tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 28, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EST
>> ladies and gentlemen, before i begin i would like to ask you to join me in recognizing an incredible group of soldiers sailors, airman marines and coast guards behind me. they are the best at what they do do, whatever they do including putting on sayreceremonyies like this one. thank you very much. [applause] >> and mr. secretary, i couldn't help thinking as the national anthem is played i would hazard a guess how many times you have heard it but today it was played for you and i hope you remember the lasting service.
mr. president, secretary, men and women of the armed forces good afternoon. it is an honor to thank secretary hagel for his service to our nation and what a remarkable service it has been. it started 20 years ago when timothy hagel was called in and they said young man you have six months to get back into college or you will be drafted into the vietnam war. hagel replied i tried colleges, three colleges and let's say it wasn't in the best interest of those institutions to keep me. so i think the best thing for me is to go in the army but it may not be the best thing for the army. he recounted that himself in the oral history that is being accumulated at the smithsonian on the vietnam war.
he volunteered to serve on the spot like his grandfather did in world war one and his father in world war ii. that sense of commitment to the country characterizes his leadership as secretary of defense. roosevelt once said i enjoyed life and my work because i believe real success isn't dependented on the position you hold but how you carry yourself in that position. it is unquestionable that secretary hagel's position in life are the definition of success. he will be the first to tell you it was made possible by the love of his family and we thank you for your service your sacrifice, understanding and tireless support. and ladies and gentlemen, please give a round of applause to the
hagel family. [applause] >> on this day in history, 55 years ago today the dallas cowboys joined the national football league. as giants fan i consider this a day of great sad ness but it is timely with the super bowl coming up. many don't know probably but secretary hagel asked to play football before joining the army. he wants today play for the university of nebraska corn huskers. sports can teach valuable lessons and roosevelt always said the principle to follow is this: hit the hard line don't powell but hit the hard line -- foul -- that is what secretary hagel learned during the time
playing full back in nebraska. it is characteristic of how he hit the line hard after becoming secretary of defense. he hit the ground returning and made sure the forces up harm's way had everything they needed to accomplish missions in afghanistan and around the globe. as new chalches emerged from isis in the middle east to russian aggression to ebola and cyber threats he provided leadership insuring the department could respond quickly. and his leadership didn't spop there. he reinforced the nation that we who work in the defense of the nation are called to live uncommon lives. he has been an advocate within the government and the american people and delivering promise toes keep faith with our service members, civilian personal and their families. he led lie example and made tough decisions in trying times. he is a devoted family man and
an example of a good person. he is a man of character, the type of character that was forged by a working class upbringening. -- upbringing -- his love of his country is stronger. a trueism embodied in the scarens ohis chest. a 20-year-old timothy hagel made the decision to volunteer because there was a war going on and he felt the responsibility to serve. he wanted to set a good example for his three younger brayer brothers as well. he said my father passed away and i wasn't coming together the way i should. well today, we can say without question that he came together all right.
and i am certain that the old world war ii charlie dean hagel would agree. i am proud to have served by your side. it is now my honor to introduce the vice president of the united states. [applause] >> mr. president, gentlemen dempsey, ziller i know it has been hard raising a father and husband. but you have done a pretty good job. and chuck, there is no one i know who and i mean this sincerely, we have been post-
post-friends for a long time but there is no one i know that better sets the standard that president kennedy set out for our generation when he said our success or failure will be measured by the answer to four questions: were we truly men of cowerage? judgment? integrity? truly men of dedication? chuck, it is a lot mor than your physical courage i admire. it is your moral courage and political courage. you have more of that than about anyone i have ever served with in all of the years i have severed in the united states senate as the vice president. i always sought your opinion during the 1 years on the foreign relation committee, many tens of thousands of miles we
travelled around the world, in the northern iraq at a time when before we went in and excuse me mr. president, can i tell a quick story? we wanted to go into an area in iraq and we could not figure out how to get there. this was before the war commenced. so the turks decided to let us through. and we were on the border and they decided to stick us in a car with a guy who looked like something out of these modern-day road warrior movies. we were both sitting in the back seat and they told us for a couple hour drive make sure you lie down as often as you can because you don't want to be seen. i remember chuck saying you know i am worried about my mom. we are riding through the mountains and you got the
cellphone and called your mother. but it is a pretty interesting fellow, mr. werepresident, who is on an important mission but never forgets what is important to him. your integrity, chuck, is something that everyone you worked with and the previous administrations recognized and it is recognizable immediately. you always mean what you said you said what you mean and in my neighborhood and yours a promise made is a promise kept. you cannot find anyone who has ever known you who you have ever not kept whatever commitment you made. and your dedication to the country and family goes out having to make reference to
even. chuck, your experience as a fellow warrior to all of your comrads established an unusual bond between you and the enlisted troops. in boston, everyone was talking to general and i look around for you and you are climbing in their hum vee asking was going on and what is the problem is. i remember being in baghdad, afghanistan -- always walking away and talking to the rank and file troops because you know they understood and you got the scoop. you have also known, chuck, which i think i don't think is unique but critically important and the president understands this, that we not only lead the world by the example of our power, but by the power of our
example. you have understood to your core that america's power and prestige ultimately rest upon the men and women in uniform assemled here today and others. you feel as i do and a lot of us that we have a lot of oblidpagz oblidpagz -- obligations to the country but we only have one truly sacred obligation and that is equip those who we send to war and care for them and their families while and when they come home from war. and no one has been more committed to fulfilling that obligation than you. chuck, i will truly going to personally miss you. i am going to miss your presence here. i am sure no one in this auditorium misunderstands the
deputy of your service the sacrifices you made and the friendships you made. chuck, thank you for all you have done all you have done for me in the senate and all you have done for the country. i am proud to call you my friend, proud to stand by you as secretary of defense about to retire. as the president said being from nebraska you could have been the secretary of agriculture. congratulations, chuck. i wish you and little bit and allen all the very very best. thank you. [applause]
>> good afternoon, everyone. michelle and i, as some of you know, just spent the past few days in india. i returned about 3 o'clock this morning. so i don't know exactly what time it is. or what day it is. but i was determined to be here with you this afternoon to honor and celebrate a great friend -- to me, and to all of us. in october of 1967, president lyndon johnson traveled to a military base in new mexico to review a top-secret weapons program. and he went down to the white sands missile range and out to the testing grounds. there, out in the desert, the president watched as soldiers demonstrated what would later become the famed stinger missile. and one of those soldiers was a 21-year-old private from nebraska named charles timothy hagel. now, the secret service does not usually let me get too close to
an active weapons system. it makes them nervous. but, clearly, they did things a little differently back in lbj's days. and, chuck, i can only assume that you were careful not to point the missile at the president -- because what followed was a life of dedicated service to our nation spanning nearly 50 years. vice president biden, members of congress, general dempsey, leaders from across this department, members of the joint chiefs and service secretaries; to the men and women of the greatest military in the world -- we gather to pay tribute to a true american patriot. and let me assure you that i checked with the secret service, and chuck will not be demonstrating any missile launchers today. as we all know, and we've have heard again, chuck loves
