WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) issued the following statement after managing the Floor before the House passed S. 496 overwhelmingly in a vote of 417-3. S. 496 is the Senate companion bill to the Lewis-Lipinski bill to undo an overreaching Department of Transportation (DOT) rule and restore local transportation planning authority:
“I’m proud that Republicans and Democrats have come together to reinstate common-sense planning authority for our communities. Unaccountable downtown bureaucrats have no place making decisions for the 2nd district, or any district for that matter. By passing the Senate version of our bill overwhelmingly today, the House has moved quickly to send a clear message that local decision-making comes first. I look forward to President Trump signing this legislation into law.”
Background: S. 496 addresses a December 20th, 2016, final rule from the DOT which allowed MPOs to expand their boundaries to include the entire urbanized area as well as ‘any contiguous area’ that was expected to be urbanized within 20 years. In some instances, these new boundaries would stretch over state lines or would force existing MPOs to merge into one entity.
This is a gross overreach from the Congressional intent of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and deprives local municipalities and states of the ability to make their own decisions when planning projects that best meet their needs. The Lewis-Lipinski bill would undo that rule and restore local planning authority.
Lewis served as the lead Republican on the House bill, H.R. 1346, and is committed to working in a bipartisan manner to roll back bad policy and make sure the local needs of his constituents are served first, and not dictated by MPOs.