Skip to main content

tv   Transportation Secretary Chao Testifies on Infrastructure Agenda  CSPAN  March 12, 2018 10:21am-1:07pm EDT

10:21 am
we have to do this. we have to get in contact with this person. we sense of e-mails, started filming. we send even more e-mails and after that and everything fell in place. >> i thought it was a pretty difficult 26 different amendments would look at, evaluated and there's a lot of controversy going on right now in the public. we sat down and talked about the relationship to us and the region, what affected us as were heading into college next year. we were able to get in contact with senators here in iowa and around the country. >> the top 22 winning entries will air on c-span in april and you can watch every studentcam documentary online at >> while testifying on capitol hill last week about the trump administration's infrastructure priorities, transportation secretary elaine chao was question on whether the
10:22 am
president intervened on the multibillion-dollar tunnel project in the new york metro region by asking house speaker paul ryan to block federal funds. she also discussed funding options for other potential projects. this hearing is just over three hours. >> [inaudible conversations] >> the committee will come to order. as members -- asked me was to take the seat specweb objection which is authorized to declare a recess at any time. although i don't believe we will have votes until this afternoon, as i don't think that will be a problem. but we welcome and thank secretary chao for testifying
10:23 am
today on the administration infrastructure proposal. welcome, secretary chao. i have been encouraged by the president's focus on infrastructure since before the election, through his inauguration, when i believe he became the first president in our history to mention the word infrastructure in his inaugurall address although i do believe along the way lincoln called then internal improvements. and so again infrastructure and internal improvements have always been part of the federal government role and actually that's why we have been emblazoned over the two doors, one at the smith, wealth of the nation's talking about the need for the duty of the sovereign of the government to one of the three things, the duty of maintaining certain public works, institutions that can never be in the interest of an individual. the erect and maintain pics again adam at the smith even sd and, of course, our founders that were students about the
10:24 am
smith talked about andnd put in the constitution congresses main three roles, the fins of the general welfare, regulate commerce, and established post offices and post roads. article 1, section 8. from the founding of this country there has been a federal role at all levels of government, local, state, and federal have roles. not just the federal government but we certainly need to continue too participate to make sure we continue to have a robust national transportation system. over the past year, increasing investment in america's infrastructure hasas been positive. the president enters his background as a build and his leadership on issues will be crucial to building a 21st century infrastructure for i look forward to working with you, madam secretary from his move forward thisuc year. some of the administration's infrastructure proposals are much-needed. f i have questions about some of the other proposals, and how they'll work. for example, i want to commend you for the work you and the dot
10:25 am
have done in speeding up projects. between the map act, map-21 and a fast 50% of those streamlining proposals have been putov in place. place. they're still more on permitting that we need to do to get this permitting process down to a reasonable number of of years. the last two highway bills as a said have reforms in it and there's more to do to fully an act of those. still, it takes too long to move projects forward and on average it takes two years and that's way too long. to cut that in that the president been taught about two years which would be fantastic lady to cut that 14 in half, just on, excuse me, inflation alone you take some of between 12 and 15% on a project and that adds up to real dollars. i've said many times before infrastructure plan must be a bipartisan plan if it's going to pass congress.
10:26 am
the senate rules with the 60 votes, it has to be bipartisan and venture in the house if we weress due to a bipartisan bill, we need to bring a democratic colleagues on board and work closely with them to produce something that will pass through the house on a bipartisan vote. we areng working with and plan o work with the ranking member and my democratic colleagues to develop a plan that does attract bipartisan support. to do that we have to be realistic about our needs and how we can address them in a fiscally responsible way. fixing the highway trust fund for the future and modernizing and refund infrastructure in this country must be part of the solution. that has to be the starting point. if we don't figure out how to ask the trust fund october 20, into early 2021, the trust fund will run out and give it a look across the country, 31 states have already dealt with their shortfalls in revenue and there's been no political price
10:27 am
for fixing their revenue. they did it in very different ways and it's been, states with democratic legislatures and democratic governance. it's's been dates, republican house and senate, republican governor takes their ability, their revenue shortfall. there was noo political price to pay because i think the american people understand the need we have to invest in our infrastructure pics on the phone to continue working with you at the white house, colleagues in congress on a bipartisan infrastructure plan. withoutrk i recognize vice rankg member of the committee, for the opening statement. i guess missed the plane hit if we only would've passed my ff a reauthorization, the positive would be here. now that the fazio is not here on having second thoughts. >> tell us more. tell us more. >> i believe it was canceled.
10:28 am
thank thank you, chairman shustd thank you secretary chao, for joining us here today. we are now over 400 days into the trump administration, far past the 100 day mark, a time which the president promised to enact the bill to invest $1 billion infrastructure. the white house released its plan three weeks ago. sadly, my frustration of the long delay in getting to see the white house plan has now been eclipsed by my frustration over what is actually in it. how we structure and infrastructure package and how for it matters a lot. if an infrastructure package is to bring together successfully it must be based on mutual understanding that we need real sustainable investment to improve the productivity and mobility of our communities. we can't do it based on gimmicks, shifting responsibility among partners, or glossing over use of
10:29 am
underinvestment. what we need is a sound, long-term investment at the federal level that will create millions of y jobs, whose local economies, and pay dividends for generations to come. let me elaborate. number one, and investment packageno must contain real federal funding, and i'm glad the chairman mention the importance of actual funding for these programs. an investment of $1 $1 trillion federal infrastructure funding the create or sustain 16 million jobs, and those are. well-paid jobs. instead, the president has t promised $1 trillion that has turned out to bend only 200 billion over ten years, , or a broad swath of infrastructure needs. .. turned out to be only $20 billion. that's 20 billi$20 billion to c modes of transportation, broad band, and there's $200 billion
10:30 am
in, quote, additional money is proposed in the broader context of 168 billi$168 billion in cute same 10-year period. so in reality, the president is proposing very little if any new federal money. the white house e has presidentially led investments will come from the state and local level. by totaling and taxing citizens to be paid off by future tax revenues. that is pushing the cost on to americans not yet born. the white house missed a massive opportunity to raise revenue for infrastructure in the tax bill, which is mind-boggling because 250 members of congress with robust representation with both sides of the aisle, leadership of the ways and means committee urging a permanent solution to our highway trust fund be included in that tax bill. and so, we continue to spin our wheels on how to bridge the gap
10:31 am
between nearly universal support for fixing our nation's infrastructure and our massive funding needs. number two, selling the assets of a crashed job -- cash grab, not a solution. this isn't the g solution. there is universal bipartisan agreement even among those in the private sector that public-private partnerships, will not solve our infrastructure crisis and will do nothing for the vast majority of service transportation projects. as the chairman noted, we look no further than the quotations now pointed on the wall, painted for all of us to look at about the role, the federal rollingstone infrastructure. we can stream my way out of underinvestment. let me address the favorite
10:32 am
trojan horse in infrastructure. environmental streamlining. rolling back environmental protections will not face hundreds of billions of dollars. the vast majority of projects come in 90% of projects are already exempt from full environmental review and proced under a categorical evaluation exclusion, so-called ce. only 4% of projects require preparation of environmental impact statement,cl the most detailed review document in the service transportation projects they do undergo detailed review, the time for completion is less than four years. congress has passed extensive legislation to expedite environmental review based on inputs from safety, timelines to complete various levels of environmental reviewco have faln significantly as a result. while there may still be resilient changes, congress should consider to expedite delivery, which i and many of my colleagues are open to hearing about artificial deadlines are
10:33 am
not the answer. number four, let's work with what we have come existing federal programs. the white house talking point seems to give state and local governments more decision-making power, yet they propose to direct 80% of infrastructure funds, 160 billion of the 200 alien to grants or loans selected by the federal government. again, these programs$2 are coupled with cuts to existing programs under which state and local governments currently select those projects. instead, congress can quickly and fairly direct infrastructure dollars through existing infrastructure programs. doing so ensures these investments resulting projects that utilize american iron and steel by enforcing by americado protection. they support good paying jobs for american families pay
10:34 am
projectionsot and other small businesses to participate. this will also ensure real investment will be available immediately to the state and localth governments to determine the most worthy. ranking member defazio said additional funding came through the highway trust fund. congress will not have to take any action you see those dollars put to good use right away. by utilizing the existing structure, each operates highway and transit program will get a a proportional bust out. the clock is ticking. since president trump took office, time wasted by commuters, travelers and an efficient movement of goods has heard a cost of the american economy more than $179 billion. if the president and republican
10:35 am
leadership in congress are serious about making infrastructureco a priority in finding new revenues to pay for it, we have a unique opportunitn to make badly needed investment ine our roads, bridges, transit systems, airports that we have been neglecting for decades. let's work together. let's seize this opportunity and make a real investment in america. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i would now like to welcome again be honorable elaine chao, secretary of transportation and ask unanimous consent to witness full statement will be included in the record without objection so ordered. secretary chao coming thank you for being here today. you are now recognized. >> thank you very much, chairman shuster. even the ranking member defazio is not here, i will also knowledge him. members of the committee, thank you for then opportunity to testify today.
10:36 am
as you've heard, infrastructuren is indeed the most is, flexible and dynamic in the world. it is a key factor in product dignity and our economic growth. and yet, as we've all heard and experienced, the challenges are everywhere with respect to surface transportation, traffic delays costing nearly $160 billion annually. about one quarter of our nation's bridges are structurally, which does not mean they are unsafe payment bridges are in safely shut down immediately. structurally deficient means we have toen monitor them more closely on a more regular basis. more than 20% over nation's roads are in poor conditions and the transportation needs of rural america, which account for disproportionately high percentage of our nation's
10:37 am
highway fatalities have been ignored for too long and that is why over the past year amongst all of the other agenda items, which the administration has undertaken, 12 agencies have been supporting the president working hard on a comprehensive infrastructure framework, which the president announced as a priority in his 2018 state of the union address. transportation is one component. the initiative includes but is not limited to energy, drinking and wastewater, broadband and veterans hospitals as well. it is designed to change how infrastructureat is designed, built, financed andsi maintained in communities across the country. the goal of the president's proposal is to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment, which
10:38 am
includes a minimum of $200 billion in direct federal funding. the guiding guidelines and principles are one, to use federal dollars as seed money to incentivize federal infrastructure investment, to provide for the needs of rural america, three, streamlining permitting to speed a projec delivery. four, reduce unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations. a key element of the proposal is to empower decision-making at the state and local level. they know best the infrastructure needs of their community. half of the new infrastructure funds code towards incentivize a new state, local and private sector investments in infrastructure. a quarter of the federal funds are dedicated to addressing rural infrastructure needs to as prioritized by state and local leaders.
10:39 am
as a former secretary of labor, i'm pleased to note that the plan has a workforce component with the skills necessary for the projects. the mandate announced to help speed up the delivery of new infrastructure and reduce the cost of new buildings. in addition to permitting reforms, the department is doing its part to grow the economy and create jobs through regulatory reform. costs associated with new d.o.t. regulations decreased by $312 million in 2017 and the department is on track to decreasese these cost by 500 million in 2010. by incentivize a new investments of infrastructure, eliminating
10:40 am
over some burdensome regulations, providing support forti rural america and streamlining the permitting process, the department is to improve our communities and peoples quality of life and build a brighter future for all americans. some a estimates put our countrs infrastructure needs at approximately $4 trillion. the president's plan encourages the private sector to help the building of our clinical infrastructure. endowments in pension fund are interested in investment like public infrastructure, which has collateral that will not walk away. in addition, the privacy or helps to allocate risk of a project is not accessible, bears the taxpayer. the department realizes and recognize the different regions require different solutions. this should be an allowable
10:41 am
function where appropriate. the administration looks forward to it will be a bipartisan package to address these needs. thank you veryki much. >> thank you. in the spirit of bipartisanship, i'm going to start this esty for questioning. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for your service to the country and for appearing before a committee today. we may need your glasses to read that what is now up on the screen, according to the administration a key element to this proposal is to empower decision-making at the state and local level because these are the officials who know best of their own communities. however, if we look at the chart, we see 80% of the funding
10:42 am
under w the proposal goes to projects selected were approved by the administration. not by state and local government. allocate 20% of the funding and the locals don't get to decidego anything. secretary chao, can you explain how this squares with the vision of empowering state and local government or if you can explain that dichotomy. >> we disagree with that chart obviously. we feel that the local and state communities and applicants will have a great deal of faith. they will, but the project. they will decide who they want tos work with. they will decide what projects to prioritize. it will be aha partnership. >> but ultimately, the administration won't be making a selection for the projects. >> the administration will be working on projects as they do. it is the same concept.