nebraska. the cornhuskers. red beer. runzas -- i don't know what those are, but i hear they taste pretty good. but above all, what chuck loves most about his home state is the people -- his fellow midwesterners. there are just under 2 million people in nebraska; there are more than 7 billion people on the planet. but as so many of our troops have found out themselves, no matter where chuck goes in the world -- if you are from nebraska, he will find you. and he'll talk with you and listen to you, and ask you about your family back home -- and chances are, he knows them, too. so today is a celebration of a quintessentially american life -- a man from the heartland who devoted his life to america. just imagine, in your mind's eye, the defining moments of his life. the kid from nebraska who, as marty said, volunteered to go to
vietnam. the soldier outside saigon, rushing to pull his own brother from a burning apc. the deputy at the va who stood up for his fellow vietnam vets who were exposed to agent orange. the senator who helped lead the fight for the post 9/11 gi bill, to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had. i asked chuck to lead this department at a moment of profound transition. and today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch. after more than 13 years, our combat mission in afghanistan is over, and america's longest war has come to a responsible and honorable end. because of chuck's direction, a strategic review has made difficult choices in a time of tight budgets, while still making sure that our forces are ready to be called on for any contingency. today, our troops are supporting
afghan forces. they continue to face risks, and they remain relentless in their pursuit of al qaeda networks. they're leading the coalition to destroy isil -- a coalition that includes arab nations, in no small measure because chuck strengthened key partnerships in the middle east. and under his leadership, our forces in west africa are helping to lead the global fight against ebola -- saving lives and showing american leadership at its very, very best. even as we've met these pressing challenges, chuck has helped us to prepare for the century ahead. in europe, a stronger nato is reassuring our allies. in the asia pacific -- one of my foreign policy priorities -- chuck helped modernize our alliances, strengthen partnerships, bolster defense posture, improve communication between the united states and chinese militaries -- all of
which helps to ensure that the united states remains a strong pacific power. because chuck helped build new trust, we'll expand our defense cooperation with india. i just demonstrated during my visit there the degree to which that partnership is moving in a new direction. that's partly attributable to work that chuck did. and the reforms he launched will help make this department more efficient and innovative for years to come. thanks to secretary hagel's guiding hand, this institution is better positioned for the future. but, chuck, i want to suggest today that perhaps your greatest impact -- a legacy that will be felt for decades to come -- has been your own example. it's not simply that you've been the first enlisted combat veteran and the first vietnam veteran to serve as secretary of defense. it's how your life experience --
being down in the mud, feeling the bullets fly overhead -- has allowed you to connect with our troops like no other secretary before you. you've welcomed our junior enlisted personnel to lunch in your office and made them feel at home, and they told you what was really on their minds. when you spoke to our newest sergeant majors about the true meaning of leadership and responsibility, they knew they were learning from one of their own. and in those quiet moments, when you've pinned a purple heart on a wounded warrior, you were there not just as a secretary of defense, but as an old army sergeant who knows the wages of war and still carries the shrapnel in your chest. these aren't fleeting moments; they reflect the driving force of chuck hagel's service -- his love of our troops, and his determination to take care of
them after more than 13 years of war. today, our military hospitals are getting stronger, our women are more integrated into the force than ever before. we're making progress in combating sexual assault. we'll bring home the remains of fallen heroes faster, and more vietnam veterans will finally be eligible for the disability pay they deserved all along. and, chuck, that's because of you. that's part of your legacy. of course, i'm grateful to chuck on a very personal level. exactly 10 years ago this month, i joined you in the united states senate, along with the vice president. i was new and green; you were a veteran legislator. i was the student, and you shared some of the lessons of your service. i was young and you were -- well. and though we came from different parties, we often saw the world the same way,
including our conviction that even as we must never hesitate to defend our nation, we must never rush into war. we both believed that america should only send her sons and daughters into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary. and when we do, we make sure they've got everything that they need to succeed; they've got a mission that is worthy of their sacrifice. in an era of politics that too often descends into spectacle, you've always served with decency and dignity. and in a town of outsized egos, you've never lost your midwestern humility. you've always been frank and honest and said what you thought. and i have so profoundly benefitted from that candor. you represent a tradition of bipartisanship in national security that we need more of today. joe biden reflects that. i see dick lugar in the stands
-- he reflects that. that's when we're at our best. and from sergeant to secretary, you've always been guided by one interest: what you believe is best for america. and i thank you for your friendship and your counsel, and all of us thank you for your character and your integrity. of course, nobody serves alone. lilibet, allyn, ziller --thank you for sharing your husband and father with us, and for the sacrifices that your family has made for all of ours. and, chuck, since our lives are so often the reflection of those closest to us, today i also want to acknowledge the service of your brother, tom; the world war ii service of your father, charles; the sacrifices of your late mom, betty, who worked day and night to raise her four sons. we salute this american family. our men and women in uniform here today, those who stand
where chuck once stood, they don't ask for much. they volunteered; they accept the risks that come with military service. but they do ask this: that this nation take care of them as well as they've taken care of us; that we provide them with the resources to do their jobs and meet the missions that we ask of them. after all that they have given for us, after all that they've sacrificed, they have the right to expect that we will meet our obligations as well. and that's my duty as commander-in-chief. and this will be the work of my nominee to be the next secretary of defense -- mr. ash carter. but this must be the work of us all, as americans grateful to those who serve in our name. and that's the story of chuck hagel's life. i'll close with a story that came about last year. i was going to tell the story about when we were traveling in
iraq, and chuck wore these pair of sort of hush puppy bedroom slipper shoes out into the dessert, and the flaps started opening up and his toes were sticking out. but i'm going to skip that story. he then ended up buying me a pair -- which i have never worn, i'm proud to say. this is a different story. one day last year i was in the oval office, and chuck came in for what i thought would be our regular weekly meeting. but he had a guest, and he introduced us. his name was jerome “skip” johnson -- a friendly guy, a grandfather, and he was from my hometown of chicago. and chuck explained that skip -- lieutenant johnson -- had been his platoon commander in vietnam. but they had lost touch, until chuck tracked him down. this was the first time they had reunited in nearly 50 years. and chuck just wanted to bring
skip to the oval office to say hello to the president -- to meet his family, including his young grandsons. and chuck told me about how it had been 1968, with protests and race riots back home, causing tensions among our troops in vietnam. and chuck's unit was mostly white, but skip is african american, and as the platoon's commander he wasn't going to tolerate any division or distrust. and he went to his men and made himself clear: we are all americans. we're going to live together. we're going to take care of each other. we're fighting together. we're going to get each other's
