The House of Representatives voted 417-3 April 27 to pass a Senate-passed measure that would
repeal a widely criticized rule from the last days of the Obama administration that would have required operational changes for many of the nation's metropolitan planning organizations.
The Senate had passed the bill March 8 by unanimous consent, so it now goes to President Trump to sign into law and remove the regulation that had drawn criticism from many state DOTs as well as MPOs. DOTs work closely with MPOs in their states in developing transportation project plans, so anything that alters or adds regulatory burdens to the local planning agencies can affect the state agencies as well.
After the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration issued its proposed rule last year, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and many state DOTs filed comments urging the USDOT agencies to withdraw it. The commenters objected that the rule would impose major changes on the existing MPO system that state DOTs viewed as working well.
The federal agencies issued a final, revised rule in December that simplified some aspects but retained much of the original's complexity. It took effect Jan. 19, one day before Trump took office and therefore was not subject to his administration's order halting all pending regulations.
On March 1 Carlos Braceras, the Utah DOT's executive director and AASHTO's secretary/treasurer, told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on behalf of both his state agency and AASHTO that the
final MPO rule was a "problematic USDOT regulatory action" that imposed an "onerous and unanticipated" new coordination requirement.
He said the rule was expected "to impose costly requirements with no benefits."
President Trump released both his long-awaited infrastructure investment plan and his fiscal 2019 budget request Feb. 12, proposing big cuts in transit and rail funding at the same time he would provide $200 billion in new federal grants and loans over 10 years to leverage $1.5 trillion in total...
February 16, 2018
Major stakeholder groups, which had waited a year for President Trump to offer his vision for infrastructure investment, thanked him for generating attention to the issue but quickly focused on fixing the Highway Trust Fund for the long term and shaping investment legislation as it emerges in...
Key members of Congress said they welcomed President Trump's infrastructure investment as starting the conversation and giving momentum to potential legislation, but GOP leaders held back from endorsing the plan itself and Democrats generally gave it poor reviews.