(Orlando, Fla -- WMFE) "I'm afraid I have not heard about the bill" one voter says. "It's a blank for me right now," another admits. "I have not a clue," a third offers, summing up the general level of awareness about the House transportation funding bill in the home district of its chief author, John Mica (R-Fla.)
Mica has acknowledged that his transportation bill looks unlikely to have an easy road through Congress -- in fact it's been divided into three to boost the chances -- but he believes his constituents will understand the rationale for the $260 billion, six-year spending plan. Given their low-level of awareness about the bill being hotly debated in Washington, his confidence may be justified. (Listen to tape above).
Mica says the push back from fellow lawmakers isn't because of the merits of the bill, but rather, because it doesn't have thousands of earmarks like its previous transportation funding legislation.
The bill has drawn the ire of mass transit advocates, who are unhappy with plans to scrap a requirement to fund public transport from gas taxes, and the bill, HR7, is currently stalled in the legislature.
Despite the bill's unpopularity, the Winter Park Republican told WMFE in Orlando that he thinks people in his district would support moves to put transportation money back in the hands of states to spend as they see fit.
“I don’t think that bureaucrats in ivory towers in Washington know what’s best for Florida, or for our communities," he said.