backs. let's get it done. and at that moment in the oval office, as these two soldiers stood before me -- with skip's grandsons looking on -- it wasn't lost on any of us how far our nation has come. and i want to thank chuck for that moment, because part of the reason we've traveled that distance is we've had men like chuck hagel serving and representing what's best in america. in moments when we are tested -- as a military, as a nation -- sometimes we get distracted by what divides us and lose sight of what unites us. and at those moments, we can draw strength from the example of a sergeant from nebraska and a lieutenant from chicago. we are all americans. we live together. we sacrifice together. we take care of each other. sometimes we have to fight together. ladies and gentlemen, i want to introduce to you my friend, our
>> that is enough. thank you. actually i think we can all go home now. mr. president, thank you. i am very grateful to you for many reasons. first, thank you for being here today. i know the kind of schedule that you have been on and the length of the trip the intensity of those visits and the make this effort today means an awful lot. thank you. i want to also thank you for giving me the honor of serving you, and the american people as
secretary of defense. i will always be grateful for that opportunity. and mr. president, thank you for your strong leadership at a very difficult time. a difficult time in our world that requires wise, steady careful leadership. you have and you are providing that leadership and i have been very proud to serve with you in the senate in particular over the last few years as your secretary of defense. vice president biden thank you as well for being here today. i have not forgotten some of the stories you told. i recall very well us calling my mother on that trip to the mountains of iraq and i remember
you wanted to speak with her. [laughter] >> hours and hours later -- [laughter] >> she never forgot that mr. vice president, and was so proud of that phone conversation. so i thank you for your generous reaching out to my mother at a very difficult time for her because she was gone about a month later. one of my greatest joys in washington has been the development of our friendship. as you noted and the president noted, our time together the three of us on the senate foreign relations committee, secretary kerry is here today
and he knows a little something about the business and to you secretary kerry, thank you. i include you in those days. our former chairman lugar is here as well. to dick lugar, thank you. as you have noted, there are special people in our lives that we benefit from and certainly dick luger is one of those who we have all benefit as great deal from. and vice president biden, thank you for your years of service to this country as well. chairman dempsey, it has been a great privilege to this old sergeant to work side-by-side with a general of your character and your courage. i have been very fortunate to vu as my partner in this job.
-- have you -- especially during the self-help and educational opportunities called congressional hearings. i was always reassured before each hearing knowing that marty dempsey was next to me. and what you have meant to the military marty, and what you continue to do for this country, thank you very much. i see another great icon of the united states senate with us. senator john warner who we all worked closely with and benefited from. to our distinguished colleagues thank you for what you did for this country as so many of you here. i am grateful you would take the time to visit us on this
occasion. to the chiefs of the services our senior civilian leaders and combat members thank you for your leadership and commitment to the country. i want to acknowledge particularly bob work our deputy secretary of defense. i thank him for his leadership on our strong partnership over the last year. and in my appreciation as well to ash carter. for ash's service and his partnership during my first year at the pentagon and for his continued commitment to public service. my heartfelt thanks my security and staff each of you played critically important roles for which my family and i will always be grateful. you have been indispensable in
helping me carry out my responsibilities and i thank you. to the men and women who serve our country and their families whose service and sacrifice is equal, you have my deepest gratitude. we absolute your high purpose of our freedom and values. every day you wake up and go to work knowing this department alone is charged with one fundamental issue: the security of this nation. it has been my absolute privilege to have been on your team. over the past two years, i have witnessed the courage and dig dignity of america's service men and women all over the world. i have seen officers do their job, realizing that how they do their jobs is just as important as the job itself.
i have seen senior officers enlisting that maybe their role models may be the highest responsibility of all. and i have seen the devotion and commitment of families: the mother, husbands fathers, wives, children and the sacrifices they willingly make for our country. their individual commitment to the greater good and strength of the institution has been a complete inspiration to me in every way. they understand it is people who build and stregthen institutions and make the world a better place. these are the reasons why america's military is the most admired and trusted institution in our country. we must protect that confidence and trust by our conduct and performance. continuing to hold ourselves and each other to the highest standards of professionalism and
personal behavior. as i will soon leave this job, that i have cherished for the last two years, i want you all to know that the things i most respected, and most admired, are your dignity, courage, and dedication. the opportunity to have been part of all of this was something comblkd i could not have imagined whenio i joined the army 40 years ago. it wasn't easy. but with each difficult challenge, comes the satisfaction of knowing you are like roosevelt's man in the arena. slugging it out and doing what you believe and like and doing
it your way. and recognizing that it is not the critics account for changing the world or making it better but rather it is those who are willing to work very hard toward building a better world. we live in a complicated and defining time the men and women who have devoted lives to american security are the architects of this new 21st century world. they are building on to the great legacies and foundations who have been laid before those going before them. we have made mistakes. we will make more mistakes. but we hold tightly to one of america's greatest strengths: the capacity and the constitutional structure that allows us to self-correct. we can change systems, right wrongs solve problems, and start over. but we must get the big picture
right. we must recognize there is not an immediate answer to every problem. some problems require evolving solutions that give us the time and the space to adjust, and the patience to seek higher ground and lasting results. our world captures to an uncertainty and complexity isn't moving toward less complicated problems but rather toward more global challenges rooted in historic injustice and conflicts. in this dynamic environment, we need to prioritize is and focus on how to build greater partnership capacity around the world, to help solve problems and build opportunities and create hope for all people. these are difficult and
complicated tasks. but we have no choice. it will require steady wise and judicious use of american power and influence. we must never fail to always ask the most important question when making decisions in politics: what happens next? with all of the world prevailing and problems it is still a hopeful world. this i believe. i want to thank my wife with whom i have shared this remarkable 30-year journey. i could never have done this job without her by my side. and i am especially proud of her work on behalf of military families and other important issues to the men and women of the military. i valued her and thank her
deeply for helping me be a better secretary of defense. i want to thank my daughter allen, my son zor for their constant support, encouragement and always good advice in helping me with the internet. [laughter] and recognizing and allowing me to take inventory in that recognition that i am not near as smart as i thought i was. those are the humbling experiences of parenthood. those of us who have had the opportunity to know those days and have that experience and be blessed with that experience know so well. and to my brothers, tom and mike who have truly been with
me since the train left the station in nebraska many years ago, thank you. and one last point, of all of the opportunities my life has given me and i have been blessed with so many i am most proud at having once been a soldier. the lessons from my time in uniform about trust responsibility duty, judgment and loyalty to your fellow soldier -- these have carried with me throughout my life. and god bless and keep each of you. thank you. [applause]
wednesday to swear him in. live coverage on c-span. coming up, transportation secretary anthony foxx testifies about the expuiration of the highway transfer fund. and then the examine of the sequester cuts. we look at president obama's attorney general nominee and get the comments on the chairman. and then proposed changes to the criminal justice system. and later a reporter on the senate conformation process. and immediately following washington journal the second day of the conformation hearing of ms. lynch.
