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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  May 27, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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that somehow has to be dug out and the culture notion is , it has not been defined. congress of course passed math 21 giving federal transit administration oversight over global public transportation in the united states and we reinforce that in the fast act and there are issues that pile onto fta that it would like to offload and i think the safe track plan of the general manager will help to do that. some of metro's funds are being held up because in
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inexcusably, on top of all these other issues, it had a financial crisis and how it dealt with applying for its federal grants. that is something that has to be worked out and worked out very quickly. it looks like ramada has taken the necessary actions but the federal transit administration has not responded appropriately so while it does something right, we expect the federal agency to respond in kind. mister chairman, i'm very anxious to hear the testimony. i very much appreciate that the witnesses have prepared thought testimony today and i think you can see how much today's hearing means to the region that you see community members in the region here to testify and i thank them for coming here as well. i yield back, sir >> thank you, now turn to the chairmanof the full committee , beth schuster.
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>> thank you witnesses for being here today, with the panel that we have this to connelly and delaney and three members of the committee, we've got the entire house delegation that represent the area which as you can tell at an important issue to them but it's an important issue to all of us. millions of people come to washington dc every year from our fellow citizens to people from around the world and this transit system really ought to be the crown jewel of the transit systems around the country. in fact, they get more money per capita than any other system in the country but they also spend more money than any other system in the country and we got to bring those things into alignment but this needs to be a system that is , safety has to be paramount and for over 50 years as i've mentioned the metro system has benefited by federal support though this is really important to the entire nation that we get this right. in addition to the monies that the federal government
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gives to the metro system, also 40 percent of the metro rush-hour writers are provided federal employees are provided a subsidy to write that system so again, the safety of the people we work with every day depend on to help us operate the government depend on this system being a safe and reliable system but despite all that federal investments, the safety and reliability has deteriorated and i believe from what i've talked to other folks, it has not switched it responsibility from operating system to maintain a system. what it takes i believe is the cultural change at metro and i'm pleased that the new ceo i think is doing just that. what the federal transit administration has temporarily taken over , the administration here today to talk about that. that oversight needed to be
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done because metro hasn't been able to do it appropriately. secretary fox has given one year to be a lot of, to virginia, maryland and dc to step up to the plate and do what's necessary on the oversight and last year our congressmen pass the facts act and in that we strengthen oversight authority and provided five years of increased funding in your federal dollars that the citizens of america contributing to this system. as i said, this should be the crown jewel of the system and it's not. we deserve to have that. the new ceo, paul is here today and his record as a manager, making things running the proper way, he's got the right resume for it and his strong statements in just his first year really have woken folks up to the need for strong management, for cultural change at this transit system so again, i welcome my colleagues here today, look forward to hearing from them and also from mister wiedefeld and ms.
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flowers on this issue so thank you very much and i yield back. >> ranking member defazio. >> thank you mister chairman. well, it's sad that we are here today under these circumstances. there are certainly matching management issues and i'll get into that in a moment but let's get to the bottom line. congress has neglected to make sufficient investments in infrastructure. everywhere in the country, cities are struggling between pressure to build out more transit and new options and that's certainly going on here inwhat is arguably , potentially the most congested traffic region in the united states of america and then maintaining their legacy system and congress hasn't been willing to be an equal partner. $84 billion backlog nationally to bring transit up to a state here. yes, the fast act will give us more money, that's good
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but with the amount of money there, we're never going to get a state of repair, never. we're just treading water. and right now, dot says the average annual level required to eliminate the backlog is $18.5 billion a year. and we are putting up 10 oh. that doesn't sound too good, does it? it's pretty embarrassing . the capital of the free world, the greatest country on earth, american exceptionalism, we are killing people on a transit system with a combination of budgetary pressures and management issues. now, i think we are going to make real progress on the management issues and we will hear about that later today but what about the money? we cannot ignore the need for additional investments. now when the american
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recovery act passed which i voted against, four percent of that 800 some billion dollars went into infrastructure investment, four percent. cities like chicago just pulled projects off the shelf, they have the money committed in 30 days. they could have spent 10, 20 times as much money on projects sitting on the shelves, waiting to happen that are critical for the safety and security of their writers andobviously the efficiency of the system . so we cannot ignore the thousand pound gorilla in the room. we are putting up the money we need to be a good partner, we only partner 50 percent. and we don't pay, we don't help with operations. you know, we are just walking away from that so that's why we are here today. let's not just say this was a management issue or they spent more money or g, they are less efficient.
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those are all issues but the bottom line is, this is not a unique circumstance.what is happening here in washington dc is getting attention but that happening in every major legacy system across the country today and it's happening in cities that want to give their people new transit options and have to choose between running with 1 billion miles on it that's breaking down every day, maybe the brakes don't work so well and having people the two options to get them out of congestion. we shouldn't have to make those choices the country, the united states of america can afford to do both. we can partner and help them rebuild andmaintain and build out the new options but it's going to take a new attitude here in congress . i've offered many weight to help increase transit funding and highway funding . i've been allowed to vote on one single option, one amendment when we did the fast act. they were not allowed. many were allowed that included bipartisan. we pretended. we took money from the tsa to help pay for that bill and
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now people are standing in line at the airports. wow. we are going to keepshuffling stuff around until nothing works in this country anymore . thank you mister chairman, i look forward to hearing. >> thank you very much and today we have two panels and i want to welcome our first panel, we got the honorable editor hoyer was representing maryland, gerry connolly who is representing the 11th district of virginia and the honorable john delaney representing the six district of maryland. i would ask unanimous consent that are full statements included in the record and that is so ordered. with that, we will start with mister hoyer, thank you for being here. >> german grays and ranking member defazio and i want to associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from pennsylvania, mister schuster, chairman of the committee. clearly this was the crown
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jewel, clearly nobody would be calling it the crown jewel today and clearly it must be the crown jewel for all the reasons the chairman mentioned in terms of, we used to call this and still call it america's subway because millions of everybody's constituents in this room use this system. i appreciate the opportunity to share my input with the subcommittee regarding the metropolitan area transit authority and the need for robust investment. and high safety standards. the safety and reliability of the metro is a critical importance not only to washington dc and its surrounding communities but also critical to the smooth functioning of the federal government and of our national defense and homeland security. both civilian and military rely on the metro to get to their offices and to their duty stations are in my district is home to 62,000 federal employees and many who serve inmilitary jobs located here in regional installations . many of them depend on metro to get to work each day to serve the american people . metro is also a crucial tool
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for the millions of americans in foreign visitors who come to our nation's capital each year. that is the premise which underlines our federal focus. i joined the rest of the national capital region delegation last wednesday for a meeting with paul wiedefeld . metro's new general manager of whom many of you have spoken and open positively and i think that as well. to discuss the new satrap plan which aims to address maintenance and rehabilitation efforts to improve safety. however, we spoke on a more broad basis than simply the fast track or the safe track program. the recent incidents on the fire and daylong shutdown for diagnostic inspections have brought to light a number of very critical repairs must be done to ensure that writers are always safe when using the metro system area in some ways, these problems are the
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result of past failures to invest adequately in long-term maintenance and upgrades. as the new 7000 series cars are brought into the fleet, we need to make sure that the tracks and tunnels that these new modern cars run on are up-to-date as well. metro safety and reliability is a critical concern for residents of maryland's district which is home to communities served by all of the metro's lines. i am disappointed as i know many are . that metro needs to implement the safe track plan in the first place but it is necessary. we should be in a situation however where entire lines may be shut down for maintenance and where the predictability and reliability of trainschedules has been undermined . and i am very impressed with mister wiedefeld's leadership and his determination to take the steps necessary to put
