tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 28, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
s they should have been and that that's fairly common out there. so when you talk about a renters bill of rights, that's intriguing, and i'm all ears. >> mr. secretary, although you said you're a recovering politician, i do have a few questions in the political area. when you accepted the appointment at hud there was much speculation about what it would mean for your long-term political future. to get right to the point do you think serving as hud secretary offers a kind of experience necessary for one to serve as the vice presidential nominee? >> i'm trying to do a great job at hud. i think it offers great experience for being hud secretary and that's really what i'm focused on. i believe that in anything that you do in life, as y'all have seen i'm sure in your own
profession, the number one way to be satisfied personally and also to have a great future, whatever that future is, is just to do a fantastic job of what's in front of you. if you don't do that you can kiss any of that future good-bye. so i'm squus trying to do a great job with what's in front of me now. >> i think i might know the answer. the former hud secretary is now governor of his state. any chance of you following a similar career path? >> thanks for the question. maybe we have some texans out there in the audience. that was a tough cowboys loss the other day. i don't know what my future is going to hold after these twoerz two years. i'm very mindful when january 20th comes around that there are
two years left. and i want to do an excellent job during those years and make a difference. i believe we can for many of the reasons i stated in my remarks. then we'll see what happens. there's no grand plan after that. >> with two years to go until the next presidential inauguration, do you endorse hillary clinton for president in 2016? >> i have no doubt that i'll get asked that question again before november 2016. secretary of state clinton is obviously an extremely talented person, who has made fantastic contributions to our national progress over the last couple decades. and i'm staying out of those
politics in this role, but i know that she did a great job as secretary of state and i'm confident that if she's elected president she will do enormous good for the country as well. >> on the other side of the political spectrum former texas governor rick perry is believed to be preparing for a run for president. how were your dealings with him when you were mayor of san antonio? >> governor perry served as folks may remember from 2001 until just recently. i served on the city council in san antonio from '01 to '05 and then mayor. most of the time i interacted with governor perry was around economic development projects. often time when is mayors and
governors interact, everyone is on the same page. you want to see investment in your local community. there are usually incentives that are involved in sparking that investment. i have said publicly and privately that with regard to economic development that former governor perry did make that a priority. so my relationship with him on those issues was cordial and good when he supported san antonio, i have much different views from him on a whole host of issues, and i believe in general that texas is getting it half right right now for the 21st century. but i wish him well in the future. >> in the same vein how are your dealings with senator ted cruz? >> we had a good meeting when i was going through my
confirmation process. sat down in his office, talked about where a good spot to get texas barbecue is here in d.c. a place called hill country, he said. he and i have different views as well, but what i'm looking for as a newcomer to washington, d.c. is where we can work together on these policies. whether it's on this premium reduction or on the work we do in public housing or any number of policies, i'm here to get a job done to create more opportunity for folks out there. so if it's senator cruz we can work with or senator cornyn who was kind enough to introduce me at my confirmation hearing, i'm eager to do it. i'm eager to work with people across the spectrum in the service of creating more
opportunity for everyday americans. whether they come from texas or somewhere else. >> could you comment on the president's outreach to cuba? >> as the president has said, the policy that we had in place with regard to cuba was in place for five decades and did not work. and so the question now is how do we go forward with a sensible policy of engagement that requires cuba to begin making a change of course and i'm satisfy ed that the president has taken a sensible, prudent step in that direction and that is very meaningful for many americans. i know in the cuban-american community this is a source of a
lot of thought and different views, but i believe that folks on different sides of that, both sides of that recognize that the goal is to ensure that we continue to promote freedom and democracy and the president said that he believes this is the best way and the most effective way to do it and many folks of different backgrounds have said they agree with that. so i look forward to progress on that. >> before the last question, do you think republicans will get on board with immigration reform and did the president go far enough in his immigration proposals? >> the president made a prudent decision to take action a first step to fix our broken
immigration system. there are folks who have suggested he didn't go far enough. i disagree on that. the president has done what is within his authority and he has been very reasonable about that doing something that is measured and at the same time, does go further than any president has before to say that we are a nation of laws. we're also a nation of immigrants and we're going to great create a way to be both of those things to help keep families together. if we have folks acting responsibly in the united states and they get to the back of the line. it's also true that the congress has the opportunity to pass legislation. if congress disagrees with the president on his immigration action, they can pass a bill and, in fact, americans out there are waiting for congress
to pass comprehensive immigration reform. it passed in a bipartisan way in the senate. the house of representatives should have brought comprehensive immigration reform to the floor because of the rule they did not. now it's up to the republican-controlled congress to do the responsible thing and pass comprehensive immigration reform. i believe that if and when they do, that will look a lot like what the president has laid out and the senate supported a year year and a half ago. something that's responsible and accomplishes both ensuring that we protect our borders but also that we do something about the 11 million folk who is are already here because it is not realistic to think we're not going to deport 11 million people. >> mr. secretary, before asking the last question, i'd like to present you with the traditional national press club mug and
should you return on future occasions, you'll get more to complete a set. just a final question in the brief time we have left. the questioner says, being a cabinet secretary means always being overcommitted. that being the case have you or will you consider ever allowing your brother to serve as your body double? >> i have to be honest that i will not consider that because my brother introduces himself by saying i'm a minute uglier than he is. so i'll skip that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you all for being here. we are adjourned. [ applause ]
now we take you live to arlington, virginia, for an armed forces farewell for defense secretary chuck hagel who is stepping down as pentagon chief. president obama will be speaking at this event at joint base meyer henderson hall. ashton carter has been nominated by the president to be the next defense secretary. confirmation hearings have not yet been held and secretary hagel will be staying on until a replacement is confirmed. again, this is live coverage on c-span 3.
ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the arrival of the official party and remain standing as honors are rendered. the reviewing official for today's ceremony the honorable chuck hagel accompanied by the president of the the united states, the vice president of the united states joseph r. biden and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin e. dempsey.
[ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen before i begin, i'd like to ask you to join me in recognizing the incredible group of soldiers, sailors, and airmen behind me. they are quite simply the best at what they do whatever they do, to include putting on ceremonies like this. thanks very much. [ applause ] >> mr. secretary i wouldn't has to guess how many times you have heard that song played, but. today it was played for you and i hope it provides for you a lasting and enduring and special memory of your time in service of your country. mr. president, mr. vice president, secretary and mrs.
hagel, good afternoon. it's an honor to be here to thank secretary hagel for his service to our nation and what an incredible and remarkable career of service it has been. it began 48 years ago when the local draft court called in 20-year-old charles timothy hagel and said, young man, you have six months to get back in college or you're going to be drafted into the vietnam war. to which he replied, i tried college, three colleges actually and let's just say it wasn't in the best interest of those academic institutions to keep me. so i think the best thing for me is actually to go into the army. but frankly, it may not be the best thing for the army. he recounted that himself in the oral history that is being accumulated at the smithsonian on the vietnam war. instead of being drafted, he volumed tiered on the spot to serve his country in war just as
his grandfather had done in world war i and his father in world war ii. that same sense of responsibility, sense of commitment to our country and genuine sense of humility characterized his leadership as our secretary of defense. president roosevelt said i have enjoyed my life and my work because i thoroughly believe that success, real success does not depend upon the position you hold but how you carry yourself in that position. it's unquestionable then that secretary hagel's lifetime of service in every position he's held is the very definition of success. moreover he will be the first to tell you that his service was made possible by the love of his family. we thank you for your service, your sacrifice, understanding and tireless support. please give a round of apluzplause for the hagel family.
