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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 29, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EST

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country. and we only have one truly sacred obligations. we have obligations to the needy, to the elderly, we want truly sacred. ..
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c-span, c-span2, c-span radio and >> anthony foxx testified about the highway transportation group and was joined at the senate environment and pubic works
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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 state to slow or stop projects, but it may be the first state to tell the unvarnished truth. last year we sent you the grow america act that included 350 pages of precise policy prescriptions and substang stanti stantial funding growth focused on the future. ...
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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
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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
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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 comment on that project 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
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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
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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. well taken. may 312015 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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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 >> 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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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>> 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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 and local governments have the tools they need. >> this is a very important topic. we learn a lot when we got involved with hurricane center recovery and we are taking the larynx that we derive from that and trying to build into more of our programs routine resilient construction. for instance we found that stoplights needed to be waged in the ground deeper to be more resilient. ..
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and when that local leaders in my state are working hard to address whether it's new york city or projects to improve sidewalks and crosswalks in upstate new york. yielding pedestrian infrastructure and how we design
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our streets safe slice. as this committee works to revise map-21 we should invest in critical safety programs that protect the safety of pedestrians including the children and the elderly and people with disabilities. what would be the implications of failing to adequately address the safety at the federal level? >> it's an incredibly important question senator. between 2009 and 2013 and actually saw an uptick in pedestrian and bicycle deaths as well as accidents and is one of the few areas in our entire department where we are seeing that uptick. so we have to attack this as a country. we have to use a multitiered strategy. transportation alternatives program which provides resources to help support bicycle and pestering programs has been
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useful. we have also made significant investments to help promote best practices including new york city's vision program and then finally working with mayors across the country now to encourage them towards best practices and information sharing because a lot of the capital expenditures across the country are at the local level. >> all right thank you and thank you secretary fox. we are going to enjoy this ride with you and we think you are the right guy at the most difficult time. thank you for your service. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you reagan member boxer. >> i would like to ask the second penalty command. i believe they are already in the room. our first introducer will be senator sessions. he is trying to get another committee hearing.
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we'll will our witnesses please come in and sit down. [inaudible conversations] >> mr. chairman i think i new senate is trying to get busy today. we have four major committees at this exact time going on that i am a member of. >> on top of that 16 votes so we are going to be busy. at this time i would like to welcome our panel. we have had a little bit of illness around with the changeup of the committee a little bit but i would like to deduce for introductory purposes senator
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sessions. >> thank you mr. chairman and i'm honored to introduce governor robert bentley the 53rd governor of the state of alabama. he's a long-term practicing physician and is reported he finished at the top of his medical class. i have been asked him that under oath that i would not be surprised. fact i'm sure that's accurate. he served in the air force and he made job creation a priority with the automobile, aerospace and manufacturing industry in alabama. he is vice chair of the economic development and commerce committee of the national governors association. he has the understanding of fiscal challenges facing our state. he was reelected despite having to make real tough decisions to control spending and a big victory in this last election. he understands the physical challenges we face what our states need to do to make sure
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taxpayers monies are spent wisely. he is led a host of everest to streamline and reduce unnecessary costs. governor bentley thank you for coming. spent a pleasure for me to work with you. i have the highest respect for you and i would say this mr. chairman i won't be able to participate in questioning i don't think. we'll see how that works out. i hope to get back but i share your view that we need a highway plan that we can pass that is soundly financed and paid for that allows our governors to rely on the future so they can plan for their future. it is costing money reducing the value of the money we spend because of the uncertainty that is out there. even though you know i'm a frugal budget person somehow we need to make this one work and i will try to the positive in that
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regard. thank you for your leadership and thank you for inviting governor bentley. >> thank you very much senator sessions for that fine introduction of the governor
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200 miles up and down and 400 miles east and west. we have 85,000 miles of highway. local governments on 57% of the federal aid highway miles of in the state and 91% of the state structurally it deficient bridges. a federal highway program is vital to ensuring south dakota has the funds we need to manage our state's highways and bridges thereby providing for economic growth and ensuring that all south dakotans can travel safely throughout the state every single day. i can share with you that i look forward to working with the other members on this committee and you mr. chairman and ranking member boxer. we do need an infrastructure highway bill 1 that delivers highway transportation needs across the entire united states. i just hope as we move through this process we find an appropriate way to fund it on a
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longer-term basis. and we also recognize we have got to do this as efficiently as we possibly can and that means cutting through as much red red tape as we can when it comes to delivering the services. something else and something else than that as we work through this in a positive way rural and urban areas recognizing our needs are truly different in many cases but we are going to have to find a way to keep all of us in the same game and recognizing the needs of the rural and the urban states in this methodology. without mr. chairman thank you. >> thank you for that very fine introduction. senator sanders. >> thank you very much senator inhofe and i apologize for not being here earlier but i was with another committee. thank you governor pete sean lennon for being with us today. as the senator mentioned i think
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everybody on this committee understands aren't the structures in many ways collapsing and we used to lead the world in terms of infrastructure and according to the world economic forum we are in -- and that's not anything that anyone on this committee should be proud of. in the same of vermont we have the same infrastructural problems as a rural state that every other state in the country has. we have communities with a lot of potholes and we have congestion. we have bridges that are in disrepair. some years ago and governor shumlin played an active role we had hurricane irene with devastation to our infrastructure and we were and we work hard to rebuild that infrastructure so i appreciate your efforts mr. chairman you're working with senator boxer. there's a lot of division in the congress today but i would hope on this


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