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metro back on course to be a system that all in our region and in our country can be proud of area we have a ways to go before we can get to that point. but it is encouraging that leadership is fully committed to putting passenger safety first and is acting to improve safety in the near and in the long term. mister chairman, i hope the subcommittee and full committee will support investments in metro safety and service will that safe track plans to be as successful as possible as quickly as possible. congress has a responsibility to make sure that the metro system which we call america's subway can well serve those and serve american citizens as well. i want to thank ranking member eleanor holmes norton for her untiring advocacy on
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behalf of metro and all those who ride it. mister chairman, i want to assure you and mister schuster and ms. norton and mister defazio that the washington metropolitan delegation is united in its determination to ensure working with you that america's subway is a subway system second to none. thank you very much. >> thank you congressman boyer. next is congressman connolly. >> german grays, chairman schuster, ranking members norton and defazio, thank you for having us here today. i'm delighted to join with my colleagues mister hoyer and mister delaney. i serve as the ranking member of the governing operations committee of the oversight and government reform committee which held its own hearings on metro and the weight of the plaza tragedy. the challenges facing metro are significant and i welcome
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collaboration between our two committees to ensure robust oversight over metro's management of federal dollars and adherence to see federal safety standards. i've spent the last 22 years working in metro. first is a member of the fairfax board of supervisors whereas german i made appointments to the metro board and approved the local operating subsidy. for the past eight years, i worked with you and your colleagues in this committee to secure the hundred and $50 million annual federal commitment to metro's safety improvements which has matched dollar for dollar our virginia, dc and maryland. no one is more disheartened than i am with the acceptable and unsustainable fate state of affairs in metro. i want to start by commending this committee for your efforts to map 21 and the fatback to create a conference if framework of safety standards for metro and all of the nations transit systems. as the ntsb and the fda have
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highlightedagain and again , metro's current local safety agency the tri-state oversight committee is nothing more than a paper tiger without the proper resources and tools to provide effective oversight. our partners in virginia, maryland and dc are working together to stand up a new metro safety commission next year that will meet and enforce the new federal standards. until then, secretary fox acting under new authorities in the fast act has appointed the fda as the interim safety oversight agency. while i respectfully disagree with that action, deferring instead to the ntsb's recommendation to use the fra's more robust safety standards, i share the committee and secretary's ultimate goal for addressing the shocking lack of safety culture within metro. to that end, i welcome an opportunity to work with you to explore further expanding the fda's authority to better match not only the oversight but also the enforcement
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authorities under the fra to address the ntsb's urgent safety recommendations. in fact, metro's new general manager has indicated he has voluntarily directing his team to explore what fra standards they can apply on their own area regardless of what style of transit commuters are using, they deserve to know they are being protected effective and enforceable federal standards. what we are witnessing today with metro is the result of a decades long march into mediocrity and dysfunction. riders are not confronted with their daily service including today, mister chairman or safety delays and incidents of smoke in the tunnels have become all too frequent and frankly, obscuring writers away. recent arcing incidents led to the general member to make the unprecedented step of shuttering the entire national capital subway
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system for 24 hours in march. and earlier this month, the few stations serving capitol hill were closed during the evening rush hour. mister wiedefeld recently released an aggressive proposal to singletrack and shutdown portions of metro lines for days at a time in order to condense three years worth of deferred maintenance, three years. into one year. this will present significant and sustained challenges to writers in the federal government. federal employees account for 40 percent of all metro riders so we have called on opm and all federal agencies to push telework and flexible work schedules during this time. of course, metro cannot focus only on track and infrastructure repairs. a complete systemwide change in culture is necessary. safety and personnel actions already taken by mister wiedefeld should serve as a shot across about that indifference to safety and
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customer service will no longer be tolerated. these are not problems that can be fixed overnight. metro and its partners face a monumental task and the federal government must be a full funding partner in this effort. and i welcome the opportunity to work with this community to explore optionsfor expanding our federal commitment to include operating subsidies . the federal government is the only compact member that does not pay any share of operating subsidies. we also must incentivize the national capital region to finally create a dedicated source of revenue for funding metro. these are separate but equally important investments critical to metro's future success. metro mister chairman has been our single greatest regional achievement and in many ways our greatest disappointment, working together we can restore america's subway to a place of prominence it once held and setting the standard for other transit systems across the nation, writers world-class system they so
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sorely deserve. thank you. >> thank you mister connolly. next is representative john delaney, thanks for being here. >> thank you. i want to thank the chair and ranking member and all my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to discuss metro with you today. it'ssomething that's very important to my constituents , many of which use thesystem on a daily basis . it's also important as we know to everyone who lives in the national capital region and all the visitors of our nation's capital. clearly metro is an organization in crisis . it's significant deficiencies around safety, around reliability, around customer service and around financial management and if you diagnose the problems with metro you realize there are several causes. first ranking member noted norton discussed which is metro effectively reports 24 governing jurisdictions. dc, maryland, virginia and
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federal government. this poor headed monster makes it difficult for metro to get kind of funding and oversight that would be optimal for organization of its scale. secondly, as ranking member deposit talked about, by any measure that metro has been underfunded and it's lacking a reliable source of funding which has created greater uncertainty and maybe underfunded situation more pronounced. finally, it's clearly been mismanaged, perhaps for several decades when you look back at management decisions whether they be strategic or tactical, really poor decisions were made. i, like you, want to exclude the current general manager from criticism because i, like you share the view that he's off to a good start and we should be supported but there's another issue that needs to be considered. when we talk about what's going on with metro and this gets to chairman sisters comments about culture. witches, metro has clearly had a deficient culture as it relates to its priorities. i think that raises a governance question. in other words, what's
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happening in terms of the board, the board of directors and the governments and management of metro as someone who spent my whole career in the private sector hearing to traded companies and being on the board of nonprofits, i think dominance really matters because a good board sets the correct mission, sets the correct strategic goals and most important responsibility is to recruit management, hold them responsible. make management changes and to secure the funding that the enterprise needs and the way they secure the funding is by making people believe that they are actually running the place right. i think this is a significant question with metro. right now metro has a 16 person board. for those members appointed by each relevant jurisdiction and currently, there are no standards for who those members can be. mister schuster, or the chairman i think you said you
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can't legislate certain things. one thing you can't legislate is good governance but you can do things to make sure we have the best people possible around the table making these decisions. instead of maybe just elected officials or instead of people were given a spot because they raise a lot of money for their relevant elected officer and so when i tried to do is put forth and representative comstock has been supportive of this, put forth a framework for the jurisdictions will be required as part of their appointment process to certify that the members that they are appointing our experts in either finance, management, transit or in safety. i think this will put people with more qualifications and more experience around the table at metro and i think it will encourage maybe longer term thinking because my sense is these people will probably have more experience and board governance matters and they won't think about their own unique interests in the particular jurisdiction they represent but spend more time thinking about the good of the whole enterprise which is what a real fiduciary
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should do so i think to talk about specific things we can do to change the culture, in addition to getting more funding, in addition to supporting new management changes, i think there are important things we can do around governance and i applaud secretary fox who is actually taking a step in this direction. he recently exchanged all the federal appointees to the board and put up for people who clearly have expertise in safety. which is something we support what we would also like to see people sitting around the table who has finance experience, management experience in real transit experience so we get real experts thinking long-term for the good of the enterprise, reading the right mission, getting the management team in place and holding them accountable and over time that can change the culture of metro. i appreciate the opportunity to be here with you. thank you very much all three of you and with that i will dismiss the first panel and bring the second panel, thank you very much.