[ applause ] >> on this day in history, 55 years ago today the dallas cowboys joined the national football league. as a giant fan i consider this a day of great sadness. but this historical note is timely with the super bowl coming up in just a few days. many probably don't know before he served in the army secretary hagel had aspirations to play football himself. not for the dallas cowboys. he wanted to play for the university of nebraska cornhuskers. sports can teach many valuable lessons. and teddy roosevelt said the principle to follow is this. hit the line hard, don't foul and don't sherk, but hit the line hard. that's certainly the principle secretary hagel learned playing fullback in columbus, nebraska.
it's also characteristic of how he hit the line hard when he became our secretary of defense. he hit the ground run ingning and worked to ensure our forces had everything they needed in order to accomplish their missions in afghanistan and around the globe. as new challenges emerged from isil in the middle east to russian aggression in the ukraine and ebola in africa he provided leadership ensuring they could respond quickly to keep our nations secure. and his leadership didn't stop there. he's reenforced the notion that we who work in the defense of our nation are called to live uncommon lives. secretary hagel has been an incredible advocate within our government and with the american people delivering on his promise to keep faith with our service members our civilian personnel and their families. he's led by example and made tough decisions in trying times. he's a devoted family man and an
exemplary person. he's a man of character, the type of character that was forged by a working class upbringing that valued hard work and perseverance. he's been tested in the crewsombat. his resolve is as solid as steel. but his love of his country is even stronger. a truism embodied in the shrapnel that still resides in his chest. a permanent reminder of his sacrifice for america. at that draft board in columbus nebraska, a 20-year-old charles timothy hagel made the decision to volunteer because there was a war going on and he felt a responsibility to serve. but he also wanted to set a good example for his three younger brothers. reflecting on that decision, he said, my father had suddenly passed away and i just wasn't coming together the way that i should. well today we can say, without
question, that he came together all right, and i'm certain the world war tail gunner would agree. mr. secretary, we thank you for your leadership and for your example. i am proud to have served by your side. it's now my honor to introduce the vice president of the united states. [ applause ] >> mr. president chairman dempsey, it's been hard raising your father and your husband but you have done a pretty good job. chuck, there's no one i know and i mean this sincerely. we have been close friends for a long time.
there's no one i know who better fits the standard that president kennedy set out for our generation when he said, our success or failure will be measured by the answer to four questions. were we truly men of courage? were we truly men of judgment? were we truly men of integrity? were we truly men of dedication? chuck, it's a lot more than your physical courage that i admire. it's your moral courage and political courage. you have more of that than about anyone i have ever served with in all the years i have served in the united states senate and vice president. chuck, you're a man whose judgment and counsel i have always sought to your chagrin sometimes. during our 12 years together in the foreign relations committee, many tens of thousands of miles
we traveled around the world into northern iraq at a time when before we went in and excuse me mr. president, i'll tell a quick story. we wanted to go into irbil and we couldn't figure out how to get there. this was before the wars commenced. so the turks decided to let us through and we were on the border and they decided to stick us in a car with a guy who looked like something out of one of these modern day road warrior movies. we were both sitting in the backseat they said to make sure you lie down in the seat as often as you can because you don't want to be seen. i remember chuck saying, you know, i'm worried about my mom. we're riding through the mountains in northern kurdistan
and you were on the phone got the cell phone and called your mother. but it's a pretty interesting fellow, mr. president, who was on an important mission but never forgets what was important to him. your integrity chuck, is something that everyone in the united states senate with whom you worked everyone in the previous administrations recognized and it's recognized immediately. you always mean what you said you said what you mean and in my neighborhood and yours, a promise made is a promise kept. you cannot find anyone who has ever known you where you have ever not kept whatever commitment you have made. and your dedication to this country and your family goes without having to even make reference to.
chuck, your experience as a fellow warrior to all your comrades here has established an unusual bond between you and a list of troops. i remember everybody was talking to the generals and i look around and you were over climbing in a humvee with two sergeants asking them what's going on, what the problem is. i remember us being in baghdad, i remember us being in afghanistan, always, always walking away and talking to the rank and file troops because you know they knew it they understood it you got the straight scoop. which is not unique but critically important something that the president understands and has exemplified that we not only lead the world by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. you have understood to your core
that america's power and prestige ultimately rests upon the men and women in uniform that are assembled here today. and you feel as i do as all of us do in here, we have a lot of obligations as a country. we only have one truly sacred obligation. literally, one obligation. we have obligations to the needy, elderly, to educate our children, but only one truly sacred obligation. that is equip those who we send to war and care for them and their families while and when they come home from war. and no one has been more committed to fulfilling that obligation than you. chuck, i'm truly going to personally miss you. i'm going to miss your presence here, and i'm sure though that no one in this auditorium misunderstands the depth of your service, the sacrifices you
made and the friendships you have made. so chuck thank you for all you have done and a point of personal privilege all you have done for me all you have done for the country. i'm proud to call you a friend and i'm proud to standby you as a secretary of defense about to retire. as the president said being from nebraska, you could have been the secretary of agriculture, you wouldn't have gotten any of this. congratulations, chuck i wish you all the very, very best, thank you. [ applause ]
days in india. i returned about 3:00 this morning. so i don't know exactly what time it is or what day it is, but i was determined to be here with you this afternoon to honor and celebrate a great friend to me and to all of us. in october of 1967 president lyndon johnson travelled to a military base in new mexico to review a top secret weapons program. he went down to the white sands missile range and out to the testing grounds. there out in the desert the president watched as soldiers demonstrated what would later become the famed stinger missile. one of those soldiers was a 21-year-old private from nebraska named charles timothy
hagel. now the secret service doesn't let me get too close to an active weapons system. it makes them nervous, but clearly they did things differently back in those days. i can only assume you were careful not to point the missile at the president because what followed is decades of service. vice president biden, members of congress general dempsey, leaders from across this department and members of the joint chiefs and service secretaries, to the men and women of the greatest military in the world we gather to pay tribute to a true american pate patriot. let me assure you i checked with the secret service and chuck will not be demonstrating any missile launches today. as we all know and have heard
again, chuck loves nebraska. cornhuskers, red beer, but above all what chuck loves most is the people. his fellow midwesterners. there are more than 7 billion people on the planet. but as so many of our troops have found o ut themselves no matter where chuck goes if you're from nebraska, he will find you and he will had talk with you and listen to you and ask you about your family back home and chances are he knows them too. so today as a celebration of the american life, a man from the heartland who devoted his life to america. just imagine in your mind's eye the defining moments of his life. the kid from nebraska who volunteered to go to vietnam.
