tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 14, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
economic plan i think were a real bulk of the advertising we did especially in september and especially in pennsylvania some of these will sound familiar, michigan, wisconsin, ohio, iowa. so we definitely focused on that. at a certain point everybody understands the role of an outside group versus the campaign. at a certain point the campaign itself put up some really high quality positive ads aimed at talking about mr. trump's economic message. and at that point when it became clear that they were carrying a very effective positive message, we then altered our strategy to go more negative. there was another group run by alex catellanos and they had several great high quality positive ads as well. so we focused more on defining secretary clinton. >> and how did you determine what effect your messaging would
have on down ballot races? a lot of the states you aired ads in obviously also had very competitive senate races. >> well, the map is the map. so i believe that whoever won the presidency would also carry the senate. and one of the targeting opportunities was there were a number of voters who were really core trump voters who were not necessarily for the republican senate nominee. then there was another subset that they were for the senate nominee but not necessarily for candidate trump. so we tried to aim our messaging both on air but more significantly through digital means and then to a lesser extent mail and phones to marry up those audiences. so if you could persuade a rubio voter to also vote for trump, and vice versa, trump voted to vote for rubio, we felt a rising tide lifts all boats. or as todd rickets used to say,
hillary's slogan was stronger together. but our view was we're better together. and if we could be better together and get folks to turn out for the entire ticket, both presidential candidate, the senate candidate and as my friend mike shields will be happy to say, the house candidates, and then i would say finally that was a reason why future 45 spent really the bulk of its resources buying national advertising. so we were up on i think it was 18 different cable and broadcast networks nationally, including $30 million in the last week alone as people were making their game day voting decisions. >> so just to open it up a little bit, this was obviously an unusual election year. and one way was in that we saw less spending on tv advertising on the presidential level but more in congressional races. would you guys each talk a little bit about how you work to make your ads kind of break through that noise, particularly on digital platforms? why don't we start with you, mike. >> with me, i'm sorry. well, we can talk about the ruth
ads. that's what we did. one of the things that we did. you know, the concept for the ruth ad that you saw really was me looking over the shoulder of my 14-year-old son who watches a lot of youtube content. and thinking through about how, you know, you have websites that are mobile sites that are different. and a lot of the content we created in campaigns over the last two, four, six, eight years, really as we've -- the argument about whether or not we should put things online and what the budget should be i think is changed. it's sort of been settled in campaigns to a certain extent that you're going to have to do this. so now what does it look like, in my opinion. and taking a television ad and cutting sbiet a 15 second and throw it online was sort of 1.0. but as we get to a different version of can we take the exact same research but do different creative that's the same message and the same -- to the same audience we're rying to hit on television but do content that
works online that is going to be in someone's feed that they're going to recognize. they're not just going to swipe past because it's a political ad, or doesn't have, you know, clouds over the capital with lightning like a typical political ad and something you can't see skprks what are people looking at when they're looking at small screens and what do they pay attention to? that's how we came up with the idea of having ruth, who's sitting right here, talking straight to camera in a sort of familiar way. and a part of that, too, was when we came to google. we said to google, look, you manage youtube stars and create these personalities. if we wanted to create a position at our organization that was online spokesperson, so we have a coms director, press secretary, can we create a new person that's online spokesperson talking to our audiences and trying to build a relationship with them the same way that youtube sort of stars do that and the personalities they build on there. and brian liles, emily davis, i
sort of came up with that stuff and then i was off doing other things and they actually executed this stuff and made it happen. they could tell you more, but they crushed it in terms of people paying attention, clicking, staying, watching the whole video, the feedback that we got, how they moved numbers. and so for us, you know, our approach was creative is king. buying online and all those sorts of things has now reached a point where we can hire a lot of firms to do that very well. but what i'm not seeing as much of is people paying attention to the specific online creative. and so that's what we focused on more at congressional leadership fund and american action network. >> i'd like to jump in there too. i think with what we did for the nra, we did two types of creative. i'm from tennessee, and they say to make a good country song you need three chords and the truth. i think that works a lot, on digital creative. a lot of what we did is an authentic real person story with black screen behind them. nothing else. something you can watch on your phone and feel like you're
having a conversation with one person and not content being forced on you. if it wasn't that, the next thing we did is stuff that looked like a movie. because we're platform agnostic. most of our creative was designed to have parts that would work on all platforms. and so we didn't want to interrupt people's entertainment each night as they watched whatever their favorite content was on hulu or netflix or nbc or cbs with advertising that looked like a piece of crap, you know, piece of junk mail. so we invested heavily. the ads that got $5 million put behind them, and we had several for the nra, those things looked like a movie. and we spent the money to make it. and we spent months in development. we spent months in testing. one of our ads we made 12 different versions of before we got it right and went to focus groups in four states and kept getting it wrong and trying to learn from our mistakes. you ask about the difference of how you decide what works online versus what works on tv, we took a really blended approach. and we're a blended agency.
we think all these things work together. people use all devices. and we don't pit platform versus platform. we pit how do we persuade the people we need to persuade with everything. we did 15 tractor-trailer fulls worth of mail, old fashioned mail, a wholistic approach. i don't know that i would argue that you make those distinctions. you say how can this help me deliver that message. we thought youtube and google did a great job of helping us own big events. we thought this was a race with two national stars and big events would matter. and so we were ready to go with youtube and search traffic for conventions, both conventions. we had specific creative that only ran in the conventions. kim corbin, a violent crimes survivor, only ran during convention night when hillary gave her speech and massive surge ready to take advantage running it on national tv ads. third debate, i think we were -- took advantage of search more than anybody else did. and captured, i think, quarter
million, 257,000 searches on our topics when it came up during the debate. google and youtube helped us own it. when the world series came along, yes, we bought $400,000 tv ads, but we also had a lot of search stuff going on that night. if you were searching for your teams, the candidates, the second amendment, we knew that those big events were really important and that we'd have the whole country standing by some device. >> so i think that the question of how did we break through on digital, one of the things that drove us at american unity pac is we didn't really have a choice. i mean, my peers up here are running much larger organizations than american unity pac. i mean, we have our own budget, we've done about $12 million now as a super pac over the last couple cycles, but that's, you know, you might do that in a single state. so i think that for us, you know, it's not only that we are a leaner organization. it's that we're single issue organization. and so american unity pac has a
pretty focused mission of helping those republican candidates for congress who believe in lgbt freedom. and so, you know, for us we can also afford to play in those races because we're dealing with a smaller universe. it was hard for us this cycle because we had so many allies. this is a good problem to have. but we had people like john mccain running in arizona, rob portman in ohio, joe heck running in nevada, kelly ayotte in new hampshire. as you looked at the battleground senate contests, a lot of the people running in those races were either incumbent, pro-lgbt u.s. senators or in the case of joe heck a challenger we were really excited about. but looking at that at the outset our team started to assess, you know, what could we afford to do especially since we wanted to have a very clear niche in helping these candidates. we knew we department have the budget to be an overall definer in the ohio senate race, but we knew that we could take on some part of the mission to re-elect
rob portman. and for us the clear path there was digital. and further we knew we needed to understand what was going to motivate the voters. so i think you're hearing some themes, research, multiple versions of that, testing them multiple times. we did that. and it's an interesting thing because if you look at the life span of american unity pac even though we're an lgbt issue advocacy organization, at this point about 93% of our advertising dollars haven't mentioned lgbt issues. mostly we're running ads on tax cuts or corruption or, you know, attacking the democrats for just being lousy or boosting our republicans for being great and supporters of limited government. this cycle we wanted to play with our issue a little bit and see if we can find an effective way to bring that in. we told ourselves we can't really do that unless we can prove that it's effective. that we can inject lgbt issues on behalf of republican candidate in the general
election and be successful in doing so. and so we researched the hell out of that. we worked with a group called the womens initiative. there's two ladies here with the womens initiative, amanda and rebecca, we started to understand this group. researching womens voting, motivations, opinions, it's a deep research program. you should learn about it if you haven't and subscribe to it if you haven't already, but we learned in that process that, you know, women voters especially independent women voters were hawks. i'm dramatically simplifying this. but we learned that they were hawks and that there was a real foreign policy message. so one of the ads you saw is about the iran deal. that was what we developed out of that deep research process is we could talk about the iran deal in a different way. instead of focusing on the nukes, focus on the human rights abuses of iran and the horrible things the regime is doing to women and, yes, also to gay people, and to show images of that. and in the testing process we learned that it just had amazing