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>> mister chairman, while the second panel is coming up i would like to ask that the statements of representative chris van hollen, a member of who represents a jurisdiction in this region be admitted to the record. and i'd like to ask unanimous consent to correct the record and have a chart that shows federal funding for obama as opposed to other agencies receives 19 percent of its budget from federal contributions,17 percent is the industry average . on fares, ramada stairs cover 32.6 percent of its budget where the industry average is 23. .3 percent and i asked that
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this chart be added into the record as well. >> without objection. so ordered. i like to take this opportunity to welcome our second panel. we have mister paul wiedefeld, the general manager of the washington metropolitan area transit authority, as carolyn flowers with the active administrator of federal transit administration and the honorable kim levine, chair of the transportation planning board of the metropolitan washington council of government. with i would ask unanimous consent of our witnesses. included in the record and without objection, that is so ordered and sent the written statements are going to be included in the record i request you limit your comments to five minutes and with that, mister wiedefeld, we will start with you. >> good morning chairman graves and thank you norton
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and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. i'm paul wiedefeld, manager of the transit authority also known as metro. what i thought i would do is summarize quickly my parties have been since i joined on november 30 with with the agency , to talk a little about what we are up against and what i am trying to do about it and wrap up with concluding remarks. in terms of what my priorities are, obviously safety and liability and management so what we are up against, i think it's important to step back and think about the physical nature of what we're up against before we get into some of the management issues. we have to recognize this is a two track railroad system which presents a lot of challenges for maintenance because you cannot maintain the system without impacting customers is basically what we have and you add on top of that decades of delayed maintenance and underfunding, much of that creates a lot of the issues we deal with. on top of that is the fleet, the cars, the trains themselves that's on the real side. it's important also to recognize that metro is more than israel, it's also a
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major bus system. we do almost 600,000 people a day on bus system alone and in that case we have a much better fleet but we do have some basic infrastructure services as well as need to be fixed, particularly in garages. in terms of the agency, what i found is what i heard an here is lack of safety and service culture in the organization. that eliminates throughout the entire organization but also employees. there's no lack of accountability from the management and the frontline people. there's also a lack of management systems put in place. there's been a lack of sustainable protectable funding sources over the decades for this system. we are facing ridership declined, part of this is self-inflicted by some of the performance levels we provided but also just the changing demographics in the region and the way we travel. metro access is also increasing in demand.
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it's one of our most expensive services and we need to think about how we provide that service as well to that part of the community. crime as mentioned is a concern for all transit agencies. unfortunately we had some terrible and visible incidents in our system recently, both from our passengers and our employees and always in the front of my mind is terrorism and we always have to make sure we are doing everything in our heart to be prepared for anything that may occur there so what are we doing in march i release a customer accountability report. there are 60 action items that outline what we are doing to both increase the overall performance and customer service portion of what we do. i did release several weeks ago the rail maintenance plan called safetrack . basically the current approach to my system not working, we need a much more holistic and transit parent process to how we go about that upgrading of the tracks. i've been workingclosely with our manufacturer of the cars , the train sets which is kawasaki and we now have 120 new properties and 120 in service of the 7000 series.
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we have 748 of those ordered and as soon as we get those to the point where i'm comfortable that we have what we paid for we will increase that to deliver those cards. if that fleet is maintained well so we will continue in that area. on the metro access we are looking at brokering some outside third-party vendors to buy better services there. in terms of safety and service culture, that starts with me. basically driving home to that is the most important thing that we do. recently i come up with a number of things reinforce that , safety from saul. we now have our track inspectors and people that have the ability to understand the system, can shut down the system at any time they see something they want to get out and look at which is often the case in the past. we have a new chief safety officer which i just brought in earlier this month. we are looking at, the police are doing a metro, basically
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a metro staff monitoring the system every day, minute by minute to acquire resources and we are adding new resources there and of course we are working with the terrorism task force. the good news is that the system over the last four years has been in the economic development and our culture here in this region and the business community is behind it. elected officials are behind it and the writers are behind. my job is to get it performing better then we will deal with other issues from my perspective and in the future . my parties are for safety and system management and that will continue to be my focus in the near term and we will deal with the larger issues as we go forward. with that, i will be glad to take any questions thank you very much. ms. flowers? >> thank you chairman greg. ranking member norton, chairman schuster, members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me to report on the federal transit administration's work to
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improve safety and reliability at ramada. together, safety and reliability comprise a minimum we should expect from public transportation and yet on both counts, ramada has fallen short. in recent years the result has been not only delay and disruption but also injury and fatality. our goal at fta is to make sure that ramada stores safety andreliability for its writers and employees . we are conducting on the ground inspections leading accident investigations and directing safety improvements that ramada must make. to do this we are exercising the authority congress provided our agency, congress first authorized fta to oversee public safety of transportation systems under mac 21 and the fast act fda's ability to set national standards and enforce them. over the course of the past four years, we have worked with transit industry stakeholders to develop regulations thatwould be
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affected , enforceable and adaptable at, the opposite of a one-size-fits-all wear safety oversight agencies do not exist or where they fail, congress gave fta the statutory authority to step in and that's where we are today in the dc metro area. as secretary fox has made clear, fda's direct oversight of ramada is temporary. virginia, maryland and the district of columbia must set up a new state oversight agency that is fully functioning, compliance with federal requirements and capable of providing effective oversight. nonetheless, since fda resumed oversight we have been able to work with ramada to get results. ramada has made steady progress in addressing the findings of our initial safety management inspection last year and they have responded to troubling deficiencies we discovered the rail operations control center. although our investigation of this incident translate as a
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result of the finding from the safety list in april, the three key areas signaled overruns, track integrity and rail vehicle securement, some track was taken out of service immediately to make repairsand hundreds of defects have been fixed . in addition to identifying and ordering the correction of safety problems, we've also conducted a review of ramada's grant applications to ensure that federal funds are being used to address both fta and ntsb recommendations. but most troubling however is the fact ramada has failed to create an enduring culture of safety and although the problem goes much further back, i would like to talk about a recent example. on may 5, the third rail insulator exploded alongside platform at the federal entered southwest asian. although our investigation of
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this incident is ongoing, our preliminary information shows that ramada's response this event was slow and inadequate and this event operational convenient was clearly prioritized about safety, not only did ramada failed to notify fta in a timely manner but ramada's own emergency response team waited hours for track access after only a cursory inspection was made and service was initially resumed her it was only later in the day when another fire occurred in the same area the track was taken out of service and the problem was thoroughly addressed. such errors in judgment and breaches of safety protocol are simply unacceptable. safety must come first before service. as a result, we shoot a safety directive requiring ramada to take immediate action to prioritize safety before operations to mitigate smoke risk, improve emergency planning and preparedness and conduct a safety stand down.
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we have verified ramada has taken steps to address these actions and to his credit, ramada general manager paul wiedefeld has been responsive to our safety concerns and has demonstrated a commitment to safety but the agency still has a difficult task ahead. beyond the need for critical investments in infrastructure, every one of their employees must make a personal commitment to safety . at fta, we are working with ramada and our colleagues from across the ot to help restore metro rail safety and reliability, thank you ms. flowers, next we will hear from mister lovain.