the soldier outside saigon rushing to pull his own brother from a burning building. the deputy of the v.a. who stood up for his fellow vets who were exposed to agent orange. the senator who helped lead the fight for the post 9/11 g.i. bill to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had. i asked chuck to lead this department in a moment of profound transition and today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch. after more than 13 years our combat mission in afghanistan is over and america's longest war has come to a responsible and honorable end. because of chuck's direction a strategic review has made difficult choices in a time of tight budgets while still making sure that our forces are redady
to be called on for any contingency. today our troops are supporting afghan forces and continue to face risks and remain relentless in their pursuit of al qaeda networks. they are leading the coalition to destroy isil a coalition that includes arab nations because chuck strengthened key partnerships in the middle east. and under his leadership our forces in west africa are helping to lead the global fight against ebola, saving lives and showing american leadership at its very, very best. even as we've met these pressing challenges, chuck has helped us to prepare for the century ahead. in europe the stronger nato is reassuring our allies. in the asia-pacific, one of my priorities, chuck helped modernize our alliances, strengthened partnerships bolster defense posture improve communications between the united states and chinese militaries, all of which helps
to ensure that the united states remains a strong pacific power. because chuck helped build new trust we'll expand our defense cooperation. i demonstrated during my visit there the degree to which that partnership is moving in a new direction, that's partly attributable to the work that chuck did. and the reforms he launched will help make this department more efficient and innovative for years to come. thanks to secretary hagel's guiding hand, this institution is better positioned for the future. but chuck, i want to suggest today that perhaps your greatest impact, a legacy that will be felt for decades to come has been your own example. it's not simply that you have been the first enlisted combat veteran and the first vietnam veteran to serve as secretary of defense, it's how your life experience being down in the
mud, feeling the bullets fly overhead has allowed you to connect with our troops like no other secretary before you. you have welcomed our junior enlisted personnel to lunch in your office and made them feel at home. they told you what was really on their minds. when you spoke to our newest sergeant majors about the true meaning of leadership and responsibility, they knew they were learning from one of their own. and in those quiet moments when you have pinned a purple heart on. a wounded warrior, you were there not just as secretary of defense but as an old army sergeant who knows the wages of war and still carries the shrapnel in your chest. these aren't fleeting moments, they reflect the driving force of chuck's service. his love of our troops and his determination to take care of them after more than 13 years of war. today our military hospitals are getting stronger our women are more integrated into the force
than ever before shs we're making progress in combatting sexual assault, we'll bring home the remains of fallen heroes faster and more vietnam veterans will finally be eligible for the pay they deserved all along. chuck, that's because of you. that's part of your legacy. of course, i'm grateful to chuck on a very personal level. exactly ten years ago this month, i joined you in the united states senate, along with the vice president. i was new and green, you were a veteran legislator. i was the student and you shared some lessons of your service. i was young and you were well. though we came from different parties, we often saw the world the same way, including our conviction that even as we must
never hesitate to defend our nation, we must never rush into war. we both believed that america should only send her sons and daughters into harm's way when it is ab sloutly necessary and when we do they make sure they have everything they need to succeed. a mission that is worthy of their sacrifice. in an era of politics that too often descends into spectacle, you have always served with decency and dignity and in a town you have never lost your midwestern humility. you have always been frank and honest and said what you thought. and i have so profoundly benefitted from that candor. you represent a tradition of bipartisanship in national
security that we need more of today. joe biden reflects that. i see dick lugar in the stands, he reflects that. that's when we're at our best. from sergeant to secretary, you have always been guided by one interest. what you believe is best for america. and i thank you for your friendship and your counsel and all of us thank you for your character and your integrity. of course, nobody serves alone. thank you for sharing your husband and father with us. and for the sacrifices that your family has made for all of ours. and chuck, since our lives are so often the reflection of those closest to us today i want to acknowledge the service of your brother tom, the service of your
father, the sacrifices of your late mom betty. we salute this american family. our men and women in uniform here today those who stand where chuck once stood they don't ask for much. they volunteer, they accept the risks that come with military service, but they do ask this. this nation take care of them as well as they have taken care of us. that we provide them with the resources to do their jobs and meet the missions we ask of them. after all they have given for us, after all they have sacrificed they have the right to expect that we will meet our obligations as well. that's my duty as commander-in-chief and this will be the work of my nominee to be the next secretary of defense, mr. carter, this must be the work of all of us as americans
grate. ful to those who serve in our name. that's the story of chuck hagel's life. i'll close with a story that came about last year. i was going to tell the story about when we were traveling in iraq and chuck wore these pair of hush puppy bedroom slipper shoes out into the desert and the flaps started opening up and his toes were sticking out but i'm going to skip that story. he then ended up buying me a pair which i have never worn i'm proud to say. this is a different story. one day last year i was in the oval office and chuck came in for what i thought would be our regular weekly meet, ubut he had a guest and he introduced us. his name was jerome skip johnson. friendly guy grandfather, and he was from my hometown of
chicago. chuck explained that skip lieutenant johnson had been his platoon commander in vietnam. they had lost touch until chuck tracked him down. this was the first time they reunited in nearly 50 years. and chuck just wanted to bring skip to the oval office to say hello to the president. to meet his family. including his young grandsons. and chuck told me about how it had been 1968 with protests and race riots back home causing tension in vietnam. and chuck's unit was mostly white. and skip was african american. and chuck wasn't going to totally tolerate. and he went to his platoon. we're all americans. let's get it done.
and at that moment in the oval office as these two soldiers stood before me. with skip's grandsons looking on it wasn't lost on any of us how far our nation has come. and i want to thank chuck for that moment. because part of the reason we've traveled that distance is is we've had men like chuck hagel serving. and representing inging what's best in america. and moments when we are tested, as a military as a nation. sometimes we get distracted by what divides us and lose sight of what unites us. and at those moments we can draw strength from the example of a sergeant from nebraska and a lieutenant from chicago. we are all americans. we live together. we sacrifice together. we take care of each other.
that's about enough. that's enough. thank you. actually i think we can all go home now. mr. president, thank you. i'm very grateful to you for many reasons. but first thank you for being here today. i know the kind of schedule that you have been on and the length of the trip the intensity of those visits and to make this effort today means an awful lot. thank you. i want to also thank you for giving me the honor of serving you and the american people as secretary of defense.