10:43 am
>> i think most of us have found her experience with tiger grandpas governors the ones who decide and prioritize those. with all due respect -- >> it's an issue with the congressman and the governors them. >> secretary chao, the white house provides embedded federal dollars in order to incentivize nonfederal partners. you personally called this a new paradigm in infrastructure investment where the federal government takes a backseat. frankly, i've got to tell you i'm very miffed at the local level. in connecticut they see this as the problem down to the states and local government. given state and local governments provide the majority of funding for highway transit projects, why does the administration want to put more of the burden on local government, many of which were already strained and those were struggling economically that need the benefit most will be
10:44 am
hit really hard by the shift. >> the national highwayee syste, they are very decentralized. 10% of the overall role are owned by the federal government. the rest of the highway system is actually state and local. the rest of the roads and bridges are basically stated local. they are actually locally owned withbr the federal government owning 10% and we found about 20. >> i have three interstates in my district, 91, 95 the day before crossed by hundreds of thousands of americans traveling up and down the eastern seaboard every single day. those are aging91 infrastructur. the chairman's district is like that, too.
10:45 am
we have aging interstate highway system and local and state authorities are not in a position to pay for the redo. >> i know those routes very well. having been spent my childhood in the new york area. you are referring to the old issue of pay it forward. everything is on w the table and we look forward to workingof wih congress. >> i would tell you again this came up last weekend. republicanss and democrats in my home state and they are concerned, saying that the federal government is rolling commitment on infrastructure in the states have to come up with that money, that is less money they have to pay for precisely the roads and bridges that you have identified that are already paid for by local government and state. with all due respect this was federal investment.
10:46 am
we are not talking about additional federal investment at the time of additional need a faceless federal investment, states and localities will proportionately, specially when was not directed and maintained as the chairman pointed out. we haven't been maintaining the federal infrastructure for this day in the federal government with all due respect i would suggest the federal government has a role in federal investments maintained. >> that is our stay. we do not agree that it was a rollback. they are actually quite limited and in our countries history, a lot of the infrastructure is done by the state and local private sector. so there has been no rollback of the federal role was only combined to the interstate. there are many, many other roads andd bridges and national highwy systems that are not part of the federal role. having saidy that, i acknowledge having paid for it is a big issue and we want to work with the congress in finding
10:47 am
solutions to that. >> i think the gentlelady. let me start off with the pay forces critical and we can argue back and forth about this and we will for the foreseeable future. unfortunately also we have to talk to the ways and means committee. i think it is important to point out that especially to my republican colleagues who many in your state, two of my colleagues from pennsylvania, or three, dealt with it in the user fee we pay it a pump is a user fee. we continue to call it a tax, but it is a user fee. if you don't use the roads come you don't pay for them. it is a user fee. the next thing from conservatives is a regressive user fee. i come from rural pennsylvania. so my folks will pay more. but it had a progressive benefit to the folks in pennsylvania.
10:48 am
most rural counties in america, for every dollar they put in, they get $1.70 back. you cannot build a road for rural pennsylvania without the population centers subsidizing the district. resolvee this that the complaint from those in my district and legislators subsidize the pittsburgh birth authority by 30%. the roadway subsidize from 50% to 70%. so i think it is important for us to all understand that we are talking about some need to have a huge benefit to those of us that live in rural populations ander again, benefits the urban centers so they can get across the rural areas. we can talk with the 15-cent raise in the gas tax. that is a cup of coffee unless you drink starbucks coffee, that is half of cup of coffee or two bottles of water you can get it home for pennies. the president has said he
10:49 am
proposed a meeting of 25 cents and that's a great starting place to talk about this. but we have to talk about other things. one of the questions i have for you, madam secretary, is an idea of asset recycling. some of my colleagues say he won -- i'm proposing we sell all of our assets. that is not all what they did in australia. the least of their assets. they formed the lease agreement. they can take it back at any time if there's no performance. i wanted to see which your thoughts are on the idea of asset recycling. >> we want all funding and financing options to be available because that is going to be the biggest challenge facing this infrastructure proposal. so we should look at other countries like australia, and many european in which the republic private partnerships,
10:50 am
which have been very successful and i spent asset recycling. we should look at all of these. some of ours dates we do not allow many of these other financing options to be utilized. and so what we are saying is let's be open to all sorts of other options. forut example, it is not only tl roads, the private activity bonds, different aspects of revenue availability. there are many different options and i would like -- i would like to encourage all of us to look at some of these other options and not just allow to forbid any one of them from being considered in the proposal. >> is a great point. pointing to europe in other countries can a social democratic countries around the world are turning to the private sector all the time to figure out ways to get them involved
10:51 am
and utilize the canadian pension funds are huge investors and infrastructure. not just in canada, but aroundt the world. it's not a silver bullet. we have to look at ways to expand that, encourage that. one of the tools in the toolbox, but it can be a bigger tool in the toolbox i believe. annexes on permitting. you can many permitting. you've done many warmaking. permitting is still a problem. there is still a need for legislation to help with the permitting process. can you tell us what the permitting situation over at d.o.t., how you move forward, what is the outlook? >> people get permitting and the deregulatory agenda mixed up. but they are actually quite different. also, they asked that the department, 2015 implements a number of meet the improvements. of the 31 requested rules, we
10:52 am
have actually requested 29 probably around june and july. but the vast act requirements only refer to nepa. the federal decision announced last august will address some of the permitting. the permitting processes we are talkinge about does not compromise all of our concerns about the environment at all. but it refers to sometimes very simple commonsensical ways in which we can improve the permitting process. for example, many permitting processes occur sequentially rather than concurrently. there is no reason why several processes cannot occur simultaneously t, but instead my
10:53 am
of them occur sequentially. another example is when sister agencies within the same department, for example, the department of transportation cannot share their information with each other, they each go out for their own surveys sequentially so that lengthens the time it takes forhe permitting. there are other ways of reducing duplication some regulations or even tight ends ask for the same things. but they will ask for a different timeline so that the reporting requirement has to be done all over because they ask for a different time. so, we all protect the environmentff, but the permittig is not nepa are the permitting is different. they are actually making progress in a lot of the private
10:54 am
sector, the private pension funds are actually quite anxious to help in the rebuilding of infrastructure and they would help if we decreased the permitting process can without compromising and environmental theerns, double decrease risks and enable more private sector pension funds, for example, to come and help in the financing of public infrastructure. >> thank you are a match for that again. we are ready, willing and able for those things that can be streamlining to make it easier if we have to pass a legislation that is something we should all be willing to undertake. one of the great places to start when it comes to permitting a government regulations as the corps of engineers. i met with mayors yesterday andd last week and i always like to get a show of hands who has had a project that they worked on her work on or want to work on that the corps of engineers has been a huge problem to the
10:55 am
project. every single person in the room raises their c hand. satisfy the subcommittee chairman and i are working and everybody should realize we will with a resource bill in one of the focus is a serious look at the corps of engineers in a serious look at why does the corps of engineers, the civil works piece of it, why does it need to be dod. 200 years ago made sense. today, there is no need to remain a deity. i would propose d.o.t. secretary think he wants to go to interior. again, that would be a healthy debate because i know on the democratic side of the aisle, you have seen the corps of engineers stifle or increasee because the a project. with that, i yield five minutes.
10:56 am
>> and very much appreciated in hearing talk about the president's infrastructure planned and an opportunity to inquire about it. i have two questions for you, madam secretary and i'm so pleased see you here this morning. one has to do with the holdup of funds. i know, by the way, but in the president's infrastructure bill that would be $130 billion in new competitive grant funds. the congress is likely to look at what have you done with the funds we have appropriated or authorized. according to our account, there are nearly $6 billion in program funds that remain unspent. of this 2 billion among the most competitive, jurisdictions wanted them. they can possibly qualify for the amount. i know the list looks like it is something of a trend.
10:57 am
you held up $1 million, even emergency relief fund until the democrats in this committee wrote you and it was released. i have to ask you, madam secretary, what is keeping you from getting this money out of the door? if that money is where it is needed. >> thank you for that question. i don't think that is accurate. we have actually made record time. >> it's been released now. >> we've actually been very, very good. >> to democrats on this committee had wrote a letter to get the release.
10:58 am
>> that i can answer the rest of your questions. of the $6 billion i cannot have that much money outstanding but i have good news for you. i don't think $6 billion either. we have our nominee is. i only had four nominees in 2018 -- sorry, february 2018. i just got three others concerned. so the ability of this government and the administration has been impact did by not having and that is not this chamber, but i wanted to bring that up. >> i think it's the administration, but whoever it is, i do have good news for you.
10:59 am
hopefully the tiger grand will be coming out soon. but we do have to notify the appropriators first. >> hopefully this week. very good news. they are with everybody on this platform has adventures. >> let me just mention the programs h also. over half of this is something you can take a look at. they were put under the policy office, which is actually not an operational office. they have to do the tiger grand first amendment can turn to in flux and hopefully get that out by the end ofy june. but let's say beginning of the summer. >> the understated of course is a product of the administration,
11:00 am
one of the most aggressive ways to distribute money and yet the president's infrastructure plan looks like it is against most of the country, 52% of the country which provides most of the gdp because of the way in which the plan provides money. it looks like every versus what we've always done. 80% of the money for everybody except of course the rural area with even more r subsidy. 80% came from the federal government. 20% came from the state. it looks as though you have reversed that and $40 million in the first year for rural areas with 80% in suburban and big cities were of the is skits 20%.
11:01 am
why have you reversed the age-old way in which we distribute highway funds come in the formula that has worked now for 75 years. >> secretary, go ahead and answer that and then movee on. can you answer the question and then we will move on? >> the 8020 interstate formula, the 8020 formula applied in this mention. the federal government owns 10% of the highways, roads, bridges. >> we the federal government -- >> ms. norton come your time has expired. please allow the secretary to finish. thank you. >> my only point was the 8020 formula applies only to the interstate highways. >> and now we recognize
11:02 am
mr. lobiondo. thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for being here today. i have the privilege of chairing the aviation subcommittee of the honor representing the federal aviation administration flagship technical center, which i assure you know is responsible for safety security research and development and the extraordinary work that is done by more than 3500 people at that location. i know your opening statement was limited and there's so many needs for infrastructure, but i didn't hear anything about what we are doing at aviation, and major economic component in driver for our nation. specifically, i'm hoping you can address three areas that are critical to the future of aviation in the sca engineering and development account a proposed cut of more than $100 million. it basically freezes them and puts them dead in the water.