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mister chairman and members of the subcommittee, i intend lovain, chair of the planning board for the capital region of the metropolitan washington capital government, also serve as a member of the alexandria city council. the transportation planning board is a federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the national capital region responsible for continuing comprehensive operation planning process in this operation area that includes 22 jurisdictions and over 5 million residents . i would like to thank chairman graves and norton for the opportunity to appear before you to share my operations on the importance of metro to this region. i submitted more detail in my c-span.org....how critical metro is probably just prosperity, secondly its importance to this nation's largest employer the federal government and the efforts underway to help metro improve its reliability and be the world-class system the nations capital deserves. last year metrorail provided 710,000 relatives on average work day. 2 million jobs, more than half of all jobs in the regionlocated in a half mile radius of the metro stations and metro bus . 77 on the 91 metrorail stations are in the activity centers, our regions priority
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regions for growth. 86 percent of this region's new office construction is occurring within one quarter-mile of a metrorail station. metro help to tie our multistate region together. it will also achieve falter future patterns helping out we can accommodate an additional 1.5 million people and 1.1 million jobs over the next years. already, one in five metrorail writers come from zero par household. metro also serves a role in helping this region accommodate special events, for example metro provided 1.1 million rail trips on it inauguration day in2009. metro especially helps the federal government do business . the federal workforce represents 43 percent of metro's morning peak. commuters at about 40 percent of this region's federal workforce use the rail system . according to gsa, 315 buildings with federal offices our last within one half mile of retro stations and if tsa policy is to try
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to locate future federal office space near metro. federal government has been recognized metro's importance to its financial contributions to the systems initial construction silver line and the state of their funding under the 2008. isn't this fattening federal funding program be retained as it is critical to undertaking and completing needed safety and repair work. metro's importance is magnified by the fact that that washington dc is the most important national capital in the world. our 19 million annual visitors come from around the country and the world. their impressions of dc region and our nation as a whole are shaped in part by their experience of the metro system. this we reserve the world-class metro system. when the rail open 40 years ago and gained a reputation as a world-class system and we need to restore that reputation.
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we acknowledge that metro is facing significant challenges to ensure levels of safety and service reliability that would turn to class system, improving the safety of the washington metro is the number one priority in this region. this issue has the full attention and commitment of the state and local government regions within this region and we are pleased the federal transit demonstration has been a partner. his work improving safety and reliability being attacked on many fronts. safety oversight front, fda providing league working with the state. on the management front we are pleased that paul wiedefeld in his tenure has taken bold actions to address these challenges and begin restoring the trust and pride of metro riders. there's more work to be done and the region has come together to work on. one additional resource needed to address the safety and reliability challenges but is beyond mister wiedefeld's power to fix is the need for funding reform there and i believe metro is the only major rail transit system in the country that does not have a dedicated source of funding for its operations and good repair
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needs. i believe that i have dedicated funding has contributed to metro's maintenance shortfalls. that's why regional leaders arecoordinating for the council of governments and the washington board of trade to explore how we can work together at the state and local level to provide long-term , predictable, sustainable, dedicated funding support to meet metro's needs and we look forward to continued and hopefully increase financial support from the federal government as well. i am confident this region and the federal government can continue our partnership and rise up to address metro's challenges, working together we can make metro regional and national accept for decades to come. thank you. >> thank you very much. we will now move into questions and my first question is for mister wiedefeld. since the ntsb investigations of different incidents from 1992 all the way up to last year, i proportionally had verysimilar findings. come down to improper training , inadequate emergency response by the operations control staff which was pointed out by ms. flowers.
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the two questions here, why did metro provide better training and staffing for emergency preparedness and the secondquestion is , what have you changed that the rail operations control center to make sure this doesn't repeat itself. >> i can't the history of what training they did. i know what we are doing or things i have done as i took the operations center in april so i've had the new head there. we have added additional staff there, we have a much more robust training program that came out of some instances in the past. we have staffed up, we have a fire liaison, 24 seven. when i got here it was for 16 hours, now it is 24 hours because in a lot of incidents we want to that instant communication between someone in the upper rear operations center. fda is monitoring the activities at the rear operations centers to make
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sure proper procedures are being followed. we are doingbasically , we started spot testing their controllers to make sure they are part of all exercises and in effect we grow curveballs during those exercises so it's an effort we have to continue to work on but we are moving in that direction. >> i have a question for ms. flowers also. the committee is concerned obviously about ramada safety and the reliability for sure but we are also concerned about the need for all the transit agencies all across the country as to their efficiency and you know, we want them to be as productive as possible with the federal resources they are receiving and my question is, what's the fta doing to ensure that its transit agency recipients are most efficiently using the limited resources that
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they are receiving and are you considering contracting out work through competitive bid whenever that's appropriate? >> ms. flowers. that's for the fta. >> okay. chairman graves, we have program management oversight as well as grant management oversight of our grantees and we do contract out. some of that work so that we can on a national basis be able to monitor our over 800 grantees area. >> so you contract out the work to monitor them? >> yes and we perform triennial audits and enhance audits in areas like procurement and financial management. >> how about when it comes to the work, whether that's
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maintenance work or other things, putting that out for competitive bid? do you ever encourage that? >> at the grantee level they make decisions on their procurement but we do ask them to be effective in the use of our funds. i know that miss comstock mentioned ramada that the option of looking at contracting out would be something that she would encourage, that are agencies that do contract out to try to ensure that they effectively use ourfunds . >> thank you and i have more questions and i'm going to turn to mister norton for her opening questions. >> thank you mister chairman. ms. flowers i want to thank all of you at fda for the new financial discipline, you are apparently importing into retro.
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why has it kept romanus financial record-keeping mirrors or heads mirrored a much more widely understood and known issues of safety, particularly financial accountability, a system that was in disarray. that directly affects safety, of course with most of the money that ramada is getting is for safety. if you look behind some of the criticism ramada has received, we are told that $783 million of federal transit funding for ramada is going on sent so everyone assumes that ramada has, sitting on money and that ramada is really ineffective by not spending money it already has how could it want
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more moneybut if you look behind these numbers , ms. flowers, you find that $300 million of it is obligated for safety projects and for new cars and the remaining amount is waiting reimbursement through fta. now, according to the information we've been getting from fta, in order to bring itself into the compliance it solely needed and again i thank you for the discipline that apparently is working, ramada has complied with all 45 recommendations of fta, submitted the required 65 corrective action plans, is working with fta on a testing and validation plan
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, has closed five of the required testing and validation items and it submitted 11 fta for review of theremaining four . what we've done later and will be submitted on time. ms. flowers, our recent inspector general reports of fta criticized fta for not having consistent policies when it in fact undertakes a very serious matter which is to withhold federal funds which in this case means that the three jurisdictions get to pay. this report was entitled fta monitor grantees corrected actions relax policy and guidance to oversee grantees with restricted access to federal funds and it found
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for example with respect to ramallah and here i'm quoting, that ramada was required to mail hard copies of the invoice packages to a contractor in north carolina to review which is more time and resource intensive than other processes so my question, given the need for every penny ramada can get, my question to you is can you specifically identify at what point ramallah will be able to return to normal restrictions and procedures for assessing federal funds that the congress has appropriated to it rather than drawing down the funds
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by hand which can take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks for the money to get to ramallah for safety and other matters? >> we are on site at ramada and we were there yesterday to work on a plan we call a snapshot plan to try to excavate the issues you are talking about. we have also been to our regional office additional employees to ensure that we can address the issues i'm trying to expedite the drawdowns of ramada. i understand. >> miss, if they comply in this way what is left to be done so we can understand what is outstanding with mark. >> we are in the final steps of a verification process.