impacts with young center left women, which is a prime group that we want to peel away from our democratic senate opponents. so then by working with google we were able to put some serious money behind that in ohio in a first wave, do some brand lift survey advertising and actually understand where was it being effective. that great recall driving huge search traffic. and, again, we saw it was bourn out by the real world advertising that our testing, you know, proved to be true that young center left women really responded to this human rights message. and then independent baby boomers responded to the national security aspect of this message. and so we felt so confident then after having run it in ohio that we then took it on the road to illinois and nevada and i think there was maybe one other state. keeley, another state? pennsylvania on behalf of
senator too mamey. once rob portman started to perform so well, we shifted resources. and i think that was the great thing about working with google and also the nature of digital is you can make a lot of those judgment calls in realtime. >> anything to add? >> i think part of your question was how did we know if what we were doing is working. and i think -- i think the moment where i thought, you know what, i bet trump wins this thing, and i don't remember what point, but it was late october, but lee dunn who runs the google operation sends out a thing about the top five searches. and i think trump was like jobs, economic plan, i'm sure there was a couple other crazy outliers on there, but the one about secretary clinton was like what happens if she gets indicted. it's like how many foreign countries have given to her foundation. how many blah, blah, blah. all five completely negative. and what it showed was a lot of
the messaging that all the outside groups were doing and especially the biggest megaphone, the president-elect was doing, was breaking through to people. and the trust issue really was being driven home. so i think you got that realtime feedback from the google platform. >> so, brad, just to go back to you. the nra was one of the first groups that aired ads on trump's behalf this cycle and became one of the top spenders. how did you guys decide to get in so early? and what was the messaging that you found particularly? >> sure. a lot of that was due to our research from what went wrong in '12. we did our own internal study and one of the things we learned is a lot of the people we hoped to reach made their minds up very early and we didn't talk to them until very late. so we adjusted our schedule. we were the first group, i think, to run an ad in the general election. we did it right before the republican convention with mark geist, survivor of benghazi. that ad by the way got 2 million
views on youtube and a million of those were purely organic. i think that part of that was because it was controversial and we managed controversy. the white house came after us for shooting in a veterans cemetery and we baited it and took the hook and made the v.a. write us a letter and went on tv to argue about it and i think that helped spur it on. we have a group that's fine with managing controversy and chaos. and so, again, experienced with doing it well. you know, our post-elect showed 61% of the voters decided before august. and so our creative was weighted pretty heavily to that. you know, later as the campaign went on, one thing i would say that really worked for us with google and youtube, because of their large scale and the rest of the economy beyond politics, you know, this was -- trump coalition was very different. and most of what we do on data as republican operatives is driven by a lot of things that are really grounded with our republican or independent voter history targeting. but trump was going to win with
a lot of people who didn't fit those heavy voter, you know, a lot of partisan data. we used google and youtube's resources of information from the other side to find people whose lifestyles matched. in our case it was rule women. we knew trump had a problem with women. we knew 3% of voters in the country who skipped the 12 elections were likely to vote this time and 79% of them backed the nra, it's a viewpoint, most of them are real women. if you are interested in do yourself projects, camping, i mean, there are a lot of things that -- the list is long, but we specifically aimed at that kind of data from google and youtube and really you can only get it from a platform that big. >> right. to go back to you for a sec. who was the target audience for the ruth ads? and how did you decide what content to focus on more than just the style itself? >> the target audience really depended on the district. i mean, we had some audiences that we were using that were built through the data trust,
working through our own -- we actually had worked with a deep root analytics and optimist and we had them building out audiences for us. so really depended on which district we were going into and which audience we were trying to get to. what the data shows is that the ruth ads crushed it with women, which i don't think we would be shocked at that. and that was in most places a big part of our audience and what we were trying to get to. that's sort of a current theme across all republican campaigns and target audiences. what was the second question? >> i think that was it. >> oh, okay. >> thanks. and, thai lyler, you focused on digital out of necessity in part if you were to do tv ads with the content change? or do you think you would adapt it? >> it would have had to have changed. one, i don't know if stations would have aired our ad, almost didn't make it through google content approval in the first
round. but no, we wouldn't have, because it was highly refined and our audience was -- you know, we were doing this probablisticly, but it was overwhelming women and independent leaning left soft partisanship scores, but we did build into that a few other very interesting audiences one of which we set out and lee and i talked about this early on. we started doing this planning a year out. and one of the things that we knew from previous ballot measure fights trying to win the freedom to marry in the states is that we knew that republican voters who had a preference for sushi were dramatically more likely to support gay rights. whatever that means. but we knew that. and so we had a hunch if we built in a profiled audience, and google has a sort of custom sushi lover's audience, it's not huge, but it was highly efficient. and you can't do that on television. that was on our ran deal
campaign. we had another campaign promoting equal pay for equal work for women. we were really limited in that for starters didn't have enough republicans to support the policy. if we had more republicans to support that we could have done some of the most effective ads on their behalf. so think about that for 2018. but for this cycle, you know, we weren't just going to air that to a huge audience. we know there are wrinkles on the right with a policy like that. but what we also knew from the research with the womens initiative is that issue as a wedge is more likely to grab the attention of an independent woman than any other, you know, economic or pseudo economic issue that we are aware of. and so by being able to go into ohio, again on behalf of senator portman, or south florida on behalf of congressman curbelo, we could target independent women audiences using digital that you can't do on broadcast tv or even cable. >> so here's a closing question for you guys. are there any super pacs, maybe in the democratic party, that you thought did digital ads
really well and really effectively this year? >> i think they showed up today. >> okay. >> this is not quite answering that question, but some of the people there at the other conference hear me about this before. one of the things that frustrated me after this election, i give google all the credit for having the trump team here and people involved in winning here, and the press that's come here today to talk about this, but after the '12 campaign, you know, republicans had to face the music even though brilliant things were done in the '12 campaign, rnc data was good, there were a lot of good things that happened. but of course the democrats won so they're geniuses and we had to sort of, you know, whip ourselves for years to get ourselves into shape again so that we could be ready for 2016. we did all that hard work with a lot of the work of the people in this room doing it. and we won. and so i'm waiting on the books
and the long articles and the magazine articles to talk about how smart we all were. and, and, the articles about how bad the democrats were. because one of the frustrating things from the dccc and house majority pac and articles saying, yeah, we were wrong about all these races, we were, but it's because our polling was bad. as if that's an excuse. we're held accountable for our polling being bad. it means data back end was bad, means the system we created to build the polling infrastructure was bad. we got it right this time. our polling was better. voter scores at the rnc were better. not only should we be celebrating we got it right and there should be more articles written about i, democrats should be held accountable for how wrong they were and sort of introspective argument with themselves about how they got it wrong. >> i was going to say i agree with mike just to refine it slightly, the best thing that the obama people did in '12 was
the number of creatives. they did matching up with the number of audiences. we all read the articles, they were advertising on tvland, you know, aimed at i guess folks who watch tv at 4:00 in the morning, reruns or whatever. and i think the republican candidates and republican groups and party committees did a great job of huge numbers of creatives matched up with audiences. the one thing you asked about the democratic super pac, i did want to answer it. i was stunned and i don't know what the trump folks have said about this, but i was stunned that priorities usa basically ran the same playbook against trump that the republicans ran during the primary. ads and arguments and messages that didn't work during the primary. and they repeated it with $150 million of ads that didn't move the needle once. i'm stunned that those donors to party usa didn't ask for a refund because it didn't work at all. >> that's interesting. one ad that they had that worked really well was i think they called it the role models ad and
showed a bunch of kids watching trump on television. and i tested that thing everywhere. and it worked like a charm until hillary clinton came on in the last 15 seconds of the ad. and then it went in the tank completely. and i think they got that for a while, they cut it back to 30 and took her out of it. and low and behold the last two weeks of the election what happens, they brought the version back with hillary back in it. i think that they couldn't get out -- they couldn't get out of the way of their own success in '08 and '12, and i'm really glad you guys had gerrit and brad and gary ri they built an e-mail fund raising list bigger than hillary clinton's and she's been working on it since watergate. you know, and they did it in three months. so, you know, i think there really does need to be a lot of coverage not only the fact that a lot of guys on this side got it right, but they ran 2008 playbook again. you can't do that especially online. >> great. thank you guys so much.
