WASHINGTON — Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., on Thursday formally announced his candidacy for chairmanship of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“In my eleven years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – including eight years of leadership as chairman or ranking member of two key subcommittees – I have demonstrated inclusive leadership and achieved a strong record of accomplishments,” Shuster wrote in a letter to his fellow Republican House members.

“Transportation is essential to our economy and our future. I am focused on continuing to work together to promote competitiveness and economic growth, reform programs, focus our resources where they are needed most, and better manage our federal assets.”

Shuster’s announcement came as no surprise. He has long been considered most likely to succeed to the gavel currently held by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. Although both Mica and Shuster won their races on Tuesday and the GOP retained control of the House, a Republican rule limiting the amount of time a member can serve atop a committee will force Mica to step down when the new Congress convenes.

Shuster, who chairs the rail subcommittee and whose father, Bud Shuster, helmed the full committee from 1995-2001, emerged as a very prominent figure during negotiation of the most recent highway funding legislation and many lobbyists considered him a shoo-in to take Mica’s place.

Mica has said he may seek a waiver from the House leadership allowing him to continue to serve as committee chair, but sources who closely follow the committee said he is unlikely to get it.

““I am prepared to take on the tough challenges ahead and over the coming weeks I look forward to continuing to share my vision with my colleagues,” Shuster told his colleagues.

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