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>> you expect in a few months, you expect by the end of the year? when do you expect ramada will be able to access its funds the way in a normal fashion rather than by hand? >> in this last step if we see that the documentation is verified we should be able to i think have a targeted lifting of restricted drawdown in certain areas. there is some of the older stuff i believe that will still be there but we can work with them in terms of addressing targeted and focus areas to let that drop. >> but you don't have a time frame on when you might be able, the burden is on you. take on what you ask them to do. the reason i'm question you is if they've done all they have to do, the burden shifts to fda than to say bye when do you think ramada will be
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accountable enough so that the drawdowns will no longer, the hand drawdowns will no longer be necessary? we are verifying that documentation and i expect in the next few weeks we will complete this step. >> thank you very much ms. flowers. >> thank you, i now recognize german sister for five minutes. >> thank you very much. first i want to say that i appreciate the witnesses being here today to testify before this, it's an important issue. i also want to say patterson delaney's testimony was spot on. i think that one of the things he said is absolutely paramount in all this is that if you want to attract the dollars to a corporation, an organization of any kind you have to first demonstrate that you deploy those dollars efficiently to get things done and i think that's something that for this committee or this congress says we're going to get more money to the metro, we've got
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to see it demonstrated and i don't think it's been done over the last several years for couple decades that they have deployed those dollars in the most efficient way and i think that requires a cultural change at the agency which i think you're going to see mister wiedefeld has set the standard for he said some tough things he needed to do and he needed to take top actions. my question is to managing the employees and i think if you're going to shape up a culture at an organization that i sent 20 years of my life and business and had the unfortunate circumstance to have to terminate people, when i thought about this question one of the first hearings i had in this room 15 years ago with the epa associate and menstruation for hr, the previous congress of course pass a law that said the federal employees must follow the guidelines congress sets in legislation so my question to the epa
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administrator was how many people in the last year out of 2000 of the time, how many people do you fire? it took them a couple of whispers back and forth tell me they fired one person. terminating and firing people is unpleasant but there are times when the people that don't do the job, they are unsafe, negligent, illegal, you need to terminate them so my question is to mister wiedefeld. you have the tools necessary and i know you're coming up to a contract negotiation soon, you have the tools necessary where if you have a mechanic out of an automobile business or if it was unsafe, to try to work with them but eventually sometimes unfortunately you have to terminate. you have those tools available to you that you're able to say to people that are doing the job that were going to let you go or are they locked in and protected like so many of these government agencies arethat you can't do anything about it . my example, the epa is perfect. 17,000 people, they terminated one person.
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that doesn't make sense. >> i will come out for two levels. there's the management side and front-line employees . in terms of the management, about three weeks ago i sent a letter out to roughly 650 at will managers and those are necessarily the people sitting behind desks but these are front-line supervisors and superintendents. i sent a letter to all of them splitting what my priorities are and my management style and whatnot. more importantly, i had them sign a piece of paper that recognized that they were at will because i'm not sure all of them understood that. after that i held a meeting with all 650 of them, the first time in my understanding the history of the agency where again, i explained what we are doing and that accountability is the most important thing they have todo besides safety and customer service and shortly after that, i did terminate a number of managers . recently and i have currently a review of the entire organization in terms of
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where there's redundancies or overtime positions that have been dealt with so that ongoing. i will continue to manage that. that's on the overall management side where i have a little clearer ability. on the front line side, i have the ability to let people go. we do have processes for that , depends on the type of discretion so for instance command station managers in the right uniform and you get a few of those and terminate someone with that too, that does not mean they do not have the right to breathe and we go through the whole process of that. it is set up in the contract as you mentioned and that eventually can get to the auditor. we will pick an arbiter and we will both take another one and it will go through that process which is the normal process but no, i do have the ability to do that and we do do that on a regular basis both in labor and management.
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>> thank you and once again, i appreciate hearing that from you. we've got to make sure that safety is paramount . the writer should be able to write this whether there from the area, whether they're from other parts of the united states or around the world, they deserve to have the state system and there's something in working for the metro that isn't then we need to make sure that safety is paramount and we can tolerate people not doing their job so i appreciate and wish you well so far with your management style so far so for being here today. >> and i now recognizeranking member defazio for five minutes . >> you madam chair. ms. flowers i realize you are briefly on the job but you know, in matt 21 we gave new regulatory authority to 58 over transit safety and yet critical aspects of that rule are still lingering
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somewhere, i don't know whether there with the holes are where they are and what your expected timeline to get all those done? >> are you asking about fast back and not 21? >> there's things left over from matt 21 where we gave new regulatory authority where there are still pending rules to fully implement that. >> we just state safety oversight willon my 16 and we have several other rules that are in the process right now . we have the public safety program rule that is going to through the process of review now at dot and so expect that to be in final rule by midsummer. the national public transportation safety plan, this comment period ended on april 5 and fda expects to issue that in the early fall. we have the public a fee
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transportation agency safety plan and that is also going to be out in or early fall and we also have the safety certification training plan which we expect to come out in midsummer. >> thank you. well, if you can stay on top of those and make certain that they continue through the process. you know, you mentioned the same thing i did in my opening statement or one of the things about the backlog in deferred maintenance. obviously a lot of it lies with the larger legacy systems and this is a legacy system at this point although we have much older legacy systems and as i pointed out it's really not an adequate amount of funds so
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40% of that backlog and so although the administration has asked for additional funding for infrastructure, we haven't seen that funding has come and it does create an issue and it makes a challenge for all transit agencies to look at their priority is and you see that challenge here where they
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have to make a decision about what they can d do and they're available funding. funding. >> okay. so, when you're inspector workforce focus right now when do you expect you will have adequate staffing to begin to go out and look at other legacy systems? >> we have a focus right now in ramada that are basically focused on that area. we have done technical assistance in other areas where we have found problems but we have been given additional authority does not the funding to address that. >> so you have 13 inspectors total. >> there's probably only five inspectors and to investigators. >> so five inspectors and investigators for the federal
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transit administration to oversee all of the transit agencies in the united states of america is the correct? >> that's correct. >> i wonder how long it would spend if they took ten minutes at each one company that would be let alone an in-depth look. i hope congress will soon allocate additional funds for the allocations we put on your agency. thank you madam chair. >> we now recognize mr. mike for five minutes. >> i can tell you where to look for some of those dollars in map 21 we passed the legislation that was supposed to consolidate or eliminate 50 to 60 programs. when we questioned the oversight, how many people were left with nobody so there's plenty of people and resources that suggest he might tell the secretary to find some of them to go into the important
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oversight responsibility for the transit systems. now, with some fanfare, what is the name of the position that is it's going to be creative? >> a senior adviser. >> and that's just for ramada is that right? >> that's right. >> we probably need some technical people to know what's going on and what we are looking for that in orde in order to mae effective, i want you to report to the committee quarterly and i will ask the staff for a quarterly reports maybe we could have one in ten and one at the end of the year and once you finally get it back to us because i am going to take some action in the next congress, i got enough votes to make peoples livepeople's lives responsible d accountable. but we need accountability out
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of you, too. it can't be window dressing. it has to be real. some of the people who say we don't get enough money we brought out the oversight hearings first the present of the capital fund that comes from the federal government it's one of the highest in the nation it's 39% of its money in philadelphia obligations. that's correct about that percentage, right? >> it's pretty high. in our march 18 hearing prior to that i checked to see the amou amount. we had it before sitting for several rate day to go weeks at
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ramada and before we had 485 million in 2018 sitting there not used. some of the does have constrai constrains. is there anything that needs to be changed so that it can be used to make the improvements for safety that are necessary? i need to know now because we are doing appropriations for you. yes you do have the flexibility? but the money was their? okay. 65% had been taken care of. where are we today? what percentage do you estimate? >> we have made progress. >> about what is left? >> i went down there and i saw
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the code that percentage is that? get up to the committee. we need to know. that's where we are having problems right now. how much of that is being done and how much is being contracted? >> basically we are using the contractors to run. >> most of your repairs you can get done by the contract rather than in-house? >> it's a combination of both. >> but again we have to address the media problems. are there any other safety issues? what would you say are the next safety issues? >> it's a combination of the power cables, the actual running rail. >> would you submit a list of prioritization sandwich
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percentage you think you can do in-house and outside? finally coming that hearing, sometimes i have a tough demeanor. i said you need to fire people. it's part of my background. i get a little emotional. you fired about 20? i'm going to create a new award and this is a certificate of appreciation and i will probably make these into gold and silver. you are going to get silver because you actually responded and took action and fired people so this is a certificate of special recognition from me to you if we can get other people and other agencies and on and on to take the actions we have much better government. thank you for stepping up to the
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plate and doing your job responsibly. finally come if this doesn't work in january when i come back, i will have a very nice -- i will give you a little bit more time. i will have a privatization bill to turn this over to private managementhe privatemanagement k but i think that we are in fairly good hands and i'm rooting for you. and staff, would you make sure that the gentle man gets the certificate? speak of this is unprecedented in the 24 years in congress. >> thank you. i now recognize you for five minutes. >> thank you all for this hearing. i got to washington from new jersey, i got to washington ten years ago and i was excited because everybody had a reputation for the federal system. i went out and got my card so that i could use the metro system but every time i got
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here, the reputation of the system has just gotten worse and worse and worse, and it's a shame because this is the nation's capital. and at a time in america when people are moving into the cities, tim when you look at washington -- i'm not going to give the certificate -- the time you look at washington and people are moving into the city and you get 17 million people coming to the city, the city is choking on this traffic and get we have a system that was a gem and now we have less than before so the city impacts everything, the economy of the city, the people coming to work in the
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city. i think that this has to be turned around the city is going to stand still. the only people that will move around the people cutting you off with the bicycles. quite frankly, people deserve better. people deserve a safe system. and as i looked, i don't want america to get the wrong impression, but i see that you have action items. you say 462, whatever. can you tell me what's good about the system and what is left in the system that's good that we can work with him to teland tellamerica look this ism that we can fix and i want you to come to washington, d.c. and i want you to use the system. i want you to get off the road.