on wednesday, she answered questions about her role as attorney general and civil rights issues as well. here is a look at her testimony: >> the challenge i think people have when they come to washington, d.c. and they assume jobs that have political implications is that they sort of forget their basic moral in the law and become politicians masquerading like a law enforcement officer. and that is a real challenge. it has been a challenge for democrats and republicans as well. but i am concerned -- let niasia ellis -- me say you are not erin holder, are you? >> no i am mot. >> no one is suggesting you are but attorney general holder's
record is on our mind. and when the attorney general refers to himself as the president's wingman, suggesting he doesn't exercise independent legal judgment as the chief law enforcement officer for the coapt country. you would not expect us to be a political arm for attorney general? >> you would be willing to tell your friends, no if in your judgment the law requires that. >> sir i think i have to be willing to tell not just friends and acquaintances but colleagues know if the law requires it. >> and that would include the president of the united states? >> i think the obligation of the attorney general is to when presented with matters by the president to provide a full thorough, independent legal analysis and give the president the best independent judgment that there is.
and that maybe a judgment that says there is a legal framework for certain actions and it may be a judgment that says there is not a legal framework for certain actions. >> keep track of the republican-led congress and follow its new members through its first session. new congress guest access on c-span, c-span2, c-span radio and cspan.org. >> anthony foxx testified about the highway transportation group and was joined at the senate environment and pubic works hearing on transportation and infrastructure funding. this is two hours and 15 minutes.
>> the meeting will come to order. i say to my friend the ranking member that the whole right side back there is oklahoma. i came in last night and they were having a dinner i thought two or three people i knew gary rid ridley would be there, he always is. but it is all familiar faces. we have a concern -- there is a lot of things about what is the government supposed to be doing
and quite often, and the reason i got in on this 20 years ago is because this is what we are supposed to be doing. building america and infrastructure. we understand that in oklahoma. we have gone through a process and i recall over in the house, secretary foxx knew what the biggest problem was in the highway trust fund? too much surplus. that was the problem we had. we know what happened since that time and we cannot continue to do as we have done in the past. i think i do have an opening statement i will submit as part of the record. i think the significance of this meeting, i say to my friends on the left and right, is that we want to do it right this time. and we have done patchwork and
put together things we think are a good idea and i have to see this: we have had successes. i didn't like the way things went back in the 27-month bill we had. i didn't like the idea a lot of republicans, my good friends, were not realizing and thinking they were doing the conservative thing because it is a big bill. but it isn't. the conservative thing is to pass the bill instead of having the extension. and secretary foxx has been out in oklahoma and we have talked about this at length; the cost of extensions i think it is around 30% off the top. the good news is the house, when we went over after the bill and talked to them about this constitutional responsibility we have everyone of the 33 republicans and the democrats on
the house tni committee voted for it. that is a major break at the time. i see that happening again here. so we are going to be doing the right thing now. and as we know we decided to do -- we will make one change in the committee and we will not have everyone have the open hearings because we have witnesses coming in and spent a lot of time listening to each other. i am yield to senator boxer and we will continue the hearing >> mr. chairman, thank you so much for making this your first hearing. nothing could please us more because we know this is an area there is bipartisan support for. and i think senator vitter and i -- it is no secret we don't see eye to eye on much but we were able to get a good bill done through this committee. and i have to make a point mr.
chairman, we were the only committee to act last congress. no committee of the senate or house but this committee. and with your leadership we will be working together here to get this done. i am going to ask consent to put my statement in the record and make four very brief points. first, we can do nothing more important for jobs businesses, and for this economy, for this middle class than passing a multi-year highway bill. that is the first point. secondally, we have a great record of bipartisan on the issue. so nothing should stop us. and again i point to last year when we acted with no other committee acted in the senate or the house. there was bipartisan paralysis except for us and this committee. and i am so proud of that. and we need to take the leadership again. and hopefully this time it will be immolated.
three, we have to have the courage in the senate and in the house to fund a multi-year bill. we cannot leap over that idea to an extension. and that leads me to my next point. we are getting close to the bankruptcy of the highway trust fund. may 31st. mr. chairman i would ask rhetorically if you go to the bank and want to buy a house and the bank says oh great, we will give you the money but only for five months. you are going to walk away. you are not going to buy a house if all you know is you have credit. that is what they have done. when i say they the vast majority of our colleagues hunted this. and this is awful. this is the greatest country in the world. we will not remain so if our bridges are falling down if our highways are crumbling and other
ramifications of not investing. we need certainty. i do want to say i learned from my staff and i don't know if your staff informed you that the deficit in the trust fund is less than we thought it would be. we were anticipating $18 billion six year it is $13 billion over six years. >> i thought it was $15. >> it is a lot less than we thought. it is $13 billion a year. if we cannot find that. i think it is 1.2 trillion budget on discretionary spending. if we cannot find that to build the infrastructure we have failed as a congress. so with your leadership and with all of your strong support from oklahoma i think we will get things done here. i look forward to it. >> thank you. thank you, senator boxer. it is my honor to introduce and
present, not really introduce, secretary foxx. he has been a great secretary of transportation. it has been a very difficult job. we have had a chance to break ground on a lot of good things in my state of oklahoma. so i am thankful you are doing what you are doing and you are going to be in on the big kill and we will do it together. secretary foxx. >> thank you very much, mr. for were your kind word and your leadership and the leadership of ranking member senator barbara boxer. the work you are done and continue to do on this issue is vitally important and i want to tell you we appreciate your service. i want to thank the entire committee here. we are in a new year with a new congress but i am here to discuss an old issue. the need for a new transportation bill. it has been said a multi-year transportation bill with funding
growth and policy reforms focused on america's future. america is in a race. not just against our global com competitors but the progress our nation has shown for years. we are behind in the race and when you are behind you must run faster and do more than keep pace. the transportation system itself doesn't care about the political challenge of addressing its needs. we are eeth meeting the needs or we are not. in the past year i have been to 41 states and over a hundred cities. mr. chairman you were kind enough to invite me to oklahoma where we saw a stretch of i-44 just south of tulsa that needs to be widened but the funds just
aren't there. there are thousands of miles of highway projects in oklahoma that the d.o.t. said are critical but they are not being built or repaired. unfortunately, oklahoma isn't alone. i visited the bridge that connects kentucky and ohio. it is well over 50 years old and has twice the traffic it was designed for. chunks of concrete are falling on parked cars below. it must be replaced but there is no real man on how to pay for it. or you can look at tennessee, the state d.o.t. there postponed $400 million in project and the thousands of jobs that come with them because of quote unquote funding uncertainty here in washington. now tennessee isn't the only
to protect and defend, and for me that means protecting and defending america's fundamental ability to move to get to work school, to get kids from the factory to the shelf but i can't do that, they can do that and we can't do that unless we take bold action now. i am here to work with you and am looking forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i have often thought there is no better background to have been the mayor of a large city. when you see the things that you no work you wonder sometimes how we can build on these.
