tv [untitled] May 8, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
let's not jeopardize this opportunity to provide jobs. >> senator rockefeller followed by representative hastings. >> thank you, chairman, boxer. i strongly agree where what chairman wexman has said, and i think it's almost impossible to overlook the importance of safety. we always talk about transportation in terms of the outmoded bridges and natural gas trucks weighing up to 120,000 pounds going over single lane rural bridges and the controversies at hand. so safety is important, i want the money spent on -- major jobs and for transportation and for bridges and for all kinds of transportation modes. but in so doing, we have to be
very, very conscious of the safety aspect. we talk about safety almost as if it was something that came along, that would happen natural. and that's not the way it works. you have to pretty much talk in legislation about what safety's going to be. and/or else it won't happen. we have talked about reducing drunk driving and that's not much of a priority. we talk about increasing seat belt use. i can remember when i was a teenager plus something, not using a seat belt and thinking it was pretty cool. i can't imagine who i was thinking about at the. but there's still people who don't use seat belts and you've got to make people do that, if it's not legislation, it has to be through a fine of some sort. increasing child safety, which
chairman waxman eluded to. the seats that they sit in in cars are different thereby, but the industry hasn't changed the way they make the seats, or the way they make the attachments, or relate to the way cars are made. these are not dramatic, but are tremendously dramatic in terms of what could happen to a child. distracted driving is a huge subject. thousands of people die, hundreds of thousands of people are injured because of distracted driving. there are very few straight roads, madam chairman in west virginia, there are a couple, but there are very few. but if you text, just a normal sort of a text exchange, that's covering two football fields. and in two football fields on a west virginia highway means you're going over a cliff or
into a tree. and that is humorous to say, but not humorous if you're a parent or if you suffer that disease. i think defective auto parts, we have had a lot of active in this conference but in general too. consumer protection and safety. and the -- we have defective auto parts, we have dealt with that. the reference was made with the speed up that you can't stop. i have had that experience myself in an american car. no matter how hard you put on the brake, you've got to stop that stuff because people die from that. also the training, i think it was up in new york, when we had that plane accident. and it turned out that the
pilots were -- buffalo -- the pilots were just tired because they had come all the way from the west coast to the east coast to get on another plane that goes somewhere to somewhere else. they have to have sleecp, they have to have testing. some of this natural gas stuff, people are driving 10 to 12 hours a day, these are 80 to 120,000 pound trucks in west virginia highways are built for 45,000 pound trucks. so we have a lot of smart safety improvements and i want them to be up to day. i want this bill to pass. i mean i have to say that the senate passed a very good bill. and we got -- i think 74 votes for it.
it was highly bipartisan, it was highly effective. i have no objections to going into a conference that we have no support from the house side at all, because we're going to reach a better place, we are going to have to work hard to do it but we don't have much time. >> representative hastings? thank you very much madam chairman. the slow bureaucracy is getting in the way of job creation and economic growth and nowhere is that more evident that in infrastructure products, where they hamstring the ability to approve projects and get americans to work. for this conference report to be a success--infrastructure projects, similarly approving the keystone pipeline is an opportunity to address high
gasoline prices, put americans to work and reduce american's dependence on foreign oil. while the president has refused to argument, i believe that congress much. from the perspective of the natural resources committee, i think one of the most important challenges was to -- streamlining environmental reviews will allow proposed projects to move forward in a smarter and more efficient manner. to be blunt, it's cheaper to build a road if the federal government stops requiring more miles of paper work than actually miles of asphalt. and in my view, the streamlining reforms by chairman micah are superior to the senate. secure rules schools program.
congress absolutely needs to address both of those issues, but it's important to recognize that one-year extensions of our loan are not true fixes and i believe that communities that are impacted deserve better. i'm certainly sympathetic to the impacts that the spill has had on those gulf states, but i am not simple thetdic to the notion that to provide -- permanent new federal spending programs. and also in the senate, there's a provision dealing with oceans. and frankly ocean policy should not be in a hide away bill.