11:03 am
uis is a growing, growing area inin our nation, which requiresa lot of oversight in the uis account is cut to a fraction of what it's been in previousot years when the problm hasn't been as big. the last one is the faa technical center laboratory facility which is located at the tech center. it is cut by a third. we are going to stay at the cutting edge of aviation for the united states of america. i don't know how we can withstand those cuts and i hope you might be able to give me some insight to how we can deal with this and restore o that. >> thank you for those questions. sorry we didn't have a chance to visit. >> the imitation is wide open for you. >> thank you in we have a date in it didn't happen. aviation is obviously very important. the chairman's proposal, air
11:04 am
traffic control legislation was a seminal piece that could've improved air air travel which the administration supported. it did not garner enough support within this chamber and so that was abandoned. the faa has the second-largest budget in the department of transportation's. the department of transportation has $77 billion. highways is a major portion for the rose, for the interstate highway system and the remainder is for the next biggest chunk is to aviation. we actually have a research office within the office of the secretary and so there needs to be done the nation in some better improvement in assuring that the projects being done by
11:05 am
the research in the office of the secretary for the rest of the department and the faa are actually not redundant and not duplicated either. i am very, very much a supporter of autonomous vehicles and aerial systems. we are actually focusing a great deal on it. there's actually a great deal of research money, but it's not used very well. we are in the process of trying to figure out where of this money is going. how is that achieving the stated purposes of the department's commission and the third one i forgot. >> the third one is the technical center laboratory facility. >> i don't have an answer for that photo look into that. this is obviously concerned to
11:06 am
you. >> if you have the opportunity to visit the technical center, you will see the unique laboratories in the country and the engineers that are doing the work they are that in many cases cannot be duplicated anywhere else and hopefully that will help us launch how you feel about this. thank you very much. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. mr. larson is recognized. thank you, mr. chairman. secretary chao, thank you for helping today. i have three questions. one is a local problem and a couple others are about the proposal atg else. first is related to new start and a sound transit. we got an f. sga awaiting some halt from you all for only 38% of the product itself for linnwood link.
11:07 am
for the second year the administration is winding down the capital investment grant program by eliminating funding to projects that have running counter to the fast to the fast act of 20 which authorizes funding. so i was wondering what the approved projects. >> well, the administration budget said that if projects are not already in line to receive someone, we cannot decide new ones. but their budget they will disagree with and we look forward to working with congress. >> agates to my second question, the administration's proposal on infrastructure is to encourage
11:08 am
local government, state government, funding entities to raise their own dollars and then that puts them in line, with what you t are proposing, puts them in line to get federal funding. help yourself and then get federal help in that literally what the administration proposes for the infrastructure package, which is what we. are doing in the pacific northwest. we all passed $54 billion of the next 5 million years i think is what i am paying for a long, long time. and yet there is $0 proposed in the administration's budget to support that kind of activity because you want to move to a different system. i justst don't think you need a different way of helping out local entities that are already doing what you're asking them to do. there is an inconsistency there. certainly an issue to pursue as
11:09 am
we work with you all as well, i want to know they let a panel here a few years back on private partnerships. we concluded with the cochair of that,va we concluded that they e not a silver bullet, but there is room for piii depending on the infrastructure. it is an offer to you that the administration can be more clear about where you think piii can help best. it might be a different kind of model than it is for roads, bridges highways and maybe a different model for water, sewer than it is for rail as opposed to trying all of what comes across as one big package. it is not helpful to us to help you. i believe there is room, but i
11:10 am
believe there's certainly a way that as finally, we talked about gas tax user fees. washington state has the colleagues for the lowest income taxed. so it is a balance of funding and how you tend to do things. i was wondering how you would characterize the administration's position on raising federal portions of the gas tax, how would characterize that today. >> there were no solutions because we have not yet come to a resolution on not. this is the administration is open to considering all revenue sources. some people are not going to be
11:11 am
happy with that, but as of now everything is on the table and there's been no resolution on how to pay for this proposal, which is why we did not send the legislative language because we want this to be a bipartisan effort and we need the help and counsel of the congress on these and many other issues as well. >> things you look forward to hearing back specifically on the cig grant. thank you. >> thank you. the gentleman now recognizes mr. barletta. thank you, mr. chairman. secretary chao, thank you for being here today for the infrastructure proposal. i commend both you and the president for recognizing how important it is to maintaining our world class economy. i'm going to begin by venturing outside what we traditionally
11:12 am
think of on infrastructure. last week following the tragic in parkland, florida, i called for it to be added to the current category to the infrastructure. these 16 factors are considered for a nation's well-being that the federal government works with state and local partners to ensure their security and resilience. i believe our schools at the 17th critical infrastructure. the department of transportation assuring our schools are treated by critical infrastructure and our kids get the protection that they need. surely if we treat our banks as critical as we defend bureaucrat at the department of education, we can deem america's children is critical as well. >> this is obviously a devastating blow to our country. as you have seen on television,
11:13 am
the president can tell medians with survivors, relatives, parents and relatives who've lost their loved ones. this is a devastating blow in the president is feeling very strongly, keenly about this issue. on the issue of infrastructure, including schoolsss to be part f the infrastructure proposal. i bring back to the white house president. >> thank you. something we can all agree on as we debate these other issues. people can'tet get into their schools and harm her children. so thank you. i was pleased to see that the white house proposal included a section on workforce development. back in december i chaired t a hearing in the senate committee on economic development that examines ways in which the opioid crisis has impacted the workforce and economic growth in the appalachian region which
11:14 am
includes my own state of pennsylvania. what we have seen as individuals in this part of the country were 25me to 44 years old, experiencd mortality rates. 70% higher than the non-appalachian states. typically this group includes americans in their prime working years, which has created a significant challenge to economic development in the region, recognizing how strong the workforce is to building our infrastructure and knowing that opioids are devastating that workforce, especially in rural areas, which the administration has targeted as aa critical area of investment. can you speak to how the infrastructure proposal will help address this issue? >> well, it is a huge issue. secretary acosta in the labor department has responsibility for the workforce development work for us retraining part.
11:15 am
the infrastructure proposal will spark new buildings, whichpa wil yield good paying jobs than we probably will not have enough skills, trained workers to be able to address all the infrastructure needs when it finally gets all going. the workforce training is important in your idea about included are somehow working with these communities and populations, people who will certainly be benefited by this turn in their lives they sent name that i am very interested in, certainly as the former secretary of labor and i will bring that back also to the white house and to secretary acosta.y >> thank you. thank you for your work. >> i thank the gentleman.
11:16 am
thank you, mr. chairman. this secretary, my question deals with senate bill one, which left $54 billion infrastructure package. the state and local investment and infrastructure. that passed a major bill of legislation was two thirds vote of our legislation providing 54 billion. do you believe that this recently passed legislation, passage, do you support it? the california senate bill. >> unfortunately, i am not up to speed on not. i may have to take a look at would be more than glad without
11:17 am
question. >> my question deals with the lack of recognizing that the state bypass infrastructure packages in addition to passing the bill, the county of los angeles has two sales tax measures since 2009 providing 120 billion over thehe next 40 years. the voters approved 70% of the vote with sales tax last year. the majority of your plan significantly penalizes state and local government that erase revenue prior to january 2018. not only the state and locals passing legislation infrastructure, but poorly when rated by your department, you limit these projects to qualify for only 5% or 5 billion out of the 100 billion of the new incentives program. why would you want to preclude those that have arty non-federal revenues, already lined up by
11:18 am
your state or local governments in dough cheesecake your approach to incentivize the state with slow project livery. >> i understand the question. the original intent was we wanted to recognize what states have done, but some states have done things five years ago, seven years ago, still on the s books. so do we take into account and just accept what they've done the last 10 years? that we thought was a little too much. the current proposal has a three-year t look back and if tt is perhaps too long, we are flexible on that. i understand the point you are making. for certain dates that have taken the initiative, why should they be penalized? the three-year look back may not be once they agree with, but we can talk about that. >> i would very much appreciate
11:19 am
that, mr. secretary. because your plan calls for 80% of a project to be from state and local sources, we should be allowing state and local governments to have higher preference. when the residents of california vote by 70% for the bill to raise their own taxes in order to spure transportation project, they assume they will be given preference in getting those jobs. do you think they should be allowed to give preference to hiringil their own taxpayers whn they are paying for a vast majority of the project? >> that is probably an issue that i've got to bring back. again, 12 other agencies involved in the senate got to go back and ask some of the other secretaries as well. >> would you please give us a clarification because it is unfair if we are paying for the improvements that we cannot hire local preference. >> i will take a look at that.
11:20 am
>> thank you. another issue is the los angeles county as he prepares to host the nation in the world for the 2028 olympic games. would you give us your commitment to make these critical transportation projects a priority convening a duty working group among staff so that the needed infrastructure is in place to host a successful olympic games? >> well, your mayor has been into cs and other agencies on this issue as well, so we look forward to working with him and also with you. >> very t well. thank you. there is also in regards to successfully hosting olympics, one of the most critical projects iso the subway extensin projecte for ucla. one of the olympic venues as well as the planned bill, can you please give us your commitment that you will lookvet
11:21 am
it. you will support the project can ensure what they race for the olympics? >> you are not the only one who brought it up as a mention. your mayor has been very good about approaching us, so we look forward to working with you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. gibbs for five minutes. thank you, mr. chairman. i am really encouraged for the proposal, especially in thehe administration's proposal regarding streamlining and the low cost and doing things more efficiently. i want to highlight a few things but it permits with the white house language similar to a bill to h.r. 2917 that deals with preemptively ugly peeling permit. it eliminates the oversight by the epa and so that is a good
11:22 am
thing. another thing i have is h.r. 465, and this really will help our local municipalities deal with their sewer projects and i know the administration supports that so i think that's a good way to help bring more efficiencies and cost and get the infrastructure at the municipal level accomplish. another proposal the white house discussed a lot in your package is the water infrastructure finance innovation act, which i highlight along with congressman brian mast in front of you. we have a bill that increases the funding and reauthorizes the program. in rural broadband, i'm concerned about that. we are kind of like the interstate highway system, if we
11:23 am
get rural broadband accomplished, how that helps with jobs, opportunities and education and i just want to highlight that. the administration you talk about $50 billion investment of approved infrastructure in rural areas. can you elaborate how that came about, how you operate dynamo projects may be eligible for thatuc funding? >> we understand rural america has different needs. so and specific title is set ase for rural america needs. 40% of that would be by formula, understanding that having a private partnership won't really work given the lesser density and required and public-private partnership.
11:24 am
itn is about 10% and it is competitively bid. if i may also return and give you a shout out about 404 and 402. these are not within the department of transportation. they are within the army corps of2. engineers. as the chairman and others have mentioned, it has always been a point of great concern on the parts of many parties that before a four and parties that before a four and four at two permits both require substantially the same information and they must be gathered and conducted separately, thereby adding unnecessary time lags to the permitting process. >> you are right it's not in your jurisdiction per se, but i'm sure you have input that the administration's level on how important that is. it wasn't the president's
11:25 am
package and so i think that is a big help. back on the rural infrastructure , you are taken into account because a lot of the projects may be smaller partnership financing because of the nature of that. does that take into account enough for private institutions toth get involved because the costs are higher the returns may not be as well. >> that actually would be up to the congress. we set guidelines, so that particular part is supposed to be a formula, but beyond that we look forward to working. >> i always think it's as good priority if the administration identify certain projects that are national significant importance or regional projects that have economic or national defense issues that should be
11:26 am
addressed. i'm just encouraged the kings lake certain infrastructure in t certaint areas that are critical to the economy and national security should be prioritized. i look for leadership in the administration to help identify those in push for those for state might get those as well. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. thank you, mr. chairman. i wantto to thank the secretary for all the years of service for our government. i am glad that we have now gotten the conversation going on an infrastructure plan and i thank the chairman and we can move forward for a bipartisan plan in thisor committee. i know theer chairman wants to o this. ranking member defazio does, we do. i am hopeful we can get that
11:27 am
done. i'm in for grins, $1.5 billion they are, hopefully those will get out in june and not later. it is a project everyone talks about the real modernization programs in chicago that 67% comes from private funding, state and local funding. it fits perfectly with what the administration is talking about, hope to see that funding come. another big issue in chicago is the public transit in the needs are the transit systems are very, very big. the capital needs would account for 18% of the entire federal funding in theap administration plan. i knowal mr. larsen had talked about the grant agreement in the
11:28 am
situation they are. i wanted to make a point that it is important that transit is eligible for the funding and that there has to be a way that i believe that transit can get funded. it's very tough for transit to be able to come up with the 80% to 90% for transit project. locality to come up with that. does the administration see those projects has been possible through the administration's plan? and if congress comes up with a different plan that is much more supportive of transit funding, will the administration support that coming out of congress? >> you asked very good questions. number one i would say we are going to work with congress, so
11:29 am
that is the basic premise. we do have a disagreement about the amount of support for transit. i would hope that we are open to discussinggr these projects and currently in the principles that arean set up to the hill, theres no disparaging positioning of transit versus other projects. if anything once again he leaves it up to the local and state governments to select the project said they want transit versus something else is up to them. >> is very tough to come up with 89% on transit. to be a gander brass, which are very good programs and the administration agrees with that. they have been under subscribed. what is the administration going to do to make those more
11:30 am
tractable? >> only one of them is described. in the infrastructure proposal, there are accommodations to loosen up and broaden the eligibility, so that more parties can participate. .. they would follow by american policies. does the current administration also believe in that by american needs to be followed for the
11:31 am
program? >> i think this administration,, this president in particular feels very strongly about that. we've been very, very tough on it, on the buy american provision. it is not within the infrastructure proposal if that's what's being discussed but it is an overriding statue that all of us have to abide by and do abide. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. recognize mr. webster for five minutes. >> thank you, mr.e. chairman thk you, thank you, secretary, for being here today. appreciate your willingness to come and testify that something that is an important issue for all of us. i'm from florida, central florida. we depend on transportation, a huge partim of our economic enge when it deals with tourism where also a big user on the ticket program as we are coming central florida a big user of tifia.