[ applause ] >> that wraps it up. we're going to move to cocktails. before we do, we're going to play one last video that was the top performing political youtube leaderboard video. and if it doesn't make you want to drink and take a rest, then i don't know what will. but it should be familiar to you. ♪ ♪
♪ all come to look for america [ applause ] ncht tonight on c-span, minnesota congressman keith ellison running to be chair of the democratic national committee, vermont senator bernie sanders and american federation of teachers president randy winegarten also speaking at that event. starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern and you can see it live on c-span.
i do think you can learn from failure. i think that if the next president wants to aspire to be like somebody, they probably want to aspire to be washington or lincoln. well, you can't recreate the country and you can't have the civil war. what do you do next? do you aspire to be james monroe? i don't know. but what you can do is aspire not to be james buchanan. >> sunday night on q & a, historian robert strauss talks about james buchanan's presidency. in his latest book "worst president ever," james buchanan, the potus rating game and the legacy of the least of the lesser presidents. >> i think the differentiation of good presidents and bad presidents, you know, washington, lincoln and fdr are always at the top of the surveys that historians take, they were decisive men. you can't come to the top of the ladder and not be decisive. buchanan was a waffler.
james polk hated him for being a waffler. always back and forth, you're my advisor, tell me what to do. so that's how he was as president. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q & a". >> presidential electors will be meeting on monday in state capitals and c-span will have live coverage from four states as electors cast their ballots for president and vice president beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern. we'll have live coverage from springfield, illinois, harrisburg, pennsylvania, lansing, michigan, and from richmond, virginia. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. a house oversight subcommittee recently held a hearing on washington, d.c.'s
subway system, known as the metro. the general manager and the chairman of metro's board testified about efforts to improve safety, and ideas to put the transit agency on sound financial footing. good morning. i'd like to call this joint hearing of the subcommittees on transportation public assets and government operations to order. two of our subcommittees of the committee on oversight and government reform are holding a joint hearing today. and the title of this hearing is, a safe track. it deals of course with washington metro and oversight
of wamata, safety and maintenance issues. pleased to convene hearing this morning and the order of business we'll start with opening statements from members. and then we'll go to our panel of witnesses. and after we've heard from all of them, we'll go into questioning. with that we'll begin the hearing and let me recognize first chairman chaffetz, the chairman of the full committee. mr. chaffetz, you're recognized. >> i thank you, chairman. and i want to just take a point of personal privilege here. this is the last hearing that mr. mica will chair in the united states congress. he's served for 24 years in this body, served as chairman of the transportation infrastructure committee. he's poured his heart and soul into this nation and to this body over more than two decades.
and so we want to say thank you. we want to say thank you and we want to say thank you for the tremendous service that you have dedicated over the years. you've been a great inspiration to a lot of us. and it's an honor and a privilege to serve with you. we wish you and your wife nothing but the best. but it is an honor to be with you this last hearing that you're going to chair. and we wish you nothing but the best. god bless you. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. yield back. [ applause ] >> mr. conley. >> speaking from the democratic side of the aisle, i also want to wish you godspeed and thank you for your service. we have a reputation for not always being able to collaborate on a bipartisan basis up here, but when you and i serve
together, you as chairman of the subcommittee and me as the ranking member, actually, we've made a lot of common music. and i think you did an awful lot of good both here and of course on the transportation committee as well. i'm going to miss you personally, john. on behalf of the democratic side of the aisle, thank you for your service to your country. >> well, thank you, jerry, and thank you chairman chaffetz. all the members of the committee, it's been a pleasure. mr. meadows, mr. jordan and others that i've had the opportunity to serve with. a few minutes ago we got to thank some of the staff for their work this year. and you can't operate an important committee like this without having tremendous staff on both sides of the aisle. we've been blessed. so while there may be some cheering from the bureaucrats that micah's finally gone, i can assure you i still will be very
actively engaged and involved. but there's no better committee to serve on. i have chaired transportation, but this committee dating back to 1808 performs such an important service for the american people. it really does. it's not an authorizer, it's not an appropriator, but it tries to make things right -- get things right and hold people accountable. and that's so important in our structure of government. so it's been my pleasure to serve them. i'm not finished yet, either with this hearing or in service to the people of this country -- of this great country. so i thank you for those accolades. i wish i'd had more of them during my service. [ laughter ] and my weird sense of humor, sick sense of humor, the humor
my wife says most people don't understand that i have is inherited. you try to keep a light side of it along the way, but we do have an important mission. with that being said, we need to get to our work here. and this is important work. and without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. kind of fitting in the last hearing here it's on transportation. i was honored to have this subcommittee which is responsible for transportation oversight for the house of representatives under my watch for the past term. and unfortunately today we're back to where we've been before. and we've been some four times. this is our fourth hearing on oversight of unfortunately some of the problems with the d.c.
metro and this congress. and those hearings go back to february of 2015 and then we did another one in july of 2015. in april of 2016 and again this is our fourth. if you woke up this morning in metropolitan area the district of columbia, northern virginia and maryland, first thing i was greeted with is my colleague jerry connolly on the radio blasting what we all found out in the report that was released yesterday. some of the highlights of the ntsb report, we'll hear more about that on the falls church derailment. and what is particularly troubling in that report is that unfortunately some of the information about the
deterioration of the rail ties and lines in the area was reported and known for more than a year. and there are questions about possible falsification of reports, intimidation of employees. some folks were trying to do the right thing and safety issues were ignored. and that's a very, very serious matter. so we'll talk more about that. again, it's the latest in a whole series of safety issues that we have addressed in these past hearings. and, again, the latest report not from us but from ntsb highlights that almost 17,000 open track defects are still waiting to be repaired.
some of these dating back to 2008 in a briefing on its investigation. the ntsb informed our committee that the state of metro's rails is deplorable. metro's current state of disrepair is -- and that's their term, not ours, but we can join them in that valuation, metro's current state of disrepair is the result of years and years of deferring maintenance needs, negligence in some cases. unfortunately we've seen cases of gross mismanagement. and then also most troubling for the taxpayers as runaway costs. mr. wiedefeld's safety first message has been encouraging.
and we know he's been on the job a short period of time. but metro has to continue to improve its performance. we're now halfway through the safe track rebuilding schedule, but the system continues to be plagued by safety incidents on almost a weekly basis. on july 5th we had a second signal violation and a wreck. on july 29th a train was 63 passengers onboard derailed. on september 13th a crowded train stalled for nearly 40 minutes with almost no announcements from the operators to the riders. on october 20th two fta safety inspectors were almost struck by a train that violated speed restrictions. and we continue to see arcing
incidents and want to hear more about the status of where we are there that have caused smoke, fire and unfortunately one of the first junctures we had a loss of life. it's been unfortunately now commonplace that things are so bad they've even created a website. and that website i is ismetroonfire.com to find out if metro is in fact suffering from smoke or fire incidents at any particular time. these incidents and service disruptions continue to keep riders and the entire system in constant turmoil. really in january 2015 the previous chairman of the metro's
board praised the outgoing manager for rebuilding the safety culture from top to bottom. after years of rebuilding under the $5 billion metro forward capital plan, that was his pronouncement, four days later unfortunately the plaza incident happened which we had a loss of life and injured 91 people. we need to know both today hear from these witnesses and also in the future we've got to be certain that things are heading in a different direction with this important system. when you see headlines that show the staggering safety lapses on a regular basis, and i said to
the staff just pull me some of the clips about some of these issues, the most recent. and then i said are there a lot of them? i said, well, tag them. you can see just page after page. these are just "the washington post" articles. i don't know why you guys didn't get the "times" too, but this is just "the washington post." do you get the "times"? >> i don't. >> okay. i didn't think so. but this is, again, an incredible array of headlines and articles that cite that the system is broken. we've had reports even that brand new rail cars are breaking down. and i heard one report that says 5,000 to 10,000 miles is
breakdown record of the new cars an average of about 7,000 miles on a car, as opposed to 20,000 for the normal period in which a vehicle should not experience those problems. so we do have multiple problems. i was stopped by an individual when i was getting subway the other day and he had some photos -- and actually there's a photo and a video. maybe they could put up the photo that he took of the workers. can we get that put up? okay. well, you can count about 15 workers and, well, 15 individuals employed by wmata, and about three people working
in this scene. actually, he also supplied me -- we don't have it up there, a video showing sort of time lapse that people are there but not working. and that raises a great question when the public is seeing this kind of operation with lots of people standing around. we've got some serious issues with even the folks that are there. i've thanked the current director for going in and he has made good in some of his challenges. in fact, i think he's eliminated 20 senior manager positions and reduced some of the head count by 1,000. but you can see there's still a long way to go with some of the people who are not performing.
and i'm going to ask some questions, too, about contracting some of this work based on performance and payment. i understand also that the union contract is not up for some of these workers still in limbo. we'll hear on that. but there's got to be a better way to get better results and performance from those on the job. i do want to thank, again, the new director for the reforms that he's initiated. maybe we could reterm this hearing, let's make washington metro great again. and that's something we have a challenge and opportunity to do. we put an incredible amgt of money into the system. i googled last night the history of the system, and it's been around for 40 years.