the press want to talk about how you pay for it. we will have all of the above. there are some areas that are not really -- are sometimes controversial and i i have to appreciate both sides working together. you you mentioned enhancements in the streamlining. we have done a lot of good things. what more is out there that is obvious to you would make it go faster get more done for less money and get off the ground quicker. >> an important question, and we do have experience in the recent past rolling out some of the work, doing concurrent reviews in our permitting process which effectively allows all of the agencies to set the same time that an earlier.to
comment on that project at a.at which the project is still be changed to respond to the permitting. i will give you an example. there's a project in new york. we applied concurrent reviews to that project them were able to reduce the permitting time. we do believe has an opportunity -- >> it's really a direct result of the changes that we made in coming to this place. >> it was building out a lot of the work that map 21 contained. there was also some administrative work that went into putting that on a dashboard and assuring that the agencies work together. there are additional tools that can be provided to enable that to happen more and the good news is that
when you do concurrent reviews you're not sacrificing the environment. you're putting the environment at an earlier stage and getting better results. >> that's right. sen. boxer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. sec., i am going to press you on what is happening on the ground right now because we have failed as a government to give any certainty to this process. we know that tennessee and arkansas have delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in highway projects this year. last summer over two dozen states have taken similar preemptive action as the highway trust fund near insolvency. this whole game of waiting and then somebody steps up in the house or senate. i'm going to save this for five months. this is a disaster. can you discuss the likelihood that we will see these next continue if we don't take action soon. >> thank you for the question.
this is a crisis that is actually worse than i think most people realize. your.is well taken. may 312015 the.at which it runs out but the state department of transportation is having to figure out what year hide of work will be which starts writer at the same time that the extension runs out. i predict that over the course of the next few months you are going to see more state department of transportation start to slow or stop projects because they don't know what's on the other side of may 31. from a time perspective i think we have a problem sooner than may 31 in terms of the situation on the ground. what you will see is states pulling back. >> that is basically my question.
i i won't take any more time. the one point i will make over and over again is this is our duty, our job the best thing we can do for the country the most bipartisan thing and we can do and and this committee, i am urging step out here. we have a great role to play by stepping out again. we have the blueprint. he put it together with all your help. that may not be the exact blueprint, but it's a definite start. thank you in your very, collected manner for letting us know that lack of action is already happening -- having a result. bad for business is bad for jobs that for communities local people and that's
the.i think i wanted to make. you made made it very eloquently. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to echo the comments that have been made about the bipartisan work of this committee on infrastructure. on a completely bipartisan basis this congress produced a really good water resources bill that was important for our ports and waterways. that infrastructure maritime commerce. as the senator mentioned we put together a very good highway bill. now, we have the easy part. i don't want to overstate it we put together the transportation part of the highway bill. the finance committee has the hard part. and i want to cut right to that.
i agree we need to get this done on a medium to long-term basis, not another band-aid approach. my suggestion is to cut right to the chase and to really dive in to those discussions about how we finance it in a realistic way. folks on the left, including the administration may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that just objectively are going nowhere. folks folks on the right may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that are going nowhere with this of ministration. my suggestion is we blow past that, don't waste time, and cut, and cut to the chase of where we may find a common solution. i believe realistically
there are three realistic categories to focus on. one on. one is the traditional gas tax, the traditional means of financing the highway trust fund. i i believe that is only realistic, only a possibility in my opinion. that is just my political judgment. i think it's only a possibility if we give all middle class and lower middle class taxpayers and tax offset. something off the income tax, tax, withholding something so that they do not pay a higher federal overall tax. second big category, i believe, i believe, is tax reform, maybe focusing on business tax reform and using elements of that, namely repatriation to have a significant amount of money for the federal highway program. that is not a truly permanent solution but
those are big dollars that can fund significant bill of a significant duration. and in the 3rd category is some domestic energy production with the additional royalty and revenue dedicated to the highway trust fund. now, i would like to see that to a much greater extent than i am sure his realistic given the sensibilities of folks on the other side of the aisle and the administration. so in a spirit that i began began with i am not suggesting, you know, david vedder's plan which is a great one but i am suggesting some expanded production which is good for american energy independence, good independence, good for our economy and would produce significant new revenue at least in the price of oil gives to a better place, a more stable place that can
be dedicated to the highway trust fund. my question is what is what is the administration doing to cut to the chase and explore those categories? >> thank you for the question. let me answer your question directly and make a. the administration has put forward a proposal to use program of business tax reform to pay for our infrastructure. but we would basically do in addition to what the gas tax is spinning off is less than what the highway trust fund is to be level. we put another amount into our infrastructure to not only replenish the highway trust fund, but to do more than that which leads me to the.i want to make. there needs to be a
conversation about what this is. what number are we trying to get to and what we will it get us? do you think about our department has contractors? we can try to go out and build what congress urges us to do but i want to make it clear that we cannot go out and build a great big mansion if we have the resources to build a hut. i think that our system right now really needs a substantial injection a long-term bill but also substantial growth to counteract accumulative effect. >> mr. secretary, just one follow-up. is there a version that does not have the big tax increase on successful folks as part of it? going back to the spirit of my comment on suggesting that we get real, cut to the chase and actually solve this in a meaningful way.
if we are just talking about that version, and all due respect i i don't think that's meeting the template. >> the green book last year published three specific ideas about progrowth business tax reform that i i think potentially would meet your test. one was eliminating. another was eliminating accelerated depreciation and a 3rd one was pulling some of the untaxed corporate earnings overseas and bring those back home. those three specific ideas are ones that seem to be within the parameters that you mentioned. let me also extends to you the full measure of my intention to help you get to yes on a solution because i think it is vital. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. all right.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that. thank you for your work. i strongly support a robust reauthorization long-term of our transportation needs. it needs to be long-term. as has been pointed out, states and counties cannot plan without the long-term commitment from the federal government. it must be robust because not only the new roads and bridges and transit systems that we need but maintaining the infrastructure we have. we have to focus on this. i want to maintain at a think it is an important part, the flexibility. i represent maryland. the baltimore-washington baltimore-washington area is the most congested in the nation. we need to invest in transit and have a game plan to do that and want to stay on that game plan.
a large part of it depends upon the ability of a sustained federal partner and that requires a long-term reauthorization of robust bill. i also want to emphasize the need for giving our local government the flexibility. i worked for senator cochran on the transportation alternative programs that allow locals to make decisions, mayors, counties and people to make decisions as to what is in their best interest so we have local communities where you can walk and bike and keep cars off the road and not necessary. can you emphasize safety. we have a tragic accident just recently. it is critically important that they have the ability to keep people safe. safe. we just recently had a tragedy on the metro system here. we have been working with europe to make sure that we find out as soon as possible
how we can make the metro system safe in other words, so, so we don't wait a year for the full review before we implement changes. so i just really want to underscore the points that you have made. this is a bipartisan community. i have the honor of living in baltimore and commuting to washington everyday. so it is challenge for the people in our regions in the country. i urge you to be bold. i think this committee is prepared to be bold. it seems to me with the price of energy today we should be able to get the resources that we need in order to do what our constituents want us to do do, have a modern transportation system, be able to maintain that and create the economic engine that will create jobs.