11:32 am
when you're talking about broadening the ability of states and local governments to apply for a tifia loan, is there a pecking order that's going to be there? in our particular case, three of the big projects with the tunnel down in miami, to the port. i for which is an ultimate project which is about 60 years, six used in the making and then there's also central florida expressway authority which had a large tifia loan which will complete the beltway around orlando. in each of those cases, that loan is going to be paid back by new money in that it's going to be paid back by tolls. there are some of the projects that are the same.
11:33 am
those can apply as broughton brl still be given some sort of nod to those that, number one, or fight a huge chunk of that money from the state s or local government? and number two, it's guaranteed by, it would be a revenue reducing project as opposed to those who may just pay it back from theer regular state transportation trust funds something like that. it's not real the money, just advancing the project. so anyway my question is willt there still be given some priority to those who are going to bring new money into the system and pay back with new money, which willl be recurring each year, even after the loan is paid back? anyway, that's my question. >> the simple answer to all of these questions is yes. but i want to give you a different answer. if you allow me to go back and confirmed that, i will do so. because the repayment portion,
11:34 am
we just want to make sure so whatever sources really are, we just want to make sure that it's going to be solid and -- >> there's new money beingin interjected that won't and when that tifia loan is repaid in that it will produce come in our state, the monies that are collected from tolls can be user to enhance that particular infrastructure project, in this case around to bring in more traffic, more money and more things to be handled even with the local level without any federal participation and/or minimal participation totr maybe another tifia loan. anyway, i don't want to lose any kind of positioning to those who would not be having, i know you want to get r the money paid ba, i got that, but on the other hand, there is two ways.
11:35 am
the one that will produce money seems to me would be better. >> yours is not the only example. so let me get you a firm answer. >> okay. >> thank you. yield back. >> i think the. gentleman. next is mr. sires, recognize for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding disturbing. madam secretary, thank you for being here. i represent a district in new jersey where the two tunnels are speedy and you speak into the mic of a more. >> where the two tunnels are located. the lincoln tunnel and the harlan tunnel. obviously, you know, there over a hundred years old. obviously they were hit very hard by sandy. wer have over 200,000 riders tht use these tunnels a day. the northeast corridor or commission estimates that the economy will lose about $100 million a day if day if something happens to these tunnels. you and i were both present when
11:36 am
governor christie and governor cuomo had a meeting with the president regarding the gateway tunnel. everybody there left very enthusiastic. the president seemed to be supportive, including yourself seem to be supportive of this project. but lately it seems like this project has come under attack. let me just date a couple of things. first, rejecting the 50-50 partnership agreement between newat jersey, new york and u.s. government. that was r an agreement that was obamander the administration because of the necessity that these tunnels need to beha redone. then trying to eliminate the capital investment grant funds, and trying to eliminate funding for amtrak, and now there are reports of the president is
11:37 am
appealing to speaker ryan to pull all the funding for the gateway tunnel. i just like to know what happened. we left there so enthused. you were enthused. the president was. enthused. all of a sudden this is a project that is not such a especially when there they are 52 million people in this region and it generates about 20% of the economy in this region. so can you give me something that i can be enthusiastic about? i really am very disappointed in the president. we go there and we thought we had something good going. >> i'm very glad you answer those questions. number one, on september 7, 2017, when this meeting occurred at the white house, we were very polite. we were cordial. there was no commitment at all. [inaudible] >> not cordial or polite and i would youer say, i would say
11:38 am
ability very the attendees of that meeting, exited that meeting despite the result of the meeting as they want the meeting to be. there was no commitment from that meeting because imagine it was a cordial speeds are you telling me there is speedy let me proceed. because there's been so much misinformation about this. so please be given this opportunity to clarify. number one, there areg, these gateway projects. them. be nine of they are collectively called gateway out of convenience. the total bill is $30 billion. new york and new jersey are two of the richest states in the country. >> i know. we spent a lot of money to the federal government. >> they're putting in less than 5% on one, and zero in the other. there's noey agreement. there's never been an agreement. secretary foxx said at a political rally in heat at the campaign in 2016 that he was
11:39 am
going to help. there is no documentation. there's no paperwork. and, in fact, they're still pending application. so i don't want to sound hostile -- >> i have five minutes. i have i been his. i wanted to see if there is, is there some sort of help that we can expect in this region because these tutorials are 108 years old, and if they collapsed the entire country is going to pay a price for this. >> new york and new jersey -- >> any kind of help for these tunnels because i've been speedy new york andew new jersey can ce up withh larger than zero or 5% -- >> right now they're willing to commit 50% of the project. >> the rest of the monies going to take every other transit project buddy from all across the state, all across the country. this is going to be e a heated discussion. >> no. just with respect to my district -- >> it's going to take money from every other project -- transit project in america. >> okay.
11:40 am
>> that's just a fact. >> we always the gas tax to 20% to do with the transportation trust fund. it's very expensive to go from near to new d jersey. >> there's a lot of, these understand new york and new jersey has got up their local shared. >> thank you. >> gentleman yield back. mr. denham is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, welcome to the committee today. we talked a lot about the trillion dollars we would all like to see them even more than a trillion dollars. one of the ways we do that is through financing. as without a number of discussions in this committee about user pay projects, there is not a bigger user pay project than water storage. i'm a ratepayer. every time i turn on that tab i am paying for that water storage. if we can build water storage in california and solve our water crisis they can be the biggest infrastructure project in the country. we done some newat things with
11:41 am
wifia. my new water act would expand that to reclamation projects. the principles are within the presidents working document. i wonder if you could describe where the decision is on where that's housed and whether or not you think that's a good financing tool for now to infrastructure projects that specifically water storage? >> unfortunately, that is epa administrators portfolio. that has to be addressed to him, and i'll be more than glad to go back to the white house and bring back your concerns to him. >> thank you. we would certainly like to see that housed under dot as wifia as well but the reclamation epa will be out in my district, and we will have that discussion but this is a big financing tool to
11:42 am
be able to build big water storage in california and elsewhere. let me switch to another issue that pertains to water storage. we c passed out of this committ, we passed a number of these of legislation, including an amendment to the fact -- fast act which deals with reciprocity. we want to do with the highest environmental quality policies across the country. we don't want to do it twice. so california we've been utilizing our exemption on nepa to deal with -- srinath seemed a long delays on lawsuits and permitting process. can you discuss how we would use these an expert of project delivery for surface water storage projects in the merits of expanding this typese of poly or water agencies as well? >> when so much of the e
11:43 am
permitting process spans over so many departments and agencies, which is why when we talk about infrastructure, there needed to be a multi agency, one federal decision process and that's why the president made that announcement, one federal decisionon with one federal agency, one federal cabinet. kind and being first among equals, , to take the lead in se of these permitting difficulty issues. we are in the process of signing and m.o.u. with the various departments, and we hope to have that pretty soon, but the president has been pretty aggressive in mandating that he wants the permitting process to be short. again, the permitting process is not the transfer process necessarily and we don't t wanto compromise the environment at all. but how do have a more
11:44 am
commonsensical approach to streamlining the permitting process so that redundant, duplicate this processes are somehow resolve? >> well, thank you. my time is short but let me just say how excited i am about having a large infrastructure projects that could not only solve california's water crisis but really expand our ports,, expand our highways, really expand goods movement as we create more jobs. we will continue to partner with you to find new revenues. we'd like to see our numbers as high as we can but also want to have the creativity to use our current financing systems, and streamline these projects. to take these projectshe not ony taking tenures but in some cases, including california waterhes. storage, it's not only multi-decade, it's generational gaps in the waterer storage.
