WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Jim Oberstar, who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, joined a bipartisan group of 14 senators and representatives today in protesting a provision in President Obama’s budget outline that would seek to change how funds are allocated through the highway, transit and airport programs.
As it stands now, the law allows the money for a transportation or infrastructure project to be obligated for a multi-year period of time.
Under the president’s proposal, that would change to a year-by-year appropriations process.
The administration argues that such a rule would increase transparency and best-accounting practices. Opponents say that it would impede long-term state projects with added uncertainty over funding.
“This was a rule that was developed by accountants who don’t understand how to build roads,” said Oberstar spokesman John Schadl.
In fact, the change has been proposed by the Office of Management and Budget several times in the past and each time has been rejected by Congress, according to Oberstar.
“To raise this issue again, now, when we have important work to do to rebuilt our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and create family-wage jobs, is both a contradiction and an unnecessary distraction,” Oberstar said yesterday in a statement.