and lastly, it was particularly egregious for the senate to put in highway bills in new automatic spending in the next two years to buy more land through the water conservation fund. the mandatory buy in of more land under lwcf is a fiscal dereliction of duty. because since the government can't afford to maintain the lands it already owns, the maintenance backlogs of american federal lands registered in the multiple billions of dollars. we should be addressing this backlog, not adding to it. while the lwcf does not expire until 2016, the senate's proposed highway bill doesn't even extend transportation funding as long as the lwcf would be as currently
authorized. in main dating their bill, this congress has done absolutely nothing to ensure new areas of natural gas drilling. it was nearly three years to go until it expires and the fact that not committee in neither body has helded a hearing on lwcf, there is to reason why i it should not be part of this conference report. with that i yield back my time. >> thank you. we'll now go to senator kay bailey hutchison followed by representsive markey. >> thank you, madam chairman, i want to say that you and senator inhoff have done a wonderful job
on the senate size. i have certainly worked with congressman micah and congressman rayhall on our faa bill. and that was a huge accomplishment. so i do think that we can work this bill out. and i do think it's important that we come to terms where everyone will know that they have won something for america and for the interest that we all have. as senator rockefeller has mentioned, we have come to a complete consensus for our part of this comprehensive bill. senator rockefeller went through a few of those. i would like to point out a few of those. the motor coach safety act will bring minimum reasonable safety standards to inner city busses.
it does not deal with intracity busses or transit systems, but the busses that go across state lines particularly those that are hired by groups, church groups or elder groups, have had a notoriously bad record and this cannot continue. our bill is pretty modest. it requires seat belts to be in these busses that are offered for hire. i would think that would be a minimum, seat belts. it makes it more difficult for bus companies that have terrible safety violations and whose charters are -- to then reincarnate themselves to use the exact same defective equipment under a different name, which has been the case with some of these horrendous accidents that have killed people in these busses.
i think that that is a very good bill that has strong support in the senate and i heap that we can work with the house to include it. the commerce title also reauthorizes nitza for two years and gives it the tools necessary to prevent unsafe vehicles and equipment from entering sour country while protecting the supply chain from unnecessary disruption and duplicative reporting. i think the financing of the inf infrastructure program is one of the bright parts of this bill. it will expedite delivery, it brings in the private sector and the states and it is also keeping the states with the decision making to enter into these projects with. so i think that is one of the great parts of this bill. we also dealt in the other parts
of this bill with the harbor maintenance fund which is a big priority for all of us who have water born transportation, whether it's the oceans or the gulf and i hope that we will keep that harbor maintenance fund where it belongs, which is to help -- it's a fee, that should go back into harbor maintenance and not be put other places in our budget. because the fee is collected from the users and it should be able to help the harbors be able to maintain and dredge their own harbors. i also totally support the keystone pipeline which is the best job creator we have that doesn't cost a dime of taxpayer dollars. it will add so much to the jobs
as well as the ability to have the gas from a friend, canada, rather than having to buy it more expensively from other countries after it is shipped across the sea and back in. we authorize the secure rural schools which was mentioned by the chairman is so important for the resource constrained rural texas communities that have restricted property tax basis because of the federal property in their area. so these are parts that i hope we will all work together to put forward and i thank you for calling this hearing or actually this meeting, where we're all talking. and hope that the talking leads to something productive. thank you. >> thank you so much. representative markey? >> thank you, chairwoman boxer, chairman micah, members of the