started with 4.7 miles. and it really is -- it was created as one of the finest rapid transit systems in the world. and we should be very proud of this system. it serves the nation's capital in this region. and it's a shame that we find ourself in this particular situation. so i continue to work in an unofficial capacity to make certain that happens. and hopefully this hearing will help us rebuild metro and restore public confidence in an important transportation system. the second largest carrier of commuters in the nation and important in the everyday life of people in this region and to the united states of america. so i look forward to working with you all. and i can turn to mr. connolly,
and i'm sure mr. connolly will be very warm and fuzzy this morning. you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i begin, i would ask consent of my colleagues mr. y beyer -- >> reserving the right to object. just kidding. just kidding. >> without objection. >> and if the clock can go back to five for me, please. that was a uc request. thank you. i appreciate this opportunity once again to discuss safety, service and budget challenges faced by the nation's transit system wmata. each time this committee revisits this topic and exercising its federal oversight prerogative with regard to metro, we're reminded of the close relationship between the functionality of the federal government itself and the health of the nation's capital transit system. it should come as no surprise
that a congressional committee tasked with ensuring the efficiency of the federal government and the safety of its workforce has a vested interest in the success of that transit system that delivers more than one-third of the area's federal workforce every day. in march, when metro announced it would shut down for 24 hours to conduct emergency inspections, the first question on everyone's mind was how would the federal government's office of personal management accommodate that closure, unlike any other transit system in the united states, this one is so dependent on the federal workforce. for its customer base. federal government is the primary stakeholder in this transit system. and i look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that federal support for metro is commensurate to its fundamental reliance on the system. as federal stakeholders, i think our organizing principle should be that failure of metro cannot be an option. when this committee held a
hearing on metro in april, the system was in crisis. all lights were blinking red. the hearing and witness testimony enumerated the system's mounting crises in leadership, safety, customer confidence and finance. it was clear that the situation required bold and immediate action and that the status quo for metro was the rail to perdition. the purpose of the hearing today is to determine whether metro has stepped back from the precipice and how the system or whether the system can set trajectory for safe, reliable and sustainable operations. unfortunately the leadership crisis at metro has devolved rather than diminish. the metro finally has somebody at the helm and general manager paul wiedefeld understands the problems are systemic. one does not have to agree with every measure he's made to appreciate the fact that thank god he's willing to make them.
he came to the position with desperately needed relevant experience. even though the board fought about what really was required and preferred green eye shade accountant to somebody with experience in operations. we were fortunate we didn't go down that road. the enduring leadership crisis at metro resides in the wmata board of directors. some board members seem bent on proving that the governing body is wholly incapable of resuscitating much less managing metro. threats to scrap a major expansion on metro to dulles international airport pit jurisdiction against jurisdiction. and fractured the true regionalism necessary for metro's success. and i assure you, mr. evans, it will have repercussions up here, among your allies and your partners. it's destructive. and not welcome. i spent the last 21 years of my
life working on metro-related issues. first as a member of the fairfax county board of supervisors and then as chairman of fairfax county for five years. i made appointments to the metro board, i rezoned property around metro stations to maximize their potential, i approved the local operating subsidy every year without question. and helped create the local tax districts to fund construction with full approval of metro and metro's board. in congress i've worked diligently with my colleagues to save the $150 million annual federal commitment for safety improvements. which is matched by the virginia localities in maryland and d.c. and helps secure financing for the silver line working with then-secretary ray lahood to both reduce costs and to secure funding for that silver line. so it's personally painful to witness members of the wmata board so mismanage an institution this region has
invested in and fall back on the very parochialism some condemned. from a congressional perspective threats to cancel major federal investments, federal investments, rampant parochialism rampant, political theater on that board, destabilize efforts to secure an increased level of support up here. it is not like we have that many friends. and to fracture the support we have jeopardizes everything you need in capitol hill. general manager wiedefeld deserves credit for taking the initiative of becoming general manager to become a sweeping program that will seek to carry out maintenance in one year. leading up to the announce of safe track in may, fires, major track defects, including one that claimed the life of carol glover, had exposed dire maintenance situations in metro. while safe track gives us
something tangible to safe to, the safety problems go far beyond the replacements. i welcome the safe track that include the replacement of 26,000 cross ties and 10,000 fastners since the beginning of the maintenance blitz. however, this week, the national transportation safety board released a report on the east falls church derailment in july. it found once again that metro track inspectors were not conducting inspections in accordance with written policy and responding to defects in real time. indeed, the ntsb found clear evidence that metro safety inspectors deliberately falsified reports, endangering public safety once again. in the report, ntsb reiterated its recommendation to the department of transportation,
the federal department of transportation, fra, not fta ought to have safety responsibility and oversight for metro. the report stated, and i quote, the f ta lacks expertise and th resources provide assurance that corrective action plans are completed, unquote. i've repeatedly shared my concern that the fta does not have the tools necessary to provide robust oversight of metro. i think the derailment in east falls church is a case in point. the customer competence picture continues to worsen. ridership is down 13% in this fiscal year. safe track has been disruptive to commuters, and increased fares could only hasten the downward spiral. i might add, lose talk about closing large sections of the system continue to contribute to the loss of consumer confidence and ridership confidence.
it will it be there in the future? apparently not. as the general manager noted in the fy 18 budget, the primary cause of the budget challenge of $290 million is declining rail ridership which has been on this downward trajectory since 2009. fortunately, there is an effort to assert the primecy and improve reliability to restore faith in the system. going forward, fare increases are not going to bring about long-term stability. metro is the only major transit system without a dedicated source of funding. the system relied upon a patchwork of subsidies from local jurisdictions. metro receives 47% from local and state subsidies, but not a federal subsidy, and zero percent from a dedicated source of revenue. zero. in my hometown of boston, our transit system sees those
figures in reverse, with zero percent -- in my role as chairman of fairfax in 2004, i helped launch the blue ribbon panel that ultimately recommended a regional sales tax and the federal government to participate in the shortfall for capital maintenance and system enhancement. this clearly an appetite to meet safety andrey li ability metrics before new commitments are made. however, plam lamentations, the culture of the work force, the absence of revenue, any transit system needs to cooperate. i look forward to hearing from the witnesses today. >> thank you, mr. connelly. mr. meadows.
>> thank you, chairman. before i give, mr. mica, i want to recognize not only the outstanding service that you have provided to the great folks of florida and the united states as a whole, but a personal friendship to me. as a new guy coming in that had no idea what went on behind the scenes or what went on out there, you took a young guy from north carolina, and actually invested in me in a way that quite frankly, i'll never forget. you and pat are dear friends. it has been a difficult year. i want to let you know that i sincerely appreciate your friendship, your leadership, your investment, your love, and your compassion for the people that you serve. if they knew what i knew, that
everyday that you were worried about serving them more than serving yourself, i think that they would rise up with a statue. i just want to say that i have a personal statue in my heart of a man that i appreciate so much. and you know in my district, we're the only district in the united states with a place called micaville, so every time i go by, i'll remember it. >> thank you. >> let me go and turn to the business of today. let's get serious. i can tell you when i have my good friend, jerry connelly, as upset as he is today, i take notice. we talked about this yesterday. we've talked about it multiple times. but what we have here is a
systemic failure to address real problems that actually not only affect ridership and the financial stability, but the safety aspect of our inaction is causing great peril, loss of life, and quite frankly, it can't be tolerated any more. this is our fourth year. i'm tired of hearings. i'm tired of excuses. i'm tired of us going back and forth to look at these and say if you give us more time, would he will a get it fixed. it is not a fine wine. it does not improve with time. what we must do is we must act today. the gentle woman from virginia, ms. come stastock has called me number of times, wanting to discuss this issue over and over
again. yet here we are with safe track and learning that indeed, as we start to embark on it, and mr. wiedefeld, i want to say thank you. you're making tough choices, you know. i can tell you, it is not good for your career. because every time that you make a tough choice, you have a critic that is out there that is wanting to suggest that you shouldn't be making that choice, but quite frankly, we needed your kind of leadership years ago. this is a systemic problem that has to be addressed and it has to be addressed now. it will require difficult decisions. as my good friend, mr. connelly, just pointed out, some of the decisions that are being contemplated by the board, mr. evans, are troubling. you and i know that we've had some personal meetings, i'm willing to invest the political capital that does not play well in north carolina. but i'm willing to do that to fix this system once and for all. but what i'm not willing to do
is to ignore what has become a reoccurring theme. every time we get a new report, every time that we start to see something, we start to find out things that we should have known months and years ago. you know, to hear the report of falsified records is just mind-blowing. it is just, you know, when you know that we're going to have this kind of detail to look at it, it is mind-blowing. and the death and injury of individuals fall at the responsibility of some of those very people who look the other way when we have issues that we have to address. and so we're going to fix this. we're going to fix this right away. and what we're going to make sure of is we look at the track record is that we make hard decisions, and so mr. jackson,
i'm looking forward to hearing from you today. what are the hard decisions you're willing to make as well? because what we have here is we've got everybody pointing fingers at everybody else. well, it was not my job. well, it is not my responsibility. or if we just had a little more money, we could fix it. let me just tell you, we have a money problem, but this is not the genesis of this problem not money. the genesis of this problem is a culture that we have allowed to prevad and exist for a long time. lamada has become the butt of jokes, and it is not a joking matter. when you have people stuck on a track, and they can't get ahold of an operator for 30 minutes and then you start to unload them on to and get off on a track where you have an active possibility for electrocution,
that's a real problem. some of the safety concerns that are out there, we need a little bit more transparency, so i don't get surprised by reading about something in the "washington post." now, by doing that i understand that you're trying to evaluate. but the other part of that is from an oversight standpoint, if we're going to make investments for federal dollars, we have got to make sure that there is a good plan in place to address these. and so today, i'm looking forward to hearing from each one of you on how we can address that. chairman hart, you're back to hopefully give us some marching orders, but it is not good enough if it is in a report, and it doesn't get acted upon. it is not good enough that we fail to go and do what is necessary to do this.
