Barletta Votes to Restore Local Control over Infrastructure Projects

Mar 29, 2017
Press Release
House T&I Committee Passes Bill Repealing Obama Rule to Consolidate Metropolitan Planning Organizations

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for bipartisan legislation that would ensure Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are able to plan infrastructure projects that best meet the needs of their local populations.  H.R. 1346 repeals an Obama Administration rule requiring MPOs in the same urbanized area to submit jointly prepared transportation plans, which forced smaller communities to compete with larger municipalities for funding, while also diminishing the ability of local planners to provide input into the regional planning process.  H.R. 1346, which Barletta co-sponsored, passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by voice vote and now goes to the full House for consideration.

“After speaking with several MPOs in Pennsylvania about their unique infrastructure needs and the steps they are already taking to coordinate with one another, it became clear that the Obama Administration rule was a proposal in search of a problem,” Barletta said.  “The rule essentially means that areas like Harrisburg and Hazleton would have to compete with cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston for transportation funding.  Congress has never given the Department of Transportation the authority to do this, so it appears to be yet another example of executive overreach.”

Last year, the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration issued the final rule “Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform,” which requires MPOs in the same urbanized area to merge, adjust their boundaries, and produce a single set of plans for infrastructure projects.  In August of 2016, Barletta joined Reps. Tom Marino (PA-10) and Scott Perry (PA-4) in sending a letter to former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting that the department withdraw or significantly alter the one-size-fits-all rule.  H.R. 1346 repeals the rule and restores local control over decision making and infrastructure investment.