that that is our goal, we're trying to do. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for being here today. in your testimony you state too often projects undergo unnecessarily lengthy reviews. we need to be able to make the types of reforms that will expedient high-priority projects. i could not agree with you more. as you know and and nebraska department of roads cities, counties have been frustrated with the federal highway administration's what i would call unpredictable approach.
you know that we have been trying to work on that. i i don't believe that it comports with the performance-based data-driven approach. i think they need those reviews to be performance oriented. i appreciated your earlier comment about a a concurrent review process where you cut it down to three to five years. that would be great if we can do that. i hope the federal highway administration will continue to work with nebraska so that we can get their. limited resources become even more stretched and stressed when we have a process that i believe is not working the way it is supposed to. what do you think we can do to be assured the state of
good repair projects within existing right of ways are exempt from what i would call a counterproductive consultation with regulatory agencies? what is the value added by conducting even sce level review or another project in existing right-of-way? do we have to study and document things over and over again? >> thank you for the question. specifically with request to nebraska we have been working closely making a lot of progress on making greater use of categorical exclusions. i think you will see good news occurring. more generally it is
important to give the department tools to make greater use of categorical exclusions. in addition we have begun to take a look at the state review processes. processes. if they are redundant and essentially at the same standard the federal review would be we have begun allowing states to substitute their state review processes. texas is just gone through the process. we are working to expedite where we can. i want to emphasize that i think that through a knew bill congress could give us additional tools to enable us to operationalize. again i think that we get even better by doing it that way because the environmental considerations
get brought up early. >> i would i would be happy to work with you on those especially so that we can stop the redundancy. if we can move on to tiger grants do you think they are being distributed in an unequal manner? i know that when we look at rural america (tree, small towns it seems that we are not getting really tiger funds. can can you tell me why that would be? >> a couple points. the tiger the tiger program requires a manual 20 percent of each round to be distributed into rural america. >> the definition of rural america at that.is? >> i will have to have my staff confirmed this but i believe it it is a community of 50000 fewer people.
>> and talking about sparsely populated areas were in many cases there is one person in a square mile. but in a state like nebraska we have miles and miles of roads that are necessary for commerce. >> we are following the statutory definition. if there is new definition, we we will follow with the congress tells us. what i would say are couple of other points. points. in the last roundly exceeded that 20 percent minimum. we think of it as a floor but not the ceiling. we are looking constantly to make sure that we see good transformational projects across the country wherever they happen to come from.
secondly we have done more our rates to extend technical assistance to roll communities because in some cases it is the communities that have fewer tools are not able to hire fancy consultants to help prepare the applications that sometimes don't get through. we want to make sure we are being as equitable as possible. we will continue to work with you and others can not what i want to applaud nebraska's, from the bus rapid transit system. >> it was great. thank you very very much. appreciate your work. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i just want just want to echo some of what has already been said. one of the best that the president has kind i say that with no particular bias but i just want to thank you all for your numerous trips to the state of new jersey and for your partnership on
a number of specific important partnerships. new jersey's most densely populated state in america is home to the most valuable in the country, home to the busiest airspace and is the 3rd busiest seaport in the united states. we have 39,000 miles of public roads, 6500 bridges and, 6,500 bridges and nearly 1,000 miles of freight and rail. in many ways becomes of the economic prosperity of our state new jersey is a transportation hub that drives our economy and i don't want to restate anything that has been said already in terms of the importance of moving the long-term funding mechanism forward, but for the record i i want to ask some questions which are obvious but important. first and foremost, delays in adequately funding our infrastructure actually cost the taxpayer more money. in
money. in other words, it we will drive the expense of this transportation deficit even higher. in higher. in other words, all of the fiscal conservatives -- and i include myself we actually are delayed in her lack of funding, our short-term actions are actually driving more cost to taxpayers over the long run. >> absolutely. we have estimates, the american society of civil engineers estimates on a state-by-state basis the cost of poor infrastructure on our roadways, and in most cases the amount people are actually paying into the highway trust fund, for instance, is less than the cost they are experiencing as a result of poor road conditions and whether it be having to buy new tires will
get a knew axle fixed or the cost of gasoline whatever, folks are paying more than they are getting. >> right. and so it is the height of irresponsibility from a dollars a dollars and cents balance sheet analysis for us to do nothing not just for the public treasury, but as you said already, motorists in my state on some estimates are spending over $2000 a year because of poor road conditions. our inaction makes people pay twice, once with taxpayer dollars and then also with their of dollars out also with their of dollars out of the pockets in addition to other dollars for direct payment repairs to there cars, congestion, lost productivity because you are sitting in traffic. really traffic. really our inaction and congress is making people pay twice. >> and the thing -- you know money is one thing, but time is something none of us can create more of. when folks are when folks are spending 40 hours on
average more a year in traffic, that is time they do not get back a a soccer game or a work hour or whatever and we have just stopped thinking about our transportation system is something that gets us there fast. >> the importance of finding the mechanism is important, but it is almost like saying we either pay now or pay much more later. the last thing i will ask you to comment on one of my colleagues did something that many people might think is radical $1 trillion investment, dollar investment, far more than the administration is asking for. can you give your opinion on that knowing that our deficit or transportation investment is far more than a trillion how do you view sen. sanders call for $1 trillion investment? >> it is a bold step and a statement about where we are as a country. we need to invest more.
and i think everyone strains to figure out how to pay for it, but to your further.what happens if we don't? we will pay more anyway on an individual basis, lose opportunities to bring jobs to this country. we estimated 13,000 jobs come come as a result. in the transportation sector at large you look at that versus the long-term unemployed, this is also jobs issue. we are not investing as we should. and so i think it is very very important and i applaud senator sanders. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, senator. it is an honor to introduce and for the 1st time in committee to make great contributions.