so as we start to look at this, mr. chairman, i appreciate your leadership on this area. what you're going to find are two bulldogs in a bipartisan way with mr. connelly and i. we're not going to let this go. it is not because i write it. it is the health and safety and welfare of the people of this greater washington, d.c. metro area that is at stake. we've got to fix it. with that, mr. chairman, i'll yield back. >> well, thank you, and i hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a written statement, and recognize mr. connelly. >> thank you. >> for unanimous consent. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent that the written statements from democratic whip and senator elect chris be entered into the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> we'll recognize the panel of witnesses, and i'm pleased to welcome to this morning, the honorable christopher hart,
chairman of the ntsb. mr. matthew wellbieses, mr. paul wiedefeld, who is the general manager of the washington metropolitan transit authority. mr. jack evans, chairman of the washington metropolitan transit authority, and mr. raymond jackson, second vice-president of the amalgamated union. this is an oversight committee hearing and we do swear in all of the witnesses. so if you'll please rise. raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give before this committee of congress is the whole truth and nothing but the truth? the record will reflect that all
witnesses have answered in the affirmative. i think, maybe not everybody has been here, but we try to limit our testimony to five minutes. and if you have requests for additional information or testimony to be added to the record, just request that through the chair. and your entire statement will be made part of the record. we'll start out this morning and recognize first mr. hart, chairman of the ntsb. welcome back, sir. you are recognized. >> thank you. good morning, chairman mica. chairman meadows, ranking member connelly and members of the two subcommittees. thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of the ntsb. thank you for your years of
service in congress and all you've done to advance transportation safety. i would like to join all the accolades you've already received this morning. i also appreciate congress' continued attention of oversight rail transit safety. about three weeks ago, the ntsb most wanted list of safety improvements for 2017 and 2018. which again included improving rail transit safety oversight. the ntsb investigations of rail involving it is unreliable, which increases the risk of further accidents, injuries and loss of life. effective independent oversight system must be created to ensure that the highest possible level of safety is afforded to the riders and employees. inadequate rail system is a persistent problem. ntsb investigations have found that although safety program plans were in place, they were not effectively implemented or
overseen. oversight challenges are particularly acute because of what the unique oversight structure. most transit properties involve one jurisdiction, and a few involve two, one of which typically takes oversight responsibility. it is the only transit property in the united states that involves three jurisdictions. maryland, virginia and the district of columbia. moreover, these three jurisdictions share oversight responsibility. this constitutes a challenge seen by no other rail system in the country. my written estimate further details the history of oversight in general, and of the 45 years of inadequate safety oversight. despite efforts over the years to improve the fta's rail capabilities, the ntsb's fatal electric arcing on january 12, 2015, revealed a transit system with no effective safety oversight. as a result of this investigation, the ntsb issued
urgent safety recommendations to the secretary of transportation on september 30, 2015, to seek authority to exercise safety oversight over wamata. it has robust regulatory inspection and enforcement powers. allowing it to more quickly address hazards of wmata's transportation. they tasked the transportation of metro rail. the first such direct oversight that the fta has ever exercised. the fta has limited staff to carry out the function, no regulations to measure compliance, and does not have the authority to levy -- the department of transportation furthermore envisioned a short-term fta oversight role imposing a deadline of february 9, 2017 for wmata's three jurisdictions.
yet in the face of that, we've just learned that maryland and virginia have recently notified they will not meet the deadline. the ntsb remains concerned that they will continue to encounter impediments. i want to stress again the difficulty in informing an oversight body that reports to three jurisdictions. there is no known date by which a body will be established. we continue to investigate the need for immediate action. the east church falls accident that occurred in '16. the probable cause was the sustained use of the deteriorating wooden cross ties, due to the infective inspection and maintenance practices and inadequate safety oversight. particular concern is that ntsb investigators learned that the defective track conditions that led to the east falls church derailment have been previously identified by wmata inspectors,
why et not properly remediated. additional documentation, showing almost 17,000 open defects, reported by wmata some going back to 2008, as already mentioned this morning. these were still waiting to be repaired. this accident further illustrates why immediate action is required. the ntsb remains convinced with the history of accidents, the fra, more established oversight program, is vital to increasing passenger safety. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to responding to your questions. >> recognize the fta administrator. welcome, sir, you're recognized. >> chairman mica, member of the committee, thank you for invite neeg provide an update on the oversight of the washington metropolitan transit authority.
chairman mica, thank you for your support building public transportation and our work together on sun rail over the years. safety remains the top priority for fta and the united states department of transportation. with that in mind, fta has used the authority granted to us by congress to ensure safety improvements among fta grantees, including metro rail. it, significant work remains to bring metro rail into a state of good repair, to build a strong safety culture, and to improve the agency's financial outlook. years of under investment and deferred maintenance have contributed to metra rail deterioration. because of this deterioration, metro passengers have not received the safe reliable service they should expect. recently, we've observed leadership prioritizing safety over revenue service, that establishes and ensuring safety culture remains a critical task.