11:45 am
so we're looking at those opportunities to expedite his te projects and get them build not only in our lifetime against the next couple of years. excited about the new proposal and want to find new ways we can work together. i get back. >> thank you. >> now recognized as for johnsop for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the testimony today, secretary chao, and i noticed that in your written testimony submitted for the record as well as your oral testimony today, you failed to makeou any mention whatsoever as to public transportation. that's a glittering omission. can you explain why you have not testified and not spoken on public transit? is it not important? >> it's not excluded. >> but you didn't mention it though. >> i didn't mention highways too much either. but your point is well taken. >> but you didn't mention -- >> it's would have the infrastructure needs of the
11:46 am
localou communities. and again we believe that to be, we don't express a preference for one or the other. we leave it up to the local communities, but but i take yor comments to heart. >> let me ask you this. do you agree that public transit is and shouldd be a tool in the infrastructure toolbox? w >> sure. it the local kimmerly glen said, it's up to them to prioritize. >> do you believe that public transit systems significantly improve economic vitality and opportunities for small businesses? >> in urban areas where this density and where there is enough traffic, yet. >> and it allows for it enables these local communities to prosper andnd grow, isn't that correct? >> sometimes they can't pay for the transit systems and think that's a problem. >> theos federal government has alwayses seemed that it is important in the local communities that they have support for public transit. and you agree with that, don't
11:47 am
you? >> no, i thinkpo it actually varies. some administrations supported more so than others. >> so you don't think public transit is something that the federal government should invest in? >> well, we have, the federal government does invest in federal transit. there's something called the federal transit administration. >> but you don't think that it should going forward because you left it out of -- >> i didn't say that if you ask me to prefer transit over something else. i think this is a local decision. >> i'm just asking you to recognize it inn your comments o our committee, and she failed to do so. >> i don't understand that. i didn't mention other modes of transportation like aviation. i was criticized on that as well. >> do you think public transit isth important? >> in certains cities where there's enough volume and density to support it, they can be a viable alternative transportation system. >> well, what is the trump
11:48 am
transportation plan insofar as public transit is concerned? what is the plan? >> we have a budget for the federal transit administration. what's the budget? there's a federal transit administration with the full budget, and we support all the transit programs. >> budget is being cut by 19% democrat? >> that indicates sometimes administration supported the coup on projects. >> you a you are pretty good at jumping around my questions. >> no, i'm trying to be cooperative and answer. >> no, you're not. let me ask you this question. the trump infrastructure proposal would turn the funding for new on its head by requiring state and local governments to call up 80% of the cost of infrastructure. do you believe that it's realistic to believe that cash-strapped municipalities in rural america will be able to squeeze sufficient revenues from state and local taxpayers to pay the 80% share of the cost of
11:49 am
infrastructure improvement? >> as i've mentioned, the 80/20 applies only to interstate projects. that's always been the case. the rest of the transportation systems in the country is 10% owned by the federal government, 90% owned by the state. >> you're not answering my questions. >> the existing programs, the budget still stays here the past at all stays. >> my question is do you believe that state and local governments will be able to call up 80% of the share of the cost of infrastructure improvements? l >> that is the question i paid for, as an agent. we will work with congress on that. >> do you think state and local taxpayers can afford to be squeezed? >> federal money is not free. w federal money is taxpayers might as well. federal money is actually taxpayers money coming from the
11:50 am
states and localities. they come up to us, we send it back to the locales, localities and to the local and state governments with federal strings attached. that's what federal dollars are. >> one last question. in your written test when you stick the guiding principle of the trump infrastructure plan is the use of federal dollars as seed money to incentivize infrastructure investment by state and local governments. my question is how does the trumpet of such a plan proposed to incentivize private sector investment in rural areas? >> by the dent of the federal government getting involved in certain projects, they offer the weight and gravitas of the united states government, and with that that actually improves the quality of some of the projects. and more private investors are willing to enter because they think there's been a steel of good housekeeping, and that's
11:51 am
why, again, the federal government entry, or being involved in a transaction, is helpful to helping the private sector enter. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> i'd like to remind the gentleman, under the formula, trust fund formula, 80% goes to highways, , roughly 20% goes to transit, and states have the ability today which of course was in rural pennsylvania are always complaining that the governor flexes dollars which under the law he can do to philadelphia. so as many to be spent on this program talked about changing the point i don't believe and the president plans, new ideas. soaking with that -- >> i think the chairman for answering my question. >> you're quite welcome. i recognize yesterday this five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and madam secretary, i appreciate you being here to talk about
11:52 am
investing in our nation's infrastructure and i also appreciate the cooperation and the responses that you get into some of my colleagues previous questions. i disagree with some of the assertions that may behe made earlier. i actually appreciated the white house is w infrastructure propol and kind of piggybacking on to my colleague, mr. johnson's comments on reel america. i like the fact somed of those funds in the proposed plan were dedicated to roll america. we've seen rural roads and bridges lagged behind due to funding constraints and the lack of access to funds. all bridges were eligible for funding under what was a the highway bridge program. however, this program wasap limited in map-21 with the majority of its money going into the national highway performance programr, for which all system bridges are not eligible. this means today 77% 77% of all bridgesro in the u.s. are only eligible for funding under the
11:53 am
surface transportation block grant program. this leads to meet all system bridges in growth counties like those in my district being years, sometimes decades behind in the maintenance that needs to be conducted. so again thanks for ensuring real infrastructure was prioritized in this proposal. i would also suggest that some of these dollars be allocated directly to local jurisdictions who can best identify their owne infrastructure priorities under the administration proposal the 80% of money set aside for rule for no dollars would go directly to governors. it would make sense for me to use the service applicationet block grant program which some allocates more than 50% of the formula to locals as a model. unfortunately, local infrastructure priorities, as chairman shuster just mentioned, don't always align with our governors regardless of which party may be in charge. secretary chao, do you agree we should include some level of local control of rural
11:54 am
infrastructure dollars? >> in fact, the presidents entire infrastructure proposal these the priority of projects to the state and local leaders. so we don't say what projects is preferable over another. we don't say which financing or funding mechanism is preferable. we are basically saying it's really up to the local and state leaders. >> i understand that but as chairman shuster mentioned, as i mentioned, sometimes our governors priorities, our state officials priorities may be overtaken in the nonrural areas. so thank you for your dedication to rural america. i want to start my second question by noting us of what the dot electronic locking device will looking forward as the rule was authorized by congress. much of the trucking industry has invested millions in coming into compliance. i do also believe there are legitimate concerns for certain industries are working to come into compliance.
11:55 am
this includes lifestyle calling industry. madam secretary, can you describe at the mca's outreach to the agriculture industry leading up the limitation to the dot rolled? >> this is a very important role, especially with reference to livestock. i've heard from multiple numbers of rural lawmakers on this issue. >> thank you. >> fmsca, i been told and if you are not satisfied with the complicity because i will go back and reinforce this point with eager i been told that they have held a number of outreach and educational sessions to try to explain a 90 day waiver that's been issued for livestock. and how this particular role functions. but again if you're not satisfied with that please let me know and -- >> will have our local groups get back with us and we will
11:56 am
reach out to dot. so youou were saying the 90 day waiver has beennd implemented. eight livestock groups submitted a letter asking for a wave and that's only been -- >> the last one was december 18 so was extended into march 18, which is coming up. >> do you anticipate another waiver? >> this is a big decision. the department is constrained. we haveip to take -- >> i specifically talk about the livestocke industry. it's also my understanding -- >> this isng a waiver. the waiver was only for livestock. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the opportunity to ask you this and we will get back to you on the waiver issued to make sure our questions are answered. thank you. i yield back. >> i think the gentleman, and now ms. titus is recognized for fivean minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary, welcome back to the committee. nice to see. the last time you were here i
11:57 am
asked you about the status of the national advisory committee on travel andnd tourism infrastructure. just remind everybody of what that is, in the past that i worked with my colleagues across the aisle. we had a bipartisan amendment to the fast act that created a committee to report directly to you that brought together a diverse array of experts from across the travel and tourism industry, and they were to advise you on i quote, current and emerging priorities, issues, projects and funding needs related to the use of intermodal transportation networks of the united states to facilitate travel and tourism. travel and tourism are very important to my district in las vegas, but all around the country no matter what district you represent their something related to tourism that isn't there. we thought that with infrastructure been such a priority of this president that now would be a good time for this committee to be meeting and
11:58 am
getting advice on how travel and tourism priorities with fit into that plan. under your predecessor of the advisory committee was up and running, meetings what were occurring and the recon with recommendations. in february of last year following your confirmation i read this letter with my fellow house and senate members who are cochairs of the travel and tourism caucus. i'd like to ask that this be submitted into the record. we were urging you to kind of prioritized that work. unfortunately though, nothing has happened. they haven'tec met. they have had rescheduled meets and they canceled meetings. so i would just like to ask you if they're unable to continue theirr work, you are not kind of empowering them to continue, how can their recommendations be reflected in the infrastructure plan? and are you just, their charter goes away june 20. i wonder our ages waiting out
11:59 am
the clock or are you going to be working with this committee? don't you think these priorities are important to consider as we move forward with infrastructure plans? >> i knew this is important to you. it was brought to my attention just before thewa hearing. we don't really have a good of our, boards and commissions. we arere slowly added do mean slowly going to to see what needs to be done with them, how do we get them going and, frankly, i just haven't had enough staff to go through it but we will take a look at. >> i hope so because it's been a year since i've asked about this, and their time is running out and we putting the plan together now. you've got experts on the committee who are ready and willing to go to work if you are just give them the say so. in addition to that, according to the lastt section, i'm sorry, the same section of the fast act, that requires that your
12:00 pm
department consult with them on the strategic plan, and that is supposed to be submitted by the end of the year. if they're not up and operating it will not be living input into thatsu either. i hope you will make that a priority. i've been hoping that for a while now. it really doesn't seem like it would require that much effort to see what they are doing and what they can contribute to this kind of majorik infrastructure overhaul that you are talking about. >> thank you for bringing it to my attention. >> thank you, and i look forward to hearing back from you and the chair of that who is also the chair of ourng convention to her that progress is being made. >> thank you. >> thank you and i yield back. >> without objection the gentle ladies letter will be made part of the record. and with that, recognize mr. sanford for five minutes. >> i think the chairman, and i thank you, madam secretary. two quick questions on
12:01 pm
infrastructure. f one is could you give a look at more definition of the three-year look that back is ad infrastructure? south carolina just raised its gas tax and one of the things i've heard from back of his question as to the degree to which they will bex, recognized for doing so. question on that front. >> no, it's an issue. because, in fact, south carolina had a very, very good project which was originally on the first round, some grants that were to be released. and o yet because of what they did, showing that they had initiative, they had responsibility, they were actually not eligible to receive the grant that they would've received it they were laggard in terms of not raising any revenues at all. so this is one of a number of projects, but there was also balanced against this of the concern that there were states that did this ten years ago.
12:02 pm
we don't want to -- there were some people in this working group of 12 agencies that that was not fair to include tenures. so the compromise was three years. this and other issues, i mentioned toto the chairman we e more than willing to work with on a bipartisan basis with both sides on how to address this and other issues of m concern. iwi understand that south carola is a glaring example where you did not get a grant because it was a port in south carolina. i don't know whether that's in your district, but they took responsibility. they raised their own revenues, and then subsequently they werea not eligible for the grant. >> so to be continued on that one. the other question is r tied to charleston as well. and that is, one of the questions with ppp is is in essence and toward revenue
12:03 pm
generating projects. and yet if a if you look at flg in charleston, it is increased rather dramatically. something is going on in terms of sea level rise. we can have long debates on the why and the what by the bottom line is that it's happening and nuisance flooding has exacerbated as has more damaging forms of flooding. they have committed significant acamount of money to doing so, t it looks like they will be eligible for many of these other kinds of grants t given the fact that has to be a revenue generating component what's done and that doesn't fit safeguarding property as a consequence of the flooding. any particular ideas in terms of our folks interested might be able to better look on the grant front? >> i am not familiar with that. it is a good point and if you let me, take a look at that and will get back to you on that.
12:04 pm
>> i appreciate that. mr. chairman, they do for the time. >> thank the gentleman. mr. payne is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary chao, i'm going to follow up with my colleagues line of question is, this series in reference of the gateway project. this week in the "washington post" reported that president trump is actively seeking to undermine the gateway project now. we know this project is one of the biggest and most expensive in the country. we know that hundreds of thousands of commuters and inner-city travelers rely on this transha hudson infrastructe to get in and out of new york daily. despite the president's actions, are you saying that there was no commitment to support this
12:05 pm
critical infrastructure on the federal level? >> there is no commitment. there is no documentation. there is no pending application. >> i was at that meeting in the white house as well. i sat about two chairs the way from you. so when the president talked about being a good project and it looks good and we're going to move forward and talk to governor cuomo even without runway at laguardia airport, that he felt that they should get, now you are saying that none of this happened? >> no, i did not say that. the guy said we were polite. we were respectful. we o were cordial. we made no commitments. we want to work together. there's no doubt about that, , t working to get also means that new york andan new jersey, two f the richest state in the
12:06 pm
country, have got to come up with more than zero financing on one project and iversen on the other. >> i don't know where you are getting your information. because we have offered a 50-50 split with the federal government, not 1090, not 80/20. 50-50, half. you have not -- >> i speak you have not heard that? >> no. we've been in discussion with -- >> you have not heard that? you not heard that new jersey and new york had offered -- >> and discussions we've been having with them there is zero financing on the hudson, i may be getting, the hudson tunnel and the portal bridge. if zero financing on one side the new york/new jersey parties and iversen on the other. they are using tifia loans which they would get from us as part of the down payment. >> absolutely incorrect. >> sir, i think of a disagreement about the fact.
