the voice of local elected officials, make public participation difficult, and cause serious planning challenges.”

The new rule also adds significant additional legal and administrative requirements that would only serve as a barrier to the collaborative planning already being implemented by states and MPOs today.

Congressman Lipinski has heard from mayors, planners, and transit agencies from across the country who have expressed their opposition to this rule, and it is opposed by every major trade association representing the professionals who staff MPOs around the country.  A companion bill to Lipinski’s - authored by Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth -passed the Senate by unanimous consent on March 8.   

“I want to thank Senator Duckworth, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio, and my colleagues who co-sponsored this bill,” said Lipinski.  “I expect that it will soon be signed into law.” 

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