wmata received over $50 million in 2016, and the capital dollars are prioritized for improving safety, infrastructure and reliability. in some instances, fta has used the authority to redirect federal funding to safety and state of good repair priorities. during 2016, fta conducted investigations into metra rail track integrity, stop signal overruns and vehicle securement, leading to corrective actions that they must complete. there are results from fta's work. for the first time since 2012, all rail traffic controllers in the rail operations control center have completed annual certifications, and approximately 2,000 employees who had expired road way worker certifications are now retrained and certified. in addition, while fta is not in charge of the work of safe track, directives safe track work to locations where the most
urgent repairs were required to reduce the risk of smoke and fire events. as a result, wmata corrected numerous instances that affect emergency passenger evacuations. in addition to investigations, fta has conducted both announced and unannounced inspections and leads accidents if warranted. conducting more than 300 inspections in the past year, identifying more than 900 remedial actions to date. and to date, wmata has addressed two-thirds of those. during the inspection, operating practices and track conditions that led to immediate orders for slow zones or track segment closures, protecting passengers and workers from unsafe conditions. and much more progress is required. it is important to note secretary fox has made clear that fta's role is temporary, based on the federal statutory
framework. the work will continue until virginia, maryland and the district of columbia establish a new state safety wroefr sight agency as required under federal law. the three jurisdictions are required to receive certification of a new state safety oversight program no later than february 9, 2017 and failure to meet the deadline could result in the withholding from 22 communities in maryland and virginia, outside of the d.c. region. in conclusion, fta provides oversight of metro rail that is making a difference. based on our unique knowledge, we are supporting and guiding the critical steps needed to improve the infrastructure, safety culture and operations. while ensuring the jurisdiction step forward and take responsibility for their statutory role. the wmata rail and bus system is
vital to the economy and the millions of people who rely on it, including me. there is more work ahead that must occur to make it safer and more reliable. i thank for this opportunity to discuss fta's direct oversight of metro rail and i look forward to asking questions. >> we'll now hear from wmata administrator, and welcome you back. >> thank you. good morning, chairman mica and ranking member connelly. i'm paul wiedefeld, chief executive officer of the washington metro. i want to thank chairman mica, who has a long and distinguished career. thank you for your service, sir. immediately upon joining metro last year, we went to work to restore public confidence by improving safety and secure and making service more reliable. as we work to improve metro, i have sought to and will continue to make clear to our customers and employees the entire region that safety comes before
service. the safe track program to safety overservice. the plan significantly expands maintenance, time weeknights, weekdays, including 15 major surges. as i detailed in my written testimony, we have implemented a number of other programs to continue to improve customer and employee safety as well as the customer experience. to sustain this progress going forward, we have proposed a preventative maintenance program to the wmata board. we are asking an additional eight hours a week to do preventative maintenance inspections on the system. the goal of the preventative maintenance program is to reduce service service disruption and create opportunities to identify and repair track problems before they disrupt daytime rail service. when the financial side of the house metro ended fiscal year 2016 on one budget and received on time clean audit with no findings in the first time in
three years. also for the first year in recent history, metro's capital program invested $1 billion spending 85% of projected budget, compared to spending approximately 65% in previous years. in the current fiscal year, we are on the path to spend nearly $1.2 billion, meeting the budget forecast. looking ahead, wmata must bridge a projected revenue of resource gap in order to achieve the balance operating budget in fiscal year 2018. daily rider ship has declined significant significantly, as well as due to external factors. at the same time, costs have continued to increase. to address this funding gap, recommending a number of actions, including the elimination of 500 positions, 1,000 positions in fiscal year '18, reduction in rail service, increase fares and elimination
of certain bus routes. we will continue to improve over-saul safety aove overall safety, unscheduled delays due to poor track conditions and enhancing the station environments in 2017. our goal for 2017 is to reduce delays caused by train cars, train car use -- train cars, by 25%. unplanned delays caused by track issues by 50%. finally, we will be establishing a customer driven metrics, which will measure the performance to inform decision-making from a customer point of view, and be used as a management tool for employee accountability. i would close by thanking congress for your continued support of metro through the federal funding, particularly the pria funding, which are invested long-term investments to the system. you have my full commitment i
will continue to get metro back to good. thank you for your time and a tense. >> thank you. we'll hear from chairman evans. you're recognized. >> thank you, very much. good morning, chairman mica, meadows, ranking meadow, i too want to lend my voice to mr. chairman mica for your great service here to the city and to the country. thank you for that. i serve as the principle director on the board and for the last ten months have been the chairman of the board for wmata. in addition to that i am the ward two council member on the council for the district of columbia, which represents the central business district, 11 surrounding neighborhoods, 12 metro stops. since 1999, i've chaired the committee on finance revenue. appreciate the opportunity to testify before the committee today and provide updates from my prior testimony in april 13,
2016 and since then, wmata has taken significant steps to safe. he want to thank congressman hoyer, congressman norton, congressman connelly, congressman meadows, and congressman comstock, who i had an opportunity to meet with personally on these matters. he want to really take this time to thank you for taking the time to sit down personally and meet with me. at the top of the organization, the majority of the board of directors has turned over in the past few years, we now have 12 out of 16 new board members, including three new federal representatives, who joined the board last spring. my estimation, and i served on the board back in the 1990s for ten years, this is the best qualified, most involved, and most transparent board that we have ever had at metro. our general manager, paul wiedefeld has been at the helm for a year and in that time, he has been able to put together a
new senior leadership team and implement major initiatives to fix the rail system, restructure and right size the agency, and better maintain the railcar fleet. mr. wiedefeld with will provide, and to summarize again, wmat has made personnel changes. so far this year, he has hired a new chief operating officer, a new chief safety officer, both of whom have decades of experience in new york city, a new general counsel and new chief of internal business operations to improve our procurement and administrative functions. he has restructured the management team in march to breakdown some of the long-standing divisions within the agency. pointed out he has fired 20 senior managers, and has ee limited over 500 positions in the agency. the agency has been undergoing the safe track project, which we have discussed here. however, it is important to keep in mind that safe track will not
solve all the agency's problems. it will make it safer, it will make it more reliable, but in the words of mr. connelly, appreciate this winston churchill, i know you're big fan, as well i am. it is not the end, not the beginning of the end, probably just the end of the beginning. that is a true statement about where we are in metro's maintenance. wmata can be summed up in three numbers. i told you the numbers last time. 318 and 2.5. the numbers have changed a little bit but not much much. first, the 300 is 290. projected $290 million operating shortfall in the fiscal year 2018 budget, which we're dealing with now, runs from july 1st to june 30, 2018. the gap includes $103 million from ridership and revenue loss. $87 million from expense growth related to safe track and $100 million that the agency transferred from capital dollars
to operating dollars to balance the budget last year. next, 18, 18 is still 18. the $18 billion in capital needs that the agency faces over the next ten years. wmat has produced an inventory and reported back to the board this week that the cost of simply deferred maintenance and the state of good repair needs over the next ten years is $70.4 billion. essentially a bear bones investment to get the system back to a baseline of operations. additionally, wmata should execute approximately $800 million maintenance measures over the next ten years, in order to improve itsry -- its reliability. it does not include $7 billion related to compliance with ntsb directives, and other issues, particularly like the rosalyn bottle neck. briefly, that's the rosalyn
bottle neck need for a new tunnel, because of the construction in virginia, to carry the trains into a district. it is a $3.5 billion item not included in any of the numbers. frankly, it hasn't even been started, the studying of how we're going build the tunnel. finally, 2.8. 2.5 was the number i gave you before in the months i've been here since april. tu no, sir 2.8. unfunneled pension and other post employment benefits, liability deficit. wmata has a special pension committee to review the pension plans and try to figure out how to deal with the unfunneled liability. it is a staggering amount for an organization our size. if we fail to address these pension obligations, wmata will find itself in the same place district of columbia was in 1995 and almost brought the city
down. the financial situation is dire. the operating budget gap, jurisdictions, maryland, virginia and d.c. need to reduce by $250 million. the alternatives, raising fares by 35%, closing stations, putting wmata at serious risk. without an increase from the current $1.1 billion annual capital funding resources, to approximately $1.8 billion, we will continue to have the system we have today only further stressed by the hundreds of thousands of new riders we anticipate in the next decades. it is important to note here that in addition to more capital funding, wmata has improved the capability to utilize the funds. in the past, we were only spending about 65%. mr. wiedefeld has us to the point where we spent almost 100%
that we have allocated for the year. we spent over $1 billion, the highest ever. so finally, in conclusion, i appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you today the continued financial problems of wmata and the steps we've taken to move forward. it is easy to think as an a town mouse entity for the rest of the region. it is important to remember this. it is a $40 billion asset. $40 billion asset. all of us. federal government, all have a 25% interest. with this $40 billion asset, what are we collectively going to do to take this asset and maintain it and make it better? so i believe with the increased funding with the steps, or the general manager is taking, with the collective with all of us in the region, as has been said before, fire is not an option. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you, and i look forward to any questions.