12:07 pm
>> exactly, and i know, i know this administration and their alternate fax and how that works. >> i take exception to that. i have never said that. >> you can take that exception to that. >> i do not want to be stern but the misinformation on this project has been stunning. >> reclaiming my time. >> the gentleman has the time. >> let me say this. it's very unfortunate that the things you hear come out of this administration, once you leave t day later, it just dissipates into air. it never happened. it just dissipates. it's an amazing -- it's amazing. i really suggest you look at the facts what new jersey has offered, new york and new jersey have offered on this. and please, can we somewhere along the line live up to our
12:08 pm
word with this administration? and i yield back. you put that in writing and have new york and new jersey submit something in writing, we will be more than pleased to look at it. thank you very much. because currently we have a nothing. >> thank the gently. i believe that is the fact that there has been no submission, so it's up to the states to submit something here. without i recognize mr. woodall for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. thank you for all you've done in partnership from, with my home state o georgia. i'veve heard folks accuse the administration during this hearing out pushing problems down on folks. what i know is when our state was at its weakest, you all stepped in to that the collapse of her major transportation corridor, collapsed due to part company all with their, not from
12:09 pm
day one, but from our one. i'm thankful to your response this. i see sitting behind you mr. mcmaster and mr. wray. you've been served by a great team. i am pleased thaton within the last month you've added a new member of your come to team, assistant secretary by the name of adam sullivan. he served the georgia delegation for years proudly and with distinction. my expectation for department were already extremely high because of your leadership but seemed the folks are adding to that list, send it even higher. you mention when ms. napolitano was asking about the three-year look back, the willingness to have that conversation. i'm grateful to you for sharing that. mr. sanford touched onha it beloved. are you able to shoot anything from those multi-partner discussions to help me to understand what characteristics
12:10 pm
the department is looking for as we continue to have that discussion? i know we want to encourage more investment. that's certainly what south carolina did, what georgia has done. and the fear is we don't want to go back and capture investments that were made a decade ago by being influenced by the $200 billion that's available. is it clear to you as you and i see do today what some of those characteristics are that will determine the outcome of a that discussion, whether it's a two-year or three-year or a a five-year, whether it's an 80% credit or 60% credit? is there any guidance you can provide or is it genuinely of like slate? >> you bring up somee good poins about koichi. we are pretty open. it was just the concern about how do we keep people credit but not give them so much credit that there's nothing for them to
12:11 pm
do going forward and they still get the federal dollars for project that's already existing and up and running. so we're looking forward to, if i may just add one thing, , yes, thank you for your compliments about the appointees at the department. they are all doing ard great job as arets the career folks. just wanted let you know adamll sullivan was just sworn in yesterday, and he was nominated more than nine months ago. >> nine months ago. you wouldn't know you were shorthanded given the amount of productivity coming-out of the department. i look at the numbers. weou talk about 200 billion in brand-new federal dollars being pumped in. that's more money than the american recovery and reinvestment act pumped into transportation. it's a stunning amount of money, almost as a much as the chair ws able to put forward in our past act which is the biggest transportation bill that we've ever done around here. but i am thinking about of the regulatory challenges that the
12:12 pm
department has dealt with, by my count we're close to a billion dollars in regulatory savings, not because we sacrificed in of our stewardship responsibilities to the environment or to labor over to local control, but simply because some of thenv effort you will of made to spend that money more wisely. i know that for sure on the job offers lots of s potential. do you think we will continue to see those kinds of regulatory reforms, those savingste that ct us nothing as taxpayers and a stewards of the environment, but go to real dollars going back into infrastructure? >> under the previous administration the burden of regulations on just the transportation sector alone was more than $3 billion ara year. in the last year we've taken a look at these regulations without compromising on any of the really important things to us like the environment, and
12:13 pm
basically we've been able to have a deregulatory approach that actually will decrease regulations by $312 million. concurrent with that is the permitting which is separate from the deregulation. i've given some examples ofcr te permitting processes that can be improved. that's giving rate of sequential, duplicative processes. of them,orward, many actually from the members of congress yourself, giving as suggestions and recommendations as to what we should be looking for. so we look for tome what with te memberss of congress and ensurig that projects really need to be online, are being given information that they need to beginha improvements. >> i don't just thank you for what you do, i thank you very do it. when young men women talking about the discord of politics today and want to know what a real public servant looks like,
12:14 pm
i often given your name and i'm grateful to your service. >> think it's a much. >> mr. lowenthal is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair, and thank you, secretary chao for addressing us. i want to associate many of the comments that congresswoman sp made in presenting ranking member defazio statement and also some of the comments of chairman shuster and other colleagues who highlight some of the issues or concerns that they have with the administrations infrastructure package. unfortunately i believe the administration has done the tough decisions that congress must's make your decisions on hw up the highway trust fund and how to move towards a sustainable path foror infrastructure investment. secretary chao, i'm concerned that your proposal undermines a key priority of mine, to fund the nation's system of goods movement. i think i was glad to hear congressman dan mention goods
12:15 pm
movement. perhaps you've heard the phrase freight doesn't vote, which explains why a dedicated freight funding has been so hard for congress to deal with. the administrations infrastructure plan proposes, as i understand from $100 $100 bin grant program over ten years that the states and cities can compete for at the 20% federal sugar this additional funding, however, is now paired with the presidential budget request that cats $122 billion from the highway trust fund over ten years. as you know the highway trust fund provides aun dedicated formula grant or dedicated formula grants for freight programs as well as discretionary grants to the infra program. this proposed budget signify both. back
12:16 pm
the president's budget also eliminates the highly oversubscribed tiger program which is made key intermodal investments including $30 million to improve the flow of commerce at both the ports of l.a. and long beach. the question i have is given the nation's staggering needs to improve freight movement and relieve congestion, how does your administrations plan advance freight projects while at the same time eliminating guaranteed and dedicated funding for freight? >> freight is very important obviously. you bring up a very good point at a a don't have an answer for you. i should. if youou would let me get back o you on that but you bring up a very important -- >> at i speak i am remiss nothing of y interest. >> i hope you look at a proposal that i put forth, h.r. 3001 which establishese a sustainable
12:17 pm
dedicated freight trust fund. it would make sure we have the resources to deal with these vertical investments. i think it's consistent with what we've talked about before in terms of user fees. i think it would be, i'd like you to at least address that issue. also, next question, secretary chao, the administration said it reported hered today the environmental permitting process from ten years to twot years. yet according to the council on fi mr. holtz-eakin the overwhelming majority of federal projects that require environmental review, that's approximately 95% of those projects proceed under exclusions that are exempt from the most rigorous types of my middle review. less than 1% of the projects require a more rigorous environmental impact statement, the eis. according to the federal highway administration, the average length of that review is less
12:18 pm
than four years. what i don't understand is given the statistics, why does president trump insist that it takes ten years to go through the permitting process for transportation project? >> first of all, we're not talking about environmental permitting. we're just talk about permitting overall. as mentioned we all want to protect the environment. but there are ways in which the permitting process is duplicative. it doesn't make sense just from a process point of view, that we hope we can address. the permitting process also not only includes federal but state and local. the process could take ten years. our part can be maybe a portion of that. so one example is in alaska. i went up to alaska in august and justs to happen at the permitting process for the sterling highway came through after a 35 year delay, and it it came from into your.
12:19 pm
so are there not ways with asking ourselves with input from the congress on how we can improve the permitting process? many of these projects, transportation, i infrastructure projects and need to be repaired, improved, can actually begin construction and approval. that's what we're talking about. >> i will submit in writing, i present about the delays and inserted regarding the new start program. i will submit that that is bisf the orange county streetcar which is going throughin everything and is ready to go, and also i concur with congresswoman napolitano regarding the 2028 olympics in los angeles and the need for infrastructure improvement. thank you and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. i have not seen your proposal on the freight rail trust fund. i would i caution though, the railroads typically don't want federal dollars because you put a dollar of federal money income it cost twice as much, it takes
12:20 pm
twice as long to do it. so get i would be interested to see your proposal. i appreciate that. with that, mr. redman recognized by minutes. >> thank you, y mr. chairman and thank you, secretary chao. any big construction project say nothing of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package relies on an efficient and cost-effective freight delivery network especially trucks to help build it. for the past eight months i been working hard to do something about the mandate, and electronic logging device, which i believe is only hurting our economy but making our shared goal of rebuilding infrastructure that much harder. i acknowledge while there are serious issues for theng cost cn secured and reliability that we are already seeing, the bigger concern is the underlying hours of service regulations and the inflexible enforcement of them triggered by an eld. facial drivers often identify the current comics could become
12:21 pm
the current ohs requirement asel countersi productive and an impediment to the safety improvement. crashes are up, for example, by 56% since 2010 and 2010 and driver safety are often forced to drive when there's times of high traffic congestion, bad weather, tired, fatigue and they want flexibility. so while i would continue to strongly urge you, madam secretary, to direct a waiver from this feel the mandate for all sectors of the trucking industry, not just livestock as we for today, i would like to get your perspective and hopefully your commitment on steps we can take to modernize and add some common sense to these hours of service regulations. my office is working now with outside stakeholders on a solution that would provide for the same 14 hour window of service, but with additional flexibility for drivers to take their rest hours when they want
12:22 pm
and when they need it, not as weather and traffic conditions permit. eld tries to tell them to do so. can i have your commitment to work with us and your team to explore these sorts of options, either through the regulatory or the legislative process, madam secretary? >> i am very sympathetic to this issue because itla come from a rural state. the eld issue and the waivers is typed in to the hours of service which is the underlying legislation. we are very much constrained by the law. so we look forward to working with you and it would be other people on the other side on how to handle this. >> i understand, but even those on the other side have a problem with the hours of service. a lot of this could be a think taken care of if we could get some flexibility to some of our drivers. >> it was tightened up i around 2010, 2011.
12:23 pm
>> but that's supposed -- >> i would be more than lady talking about that. >> absolutely. i would love to do so. at i i said earlier traffic crashes with trucks are up 56% since 2010. another question. texas recently invested millions in new state of the art center for infrastructure renewal at texas a&m university. this focuses on all aspects of infrastructure renewal. romney materials to workforce development to cybersecurity, can you speak to your agency's strategic plan for engaging with industry and academia to bring innovation and sufficiently trained manpower to our nation's infrastructure agenda, specifically your plans to partner with existing comprehensive facilities like texas a&m cer? to maximize public-private investment in partnerships to ensure innovation and sufficiently train manpower, you are structured investments of the future? >> these transportation centers,
12:24 pm
research centers and universities all across the country are very helpful. i'm afraid the secretary of energy has beaten you to this particular point. he has been pushing this point with a texas a&m for quite a while. so we are very much aware of it and we're trying to work with the energy department. will also work with you as well on this. >> actually. thank you, madam secretary. because her energy secretary is an alumni of texas a&m. you. i yield back. >> i think the gentleman and appreciate the argument you made. i think this eld debate shouldn't be about technology. it's about the rest time. it's about the police sheet don't say sleep at a a certain time but truckers can figure that out. i did with this technology today, we can probably know exactly when somebody is resting and winter not resting. i think the technology is positive andn appreciate you for bring that up about the hours of
12:25 pm
rest need to be flexible for these drivers. with that, mr. maloney is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. huffman is recognized, source. >> we are always getting confused with each other, mr. chairman. >> better news for me than you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, take you for joining us here today. i want to ask you about the capital investment grant program. this is something congress appropriated $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2017. these federal dollars were intended to build new transit investments selected by local communities, projects under this program have been reviewed, highly rated, and are in many cases awaiting your approval. i wonder, madam secretary, if you would agree with me that since congress has spoken,
12:26 pm
creating this program, finding this program, that unless and until the program is ended it is your legal responsibility to carry it out? >> yes, absolutely. >> thank you. because in my district we've got a project that we are very proud of. it's the sonoma marine area rail transit program, or smart. it has been moving ahead with a new regional commuter rail system that is funded almost entirely by local sales taxes under the local and regional funding sources. it opened in august 2016 with a fully operational positive train control system. at a time when we are a lot on real safety and o positive train control, this is this is a proe can all celebrate a and be proud of. it is arguably the safest little railroad in america, and a real extraordinaire success story. the only problem is it's been waiting for months for finding g under a small starts grant to be
12:27 pm
distributed. is a grant that was previously awarded, and although your agency has issued a no prejudice letter, we've not been able to get that funding distributed. we talk a lot about projects that are shovel ready. we talked about the burden of permitting an apartment of review. this is a project where everything is ready. in fact, the shovels were already working. it's under construction. but for reasons we still don't understand we just can't get u those funds distributed. i wanted to bring this to your attention, madam secretary, as an example of infrastructure that everybody thinks can and should move forward but it has the potential to be derailed. i understand that physicians are still being filled and some of the other challenges we've heard about here today, but we do agree with me a project like this that is really right down the line theld kind of thing we want to support, that kind of thing that should get its funds
12:28 pm
distributed deserves your attention and support animal like this? >> i will take a look at the project and see where it is. >> that's much appreciative and that's all i have for you, madam secretary, so i yield theth bous of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. iraq he dug myself five minutes. -- i recognize myself for five minutes. madam secretary, thank you very much for being here. i want to pass on accommodations in the state of louisiana secretary of transportation and development who is been to dozens of disasters who said your outreach activities related to some of the 2017 disasters was far better than any other administration that they've dealt with some what you thank you for that. louisiana like many states has a lack of investment in infrastructure. i think they've had some prioritization problems and other things over several years.