conference committee, i am honored to join chairman hastings on portions of hr 4348 falling within the jurisdiction of the natural resources committee. funding building and planning roads and other transportation projects have impacts on water and air quality, scenic values and natural historic and cultural resources. previous congresses have succeeded in enacting sound highway bills by balancing our transportation needs with protecting the quality of life for those living and working in areas impacted by transportation projects. this conference and this congress will have to achieve similar balance if we are to succeed passing this legendation in a timely fashion. unfortunately, provisions in the
house bill make things significantly more a-derived from tar sands from alberta canada across the united states for exports. the state department has made it clear that it is committed to a rigorous, transparent and thorough review of the permit. section 204 of the house bill needlessly circumvents -- provide -- the american people of the opportunity for input into the process. this section should not be included in the conference report. especially since the bulk of the natural gas is going to be exported out of our country anyway. allowing such a pipeline to dissect the united states comes with environmental risks, all born by the united states. to balance these risks, and to make good on the repeated claims
of job creation, i urge the conference to require that any oil transported through the pipeline should be approved in the united states for sale. if we are to bear the environmental burden of this project, we should reap the economic benefits as well. they should be tied together in a neat package. not satisfied with curtailing public input and thorough review of the keystone projects, the house legislation containing sweeping environmental waivers and exemptions for all transportation projects. let me say that again, all transportation projects. have sweeping environmental waivers and exemptions. title six of hr 4348 is wrongly described as streamlining the environmental review process. in reality, these provisions stopped the process in its track. the title 6 includes arbitrary
time limits that will hobble environmental reviews and exemptions and have exemptions so broad as to make the statute meaningless. a complete lack of evidence that environmental reviews prevent building highways or other transportation projects. in reality, the process is not a barrier, it is a shield, protecting families and local communities from big government building roads without considering the impacts on those living in the area. through imminent domain and other heavy handed tactics, transportation projects already displace homes and communities. title 6 of hr 4348 would remove any remaining influence local communities might have. the senate streamlining provisions are unnecessary, but because they are narrower, they are less dangerous.
the senate amendment also makes significant investments in other programs designed to protect local communities and local economies. the commerce report should include fund forgive -- payment in lieu of taxes and the are store act for coastal communities including creation of an ocean endowment. this transportation bill is vital for job creation, economic development and even national security. unnecessary and extreme provisions should be abandoned in favor of balance, strategic investment, transportation and local communities. i look forward to working with the committee to produce a coff conference report that serves the needs of all american people. >> i wanted to give -- it's about an hour and 20 minutes since we started, we have an hour and a half left, in order
to get everybody, if everybody sticks to the time, you have really all been right to the point and you're telling us what your priorities are. this is very important for all of to us hear. if you really need to get some coffee, we have it right back there. so anybody that wants, please, we won't be insulted if you rise up in the middle of somebody's speech. but where we are now on the senate side. we're now down to three minutes per senator, because the five minutes had to do with the chairman. we have senator derbin for three minutes and representative hall for five minutes. senator derbin. >> thank you madam chair, i had a great five-minute speech. it's great to be on this conference committee, i asked my staff, what happened to the last transportation bill in the house. you'll remember this, congressman young.