>> thank you. we'll hear from mr. raymond jackson, who is with the amalgamated local. welcome, sir, you're recognized. >> good morning. i want to thank you for your years of dedicated service. my name is raymond jackson and i'm here to give in sight to the near distant future. safe track was first introduced, local 689 was hopeful that the culture and old practices at wmata. as things have progressed, we are concerned that the failure to consult with our union and with the experience employees on the ground, it will be a fatal flaw. had our input been solicited, we
would have found a better way to get the work done, without disrupting the lives of so many riders. we all have family members who ride the system daily and most of us ride the system as well. we know the frustrations first hand. unfortunately, the reality of safe track that it is a necessity at this point, if work had been done over the past 20 years, wmata would not be dis rurpting the lives of other people in the region in the way they have the past six months. at this point, safe track is what riders of the region are left with, after decades of mismanagement and neglect. we are also concerned that wmata continues reliance on outside contractors to do the work that can be done by local 689 members, and it has become a way for private companies with no investment in the system to make boat loads of money at the expense of the public and our riders. many times, our members end up having to redo work done by
these outside companies. it is frustrating for frontline employees that shows a lack of respect for the expertise that our members have. our local deal with constant come plan complaints of the low moral and other transit systems in the country, there is a major cooperation where employees are treated with dignity on the jobs. their opinions are valued, and they have a sense of ownership in the work that they do. that is not the wmata. by and large, the invaluable source of knowledge is ignored by management. which leads me to the budget proposal going into fiscal year 2018. local 689 is concerned that the drastic service cuts and fare increases proposed by the agency
are to be the death of this system. the fact is, people need safe, affordable transit service. the only way to bring back riders is to have public confidence. it will no doubt be a slow process. we have to prove ourselves all over again to a public that's -- that has understandably had enough of metro's enormous problems. asking the riders to deal with longer waits through longer headways, stranding bus riders by eliminating 14 bus lines won't restore customer satisfaction, and will increase metro and bus fares. the proposed increase will put a hurt on some of the most transit dependants rider whose have no other way to get around. like most transit systems that cut routes, wmata is looking for low ridership late night, early morning, people who work no nontraditional hours will be
disproportionately affected. laying off 1,000 employees, once again, surely needed knowledge and putting a huge burden on a shelf a work force is not only ill-advised, but also dangerous. yet this is their plan to dig out of the hole. though it is through the slash and burn budget proposal, they're using a self-inflicted safe track crisis to justify mass cuts and service that were never be accepted in this region under normal circumstances. metro riders need to call them out. letting them know we need more not less service. if we go along with the plan, people will forever abandon the system. it will crumble, causing an embarrassing mobility crisis in our nation's capitol. the short-term cash infusion to get the system back on its feet. if congress had not come into the aid of the auto industry seven years ago, with an
$80 billion bailout, these companies would have evaporated. now american transit system need a smaller boost. we call on congress, maryland, d.c. and virginia to come through with the revenues necessary to see metro through these crisis and urge the agency to work hand in hand with us, in the effort to prolong and develop a long-term dedicated stream from the federal government. the jurisdiction that will help improve the system and to show that we never faced these dire circumstances ever again. transit riders are now members, deserve nothing less. thank you. >> i thank all of the witnesses and we'll turn now to questions. i started out commenting on the east falls church derailment, and ntsb report. quite specifically it says that interviewers suggest that inspectors fabricated track
measurement and inspection reports. i've he got some of the inspection reports that were ignored. mr. wiedefeld, i know that we just got the report yesterday, and you know, almost every time you come before me, i say, well, steps need to be taken to hold people accountable and you've done that, you get rid of some of the management people who are not effective. now, can this -- it seems like it is fairly simple to trace that back to people from the report, and who they interviewed and then the reports that were submitted, someone was responsible for ignoring those reports. can these people be held accountable? now, you know me, my recommendation is fire those that did not perform. can we have some results and
action based on what we've seen from this report? >> yes, mr. chairman. if i could give you some bit of background. what the ntsb report is the information we gave them. that was part of an independent investigation that i had started immediately, where we had outside people -- >> had those people been -- i mean, you had the information and gave it to them. have you taken action already? >> yes, what i did immediately is once i basically got informed about what we were hearing and what we were seeing, i started a criminal investigation. i hired two independent prosecutors. that investigation is still open. >> okay. >> i don't want to comment any further on that, but that's exactly what we -- >> again, holding people accountable. and that -- there are consequences for inappropriate or negligent action, and if it is worst than that, they need to be -- i'm told that the -- i
asked about an inspector general for the operation or someone overseeing. i'm told that that's a weak position, either through the performance of the current individual or the position, not having the authority to go in and take some action. what is your assessment? >> the oig answers to the board. they do not answer to me. that office is -- >> mr. evans, will you comment on it in again, unless you have somebody with teeth to go after people, and the information that i'm getting, the i.g. is either weak in performance or the position is weak. what do you say? >> what i have tried do plrks chairman, is to empower the i.g. to be more aggressive than it has been in the past. >> do you set that authority up, or is that set by a statute? federal statute?
>> federal statute. >> it is federal statute? >> that might be something you all could look at, strengthening the i.g. position. so it has some teeth. somebody has got to do something. i mean, they see something wrong, and there has to be action taken. that's why we have the i.g. system, and if it is weak, that would be something i would recommend, either if you don't have that authority, you need to get the information to the folks that can modify that, and do it quickly. mr. hart, what's the status of our arcing connections? >> thank you for the question. we just issued our final report on that recently, so the recommendations are relatively recent. the recommendations that are a little older, urgent recommendations about the
connection of the power cables that they needed, that we saw many of them were missing some of the sleeves to keep -- >> right. >> -- the stuff out. >> i looked and that. >> we're seeing good progress on the action. >> but where are we? do you know? maybe mr. wiedefeld can tell me. >> yes, we eliminated, the key issue is in the underground and basically we have about 5% left on the above ground and that's to be done with remaining surges, we'll replace those. >> okay, so you're about 5%, so the smoke, maybe the site that i cited that you can go on and see if metro is on fire can be taken down pretty soon. okay, arcing and the connections. communications, worked on that for god knows how long.
where are we? i understand the agreement has been executed with the cell companies, installation has gub o'begun. i understand there is only three stations, areas between stations that are now operating. >> sure. >> up and operating. >> right, and we will continue to do that basically we're doing that as part of the shut-downs. >> but that's not good. what's the schedule? >> the red line, east side of red line will be done in '17. >> how many total? 70 is it? areas that aren't covered? we have three underway and then i'm told there are some that are in the process of being -- having the equipment installed. is that correct in. >> yes, sir. >> but what is the balance for the -- the balance? >> again, we will have the red line done in '17. we will have the blue and orange line done in -- >> give me numbers.
we're at three in another year. will we have -- >> i can give you the entire schedule. >> i would like that in the record. again you don't have communications. when they couldn't communicate, and we held funds up a couple of times. i think participated in that to get your attention. but we've got to have the communications between the stations. for the safety of the passengers, but also, for the crew and everybody else to communicate. so that's one that still undone. okay, back to hart. you had -- 16,800 recommendations, or defects, rather. tell me the status of any of your recommendations that are undone or some of these defects that you cited. >> thank you for the question. this goes to the fundamental premise that we say the federal
railroad needs to be in charge, when there are defects not fixed, then the fra would go after that. >> i go to fta in a second. but to your knowledge, there is still a huge number of defects that have not been addressed, one, and then two, the recommendations that you had. i forget how many you had of that. but very few of those have been met. >> let me clarify. it is not only defects that have not been fixed, but maintenance schedules. >> right. >> they were supposed to inspect that every -- twice a week an we found they were inspecting it monthly in the crossover. that's an example of where their own internal requirements for maintenance schedules weren't being met. >> but again, you had the list of recommendations for improvements, and then we have a larger list of defects that were
identified. mr. wiedefeld, do you want to respond? where are we? >> we do have a very large backlog basically we're prioritizing those on the most severe and that's one of the reasons we're asking for additional time to do preventative maintenance. >> what percentage is contracted out work? and some of these repairs. >> i don't know the exact percentage, but we have -- >> 80%, 10%. >> in that range. >> well, based on the images that were given to me, you got a lot of people out there, but not a lot of them working. and something has to be done there. i mean, mr. jackson ain't going to like this, but and i think you still have negotiations to go or something, but whatever you have to -- whatever steps to get somebody in there that can perform. if they can't do it, they need to go. if you hire contract people, they need to perform and have
them take over some of that responsibility. okay, let me go finally to fta, since september, i think mr. connelly and i both agree fta has limited ca-- capability to conduct the safety oversight. the recommendation from hart and ntsb was fra. do you want to speak to the deficits and capability that you have and understand some of it have been made up by cooperating with fra. >> so a year ago, when fda determined that d.c., maryland and virginia were not carrying out their responsibility, which is part of tstatutory structure used the authority congress had
given us, and we have the authority to conduct investigations and we've conducted four during the past year. we've looked at stop signal, track integrity, traction power, issued reports on three of those. we've issued specific actions associated with those investigations. we have a conducted over 300 inspections, on-site six days out of seven during the past year. as a result of our inspection work, we've issued 900 -- identified 900 defects. they've corrected about two-thirds to date. a number of instances, our inspections of track have resulted in taking track out of service, or slow orders. and the oversight of metro rail exercised by fta is probably the most scrutiny of 220 miles of track. we have the authority to direct spending and in two instances at least we've directed wmta from one purpose to another. we directed spend anything one
case to $20 million toward the 7,000 series cars to replace the 1,000 series cars, which are subject to an ntsb to remove them from service. we redirected funds toward corrective action that fta identified a year a ago, one of which includes replacing and updating a track management inventory system to get a handle on the defects that have been identified. we also have requested from congress in the past the authority to issue civil penalties, and we've also requested the authority three times from congress for the ability to criminal penalties since 2008. we've asked for that from congress. >> and that has not been granted. >> mr. welbes, listening to you, you're providing oversight, sitting next to the man charged with transportation safety. he says otherwise. he says you don't have the capability. i met with virginia authorities
yesterday who are riding their part of the tri-state oversight safety oversight legislation, which by the way, mr. hart, is subject to legislative cycles. it doesn't happen like that. our legislature meets in january and only last two months, were part-time legislature. they tell me that you don't cooperate with them. in fact, when they seek information from fta on metro, they're told that it is proprietary. they've been denied documents, and access to information they think is material. and i would like you to address mr. hart, who says you don't have the capability. far from your testimony of robust oversight, you don't have the capability for much by way of safety oversight, frankly. and you've had to borrow from resources from the fra. >> so mr. connelly, the recommendation of the ntsb, we take very seriously. a year ago when we recognized
that the states weren't performing their duty, we used the authority that we have at usdot, so we've requested authority from congress, and the recommendation that mr. hart has put forward would require a member of congress to introduce a bill that would allow the u.s. dod secretary to assign wmata oversight to the fra and then fra would have to substitute its rules for wmata's rule book. the secretary cannot do that without congress taking action. >> well, i will simply point out that the man sitting next to you, his agency offered a report issued yesterday that reiterated that it is the fra that ought to have jurisdiction here, not the fda, because of capability issues. >> so we have also requested from congress additional resources and authority to put into effect the new safety responsibilities that congress gave to us in 2012.