12:29 pm
i'm curious with the administration's proposal, infrastructure proposal, what recommendations you would make to louisiana that is over suffering financialmi challenge, deficits? what recommendations would make it into ensure that her ability to compete for some of the infrastructure dollars that are available when we're already having financial problems. >> louisiana is a state with a lot of, it's a real state basically except for the major cities like new orleans.ia there's a title within, there's a proposed provision within the guidelines that have been passed for word that world america will come under a different provision, and delete formula grant basically. >> thank you. secretary wilson made mention of the program and the governor but we haven't cities like new orleans, baton rouge, shrevepo t and other areas that have more sizable populations. just give you an idea my hometown of baton rouge which we
12:30 pm
have had the population of likely 230,000, ifer i recall we were recently rated as having the 13th worst traffic in the united states and 106 worst traffic in the world. .. the world. this is the town of baton rouge with, again, approximately 200,000 people in the city. you and i spoke a few weeks ago about the fact that we have the only place in the united states where the interstate system funnels down to one lane. anybody who is thinking about that idea, it's an awful one, please don't replicate it. it certainly contributes to most of the traffic. the solution there is going to be a new bridge among other investments. when you're looking at probably over a billion dollars. so the rural program is good for much of our state. but when you get into these metropolitan areas, i don't think it's really going to fit or address some of the solutions there. >> so the rural - it's going to be up to state and local governments as to how they want to package and prioritize
12:31 pm
the transportation projects they view as most important, and they would package that, send that up to the federal -- to the department of transportation or whatever else, water, energy, whatever, go to the other departments, and then there would be a process by which targeted investments would be evaluated and ultimately, i guess, grants given. >> thank you. i want to make sure as we move forward on this that we continue to eave discussions and understand the implications as a former implementer of large-scale infrastructure project is think it's important that both the state and federal government relate to one another expectations in terms of budget and give us the appropriate time to adapt or prepare for those additional demands. know that much of the work i historically have didn't with the corps of engineers was a rick partnership because they come in one year and provide funding and then zero funding
12:32 pm
for a number of years following. predictability of funding and make sure we convey to both federal and nonfederal partners expectations and giving appropriate time for planning is an important component. we need to make sure we don't come in and put good money on top of bad and the chairman made note about the fact that some of the rail lines don want to see federal investment because by complying with federal standards you double the cost of projects, even higher than there. there has been some talk about looking at the appropriate threshold to trying federal requirements in allowing for states to use their own surrogate process to respect the environment and address worker wages and other important priorities. i want to sure we're paying
12:33 pm
close attention toes efficiencies but a we're putting additional federal dollars on top of an ineffect project development delivery system, that's not yielding taxpayers the results they decent i aim not sure i you want to comment. >> you make a very good point. we actually are in the process of dealing, for example, with nebraska, on letting them take hold of the permitting process. there's no devolution. there's no dilution at all but certain states have applied and we're working with them. >> thank you, madame secretary, now reallied file minuted for the real gentleman from new york. >> if i had a nickel every time i heard that. i had to step out earlier so if this has been covered, bear with me.
12:34 pm
but can you confirm for me that the good atway project in new york was the number one project on the trump administration's priorities list? die have the hat right. >> i don't think so. >> you don't think so. >> i don't think there's a list. >> well, i think you identified major projects of national significance it and was the number one project. but stipulating the importance of the project forks many, you agree it's an important project. >> we want to work with the states. the issue is how to fun it and what the proportion of shares are. >> right, so the "washington post" reported that president trump personally requested that speaker ryan block the federal funding for the getaway project in the omnibus spending package. what can you tell us about that? is that true? >> i read it in the newspapers just luke you did. >> right. my question is, is it true? >> probably is. >> can you tell us why the president is seeking to block -- >> you need to ask the white
12:35 pm
house. >> secretary -- >> i'd be more than glad to explain it if you let me. just said to you numerous times to at the delegation and my answers north good enough. >> fair to say they're not good enough. number four congress and say i have to ask the white house -- >> there's no agreement between new york, new jersey, and their federal government. >> my question is -- >> there's documentation. >> my question is more narrow i. this president of the unit personally intervening with the speaker to kill this project? >> the president -- yes. the president is concerned about the viability of the project and the fact that new york and new jersey have no skin in the game. they need to step up and bear their fair share. they are two of the richest states in the country. if they absorb all these funds that there will be know other funds for the rest of the country. >> thank you for confirming that. also the case that the administration is rejected the
12:36 pm
50-50 partnership developed by the obama administration. >> i may by wrong -- >> excuse me. i could ask my -- proposed to eliminate funs and amtrak funds, tried to block all omnibus funding and now with your confirmation, threaten other lawmakers with the protect and ask the speaker to kill it. is it fair to say the states doing up in when this is the administration's sorry record on this project? >> that is your characterization. it takes me too much time to have to answer every miss of misstatement and -- >> what was the question. >> ouch time? >> 200 -- 200 -- two minutes and four second. >> well, madam secretary, you may have misremaining two minutes accommodate your best to happy and why the president of the united states is i killing the most important infrastructure project in the northeast, probably any country, and why it has actively undermined the efforts of the previous administration to work
12:37 pm
out the very issues you just addressed. please take my time and tell us why the project, which is so important,er is being killed personally by the president. >> that is your -- those are your words, not mine. if you want the president's stance, please go to the white house. there is no such agreement. the previous administration made no commitment except at a political rally in the heat of a come pain. there's no documentation evidencing any commitment. there's no pending application. the nine projects that you collectively call gateway. the career staff rated this project as not eligible for federal funding because a state and local government has put in 5% in one, 0% in the other. that's not how these projects are financed. one of the projects is thinking about applying for a tiffia
12:38 pm
loan. they're taking the loan and making it their -- the state is taking our loan and using it as their equity. that is like if you have -- you're getting a mortgage and you have to put 20% down as your equity, you go out and get a second loan and call that second loan your equity. there are certain guidelines. if you look at the purple loin in maryland. it's 38% federal grants, 33% tifia loans, 20% state, 9% the private sector. and i-66 right here in virginia, the private sector put in 42 -- >> mam, i'm familiar with how the program works. >> 25% is public activity bond with no federal -- >> i'm very familiar with how the tifia program works and i'm struck by something you said which is we cannot ask you about the administration has positions in this room?
12:39 pm
>> no, you cack. >> but i have to ask the white house -- >> please confirm that with you. >> understood you correctly. >> yes. >> can you explain why? >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> that's how it works. don't speak for another person unless i'm there personally. >> thank you, gentle lady. thank you gentleman. mr. smucker. sorry. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for being here. thank you for your leadership and the administration of president's leadership in advancing infrastructure package that is so important to our nation's economy. also like to thank you for the three-year lookback provision specifically helping the state like pennsylvania. we just recently increased the whole sale gas tags and provided additional revenue. i'd like to talk about that if i have time.
12:40 pm
first the question. i had sent a letter to you last year in june of 2017, regarding the administration's position on the use of project labor agreements on highway projects that receive federal dollars, and it's important to me, important to my district, because we live in a state where project labor agreements have been idea to exclude great companies and exclude many folks in the work force from participating in jobs and the letter i sent in june was a response to one specific project where that occurred. someone from your department had replied, september 7th, i have a letter here, that says the u.s. department of transportation currently reviewing the policy. on the use of plas on federally funded projects issued in 2009, and would keep us posted. i'd like to ask you for an
12:41 pm
update on that review and on the administration's policy on the use of project labor agreements on federally funded project. >> i'm very familiar with project labor agreements having been the former secretary of labor. the response back is not totally correct. we basically have to coordinate with the white house and also with the department of labor on that particular provision, but having said that, let me try to get in clarity for you on it. >> i was -- >> as far as i no, no decision has been made. >> i was pleased to see in the -- your proposal the recognition of the need for individuals for work force essentially to do the work that would be required in an infrastructure project and you have particular section on page 53 that talk about empowering workers, and you specifically talk about the need to allow
12:42 pm
workers with out of state skilled trade licenses work in a particular state, and your reasoning for that is good, but could very punch be applied to what i'm talking about with project labor agreements. you talk about preventing out of state professionals, you can see preventing nonunion labor would reduce the speed of projects, delaying the effect of the economic benefit they provide, would increase the cost of the project biz artificially limiting supply of professionals available to work in these projects and allowing that would speed project delivery, reduce project cost, provide flexibility and couldn't have described better what we're talking about with project labor agreements, which really does artificially prevent 86% of the work force available in the construction industry from working on these projects, and so would provide for more inefficient use of federal dollars. so really appreciate you making
12:43 pm
that a priority and establishing a policy that would prevent project labor agreements on any project with the federal funding. now, back to -- i have just 1:20. back to what we had done in pennsylvania. the chairman had mentioned this briefly. we -- pennsylvania increased the wholesale or -- took the ceiling off the wholesale price of gas and created an infusion of new dollars into an infrastructure in our case mostly highways and bridges, that the public really understood the need for, and i think the public does support additional funding for infrastructure when they understand that the state of the infrastructure and the they understand the economic benefit. i think it's important to talk about that, and i think all stakeholders involved, including the administration, really need to make the case for why this
12:44 pm
infrastructure funding and investment is so important. i guess i'd like to hear from you what your plans are in that regard, what the plans are of the department and of the administration in terms of selling the infrastructure project to the public who needs it. >> well, certainly very important part of the infrastructure, and is usually coordinate it out of the white house. there are 12 different agency involved with this. so that certainly should be done. >> but, again, thank you for your leadership on this and look forward to continuing to work with you. >> thank you. >> thank you, gentleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and also vice ranking memberes city. and thank you, madam secretary. i'm sure you remember this but last time you were through told you about my congressional district. i represent the entire northeastern corn ore the state
12:45 pm
of emand it's mostly smaller towns, rural, spans 7,000 square miles and 14 counties. i'd like to talk about rural america as it pertains to infrastructure. and it really appreciate what congressman gray brought one he raised that states are already struggling to fund roads and bridges and in our rural communities. but i was really happy that the administration made a decision to ear mark -- not the right wore -- do have part of the funning in the plan dedicated to rural america. so i know pick through plan calls for trix based on rural lane miles so states like illinois have plenty of rural roads and real needs in rural areas like drinking water systems, locks and comes, broadband, et cetera. so i'm wondering why the administration believes that the rural lane miles are a good way of allotting funds that are
12:46 pm
intended to be used for all kinds of infrastructure, if you wouldn't mind filling me in on that. >> i don't have an answer. that was kind of what the group came up with, and did you think that is not a right way to do so, we're very -- i'm very open. >> okay. okay. maybe we can -- we could put together a letter or putting to some thoughts or happy to sit done with you about other needs and maybe a funding formula that makes sense for small towns. >> the congress is going to have a chance to mark up it own bill. the good news -- i want to emphasize -- we may hey difference buzz we're quite open. the look back issue, we we're very open to how to work with congress on these. >> i appreciate that. i think when you're looking at rural america, there are a lot of needs and they are special needs that vary from urban america, and so really appreciate that offer to be able
12:47 pm
to work with you on that. we'll take you up on that. okay. question two. the plan the administration released says the rural formula would be adjusted to reflect policy objectives. those were the words in the plan policy objective. wondering if you could add at more clarity on what that means by the policy objective. >> we sent -- we basically want to make sure that rural america has its own particular needs, and so we left it very vague, and again, it's an effort to -- aside from the formula, which we thought would be an easy way to distribute funds, but if the congress doesn't agree with that, then we certainly can -- we want to revisit that if that does not make sense. with certain goals we'd like to have greater economic development, more job creation, greater economic vitality. which is why broadband and
12:48 pm
veterans hospitals can be of great help in providing that part of the infrastructure for rural america as well. >> i've got about a minute and a half. if we have time for this also. so, the plan on -- silent to my knowledge on applying federal protections like davis-bacon. i know in your opening statement, you mentioned that the bill was a work force -- has work force component. so i'm wondering pick to davis bacon, if the administration supports the application of davis bacon on the infrastructure projects that will -- >> the administration certainly has not disallowed it. this is a hugely important issue. there are people against it but i frankly don't see how a bipartisan bill can exist, come
12:49 pm
into being without that provision. >> very good to hear. let me see. so, last question, then. locks and dams. my western border, not just of my congressional district but the entire state of illinois and up and down the mississippi river corridor, just severe needs and wanting to -- if you can address at all your thoughts on the locks and dam system, how you see your department being involved in that, what you can do to help us move in the needed improvements along in a way that is a little bit more expedient. >> i'm so glad to say that is the army corps of engineers and there are a lot of concerns addressed on that. the chairman has a harbor maintenance fun which is a wonderful idea, which we should be replenishing and supporting, to fulfill that purpose. >> thank you.