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it's very well for the vast majority of people over today. we have issues. we have major challenges in front of them in san francisco is facing significant issues, atlanta is facing issues. it's a large infrastructure investment from day-to-day assist him -- the system works very well. >> people are moving back into the cities so if we don't have a system that is safe, i think we
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are headed for trouble and we have a responsibility to make sure there's enough funding for the infrastructure and the safety part of it and quite frankly i just want america to know that in washington you can still come and use the system. coming from colorado the other day they didn't know who i was and they got caught up in that experience. so that is more common than we think. >> thank you and i now recognize you for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. i arrivei arrived at the ride ae and a half years ago from pentagon city to lafond to capitol south and i think there's two things we are talking about more money, maybe
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saving, hiring people, firing people, all that. but all i know is every day that i ride, there is an escalator that is broken. so i started watching three escalators and i would say that over the past few years, that these three that i've watched have been rebuilt four times. i am talking about all new everything. it seems to me like there would be a more efficient way to do that if we save money and we can do more maintenance. i don't know if there's any reports or anything about that. but all i can tell you is i know because i have seen it on the other hand there is one that is
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privately done and in the five and a half years that i've been writing that one where you get dropped off and then this one is done by the people on developing its been broken once in five and a half years. so i think there's probably -- i don't know what you do as far as efficiency into checking the people that do the maintenance and so forth. but if the other maintenance -- i've never been in a rack or anything like that so i don't know anything about the cars. you may have extra ones and change them out. what i do know is they are fake is. they are there and you have to have been repaired time and time again and it seems to me i don't know if it is done by an independent contractor or your employees or maybe it is the vendor that provides the actual trends and so forth but i will
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tell you i believe there's a lot of savings to be found there either by getting a different vendor or different employees or a different person to perform the work o at it as an independt contractor. so that's my experience on it. i have one system in my district that's owned by disney world and i've never seen it broken in the 30 some years that they've been there. we have a lot of people that ride that. it seems to be much more maintained so talking to those that oh or operate the systems maybe there's some savings
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there, too and wish tha with thd yield back. >> you are thinking we do a better job of criticizing then fixing. thank you for your patience and courtesy. obviously there's these stories in the newspapers and on tv. has there been a decline in the ridership and does that affect your budget and the other question i have, there've been very highly publicized criminal incidences there was a woman
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that was recently sexually assaulted, and i don't mean to insinuate that is the fault of metro. that's my question would be is there anything that you can do to make it safer or are you doing to make it safer for the writers? spend the ridership levels, first, yes. it's a combination i think of some of the quality that we have provided it is also just the changing demographics telecommuting particularly in this region very strong and all kinds of things have impacted that. there's others experiencing some of that as well. in terms of criminal activity it is an extremely safe system from the perspective numerically it
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is per million which is extremely safe that means nothing to the person that is the victim and it doesn't mean much for the perception we have applied a number of things in terms of policing and we basically put more out there. we use the revenue training. we have sworn officers out there and a major recruitment under way to a. it's to beef up their presence on the system. the reality we catch you within hours if not days these things s
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happen in seconds and with a vast open system is extremely difficult to be everywhere every time but it's a concern for the customers and for us and we are working for instance at the local school system on issues and we follow social issues. i see you got an award. what are you doing about training so that you don't have to fire? >> the last thing i want to do is let someone go. i understand the impact that has on someone's life. so again it's not just
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management of its frontline employees so in my estimation it is a part of the culture that's how you get to the safety culture and customer service culture. it's not necessarily for discipline. but on the other hand we need to do that. >> what are you doing to up the training? spin on the frontline people are focusing on the safety training is one of the biggest things, just basic even health how we ie per instance. >> are you holding classes.
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it's required to go through the training. >> every employee spends days the minute they walk in the do door. >> that's what they do to deal with the management they have to have the training. >> thank you very much. >> i now recognize mr. meadows for five minutes. >> we will come back to you. obviously we've had our dealings before, and i guess my concern is today we have heard a lot about funding, and the focus is all about funding and yet i understand this is not a funding issue as much as it is a management issue and a maintenance issue is that correct?
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it's not necessarily meaning more dollars it just means we don't go through an annual budgeting process. it's to suggest maintenance wasn't getting done. if the committee isn't aware that editing oversight committee isn't aware of it. are you aware that there is an average of four times a week of fire that actually occurs on the
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metro system. there's a greater probability of somebody seeing a fire on the matrox washington, d.c. over the last five months then there wasn'than there wasin the greatk that i represent? do you find that alarming? >> if you're looking at the board and understand from a board member that the buck stops with you and we are not going to micromanagmicromanage but have e authority to make the system safe and reliable in the service standard we can all applaud is that correct? if that doesn't happen within seven days will you let to this committee and the oversight committee know that you are being supported by the board of?
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>> i'm making a request if there is an interference on any of the service related activit activitd you report back to this committee and the oversight committee? >> i took this job to tackle these issues. >> let me go back to the board because a lot has been said about who the board should be and what the makeup should be and i ran into a gentleman in the whole a week or two ago you said the board should have someone that travels the matrox each and every day and is a citizen advocates s advocate sok that is on the board. do you agree with that? >> and numbered of them used it every day. >> about someone that doesn't have any political ties but actually speaks for the populace
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do you think that living to b wa bad idea? and >> i have that through a number of resources. >> what if we took every one of the board members and required them for one week a year to experience what all of the commuters get to experience each and every day do you think that would change their opinion on some of this? and >> i get the text and e-mails from the board members. there are some who don't use the matrox -- attracts? attracts? meeting that requirement isn't something you would support? but they finish with the funding question. we are going to rely on you to make good management decisions and realign this from a funding standpoint do you think it is wise to continue to add
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additional capital improvement and extend the metro when we don't have a good maintenance operating budget plan in place because that is what we did we invested billions of dollars in a natural like buying a new car and then if we didn't change the oil for 30 years in doing that, do you think that it is more prudent to have the maintenance of the existing system as a top priority versus the capital expenditure for expansion until we get that in place? >> we have the same number of the imac maintenance needs around the country yet we still need to increase the system for economic and safety reasons and all kind of other reasons, so there is a time for that. after he do this plan we cannot back away from the ongoing
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maintenance. we will be right back where we started. >> i wili've will yield back mam chair. >> i now recognize mr. lipinski for five minutes. >> i just want to make sure i get out there and first i started a few years ago at the first congressional transit caucus because it's important that we support public transit across the country, not just in my hometown of chicago but i am also a matrox writer when i'm out here. i have a question for the record about the recent cancellation of the electronic payment program that was designed to make the customers experience better and reportedly it would have saved up to $16 million a year.