so we requested back in 2009, after the incident. >> why not give it to the fra as the ntsb recommended originally? >> so congress in two successive authorizations, both in the fast act, assigned the responsibility to the ntsb and we are assertively exercising it now. >> do they have the statutory authority nonetheless to act on ntsb and give it to fra. >> the secretary of transportation could which is to ask congress for authority to reassign the role. >> he chose not to do that. >> a member of congress can introduce a bill. >> wait a minute. don't beg the question. the secretary of transportation received the report from the ntsb that involved fatalities, and their recommendations very serious said fra needs to have this. not fda. for lots of reasons. not because you aren't willing, but because you're not capable. and safety comes first.
the secretary chose to do nothing about that, other than give it to you. his hands aren't tied. i don't remember receiving any legislative requests from the secretary transportation to give him the authority to make sure he can implement the ntsb recommendations. this is not a trivial issue. >> we have pulled together substantial resources, we've created a lot of oversight office, pulled together a team from d.o.t., and other capable persons in the department. >> so do you dispute the latest report from ntsb that says despite your pulling together substantial resources, you weren't on the job at the east falls church derailment? >> we have identified, we have walked miles of track, we've supplied more scrutiny to the 200 miles of metro rail than the government has ever supplied, while we've identified many instance where track has been taken out of service, we did not find the church falls, metro rail is responsible for the
day-to-day oversight. they have standards that the ntsb report calls for, which calls for by weekly reviews. >> mr. hart, i want to give you an opportunity to respond to that. is that how you see things? >> fundamentally, starting point is regulation sos that everybody knows what can be done and what can't be done. those aren't there, they won't be there any time soon. we were looking at not only the structure, this is not a criticism of the fta, we're looking at the structure that presently exists, that is not there with fta in order for them to have that, that's going to take quite a bit of time, fra already has it. we are looking for immediate, instead of waiting. >> does the secretary of transportation have the authority to implement that immediate recommendation of yours? >> recommendation was to ask congress to include the -- within a list that is legislative list the property of wmat so it would be overseen. >> did the secretary act on that recommendation.
>> no, the secretary said he would prefer to leave the oversight with federal transportation. >> thank you. mr. evans, you're politician. you ran for office. right? >> indeed. just got reelected. >> so one of the -- congratulations. >> thank you. >> so one of the things we have to do in politics is build public support, especially for things that involve cost. is that right? >> yes. >> so do you think your comments and those of mr. price, your d.c. colleague on the metro board, are helpful to those of us in virginia and maryland in trying to build any kind of public consensus about a dedicated source of revenue, when you threaten on that board to close down the largest, single connection to metro in northern virginia? your remarks were calculated to be helpful to us, is that right? were you just playing games to
appeal to somebody, in maybe your jurisdiction, without regard to the implications in our jurisdiction? we're trying to actually be supportive. >> the background on mr. price's comments is comments is the following. the background on mr. price's comments is the following. we have a $290 million shortfall this year that will only get greater in this future. >> i don't need a lecture about the current condition of metro. i know it intimately. i'm asking you a question of what you and mr. price were getting at in threatening virginia's largest investment in metro. which by the way, involves federal funding. the largest single grant in the history of the department of transportation went to the silver line. so it deinvolves value participation and that has implications for whether we renew the 150 million cip let alone talk about a federal operating subsidy, which you and
i share and i'm here to suggest to you that your comments and those of mr. price were cheap and reckless and have huge implications. on my side of the river. you don't want at least you say you don't want, you campaigned against the prokulism of your colleagues on the board yet you and mr. price are now the exemplars and you've done real damage on our side of the river. you want to respond? >> if you'd give me a moment. everything is on the automobile in tieing to deal with these deficits. the it's clear we'll do a dedicated funding source anytime in the future and unlikely we'll get federal help, so, i have the cards i have, the deck i have to play with.
mr. price is only responding to a question. silver line is not by metro. it's by federal dollars in the commonwealth of virginia. but when the silver line is built, you turn it over to stop. the ridership on the silver line was one-third of what was predicted. silver line hope that had the ridership would cover its op ratding cost, it's not even close. complete given the projeks, me metro will be losing hundreds of millions of dollars. one of the -- is a turn around specialist looking at this as a business saying how are we going
afford the silver line. so, i think the answer a and you and i are on the same page, so -- >> i don't think we are. >> we need more funding from the jurisdiction. first of all the document -- because we are building lots of residential developments in ridership numbers. thousands of them residents. the goal is to go from 17,000 people to 100,000. froms but me say -- for any service cuts that affect the district, but you have no
compunction to say to a state that the major investment in metro ought to be closed. you go down that road and the coalition, the fracture support up here, actually do real harm to long-term prospects. that's my message to you. >> it will be a tremendous addition to metro. >> mr. chairman, come back to you. the gentleman makes a valid point. are you sunlighting you looked only at virginia to close down something that had a deficit and didn't look at other areas that have operational deficits proposing them because i haven't seen any suggestions other than what the gentleman from virginia is talking about and what miss comehas mentioned to me. so you're saying you wanted to protect d.c. and take it from operational deficits that are in
virginia and maryland? >> there's a long list of cutbacks and services. >> what i've read in "the washington post" and other places is is basically, anything that touches anything that has anything to do with washington, d.c., there is this unbelievable outcry that we can't the touch anything. is that not your position? >> no, mr. chairman, as of yesterday, the district made a huge concession to allow the late night hours to be tailed for another year, possibly two, which is very much against our interest, but i was able to convince the mayor and sell to go away with that. >> but not do away with them entirely forf. >> you evaluate everything every year or two. >> you're making a drastic comment that affects virginia and then just the little teeny
aspects of inconvenience in washington, d.c. you debate for hours. you follow me? >> i do. >> do you believe that the safe track program is placing a system in a state of good repair that will allow riders to feel secure and safe on the system? >> i do for the aboveground portion because that's where our focus has been on. particularly on the trail tied portion of it. they just answered it, so just answer the question. yes or no. >> yes. >> mr. hart, back to you. >> i want to come back to the
derailment and what the ntsb determined to be the problem bable cause of this. could you help illuminate us for what the cause of that was? >> it's a crossover area between parallel tracks, an area that has wooden ties and the wooden ties were left to deteriorate for a period of time. >> so you're saying it could have happened in a short period of time. >> some may go back to original construction. >> so, you're saying the original construction of the particular area is left without maintenance that caused a derailment. >> correct. >> can we put the picture up on the screen? if y'all would turp your taepgs to this this.
if notice, the rail supposed to be between. >> the wheels should stick outside of the rail. it's just on the top to have rail there. >> on the inside of the rail. >> this is something not only a hazard, but u a derailment waiting to happen. >> what kind of rules? >> administration rules that would require this. >> so, i guess that's why we haven't called them in is because they would have seen this? >> their requirements would say, if you see a defect, you have to act on within 30 days and this has been around for a lot longer than 30 days. it would have been acted on or put out of service, one or the other. >> who's not doing their job? >> this is why we're asking for
fra? there are no requirements by the federal trans administration. >> so back to the fta. you keep coming back saying congress can do this and that and i appreciate that. i know secretary fox well. talked to him just the other day, so, have you made a request for congress to dwactually give you the stat chur authority that you seek? >> yes, so, we are -- >> have you made the question q? >> yes or no. >> yes. >> to whom? >> we actually have the authority to issue. >> why haven't you done it? >> we received authority from congress to do that in recent years. >> it is not good enough for you to continue. derailments and injuries that are happening on a regular basis
while you already as you just testified, have the authority to fix it and you're not fixing it. how many more people have to die before we get you to act in the appropriate manner? >> chairman medicine, the broad frakwork has fta holding transit agencies account bable for the standards they have in place. so, for example, the track maintenance and inspection standards are actually more strict for real track lateral movement than the fra standard. the problem here is that a culture overcomes the rule book. >> so, you're going to blame it on mr. jackson and all his union employees. i'm going to get to the bottom of it here. it's going to end today. i'm tired of the double speak.