>> thank you for being here with us today. i i was able to meet you 1st on the transportation committee and was also on the conference committee with ranking member when we did a lot of the streamlining. and i'm glad to know is moving along. also i would tell my colleague that west virginia rural community town of lance and was a recipient of two tiger grants for economic development, and we are appreciative. they appreciative. they have been innovative, and i think it's going to really grow that local and regional economy. i am appreciative of the set aside for rural america because we were the beneficiary.
you know the big question is how do we afford all of this? whenever that is the elephant of the room so i would ask you and the public-private partnership arena are you finding the states and local communities and business entities are stepping up what is public-private partnership? we see some of this. i am wonder how to follow wonder how it's going nationally. >> we do see a lot of promise and public-private partnerships. some really clear examples was that we have been able to move forward, one forward one of which that comes to mind is in pennsylvania they needed to update, many of them were deficient.
now one of those by itself would have been necessarily attracted to private capital. they pull those projects together and we were able to issue $1.2 billion in private dollars in private activity bonds to support getting all those bridges done. they are looking at creative ways to move forward. having having said that, i think we have got some problems that i i want to be clear about. number one this issue of the cumulative effect of short-term has hurt us as a country. states and local governments have not had the luxury of counting on federal support and that pullback on the planning. the big projects that are most likely to attract large-scale private capital in many cases are not actually being planned planned, not going to the review process, not to that
to rapidly move until window public-private partnership. the 2nd challenge is that the programs that we have a relatively stovepipe. through some agencies, but not all. our office of policy. one of the things that additional policy to do is to help us pull those resources together so that we could have a dedicated team to focus on public-private partnerships. >> thank you and i share your frustration. where the frustration for a state like ours the money
comes in smaller chunks you end up just doing maintenance nothing innovative, nothing that really is telling you population that we are moving to the next century. and so we see that in our home state, and i think it's frustrating to local citizens, businesses, and people and people who are trying to control the economy. so i will join with you to try to make this work and to try to find the magic formulas the state and local folks that we really can get this done. there is a great impetus for this. >> mr. chairman congratulations to you on his 1st and most important hearing that we we will be discussing. you and the ranking member are working very closely together to advance this
legislation. i think i think that if we do it correctly can have a great success this year. mr. sec., if i make him i would like to talk 1st about transit oriented development. we are having great success with the help of the federal government explosive in terms of the growth in the use of public transportation talk a little bit about that they continue to advance and what role do you see in terms of it being built into legislation.
>> what is happening in boston and across many of the metro areas around the country population is starting to concentrate. he mentioned to me that they literally don't have more highways than they can build any to integrate transit choices and what they do. when you build a station on what that does is captures the imagination of ilse developers and bring amenities into communities that may traditionally not happen. the amount of money we put into transit, the demand for it a more robust investment in transit. secondly i urge that we do
more to partner with local communities whether it's npo's are mayors or even governors in some cases to help them develop the tools to utilize the land-use opportunities. >> boston had 800,000 people who live there in 1950. drifted all the way down. but now with increasing transitory and development it's gone back up to 640,000 move closer to all of the amenities and also the jobs are being created reducing the number of vehicle miles driven by automobiles all across the country. it's just going down down down because people want to live and work closer to
their mode of transportation and increasingly it's public transportation. can i talk with you a a little bit about the complete streets program? i find it to be very exciting pedestrians bikers, children, seniors everyone is included in kind of project approach that ensures that all of these facilities can be used by everyone. the role that the congress can play in the authorization and partnership with the development of transportation. >> to our transportation program we have been able to be a bit of a catalyst to helping communities develop best practices around the greater use of complete streets and what that really means is creating ways in which for all users on the roadway to safely use those facilities.
you i will aim for vehicular traffic, places for pedestrians that are safe and bicyclists as well. we found that it not only helps with safety people actually use the entire roadway in different ways. healthier cleaner in some cases. continuing to support the transportation alternatives program and helping us build additional tools to support states as they measure the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians and really bringing it up to a standard a standard that we expect of every other mode of transportation. right now we are upwards of three quarters of pedestrians were killed are killed in urban areas. the more that we can work together to create strategies and reduce those numbers and make the streets safer everyone i think the
better off we we will be and i'm looking forward to working with you. by the way, i think you're doing a fantastic a fantastic job. i think you understand cities having been a mayor. >> thank you. we will recognize now for his 1st introduction in the committee and how delighted we are to have him >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. sec., mr. secretary, thank you for the opportunity to visit with you today. coming from south dakota it strikes me that in our home state there between 80,900,000 -- between 800,000 and 900,000 except during the time of the sturgis rally and then we bump up considerably. it seems that as a former mayor of boston, you have
had the opportunity to work transportation projects from a different.of view a large metropolitan area. and yet one in which you are dealing with the federal guidelines required in order to qualify for federal funding. and south dakota we have similar challenges but on agricultural basis. just curious as to your thoughts with regard to the projects that as you have indicated earlier in your statements and so forth that need to be modernized. and we have to be more efficient if we expect taxpayers to put more dollars in. how do you move forward? from the federal side when you are working with communities large and small states large and small differing expectations in terms of the quality and yet at the same time the need for modernization of different projects. what do we do to convince
and gain the confidence of the individual taxpayers who look at a federal operation here that under traditional operations take a huge amount of time just to get a project ready to go, approved, and then actually built. what do we do to convince them that we have modern ways and more efficient ways to actually deliver those projects and a timely basis? would you share with us a little bit your thoughts in terms of what we can do to deliver more bang for the buck when it comes to the dollars that we we will be expected to invest? >> sure. we have had some conversation already about project delivery. there is another idea i have not mentioned that i think is worthy but essentially i think that we can greatly
accelerate the delivery of projects, speeding them up in other words by having more concurrent reviews occurring at the federal level. i urge tools that incentivize the states to do the same thing because sometimes their largest federal delays. sometimes there are state reviews. giving the states states more tools to be able to accelerate as useful. in addition to that it is a quirky thing in the federal government when it comes to multimodal projects, was that involve potentially highways or rail were transit, transit, and that is that the reviews are sometimes requiring separate reviews. even within our own department project that has different roads sometimes we have to have two different sets of reviews amanda doesn't make sense to me but it is a requirement that comes that i think can be fixed by legislation.