12:50 pm
>> i thank the gentle lady and m-bosh is recognized. >> thank you, madam secretary for being hire and know it's been a long day but i'd like to go back to other questions. let me tell you that i would look forward if you were going do work with representative backin on the eld hours of service that was my life in a previous life. i grew up in a trucking industry and then ran one for many years. but i have a concern still on the answer you gave on the last. the concern i have is the original request on the livestock was a waiver for five years, done in september. you answered we had given 90 days and 90 days and 90 days. is it possible they can get the five year. >> the second 90 days has not been given, and the first waiver -- the first -- theirs a
12:51 pm
difference in term. one is a waiver, 90 days and one is an exemption and we're evaluating -- >> exemption is five years. >> yes. but there are very strict criteria how that can occur, so i look forward to discussing it with both of you and others who are concerned. >> i'd like to hear on the criteria, and the reason why, we know the concerns with livestock. you can figure that out. when you're moving livestock. they don't compare what the compute are says. they're going to live and die and have good time and bad time in the become end of a vehicle being moved from point a to opinion b, and cause a lot of troubles and concerns for what we're trying to deal with. but we did grant the exemption -- if the five years is an exemption for he motion picture industry, why did we give the motion picture industry and what criteria was used on that in comparison to -- it's
12:52 pm
eyears tosh time toying -- >> until this was brought to my attention i didn't know that waiver had been given. it's been explained to me. i don't quite understand it. so we understand that the concerns of congressman, and yourself and many others. i actually have a confirmed pas, presidential point confirm and that's ray martinez. let me send him to your office. >> that would be wonderful. >> and have him hear from you first hand your concerns with this issue. and because his office will be the one issuing the waiver or the exemption. >> that's all we can ask for. when the administration wrote out and talk about its proposals for our infrastructure projects and everything like that, kind of silent -- originally in the campaign and first being announced the president side the boy america language -- buy
12:53 pm
america language would be proposed but has been silent. what is your thought on the buy american language being in there. >> very much, off course in support, because the president has made this very, very clear. so there are a number of other avoiding authorities that are ongoing and existen which are not mentioned specifically in the infrastructure proposal you hear from the others -- from the democratic side as well, and so those -- i can't use the -- i don't know the exact term but it's these are overriding authorities and they will prevail. >> thank you for that. i'm bouncing all over the place and i'm sorry but these are questions that came up after other people asked questions. when you're this for down in the pecking order you have to change things around. early on we were talking about both the tiger grant the info gap when you gave an answer you said it has now been directed to a new
12:54 pm
department or new area of your department. and so that does not allow them to work on both at the same time. , that. >> a capacity issue. >> okay. >> so traditionally the grants are processed through the modes, either federal transit or federal highways, faa, but in the fast act it was thought that a multimodal, intermodal approach would be best and didn't know where to put it. so they couldn't put it in -- didn't put it in highways or transit, didn't put it in these modes which have a distribution system for processing grands. instead they gave it to the policy office, which by very name is not an operational office. it's a policy office. so we've had to gear up, stand up an organization to be able to administer these two grant projects. >> one quick question before i run outment you said we went
12:55 pm
through the tiger already. how quick do we think -- >> comes out this week. >> tiger out this but infra. >> we'll switch right to that. hopefully june, early summer. >> thank you. >> thank you the gentleman. now recognize mr. carson for five minutes. >> thank you charge, thank you, madam secretary. the administration contends that the procurement process is broken and that this is a major factor as to why the faa has not made more forget with nextgen. what step can the department make to improve the procurement process and what statutory burdens or impetments thatter slowing the transition to air traffic control, for example. >> the faa doesn't have to follow the procurement. they were carved out. but of -- but they continue for follow it. there will fears about litigation so that it take the faa a very long time to get new
12:56 pm
equipment and i have already -- i already have 15 -- not me in this administration but there have been recently in the last four or five years, eight years maybe, 15ig reports criticizing thegen project and -- the nextgen project and it's a big concern. >> and lastly, like ann concern about their district, there's been a proposal that suggests elimination of funding for previously approved capital improvement grants like the red line in indianapolis, and fortunately there's continued bipartisan support for these projects in fiscal year 2017 that has been appropriated. yet local officialed are concerned about the unexplain delay friday releasing funds.
12:57 pm
madam secretary, indianapolis has two bus rapid transit projects awaiting appropriated funds, the red line and the purple line. we're wanting to know what the coldup and is when will the administration end the delays and objections to transit and approve these projects? >> well, we don't like delays and don't intend to delay. there has been aday lay -- let me take a look at that. i'm not aware of that. >> thank you, ma'am. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary, for being here today and enduring what you have to with somewhat goes on around here. let me narrow it down. pleased to work with m-babbin last year on the eld issue and appreciate comments of my colleagues on the issues with the eld. it's one thing for washington several years ago to legislate eld, and that has worked out for
12:58 pm
probably a lot of folks-large he outfits that are -- have able to afford and train many drivers on that, but when you get down do one size doesn't fit all. you have unique north carolina, and mop and pop and industries that doesn't adapt well. to with agriculture and livestock and i present there has been that exemption for the 90 days but we're coming up on march 18th here where if nothing is done to further that exemption or have -- or the waiver and get to an exemption status, then march 19th, going to be a lot of haulers that have really no way to do this right, and when we come down again to the unique situation of hauling livestock or maybe even talk about hazardous materials or other ag products. livestock. animals. on the hoof, on the -- in a trailer, and because of unknown
12:59 pm
conditions -- unknowable conditions, track, weather, what have you, hey have to get a to b and some are long hauls and we're talking about livestock processing which seems to he be not something that is in everybody's backyard due to zoning. this has to go on in the midwest and long hauls so i agree. i saw several kole legs shaking their heads. hours of service is a problem. we need flexible on this, we need flexibility that works for drivers and people striving to do this and do it well. so, i'd like to ask you, please, really, really look at -- mr. bross brought up the most picture association has five-year exemption now, and bus my understanding is they do a really good job on the record's dotty status and don't need the eld. so it's also win known that the livestock hauler -- well-trained individuals because they're hauling very valuable commodities thatter perishable.
1:00 pm
they're animals. and they're trained and have a tiny, tiny percentage of accidents. much lower than the average. we have to look at that as -- given that good record, they should be able to look at a similar exemption as motion picture, at least for for this two weeks. we'll wake up on then 19th if there's not an additional waiver done, of being either outside the law or endangering animals or themselves when they have to do some things. let in ask you, can we please look at in the short-term an additional waiver but a really good hard look at a five-year type exemption similar to the motion picture industry, and i would submit that the grubbing -- agriculture has more value then the products out of hollywood. >> i'm very sympathetic to this issue, and we are very much
1:01 pm
aware of the march 18th 18th deadline. we in fact just had a meeting yesterday, and as you pointed out, the hours of service is the issue, and we are very much bound, constrained, by legislation. >> we'll work on that, madam sect, but for the short-term, this what we need. meese good on. >> let me have all, ray martinez and kathy -- two people over there and they should be really paying a visit to all of you to get your input and explain the rick situation that we find ourselves and how do we go forward. >> i'd be happy to putting to a group of colleagues on that and we can have a good, productive opportunity to speak about that. i do appreciate it. >> we'll act before march 18th >> good. that's commitment we can ate least fine some breathing room for folks who have mere days left. what we're looking at with livestock is very unique, and i
1:02 pm
think that with 90 days, very valuable to them. i had another thought hazardous materials. i've had people speak with me about that in that business and we're coming down on hours of service problem, and so longer term i hope we can work with you on that and get the flexibility as long as we can get our own nonsense of politic around here beyond that. i'll finish on this. moseer to carrier safety has only had maybe two meetings with folks on this and i know part of the intent was there would be the opportunity to have this education and back anding for and i don't think there's been nearly enough with that for motor carrier safety administration to have them hear first hand, better than i can illustrate. what they're dog on the livestock and ag. so thank you for listening on that. >> thank you. i now recognize miss wilson for
1:03 pm
five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, for holding his important hearing. welcome back, madam secretary. as you know, u.s. sea ports are economic engines that drive the getting of the nation. u.s. seaport generates -- could you please address how the president's infrastructure plan will help seaports continue to grow and support the nation's economy, specifically how it will help facilitate the modernization of the nation's shipping channels. >> with the port are part of the infrastructure so they are part of the proposals that will be addressed by the local and state governments. we're not -- so, they're not excluded. >> okay. so you plan to fund projects that have received no
1:04 pm
allocations of federal funds to date that putting for their own money as they partner wed cities and states like the dredge in miami. >> the budgets for the transportation department will still be ongoing. so whatever moneys are there for highways, transit, rail, ports, are still there. it's the infrastructure money is on top of that. and so the ports have access to tigerfronts, access to these -- tiger grants and access to maritime grants and the infragrants as well. on top of the regular funding by the department. >> good. okay. along with our nation's roads and bridges, the majority of our public schools are now reaching the end of their 40 to 50 year
1:05 pm
life cycle. americas public schools are the nation's second largest pub infrastructure invest after highways and brims but investments in school infrastructure have lagged. sadly this infrastructure plans make no mention of public schools despite the that that the president has talked about it. do you feel school facilities as a part of a -- should be part of a comprehensive infrastructure investment package. >> one of the congressmen asked about the hardening of the schools and what is the federal role in that. so i addressed on how devastating the recent tragedies have been to our nation, and i said that i don't -- i will bring that concern back to the white house and to the president. he's obviously very concerned about this issue. i don't know how this fits but clearly the hardening off our
1:06 pm
schools is an issue that was discussed in the televised meet that the president head with the survivors and relatives. >> i'm talking about buildings, classrooms, laboratories, equipment, learning -- >> you can see the rest of this hearing with transportation secretary elaine chao on the web site on live now to the floor of the british house of commons where prime minister theresa may is giving a statement on the poisoning attack on a russian spy living in the united kingdom. >> the foreign and home secretaries. set out the detail of events as they unfolded on sunday, the 4th of march. i'm sure the whole house will want to once again pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of the emergency services and armed forces in responding to this incident. as well that the doctors doctord nurses now treating those affected. our thoughts in particular are with detective sergeant nick bailey who remains in


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on