i will always be grateful. always grateful for that opportunity. and mr. president thank you for your strong leadership at a very difficult time. a difficult time in our world that requires wise, steady, careful leadership. you have and you are providing that leadership and i have been very proud to serve with you in the senate in particular over the last two years as secretary of defense. vice president biden, thank you as well for being here today. i have not forgotten some of the stories that you told. i recall very well us calling my mother on that trip through the mountains of iraq. and i remember you wanted to
speak with her. and hours and hours later [ laughter ] -- she never forgot that mr. vice president. and was so proud of that phone conversation. and so i thank you for your generous reaching out to my mother at a very difficult time for her. because she -- she was gone about a month later. so thank you. one of my greatest joys during my time here in washington has been development of our friendship. and as you have noted and the president has noted, our time together, the three of us on the senate foreign relations committee. secretary kerry is here today,
who knows a little something about this business. and to you secretary kerry thank you. i include you in those days. our former chairman chairman luger is here as well. and to dick luger thank you. as you have noted, there are special people in our lives that we benefit from. and certainly dick luger is one of those i think we all have benefitted a great deal from. and vice president biden, thank you for your years of service to this country as well. chairman dempsey it's been a great privilege for this old sergeant to have worked side by side with a general of your character and your courage. i've been very fortunate to have you as my partner in this job. especially during those
self-help and educational opportunities called congressional hearings. i was always reassured in each of those hearings as we would drive to the hill every morning knowing that marty dempsey was next to me. and what you have meant to our military marty and what you continue to do for this country, thank you very much. i see another great icon of the united states senate with us today. senate john warner who we all worked closely with and benefitted from. and to our distinguished colleagues senators warren and luger, welcome and thank you for what you have done for this country. and so many of you who are here today. and i'm grateful that you would take the time to visit us on the
occasion. to the chiefs of the services our civilian leaders, and the combatant commanders, thank you. thank you for your unflagging service and your leadership and your commitment to this country. i want to particularly acknowledge acknowledge bob werk. bob werk our deputy secretary of defense. i thank him for his leadership and our strong partnership over the last year. and my appreciation as well for ash carter for his service during my partnership at the first year at the pentagon and for his chontontinued commitment to public service and my heartfelt thanks to my security and advance staff. each of you played critically important roles for which my family and i will always be grateful. to my personal staff and those in the office of the secretary, you have been indispensable,
indispensable, in helping me carry out my responsibilities and i thank you and to the men and women who skerveerve our country and their families whose service and sacrifice is unequalled you have my deepest gratitude. we salute your high purpose in defense offer freedoms and our values. every day you wake up and you go to work knowing that this department, this department alone is charged with one fundamental mission -- the security of this nation. it's been my absolute privilege to have be on your team. over the past two years i've witnessed the courage and dignity of america's service men and women all over the world. i've seen young enlisted and young enforces doing their job and realizing that how, how, they do their jobs, is just as important as the job itself. i've seen senior officers and
senior enlisted realizing that they are role models. maybe their highest responsibility of all. and i've seen the enduring devotion and commitment of their families. the mothers, the father, husbands wives, children and the sacrifices that they willingly -- willingly -- make for our country. their individual commitment to the greater good and strength of the institution has been a complete inspiration to me in every way. they understand that it's people -- people -- who build and strengthen institutions and make the world a better place. these are the reasons why america's military is the most admired and most trusted institution in our country. we must always protect that confidence and trust. by our conduct and our performance. continuing to hold ourselves and each other to the highest standards of professionalism and personal behavior. as i will soon leave this job
that i have cherished for the last two years, i want you all to know that the things that i have most respected and most admired are your dignity your courage and your dedication. the opportunity to have been part of all this is something i could not have imagined when i joined the army 48 years ago. no high office with responsibility is easy. as everyone in this room knows. but with each difficult challenge comes the satisfaction of knowing that you are like teddy roosevelt's man in the arena, slugging it out doing what you believe, doing what you like, and doing it your way.
and recognizing that it is not the critics who count or change the world or make the world better. rather it is those who are willing to work, work very hard towards building a better world. we live in a complicated and defining time. the men and women who have devoted their lives to america's security are the architects of this new 21st century world. they are building onto the great legacies and foundations that have been laid by those who have gone before them. we made mistakes. we will make more mistakes. but we hold tightly to one of america's greatest strengths -- the capacity and the constitutional structure that allows us to self-correct. we can change system, right wrong, solve problems and start over. but we must get the big picture.
we must recognize that there is not an immediate answer to every problem. some problems require evolving solutions that give us the time and the space to adjust. and the patience to seek higher ground and lasting results. our world is not moving towards less complicated problems but rather towards more global challenges rooted in historic injustices and conflicts. in this dynamic environment we need to prioritize and focus on how -- on how to build greater partnership capacity around the world with our partners. to help solve problems through coalitions of common interest that help build opportunities and create hope for all people. these are difficult and complicated tasks. but we have no choice.
it will require steady, wise and judicious use of american power prestige and influence. we must never fail the always ask the most important question when making decisions in policy -- what happens next? with all of the world's tremendous vailtravails and problems, it is still a hopeful world. this i believe. i want to thank my wife with whom i've shared this remarkable 30 year journey. i could never have done this job without her by myside side. and i'm especially proud of her work on behalf of military families and other important issues to men and women of the mill military. i valued all of her many
contributions to these institutions and i thank they are deeply for helping me be a better secretary of defense. i want to also thank my daughter alan, my son ziller for their constant support encouragement and always good advice. and helping me with the internet. [ laughter ] and recognizing and allowing me to take inventory in that recognition that i am not near as smart as i thought i was. those are the humbling experiences of parenthood. those of us who had the opportunity to know those days and have that experience and be blessed with that experience know so well. and to my brothers tom and mike who have truly been with me since this train left the station in nebraska many years
ago, thank you. and one last point. of all the opportunities my life has given me -- and i have been blessed with so many -- i am most proud of having once been a soldier. the lessons from my time in uniform about trust responsibility, duty judgment, and loyalty to your fellow soldier, these i have carried with me throughout my life. may god bless and keep each of you. thank you. [ applause ] thank you.