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i know there's a lot invested in this and the challenges occur in the system so i'm asking a question for the record on that and what has happened with that but i want to move on and ask a quick question. the bus driver -- bus became deadly and killed a pedestrian and drivers assault our national issue. the fast track issue is the proposed rulemaking which is a growing issue. when will they issue this rulemaking? the transit advisory committee on safety has done a study on operators of assaults and has given best practice recommendations mitigating the transit workers of assaults so that will be the basis putting
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together the proposed rulemaking so we are currently gathering information and input as well as the unions to inform the rulemaking so we are in the process right now of working on that. >> i want to come back to you later on this. i just want to say this morningg i'm a red wine -- red line rider. i said i'm getting on my bike to do the 17 miles. i think the metro in so many ways is unfortunately an embarrassment in the nation's capital, but it needs to work.
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so i'm not here to just tear things out. we need the system to work. the region needs to come up with a dedicated funding source for match row. we can't do anything here. there is something that region needs to do. what we need to definitely is to talk about changing the way people act in the system, the whole culture and it's difficult to do and i think you -- thank you for what you've done so far. i know the shutdown caused an inconvenience to many of the regions and the commuters got two months after they've released the safety directive to matrox among them were things that appeared to be routine maintenance including removing the debris and the cover words
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so i a i'm concerned about the inspection and repair given the safe trek fan is about to begin and i want to be assured it won't cause a serious disruption in people's daily lives but you'll be using the time to publish the maintenance. the findings in may are the result of a shutdown or were those findings the result of previous inspections? spinnaker they reflected the ongoing maintenance and the ability to get out there and do that and that's why it had the impact it has because physically to do the work needed it isn't just one thing. >> you know where the findings are a result were found.
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>> we were looking at the power cables issue because of the accident. >> would be in compliance with all federal safety order recommendations? >> it will be, yes. the plan is not only jus just to need it to go beyond and maintain. it's one thing to get out there and do all the repairs but we don't keep doing that he will be righwe will beright back to whe. >> one thing very quickly i noticed i hear the red line going by every day where i sleep when i'm out here. i heard for months every time it went over a track for months and then one morning i wake up and say there is a broken rail just
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south of the metro stop and i say i could have told you a long time ago there's a problem there, it seems like there's something somehow wrong in the culture. an operator should have said there's something wrong here and i think that is all a part of changing the culture here where everyone is a part of trying to make the system run while and that is something that needs change. there's a lot of work that needs to be done that we need to make the system work. i yield back. >> i want to highlight an issue i made in my opening statement and i think i talked about it that our average costs are higher according to the federal transit administration documents and i'm operating expenses per
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vehicle revenue 124% of the average up to the operating expense per passenger mile an hundred 51% and that works out to some of the hourly rate. there's 32 an hour with benefits up to 48 there would be 23 an hour and with benefits more like 30 that leads to the question that i asked in the opening is can we use outside contractors and to chang change whatever weo end the contract to expedite this so we can use outside contractors able to provide the same service at a lower cost basically at the prevailing rate and get this expedited in that kind of expertise clacks
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>> we can under the current contract but we can't replace workers with contractors. but in effect we are bringing in the workers above and beyond what the current workforce can do so that's how i can bring the contractor. >> if yo they are getting paid s contract rate you have with existing employees or can they be brought in and get these 30-dollar rates or do we have contractors that will come in and work for the lower rates during this expedited time we are trying to save money and get things back on line but i want to make sure we can take advantage of this opportunity to save some money and have the workers help with that. >> we've met with people that would like to help so i would like to see if we can expedite that and then on the technology front as i mentioned in my opening statement, and excuse my language here but have you seen the match row debate could --
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metro blog? a lot are familiar with it and the federal employees. how are we using technology. one of the major questions i do want to know is about this incident crying so i would like you to address but also want to address in terms of technology why don't we in the interest of transparency to enable some of the things he talked about how can we plug into the system and go in and see here is where the recent crimes have started by station we have the technology, certainly we can do this at little to no cost. i've spoken with technology companies that are doing this in other areas around the country and this technology enables us
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to look at the safety pictures while you are up there you have the picture at the timestamp of the person working on it so there's a lot of accountability. we can see where they are at each station and if they disappeared we can see them disappear and new go online. in the interest of transparency, can you connect to providing that as well as using the technology? >> i do commit to that and we are creating to be monitoring. we put out every month and update things we are doing so people can see where we are on that. but also to be very frank, i
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work with outside vendors and the community in general that have knowledge. it's awfully hard to create that and it's also something that is in the quarter to the mission we have a lot of smart people in the region we could tap into it you have seen it evolve. rather than -- we have to think of ways to work as a team and not push them away so i've made it very clear that i want to bring them to the table because they have the knowledge and they have the skill base. but again just to open up the have nothing to hide. it is what it is. we talked about this last week if we decide that ability when they see something that goes into the system and it can be time stamped. we have the technology. if someone had seen the fire that day, or your folks tracking
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that saying this is a picture that just came in from this station and it lines up you don't have to send anyone to the station to verify that. you have a picture that is timestamp and i can give that to you as well as somebody that is paid $50 an hour so these time lapse is shouldn't be occurring when you look at the totality that occurred most of what we know hear of heard from people g their cell phone giving us that information. let's make sure we are using that to the maximum effect and your staff isn't creating new methods taking advantage of all of this. >> i agree but i also want our staff to basically do things before it gets to the point we have to take a vote on it and for example, i gave to the managers the cabinet for putting equipment on and basically
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rescuing people and doing things like that. we have a large piece of construction equipment in front of it and that shouldn't happen. it should be something the employees see is wrong and fix it so that is the cultural change we have to get to. >> can we go back to that incident report why he wasn't not made public at the time why didn't we know about that? >> we knew who the person was. we apprehended that the person and we do report all crime statistics on a regular basis and at a minimum to the board we go through every event that we have. >> but can that also be reported to have the crime statistics on the website by station or whatever way so that we all know that immediately. i appreciate that it was solved quickly because the criminal used a smart card.
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>> the public at large didn't know about it and reading the blog that is something everybody is concerned about so can we take those crime statistics whether it's somebody snatching purses and i understand cell phones being stolen are one of the things that happen at the stations because people are looking at them and not paying attention. somebody goes out the door with it. can we have those incidences reported so that people know the stations and vacancy what's going on in real time and just having all of that i think what would also help you if we have that available is all of our transportation resources and universities that are looking at the data you will give them a vast amount of data to help you do some of the work you don't have to pay for.
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>> we have to put in the context we are part of the community and a lot of these things happen around us and sometimes they don't. so if it is just as likely outside of the station. >> i think the information is power for the customers as you have heard people are becoming more afraid to use it. i wanted to mention in addition to the costs being higher are you confident you can bring those costs down in the upcoming negotiations? >> we started negotiations and made a commitment on the table. we are focused on the wage, pension and work rules so we will attach each one of those, but it is a negotiation and it does go to arbitration. >> i wanted to point out that the costs are 150% higher it is
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distressing when the average is up in the high '90s so that is the disconnect people see. i now recognize you for five minutes. >> thank you very much and i want to thank you all for joining us today. somebody that was a high school student was in the system when they were being billed as a part of the team buildin building thd a particular interest in the legacy. first on the safety culture, who are you looking at, what organizations or institutions did you think we should be looking at to inculcate the safety culture that needs to be the instinct? and there is no substitute for that.
