Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Senator Orrin Hatch (R) – Bill Issues June 2012

Please describe a bill or an issue you are working on that directly impacts Utah’s cities and towns. (June 2012)

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the House-Senate highway bill conference committee, I’ve been working with my colleagues on the conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the transportation bill.

My top priority during these discussion has been to try to reach a compromise that gives Utah’s local communities a strong voice in the transportation decision-making process. There are a number of ways we can achieve this, but one particularly effective method is through the implementation of environmental streamlining.

Currently, Utah’s cities and towns are forced to comply with redundant and oppressive red tape when engaging in transportation projects with the federal government.

The Highway Trust Fund, which funds many transportation programs, currently has more money coming out of it than is going into it. While there are many who want to deal with bloated and unfocused spending by raising taxes, I disagree. If revenues do not meet outlays, then we should not be punishing the American taxpayer. Rather, we should be reevaluating spending priorities.

Currently governments at the federal, state, and local level spend considerable resources complying with federal regulations designed to protect the environment. Given that many of these regulations have accumulated over time, I am confident that we can eliminate many of them without harming the environment.

Both the Senate and House versions of the highway bill contain provisions designed to streamline, or simplify, the environmental reviews with which transportation projects must comply, and I’m working hard to make sure they remain.

Cutting back or streamlining burdensome regulations would allow states and locals governments to invest more of their limited resources in the communities closest to their own taxpayers, rather than forcing them to spend these funds to comply with red rape from Washington.

This is a priority of mine and something that I’m going to keep fighting for.