>> consequences of actions are not very clear to them because their frontal lobes are not at the ready. the connections can't be made as quickly for split second decision making and also don't forget a lot of the hormones are changing in the young men and women. and the brain hasn't seen these yet in life until you hit teenage years. so the brain is learning to respond to new hormones rolling around and locking on to receptors and the synapses of different type. and it is trial and error. and i think this contributes to this very roller coaster kind of experience that we watch as
the meeting will come to order. i say to my friend the ranking member that the whole right side back there is oklahoma. i came in last night and they were having a dinner i thought two or three people. i knew gary ridley would be there. and looked over and all familiar faces there. so, you know, we have this concern. there is a lot of things about what is government really supposed to be doing. and quite often -- and the reason that i got onto the committees that i did 20 years ago was because this is what we're supposed to be doing. defending america, building infrastructure. that is it. so we all understand that in oklahoma. we know that we have gone through a process that most of us -- some of us remember.
most of us have not been around that long. but i do recall when i was over in the house in the t&i committee over there. at that time do you know the biggest problem we had in the highway trust fund? too much surplus. that was the problem we had. and we all know since that time and we all know that ke can't continue to do as we have done in the past. i do have a opening statement which i'll submit as part of the record. and i think the significance of this meeting, i say to my friends on the left and right, is that we want to do it right this time. and we've done patch work and we've put together things that we think are a good idea. and we -- and i have to say this. we've had discusses. i didn't like the way things went back in the 27 month bill that we had. i didn't like the idea that a lot of republicans, my good friends, were demagoguing it and not realizing that what they
were doing well they were thinking they were doing the conservative thing because it was a big bill. but it's not. because the conservative thing is to pass a bill instead of having the extensions. and secretary foxx has been out in oklahoma and we've talked about this at length. the cost of extensions. we've never calculated it but i think it's somewhere around 30% off the top. well the good news is that the house when we went over right after this bill and told them talked to them about this thing. about our constitutional responsibilities, every one of the 33 republicans, and the democrat on the house t&i committee voted for it. that's a major breakthrough at that time. and i see that happening again here. so we're going to be doing the right thing now and as we know decided o do. make one change in this
committee. not have everyone make opening hearings because we have so many witnesses coming in and we spend all of our time listening to each other. so with that i'll just yield to senator boxer and then we'll start -- continue the hearing. >> mr. chairman thank you so much for making this your first hearing. nothing could be -- please us more because we know this is an area where there is bipartisan support. and i think senator bitter and i it's no big secret but we were able to get a good bill done through this committee and i have to make a point mr. chairman. we were the only committee to act last congress. no committee but this committee. and with your leadership we're going to be working together to get this done. i'm going to ask unanimous consent to put my statement in the record and four brief
points. fir we can first we can do nothing more important for businesses and for jobs and this middle class than passing the a highway bill. that is the first thing. there is nothing better that we could do. secondly with we have a great record of bipartisanship on that issue so nothing should stop us. again i point to last year where we acted and no one else acted in the senate or the house. bipartisan participation in this committee. and we need to take the leadership. and hopefully this time it will be emulated. three, we have to have to courage in the senate and in the house to have a -- to fund a multiyear bill. we cannot leap over that idea to an extension. and that leaves me to my next point. we are getting perilously close to the bankruptcy of the highway
trust fund. may 31st. mr. chairman i would ask rhetorically, if you go to the bank and you want to buy a house and the bank says oh great. we'll lend you the money but only for five months. you are going to walk away. you are not going to buy a house if all you know is you have credit -- that's what they have done here. when i say "they," the vast majority of our colleagues punted this. and this is awful. this is the greatest country in the world. we will not remain so if our bridges are falling down. if our highways are crumbling and so many other ramifications of not investing. so we need certainty. i do want to say today i learned from my staff. i don't know if your staff has informed you, that the deficit in the trust fund is less than we thought it would be. we are anticipating 18 billion a year over six years. it was 13 billion a years over
six years. >> -- 15 [inaudible]. >> well now it's a lot less than we thought it would be. it's 13 billion a year. now if we can't find that. i think it's a 1.2$1.2 trillion budget on discretionary spending. if we can't find to build the infrastructure we have failed as a congress. so with your leadership and with all your strong support from oklahoma i think we're going to get things done here. i look forward it. >> thank you senator boxer. it's my honor to introduce and present secretary foxx. we've had a chance to break ground on a lot of good things out there in our state of oklahoma. i'm thankful you are doing what you're doing and you are going
to be in on the big kill and we're going to do it together. secretary foxx. >> thank you mr. chairman for your kind words and for your leadership as well as the leadership of ranking member senator barbara boxer. the work you have all done and will continue to do on this issue is vitally important. and i want to tell you that we appreciate your service. i also want to thank the entire committee here. we are in a new year. with a new congress. but i'm here to discuss an old issue, the need for a new transportation bill. as has been said, a multi-year transportation bill with funding growth and policy reforms focused on america's future. america is in a race not just against our global competitors but against the high standards of innovation and progress our nation has shown for generations. we are behind in that race. and when you are behind you must run faster and do more than just
keep pace. the transportation system itself does not care about the political challenges of addressing its needs. from its perspective and from mine we are either meeting those needs or we aren't. in the past year i've been to 41 states in over a hundred cities. mr. chairman, you were kind enough to invite me to oklahoma where we saw a stretch of i-44 just south of tulsa that needs to be widened. but the funds just aren't there. there are thousands of miles of highway projects in oklahoma that the d.o.t. has said are critical. but they are either not being built or they are not being repaired. unfortunately oklahoma is not alone. i've also visited the brent spence bridge that connects
kentucky and ohio. it is well over 50 years old and is carrying more than twice the traffic it was designed for. chunks of concrete are now falling from the bridge's ramps on cars parked below. it must be replaced. but there is no real plan right now on how to pay for it. or you could look at tennessee. the state d.o.t. there has actually postponed $400 million in projects and the thousands of jobs that come with them because of quote/unquote funding uncertainty here in washington. tennessee is not the only state to slow or stop projects. but it may be the first state to tell the unvarnished truth about what's happening to our transportation system. about how grid lockelock in washington is now creating gridlock on main street. last year we sent a comprehensive multiyear
proposal, the grow america act which included 350 pages of the precise funding subscriptions and growth all focused on the future what. america received in response was a 10-month extension with flat funding, which while averting catastrophe, falls short meeting the country's needs. it is not the first short-term measure or patch that has been patched. it was by my count the 32nd in the last six year. and as a formermayor, i can tell you that these short-term measures are doing to communities across america what the state says they are doing in tennessee, literally killing their will to build. at this point we must concern ourselves not only with the immediate situation that confront us in may but also with the cumulative effects of these short-term measures and the
policy uncertainty. i urge you to make a hard pivot now. from the rear view mirror to the front windshield. look at our aging system. look at the opportunity we have to grow jobs in the economy. look at our own children and grandchildren. in order for the system to be as good as the american people, we must do something dramatic. to hell with the politics. that is why we sent you to grow america act last year and why we will send you a new and improved grow america act this year. we certainly know that the grow america act is not the only approach to solving the infrastructure and mobility challenges of the future. we look forward to fully engaging this committee and with others on both sides of the aisle to chart this path together. but we believe there are some essential principles that any
bill must have. first we're going to need a substantially greater investment. we're also going to need a greater level of investment over time. not just six months, or even two years. if we want communities to build big projects they can take in some cases five years or more. we need to ensure funding for roughly that same amount of time. i think senator boxer's analogy of trying to buy a house with a five month loan is a great analogy. there are processes that neat to be dealt with. we believe we can do that while ensuring better outcome for the environment. we also believe in opening the door to more private investment and giving communities and mpos and freight operators a louder voice in what gets built. we believe in strengthening you are buy america program to
ensure american dollars are invested in american projects be american products and we must do everything possibly to keep americans safe as they travel in 2015 and beyond and that includes obtaining the resources and authority that we need to combat. in the end we have great respect for what this committee has done and the challenge ahead of it. including as we look back getting map 21 passed. a huge cheesmt. and now it is time to build on that work. when i was sworn in i took the same oath that you did to protect and defend. and for me that means protecting and defending american's fundamental ability to move to get to work, to get to school to get goods from the factory to the shelf. but i can't do that. they can't do that. and we can't do that unless we take bold action now.