i think think some of that up would be useful and will allow us to move forward without compromising the environment and assuring project integrity. the other thing i would say is that i think the public has gotten used to a deteriorating system and i urge that if you give us the tools to help speed up projects, which i would urge that we also look hard at making sure that we have the resources to make the kind of impact on folks whose commutes and their ability to get goods from farm to market or whatever and make sure that this counts. if we are going to go to the brain damage of trying to figure out how to get it done make it count and make it so that people actually see and feel it. another part of the bang for
the buck issue is that if we are essentially managing a declining system folks are going to lose confidence. >> mr. secretary, thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> secretary. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you for the steady hand and detailed presentation and the points that you are heading on. it certainly it certainly resonates in oregon. movement of freight, urban transit, innovating finance support of transportation for manufacturing the connection between world communities and markets come all of these. so well done. thank you for coming out to oregon to take a look at a processing. certainly the federal government was a huge partner. and the network of light rail and streetcars and rapid bus transit that is being utilized to try to address some of those job to
work or home to work challenges challenges, the last time that my colleague from new jersey was talking about something that has really struck me and certainly resonated in my town halls across oregon is the low percent of gdp that we are investing in infrastructure. infrastructure. and i think that is a.worth reiterating. the numbers are generally seen that have a feeling that you have better, more detailed insight that the us has now spent less than 2% of gdp on infrastructure europe is spending 5 percent, china has been in 10 percent. i was struck watching beijing going from being basically a bicycle city to having a bullet train running 200 miles per hour. and to be on that bullet train was more of a surreal experience given what i had
seen just a decade previous. massive changes due to a huge commitment to infrastructure. are those numbers in the ballpark? how does that reflect upon the difference between the foundation that we are building for the economy of the next generation and what our papers are doing? >> it's a great question, and those those numbers are in the ballpark. you know, there are several challenges some of which you have pointed out. out. one of them is that our global competitors have the benefit of picking and choosing from the things that we have done with our system and figuring out which of those things they're going to engage in, in, whether it's real or highways reports or whatever and improving upon what we have done. and it then becomes a matter if you are a manufacturer if you can get things from shop to port's
pastor someplace else, it creates a competitive disadvantage for us. so one thing is that the rest of the world has looked at what we have done and are building new stuff that in many cases better than ours. secondly we have an aging system you know some of the stuff that you're talking about in china is relatively new. we have two problems. we have made things we need to build and all things that we built a long time ago that need to be fixed. both of those problems created huge challenge. the 3rd issue and i mentioned this before, but but we have allowed our system to be stovepipe. if we're going to improve our ports we need to improve road systems and bridges. if we're going to do all
that money to make sure we're taking care of intercoastal waterways our system is a system of systems but we cannot starve it and expected to perform. to your point,. we are under investing. >> thank you very much. >> thanks. >> senator carper. >> thank you. i just want to applaud you and sen. senator boxer for the spirit in which you approach this. it is an inspiration to me. an example to our colleagues in the senate and to the house. mr. secretary, a lot of nice things have been said about you this morning some of them over the top. referred to as the mayor of charlotte boston, i don't i don't know what else you have in your background, but there is an old saying in our state flattery won't hurt you if you don't inhale
just hombres too deeply and you'll be fine. one of the takeaways for me from the election last november was the notion to five really three things people want us to work together. one of the things they bring to these proceedings proceedings, with the folks are looking for across the country, they want us to get something done something real not just talk about it and not just bemoaned the fact that we're having a hard time but actually get things done. the other the other thing is find ways to further strengthen our economic recovery which is almost on its 6th year. people are hurting, still a good deal these to be be done, but one of the best things we can do a lot of people are sitting on the sidelines who would would
like to do construction work. i understand the robust transportation plan would put six or 7000 people back to work. we have not heard a number of studies from people smarter than me that talked about what would happen to the growth in our gross domestic product if we actually do a a robust transportation plan for america and it is not just a percentage. real growth. use the term the 800-pound gorilla in the room. i would go back. there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room, the unwillingness to pay for things that we want. an energy policy within all of the above approach, gas, coal, nuclear, wind nuclear wind, hydro solar
other sources. what we need is at all of the above approach in terms of providing transportation funding, not just financing. there are a lot of ways to finance stuff. but the three public-private partnership, there is room for that. page creation to be helpful for getting one-time projects of. for example the tunnel i can through coming down the northeast corridor this morning through baltimore was built in the civil war. that is an example of a one-time project. it needs a lot of money. vehicle miles traveled, interesting experiments. slowly advancing. but the idea that we're not talking about a lot here is user fees. we pay for the transportation infrastructure. the gas tax was adopted 21 years ago.
$0.18 was worse about a dime and meanwhile the price of asphalt, concrete, steel waiver have all gone out. we need something like facebook for energy, coal, nuclear, gas. we need gas. we need some baseload for transportation funding. someone will be introducing bipartisan legislation in the house and senate probably next month to raise that user fee three or $0.4 a year for four years and index it to the rate of inflation. about $175 billion and would be a real infrastructure and would be a real infrastructure investment. on top of that, we need to do more. the other items are referred to would be helpful. my question question, you and i have had good conversations of late. talking talking about why we
just offset increasing the user fee by increasing income taxes. the problem with doing that that we have a $480 billion budget deficit. we make the budget deficit bigger. one bigger. one of the things we talked about is finding savings the way we do transportation projects. ideas where we could save money to offset whatever increase we have just very briefly tell us about the most important ones that you think we should focus on and what we can do to help. >> the project delivery work is an opportunity. done right in a way that does not compromise the environment it can be done well and would save money and not just money at the federal level that we will boat downstream at the state and local level as well. in addition to that i think we in terms of saving money
think the more we work to accelerate projects them through the product -- the system at any given.whether it is designed environmental review, or even as we work on the coming better with innovative financing tools like private activity bonds and so forth those are places where i think we can also stand to accelerate and get projects done faster. we worked hard to make the program move better and faster. it has been a success, but we still need the private activity bond and we we will continue working on those things. >> i would ask you to help us build that and to be real partners. to the extent as we raise monies i hope through user fees phased-in but the real and to find ways to
offset this increased user fees to savings to actually do the not throw away that degrades our environment but help to find this. how some of you people do that and we are grateful. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in your statement you talked about expediting a high priority project, and i agree. in wyoming we have high priority projects which can be as small as replacing a single lane bridge and as big as replacing a segment of interstate 80. can you please share how it we will benefit rural areas in states like wyoming? >> what we would like to do is operationalize the concurrent review process so that we are doing it on a routine basis and it is not just some of the high-profile big dollar
basis but it could be on a routine basis for virtually all projects. working with congress to develop those tools and do it in an environmentally sensitive way i think we can get that done and move the ball forward. >> and light of the fact we have a a number of governors waiting to stand by i will defer. >> thank you. >> thank you so much for holding this hearing. this is an incredibly important issue. mass transit is critical to the economic viability of not only new york but every state in the country. on an average weekday nearly a half-million americans ride the trains subways, buses. would you agree that it is critically important for mass transit to continue to receive designated funding through the mass transit account of the highway trust fund? can you discuss some of the
negative impacts if congress were to cut funding for public transit? >> absolutely, i agree that that we need to maintain resources for mass transit. it is vitally important in the state of new york and many other parts of the country. country. there is also a very substantial rural transit program. if congress were to eliminate that funding what would happen is that our roadways in high use areas of the country would become inundated with traffic. freight movement and commutes would actually stall and that would be a disaster. what we really need is a nation that moves more toward multimodal movement and one in which the users of choice. the more choices they have
potentially you get more cars off the road which enables more bandwidth for trucks and other commercial activities to occur. this is also meiotic. >> super storms sandy resulted a whopping $8 million in fiscal damage and affected nearly eight half-million public transit riders and one millionaire travelers. nearly two years after sandy new york city is not only works to repair and restore his transportation infrastructure but is also taking steps to improve the resiliency of his transit network. there is much more work to be done. can you speak to some of the challenges in regard to a reconstructing a more resigned transportation network the dot and state