it passed 412 to 9. and this time the house could not pass a transportation bill. how would a bill that was so easy to pass three years ago be -- members could pick important projects in their districts and states, thereby eliminating some 500 plus little engines that pulled this bill across the finish line. we had a bipartisan bill the last time this subject came up and there were a lot of people in the house that wanted to add baggage to this train. we have heard it already, keystone pipeline and stuff. we can't really criticize the -- offered by senator blount on missouri. it was rejected. the second thing i learned from my staff is that we cannot even agree on what we disagree on coming to this conference
committee, here's what i'd say is obvious. look at the senators who came before me, they reached a bipartisan agreement that passed 74 to 22. we have a bill, you have an extension of current law with a lot of extra writers. the third point i would like to make, the house could not pass, thank goodness, manage to mobilize folks that didn't even talk to each other. they all hated your bill. they said make sure it dusht pass. i eliminates the 25% of mass transit that's been on the books for 30 years. eliminates the tiger grant programs. i salute my two illinois republican congressmen who had the courage to stand up and say they wouldn't even vote for that bill as well. this is not the first keystone pipeline, this is the second
one. the first one from alberta goes down to roxana illinois in my district. to the conoco -- cleaning them up into viable products. we did this with the approval of the administration and on the ordinary course of process. now comes keystone xl and the suggestion is if we can pass the bill today, gas prices will go down tomorrow. not true. last week on friday, the state of nebraska announced finally where they want to place the pipeline. and the state of nebraska said, keystone xl pipeline, they'll need six to nine months more to permit it in the state of nebraska. so those who suggest that the federal government's dragging its feet here don't know the fact. the second point on coal ash, we have a coal fired ferry that goes from manitowoc, wisconsin, to lake michigan and dumps 500
tons of coal ash each other. if you would like this coal ash, please tell us the lake we can send them to. >> thank you senator. now we go to representative hall for five minutes. >> turn on your mike. >> i'm on the science and technology committee, i'm not sure i know how to do that. but for my long time friendship with senator derbin, i would have taken four minutes and given him four minutes, but that didn't happen. we need to leave the acrimony to other bills and get together on this transportation bill. it's that important. i want to thank chairman micah for his leadership in this conference to ensure that hard workering taxpayers dollars are being used more effectively.
the house committee on science space and technology, i think it's crucial that -- enhancing safety, reducing congestion and improving -- i introduce legislation to achieve these goals for surface transportation research programs. the goals and tasks before us must avoid -- more competition and merit reviews to ensure that the strongest research programs are carried out and greater flexible to keep research programs focused on the national transportation needs. in this country, i'll be supporting chairman micah's efforts to ensure the transportation funding is used for its intended purpose. it's been two years since the deep water horizon tragedy and the people of the gulf coast are still suffering the consequences. the steps we take here in washington will very well determine the success and rate
of recovery of the gulf coast so it vital that resources are made available that are specifically directed to those areas and those purposes that are most needed. we have an opportunity here to create jobs and begin the process of alleviating energy prices by concluding language directing the approval and yes also of the keystone xl pipeline. finally it's my hope that each of these provisions be negotiated on its merits alone, not used as leverage for areas outside of our jurisdiction. again, i would like to express my appreciation for chairman micah's leadership and also look forward to working with -- and i would like to thank the speak for the opportunity to work with the senate to craft a bill that will provide -- for job creation. i thank you, and i yield back my time.
>> thank you representative. >> we will turn to senator vitter for three minutes and then to represent johnson for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair, and thanks to vice chair micah ahead of time for your successful leadership on this conference, i look forward to it. all of us are coming back to washington after a recess, a state oar a district work period. and i would venture to say, every single one of us as we traveled our districts, had other meetings with constituents, every single one of us incurred two themes over and over and over. number one the big challenge our country faces is jobs. and number two, please find ways to work together more effectively in washington. not to throw your principles out the window, not to ignore that, but to get beyond bitter and
unnecessary partisanship and work effectively together. you know, completion in at of ways this conference committee is a simple, basic test about how well we're listening collectively. and if we're listening at all collectively, we can put something positive together and we need to do that because it's important substantively and we need to do that to fulfill our duty to the american people. because this bill is got jobs, private sector jobs, by the way, good paying jobs. it's about building infrastructure, which we know in many cases is crumbling and which is an essential core government role that everyone including conservatives agree is a core essential role of the federal government. and we can do it without increasing the deficit and we
can do it without increasing taxes and we can do it in the house bill without a change in forums. so i challenge all of us to pass the basic tests of whether we're listening to the american people. i want to outline quickly three priorities of mine. one is the keystone pipeline. i have been a long and strong supporter of that, first introduced legislation well over a year ago, more recently worked with john hoven and richard luger in the senate in this. i know it's a heavy lift pl politically, but i think it could be a key. secondly, i strongly support the restore act language for all of the reasons that have been mentioned.