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Florida representative will retain national transportation influence

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Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., will continue to influence transportation policy, although Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., took the position.

Mica will serve on three transportation subcommittees: highways and transit; railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials; and economic development, public buildings and emergency management.

It will be a challenge to fix crumbling and congested highways and to fund a new highway transportation bill once the current one expires, Mica said.

“Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to increase gas taxes, and that doesn’t really even solve your problem, because people are using less of the traditional gasoline,” he said.

A revenue source in the transportation bill permits extra toll lines to be built on existing interstates such as Interstate 4.

He also said Amtrak needs reform and suggests allowing private operators to run the passenger rail system to improve service and save money.

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