so i'm here to work with you. and i'm also looking forward to your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you mr. secretary. >> i've often thought in that particular job in your job there's no better background to have been a mayor of a large city. you and i have talked about that in the past. you see the things that you know are -- you know that work. you wonder sometimes, you know, how can we build on these? and do even a better job. because people -- i know the press when we walk out of here the only thing they're going to want to talk about is how do you pay for it and we don't know yet. we are going to have all of the above and work on it. but there are areas that are sometimes controversial. and i have to appreciate both sides working together on some of these enhancements. you mentioned enhancements in some of the streamlining. we've done a lot of good things
already. what more is out there that is obvious to you that would make it go faster get more done for less money and get you have to ground quicker? >> thank you mr. chairman. that is a very important question. and we do have experience in the recent past building on some of the work of map 21. of doing concurrent reviews in our permitting process. which effectively allows all of the federal agencies to sit at the table at the same time at an earlier point in the design and construction of a project to comment on that project at a point at which the project can still be changed to respond to the permitting. and i'll give you an example. there is a project in new york called the tap zi bridge. we applied concurrent r rerues and reviews and changed the
permitting time from 3 to 5 years to 18 months. >> that was really a direct result in changes that we made in coming to this point. >> it was building on a lot of the work that map 21 contained. and there was also some administrative work that went into putting that out on dash board and assuring the agencies work together. but we think there are additional tools that can enable that to happen more. and the good news when row do concurrent reviews you are not sacrificing the environment. you are putting the environment at an earlier stage and getting better results there too. >> senator boxer. >> thanks mr. chairman. mr. secretary i'm going to just press you on what's actually happening on the ground right now because we have failed as a government to give any certainty to this process. so we know that tennessee and arkansas have already delayed
hundreds of millions of dollars in highway projects for this year. and last summer over two dozen states have taken similar preemptive action as the highway trust fund neared insolvency. this whole game of waiting and then somebody steps up in the house or senate and says oh i'm going to save this for five months. this as disaster. can you discuss the likelihood that we're going to see these cutbacks continue if we don't take action soon to shore up the trust fund? >> thank you for the question. this is a crisis that is actually worse than i think most people realize. and your point is very well-taken. we have a may 31 2015 point at which the funding of the 10-month extension runs out. but the state departments of transportation are having to figure out what their plan of work is going to be during the height of construction season
which starts right about the same time that the extension runs out. so i predict that over the course of the next few months you are going to see more state departments of transportation start to slow or stop projects because they don't know what's on the other side of may 31st. so from a timing perspective, i think we have a problem sooner than may 31st in terms of the situation on the ground. i think what you are going to see are states pulling back even before may. >> well that is basically my question. i'm not going to take anymore time. the one point i'm going to make over and over again to anyone who will listen -- and some will and some won't -- is this is our duty. this is our job. this is the best thing we can do for the country. this is the most bipartisan thing we can do. and this committee i'm urging -- and i know the chairman feels as i do -- that we need to step out here. and i would say to colleagues
here, we have a really great role to play by stepping out again and doing the right thing. we have the blueprint. we put it together with all your help. that may not be the exact blueprint we go with but it is a definite start. thank you if your very calm and collected manner for letting us know that lack of action is already having result and impact on the ground and the impact is bad. it is bad for businesses. it is bad for jobs. it is bad for communities, for our local people. and that is the point i think i wanted to make and you made it very eloquently. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator boxer. senator visit senator vitter. >> thank you mr. charm. i want to echo the comments on
the infrastructure. water resources bill, water infrastructure bill that was very important for ports and waterways and that infrastructure maritime commerce and as senator boxer mentioned we put together a very good highway bill in this committee. now, we have the easy part, quite frankly. so i don't want to overstate. we put together the transportation part of the highway bill. good bill. very bipartisan basis. but the finance committee has the hard part which is the financing part. and i want to cut right to that. so let's cut to the chase. i agree with you. we need to get this done. we need toe get it done on a medium to long-term basis. not another band-aid approach. my suggestion for all of us who truly want do that is to cut right to the chase and to really dive into those discussions about how we finance it in a
realistic way. folks on the left including the administration, may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that just objectively are going nowhere in this congress. folks on the right in this congress may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that are going nowhere with this administration. my suggestion is we blow past that. don't waste time. and cut to the chase of where we may find a common solution. i believe realistically there are three realistic categories to focus on. one is the traditional gas tax. the traditional means of financing the highway trust fund. i believe that is only realistic, only a possibility -- in my opinion. this is just my political judgment. i can't prove this. but i think it is only a possibility if we give all middle class and lower middle class taxpayers a tax off set
something off their income tax a withholding or something. so they are held harmless o. so they do not may peayay a higher overall federal tax bill. second is i believe tax reform. maybe focussing on business tax reform and using elements of that namely repatriation to have a significant amount of money for the federal highway program. that is not a truly permanent solution. but those are big dollars that could fund a significant bill of a significant duration. and then the third big category is some domestic energy production with the additional royalty and revenue dedicated to the highway trust fund. now, i would like to see that to a much greater extent than i'm
sure is realistic given the sensibilities of folks on the other side of the aisle and the administration. and so in the spirit that i began with i'm not suggesting, you know, david vitter's lease plan for the ocs -- chazwhich is a great one by the way. but i'm suggesting some expanded productioned that good for the economy and would produce revenue at least until the price of the oil gets to better place, more stable place that could be dedicated to the highway trust fund. so what is the administration doing to cut to the chase and explore those three categories? >> thank you for the question. and let me answer your question directly. and also make a point. the administration has put forward a proposal to use pro growth business tax reform to
pay for our infrastructure. and what we would basically do is put in addition to what the gas tax is currently spinning off, of course it is less than what the highway trust fund needs to be level. but we put another amount of a like amount into our infrastructure to not only replenish the highway trust fund but to do more than that. which leads me to the point that i want to make, which is that i think there needs to be a conversation about what this is. what number are we trying to get to? and what is it going to get us? think about me and our department is contractors. we can try to go out and build what congress urges us to do. but i want to make it very clear that we can't go out and build a great big mansion if we have the resources to build a hut. and i think that our system