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>> i spent ten years on that and it's a great example. it is part of who you are when you think about safety in the airport and i'm trying to instill that philosophy. it is who you are when you look at the transit agency. >> i think the checklist manifests are the idea that is baked into every decision that you made. then to empower the workers to see that as the responsibility to get their first following up on what the subcommittee said it's being done to empower the users of the system not as adversaries but advocates for making sure the highest priority situations or dove headfirst. so having recently been in some of the valley, there's a lot of
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entrepreneurs who are eager to try to help the democracy work well and i think we need to find a way to tap into their energy and intellectual capital in a way that helps us watch into the 21st century and not be tied up so much trying to update the computer systems that are three generations old, so i think a number of us would try to help make those connections. for the administrator flowers, we have an ongoing issue and it's not unique to transit about the excitement and developing a big system whether it is a bridge where the road for airport we never put enough money aside for maintenance for these heavily used to transit systems it is absolutely essential given what has happened here. do you have suggestions for how we insist that it's being spent as we go into that it cannot be postponed because we know that is the political imperative if
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you would rather go on and do something new maintenance is never exciting. it's not sexy but it's a disaster when the worst happens. do you have suggestions how to structure the deployment of that money or to make sure that it gets spent as it needs to be as we go? and >> one of the criteria that we look at in the financial plans for the capital projects is to ensure that in the financial forecast maintenance is included in that and that is going to be critical when you're constructing a new system you have to ensure that there is a way to sustained over a long period of time they are built for 5200 years and so it is critical that you look at the way to sustain the system in the future, so that is part of the
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plan that we look at when we are awarding projects and addressing the state of good repair as part of our program is also going to be critical and having funding for the state of repair to ensure that the systems have enough funds for maintenance and that it is not deferred. we need to be working together to ensure that we need to progress at the list. this is a priority and how far the money gets us and then you have to come back to the board and say we are not far enough, this is what he'd done and this is what we still need to do because you have to get to the appropriators to make sure the money is there that we need to see the progress and the judgment on the ground but is now the critical piece that needs to be addressed and that you're spending it that way and
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finally, can you talk about the reliability and performance measures are going to use and what they should expect that's been discussed by some of the colleagues of where we would want to be and taking things off-line is going to exacerbate that what figures are you using and how is that going to be communicated to the public and to s.? >> we have produced online to monitor what h we do. one of the things we have changed just recently pleased to put on based on how we managed it and we moved to a mechanism where you tap in and tap out from the customer customer's pee that is the delay super instance that's what we are starting to put out as what's happening in the system and not some sort of a computer-generated number. >> i see that my time has expired. thank you. >> i now recognize ms. norton
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for five minutes. >> we all recognize that there are no new sources of revenue for the usual medical sources of christopher mentioned frothis side of the room such as outsourcing or the federal government has mentioned by any of you but of course has been alleged that that is what is called for here. i do know that in the last fast act as a 25% increase in older systems and that is something
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that is the rankin as the rankii thought very hard for there's a difference between the systems and the new ones. >> what cannot be ignored is that they ha have a 5% loss over the last five years and you're probably going to have more but i noted in something that you said a few months ago they were trying to help itself looking for something the business often doescome an incentive to address the riders if you had to leave yohave to leaveyou could reenter point. if you are still considering such incentives.
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what kind of incentives are you looking at now to help them be attractive to the metro. >> tap in and tap out if you get into a station and there is something going on we would charge you to get back out even though you didn't use the syst system. to get back out you don't have to pay. i think that is just a good customer service product that we should have. we work with the university system for instance where in effect we are working with american university where all their students would have unlimited use of the system for the fee they charged at the beginning of the year as their tuition or the cei guess and then the rationale for that is there is a lot of usage but also
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introduces other people would want to educate about the system and use the system to attract people like that again we are trying to do things for me customer side as i mentioned so people can make an educated decisions are to continue to do things like that i have to balance that clearly on the impact of revenue. >> you are stopping those incentives out there. thank you very much madam chair. i will now recognize myself for another five minutes. going back to some of the labor costs, can you tell us what it does for the track inspector
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position where do those pay tax >> i don't know the track inspector sign of the operational side. i can get you the track information -- >> we have had some other questions in and i haven't been able to get some answers just on some of the labor costs and what we are paying people per hour and again as we are talking about how we get the expenses under control i think it's helpful to have transpired and know wha the jobs pay in compar. >> on the operations side most of our employees are bus operation managers so they are not just about $19 an hour. the highest is about to be $31 an hour. that is about fifth in the country in terms of what we compare the other properties on the heavy side and we are about
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fifth compared to other major properties. >> and about 20 people tha the e fired i assume there is some longevity so there's people that are getting their attention and getting paid so we have the legacy costs there and that's one of the questions i asked in terms of the current policy right now as the overtime goes towards their pension so when you have overtime in the systems they were trying to find out what level there was and i understand why we are doing this accelerated repair that there's inevitably going to be some overtime, but again that would be why i would hope that we would look to contracting out we wouldn't only be able to avoid that overtime but avoid the long-term legacy costs that currently with the present as well as being able to contract out at a lower cost. as of again i would reemphasize that.
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>> and i will get you the facts on that. >> going forward on the labor negotiation what are we the public and the congress able to see? and we talked about this in the transparency and the labor process and what's being negotiated and since we are partners in this and the whole region is i think it's important that virginia, maryland, dc, congress, we all know what the negotiations are in the terms and how they compare to other systems in the country what kind of information can we get on a? we will be presenting it to the board. again we have an agreement on both sides to do these negotiations. that is a very public process can also be presented to us in congress tax
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>> feeding off of that ability for the public again we have a lot of expertise out there and a lot of people who would like to compete to give us a little better product, more technology and when they are able to see in a transparent way how we operate that will give us and more people coming forward to talk to us to talk to you if we can open up that process and have an open platform in whatever way we need to get that information out whether it be the maintenance what we are paying, various contracts come up looking at other ways we can save as well as the technology. >> but we have to do that in the context of negotiations in the federal law. >> do you have anything to add on that front and ho how he migt
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appeal twe mightappeal to help ? in terms of how you are trying to approach this? >> we thank you for the support you've provided to us through the act as well as 21 and expanding our authority. we have the challenges of the additional authority and like everyone else here the table, funding for that authority is one of the challenges that we have so the we look for the supt of the appropriation process to provide us the necessary resources that are needed to do our job. >> and i guess i'm running out of time here. >> we thank you and your staff
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are bringing us there and continuing to update us on what is going on there. i understand it's correct we have 46 positions there out what hbetter at whatthey did for the. but there is currently 19 vacancies. is that still accurate? >> i think the vacancies are down to three. there's people in training so they are not certified yet to be on the floor. >> i appreciate that because as you know, those in the formal reports as well as informal i know i've cited it to you before in the magazine it kind of gave the customer account but also the worker account that was seen as a source of a lot of the problems. what kind of action are you able to take so far and do you see taking forward to correct a lot of the problems that were their? there? >> as a mentioned in april
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there's experienced unfair and other parts of the agencies to bring different skills bases to that and it's a focus of my chief safety officer to go in and think of other ways that they could be doing drilling and other things like that. so again it's all of the above. it's not just one thing that management is a big part of it. >> i appreciate all of your time and attention to this important matter. you've heard from all of the colleagues in the region as well as the chairman and members that have been involved for years to. there's a large measurthere is f goodwill and appreciation for what you're doing and the difficulty on the task ahead and it's important as long as we are able to stay united on this and
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work with you on fixing this, we know we will have problems and disagreements down the road. as you run in the blockages were you can say comeau we could do this faster and keep your deadline or shorten it if i could have this authority or if we could change this law, legislative fixes or things that you are not able to do under current rules, please let the fda know, let us know. if you are you are not getting the kind of support from wherever we need to know, and i invite the listening public and those ago on blogs of whatever name, you let us know your experience, take those pictures. when i was on the transportation committee people would send me

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