Trump Signs Bill Repealing MPO Consolidation Rule

May 19, 2017

President Trump on May 12 signed into law the bill S. 496, which repeals the regulation issued in December 2016 by the Department of Transportation that would have required some metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to consolidate across state lines.

The bill is now Public Law 115-33.

The version of the bill that became law was introduced by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Her press release upon the signing of the bill, entitled “Duckworth’s Bipartisan Bill to Support Illinois Jobs Becomes Law,” made it clear that the Chicago area’s support for the legislation (the House version was introduced by Dan Lipinski (D-IL)) was about fear of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), stating that the DOT rule “had enabled the governors of neighboring states to delay or block infrastructure improvements in Illinois.”

Duckworth stated “Red tape shouldn’t hurt our economy or stifle job growth and I want to thank my congressional colleagues who played an important role in enacting this important legislation.”

Joe Szabo, former Federal Railroad Administrator and current head of CMAP, the Chicago MPO, said that the enactment of the repeal bill “ensures that CMAP and our neighboring MPOs in northwest Indiana and southwestern Wisconsin can maintain the integrity of our regional planning processes.”

The just-enacted bill does not use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule, so the current Department of Transportation or a future DOT is free to issue a similar rule or a different rule addressing the same subject.

The MPO rule was a personal priority of former Secretary Anthony Foxx, who had issues with surrounding jurisdictions while mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

ETW’s past coverage of this issue includes:

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