right now really needs a substantial injection of a long-term bill but also substantial growth to counteract the cumulative effect of the short-term measures in the recent past. >> and one follow-up real quickly on that specific point. is there a version of that proposal you are talking about that doesn't have the big tax increase on successful folks as part of it? because going back to the spirit of my comments, i'm suggesting that, you know, we get real and we cut to the chase so we actually solve this in a meaningful way by may. so if we're just talking about that version, in all due respect, i don't think that is meeting my test. >> well, you know, the green book last year published three specific ideas about pro growth business tax reform that i think potentially would meet your test. one was eliminating lifo. another was eliminating accelerated depreciation. and a third one was pulling some
of the untaxed corporate earnings overseas and bringing those back home. and those three ideas, very specific ideas are ones that seem to be within the parameters that you have mentioned. but let me also extend to you senator and the committee and the entire senate and house the full measure of my attention to help you get to yes on a solution here. because i think it is vital for the country. >> thank you. >> thank you senator vitter. senator carden. >> thank you mr. chairman i appreciate that. senator foxx. thank you for your work. needs to be long-term. as has been pointed out. our states and koentdcounty cannot
plan without the long-term commitment. it needs to be robust. it is not only the new roads and brings and transit systems we need but also maintaining the infrastructure we have. so we have to focus on this. i do want to maintain -- i think this is the important part -- the flexibility. i represent maryland. the baltimore/washington area is most congested area in the nation. we need to invest in transit and we are have a game plan do that and want to stay on that game plan. baugh large part but a large part of it depends on the ability of a sustained partner and requires the robust bill. i also want to emphasize the need for giving local governments flexibility. i've worked with senator cochrane on the transportation alternative programs that allow locals to make decision, mayors, county people to make decisions
as to what is in their best interest so we have livable communities where you can walk and bike and keep cars off the roads when they are not necessary. and then you emphasize safety. and i just want to emphasize that point also. we had a tragic bike accident in baltimore just recently. and it's critically important our local governments have the ability to keep their people safe. and of course we just recently had a tragedy -- another tragedy on the metro system here in washington. and we've been working with your staff to make sure that we find out as as soon as possible how we can make the metro system. in other words that we don't wait a year for the full review before we implement changes to make sure that the passengers are as safe as possible. so i just really wanted to underscore the points that you have made. that we do want to work with you on partnership. this is a bipartisan committee. and we want to have the resources to modernize our transportation systems. i had the honor of living in
baltimore and commuting to washington every day and never knowing whether it was going to take me one hour or three hours to get in. so it is a challenge for people in our region. it is a challenge for people this our country. and i just urge you to be bold. i think this committee is prepared to be bold. seems to me with the price of energy today we should be able to get the resources we need in order to do what our constituents want us to do. have a modern transportation system be able to maintain that and create the economic engine that will create jobs for the people of our community. that is our goal. that is what we're trying to do. and i just want you to know we appreciate your commitment to this. and you have a lot of partners on this committee. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator fisher.
>> thank you mr. secretary for being here today. i appreciate it. in your testimony you state, quote, too often projects undergo unnecessarily lengthy reviews and we need to be able to make the types of reforms that will expaidiate high priority projects and identify best practices to guide future efforts, unquote. i couldn't agree with you more. as you know in nebraska our department of roads our city, our counties, they have been very frustrated with the federal highway administrations what i would call unpredictable approach to the environmental review process. you know, that we have been trying to work with that. i they need -- those reviews need to be performance oriented. not solely process based and certainly not inflexible. i appreciated your earlier
comment about a concurrent review process where you can cut pretty 3-5 years to 18 months. that would be great. that would be great if we can do that. and i hope that the federal highway administration is going to continue to work with nebraska so we can get there. as, you know limited resources become even more stretched and stressed when we have ha process that i live is not working the way it is supposed to. >> what do you think we can do to ensure that that state of good repair projects within existing right of ways are exempt from what i would call a counterproductive consultation with regulatory agencies? and what is the value added to environmental protection by conducting even a c.e. level review on a resurfacing project or another project in an
existing right of way where transportation facility already exists? do we have to study and document things over and over and over again and just pile up paper? >> thank you for the question, senator. and i know that specifically with respect toney nebraska i think you are going to see some good news occurring there over the next several months but more generally the work of map 21 did some very important things to give the department tools to make greater use of the categorical exclusions. but in addition to that we have begun to take a look at the state review processes.
and we've begun allowing some states to substitute their state review processes for the federal review processes. and texas has just gone through that process. so we are working to exdietpedite where we can. i want to emphasize that i think through a new bill congress could give us additional tools to enable us to operationalize concurrent reviews. and again i think we would get perhaps even better environmental outcomes by doing it that way. because the environmental considerations get brought up early and dealt with early. >> i would be very happy to with work with you on those with my office especially so we can stop the redundancy that i believe is happening. if we can move on to tiger grants. do you think they are being distributed in equal manner? i know that when we look at rural america, open country,
small towns, it seems that we're not getting really tiger funds in those areas. can you tell me why that would be? >> well a couple of points. the tiger program requires a minimum of 20% of each round to be distributed into rural america. >> the definition of rural america at that point is? >> i will have to have my staff confirm this. but i believe it is a community of 50,000 or fewer people. >> i'm talking about very sparsely populated areas where in many cases there is one person per square mile. but yet in a state like nebraska we have miles and miles of roads that are necessary for commerce for safety. and i would think we could look at maybe a new definition of rural america.
>>, you know, we are following the statutory definition but if there is a new definition we will follow what this congress tells us. but what i would also say are a couple of other points. we in the last round exceeded that 20% minimum. we think of it as a floor but not a ceiling. and we are looking constantly to make sure that we see good transformational projects across the country wherever they happen to come from. secondly we have done more outreach to extend technical assistance to rural communities. because in some cases it is the communities that have fewer tools, aren't able to hire fancy consultants to hanl the applications so we want to be as thorough as possible from that standpoint. we'll will continue who work with you and others.
>> thank you very much mr. secretary. appreciate your work. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. senator booker. >> thank you mr. chairman. first and foremost i want to echo some what's already been said. you are an extraordinary public servant. one of the best cabinet members the president has. and i say that with no particular bias. i'm also your friend for many years and a fellow former mayor. but i just want to thank you also for your numerous trips to the state of new jersey and for your partnership on a number of very specific important projects. as you know new jersey is the most densely populated state in america. it is home to the most valuable freight quarter in this country. home to the busiest air space in country and has the third busiest sea port in the united states. we have 39000 miles of public roads. 6,500 bridges and nearly 1,000 miles of fragrant rail. in many ways when it comes to
the economic prosperity of our state, new jersey is a transportation hub that really drives our economy. and i don't want to restate anything that has been said already in terms of the importance a long-term funding mechanism forward but i do want to for the record ask you some questions which are obvious, but important to state. first and foremost, delays in adequately funding our infrastructure actually costs the taxpayer more money in other words, it will drive the ex expense of this transportation dech sit even higher. so in other words, all of the fiscal conservatives in -- and i include myself having been a mayor, that we're actually delayed in our lack of funding, our short-term actions actually are driving more costs to taxpayers over the long run is that correct? >> absolutely.
we have estimates, the american society of civil engineers estimates on a state by state basis, the cost of poor infrastructure on our roadways. and in most cases, the amount people are actually paying into the highway trust fund, for instance is less than the costs they're experiencing as a result of poor road conditions. whether it be having to buy new tires, or get a new axle fixed or the cost of gasoline or whatever. folks are paying more than they're getting. >> right. and so it is the height of your responsibility from just a dollars and cents balance sheet analysis for us to do nothing for short-term fixes not just for the public treasury, but as you said already, motorists in my state on some estimates are spending over $2,000 a year because of poor road conditions. so our inaction makes people pay twice, once with our taxpayer
dollars, and then also with their own dollars out of their pockets in addition their own dollars for direct payments because of repairs to their cars congestion lost productivity because you're sitting in traffic. so really, we're making our inaction in congress making people pay twice. >> yes. the thing that -- money is one thing. but time is something none of us can create more of. and when folks are spending 40 hours on average more a year in traffic, that's time they don't get back. that's a soccer game or a work hour or whatever. and i think that we have just -- we as a country we have stopped thinking about our transportation system as something that gets us there fast. >> right. i know the importance of finding the mechanism is really important, but it's almost like we're saying either we pay now or we pay much more later. >> yes. >> the last thing i'll comment on is one of my colleagues did
something that many might think is radical. senator sanders has called for a $1 trillion investment far more than the administration is asking for. can you just give your opinion on that, knowing that our deficit for transportation investment is far more than $1 trillion? how do you view sanders' call for the $1 trillion investment? >> it's a bold step. it's a bold step. and a statement about where we are as a country. we need to invest more. and i think everyone strains to figure out how to pay for it. but to your further point what happens if we don't? we're going to pay probably more anyway on an individual basis. we're going to lose opportunities to bring jobs to this country. for every $1 billion we invest, we estimate 13,000 jobs come as a result of it. in the transportation sector at large, only about 12% of folks that work in transportation have college degrees. so you look at that versus the
long-term unemployed, this is also a jobs issue. so we are not capturing opportunities as a country. because we're not investing as we should. i think it is very very important, and i applaud senator sanders for taking a bold step and actually talking about the needs we actually have. >> thank you mr. secretary. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator booker. senator capitoe it gives me an honor to introduce for the first time in this committee. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. secretary for being here with us today. i was able to meet you first when i was over on the transportation committee on the house side. i was also on the conference committee with ranking member when we did a lot of the streamlining of the environmental permitting for projects. and i'm glad to know it's moving along. i understand there are things still yet to be done. so i appreciate that effort.
you know, also i would tell my colleague, senator fischer, that west virginia rural community, a town of ranson, was a recipient of two tiger grants that -- for economic development. and we're very appreciative to that. they've been very innovative with that. and i think it's really going to grow that local and regional economy. so i'm very appreciative of the set-aside for rural america, because we were the beneficiary of that. you know, the big question is how do we afford all this. we know that's the sort of the elephant in the room and what we're all trying to struggle with. and so i would ask you, in the tiffia and in the public/private partnership arena are you finding across the state and local communities and business entities are really stepping up for this publish/private partnership? we see some of this in west
virginia. i'm wondering how that's going nationally and what your perspective is on that? because i notice in your written comments, you talk about expanding the tiffia opportunities. >> thank you very much. we do see a lot of promise in public/private partnerships. there are real clear examples in the last few months of ones we've been able to move forward, one of which that comes to mind is in pennsylvania where there were 500 some odd bridges that the state of pennsylvania needed to update. many of them were deficient. and not one of those bridges by itself would necessarily attract private capital. but they pulled those bridge projects together, and we were able to issue, i think it was $1.2 billion in private activity bonds in support to get all those bridges done. so we're looking for creative ways to move forward. having said that, i think we've got some problems.
that i want to be very clear about. number one, this issue of the cumulative of short-term measures has hurt us as a country, because it's hurt our planning process. states and local governments that haven't had the luxury of counting on federal support over a long-term period have pulled back on their planning. and so the big projects that are most likely to attract large-scale private capital, in many cases aren't actually being planned. they're not going through the review process. they're not teed up if you will to rapidly move into a publish/private partnership. the second challenge that we have is the programs we have withinare relatively stovepiped. rif works through the federal rail administration. i think one of the things that additional policy could do is to
help us pull those resources together so we could have a dedicated team to really focus on publish/private partnerships. >> thank you for that. i share your frustration. in west virginia, we had state transportation day because the legislature has come in. there's a lot of frustration at the local level, the state government level about the inability here for us to do a long-term highway bill. i'm certainly committed to that. i think what happens, and where the frustration for a state like ours falls is because the money comes in smaller chunks, you end up doing just maintenance. you don't do anything innovative, or telling your population that we're moving to the next century. so we see that in our home state. i think that's very frustrating to local citizens, businesses and people who are trying to grow the economy at the same time. so i share that frustration. i would join with you to try to
make this work and to find the magic formula that we can give the confidence to the states, and local folks that we really can get this done. i think there's a great impetus for this and i look forward to working with you. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator markey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations to you on this first and most important hearing that we'll be discussing. and i know that you and the ranking member boxer are working closely together to advance this legislation. and i think that if we do it correctly, we can have a great success this year. and i thank you for your work on it. mr. secretary, if i may, i'd like to talk first of all, transit oriented development. you came up to the rugel station in boston. and we're having great success there, with the help of the
federal government to encourage development in an area that historically has been undeserved but which has the potential to be explosive in terms of the growth and the use of public transportation. could you talk a little bit about that? and the role that the congress can play in partnership with the department of transportation to continue to advance it and what role do you see that in terms of it being built into the legislation that we're considering? >> well, thank you very much. it's a very exciting project in boston. you know, what's happening in boston and across many of the metro areas around the country is population is starting to concentrate there. if you go to some cities i was with mayor garseti in los angeles, actually, and me mentioned to me they literally don't have more highways they can build. they need to integrate transit choices into what they do. and when you build a station like