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tv   [untitled]    December 14, 2016 6:01pm-7:09pm EST

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>> whose fault is it? >> you're involved. it's partly your fault. >> we are overseeing -- >> so, it's partly your fought. yes or no, do you have any fault in injury? >> we take seriously our responsibility. that's not the question. great answer to another question i didn't ask. are you partially at fault? just don't me you had the authority and can't have it both ways. are you partially at fault? >> sure, sir. >> when are we going to get it corrected? i'm tired of people blaming different people for the problem and having hearing after
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hearing. mr. hart has done his work. mr. weederfield is doing his work. we have a union that says they're willing to give you and participate and i assume, even fire some of their own union members. i don't want him to go on record. he may not get re-elected if it does. i assume they're willing to do it. yet, it keeps coming back to you and your unwillingness to get the appropriate people involved in oversight and management along with the other team. i want you to report back in 30 days the action plan you're going to address with to work with that. to be able to work the recommendations that mr. weederfield, jackson with the union. is that reasonable? >> yes, sir. >> all right. let me finish. with one another aspect. we are here today to get bottom of the problem.
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mr. if they just list ton your union blows, that you could do that. i'm going to hold you to your word. here's what i want you to do. i need you to come wak to this body. within 30 days. going to give you the same time. imt you to come back with four recommendations with what we could be doing different. one of those needs to be one wha the union cob doing differently. to actually fix this problem. are you willing to do that? >> i am. >> my door is always open to you. where you can come meet with me at any time, if you believe your union workers are not being heard, i'm willing to listen. because we're going to fix this problem. i want say this.
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you're making a lot of o different decisions that will make a lot of people angry. i told you this is not a good career move for you because anything you do to fix a problem is going to be criticized by somebody. you have a bipartisan support with us and others on this committee. what we're willing to do is if you'll make the tough decision, we'll ask the tough questions and make sure we do. so, i want to thank you for your work and i'm over time. i'll go to the gentleman and recognize him for five minutes briefly, a comment. >> 20 years ago as a local official in the area to look at
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the decisionings you were making as a model for california. where we know we have to get transit ridership up. specifically, where b.a.r.t. doesn't carry rapid transit system doesn't carely nearly the number we do. when they went out on strike, they saw u the implications for the region. $75 million a day we lost in production. the challenges, as we become more urbanizeded, we have to change our land use patterns. you're in this xhund rum where your ridership is going down because of a lack of confidence. you have to lay point of sale people off. how do you get that back? i understand safety's first, but the retail aspect of you've got to get ridership up.
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and how experience and experience in the last two years have been looking to prufs a piece of real estate here in the metropolitian area. i looked across the river, on capitol hill and my realtor said you want to be on capitol hill because you can't trust it. that contradicts all the planning we have replicated where we want people to flif different areas and help with the cost. long-term, you get the safety problem fixed, but when you do you the confidence? >> get trains running on time. bottom line. two elemented to do that. >> the track when you have to pull trains down. that's what we're folking on for
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17 and the other is the cars. basically, a fleet and we're changing it out. the sooner question get that done, the quicker we'll get into reliable service. that's where i have to focus on the safety goes for it all the time, but we've got to get the service reliability. that's the primary focus for '17. >> just a comment about fda and ntsb. i appreciate you at least admitting responsibility and i share the chairman and mr. conley's frustration. again in the bay area, it's been hard and frustrating. t this is a national problem. we can't have 5% transit in metropolitian areas in the united states that won't work. it's inhibiting our economic growth. los angeles is making great strides, but still, 4, 5%.
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so, whether it's congress, partnership with you, you have to change your role. i've asked -- who used to work with me, the transportation commissioner for whom i have much respect. can you give us glooins about best practices on our budgets? what's the appropriate, the range in what we should have? operating reserves, capital reserves. how can we help with negotiations to make sure our employees who live in bay area, most urban areas, get a fair and ek wit bable wage, but still maintain the retail and safety excellence so you get the ridership back up. >> this is a national problem and i really wish that fda and the future administration will act with congress in a fashion to figure out what's your best possible role. not just when it comes to safety, but best practices around finances. >> i thank my friend.
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mr. jacques to you. what about the union's responsibilities though to accountability? we have a situation. do you agree if somebody falsifies records and endangers public safety, their job ought to be on the line? >> we had the union tried overturn the decision made by a general manager. endangering lives. >> now, maybe there was a good case, i support unions, but i insist there has to be some accountability in the workforce.
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it's your job to sure the trade off is good wages and performance. i want to hear more about that because i didn't hear a lot about that in your testimony. especially after the release of the ntsb's report. >> i'd be more than happy. >> i would be more than happy to touch on that for you. you'd really have to understand the culture. if you're asking about these documents, part of it is training. the harassment that the workers received from the managers. why would a manager give a worker a task he knows is impossible to complete. >> you're saying they false fied the records because they were
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harassed to be able to that's a big leap because if, if that's happening, so, you're saying they falsified the records because forced them to? >> no, in their mind, they did the work. let me explain. if you give me a task that takes 45 minutes to complete and i go out there and in my mind, i complete that task in five minutes. went out there and expected what you asked me to look at. what you're doing is settinging me up to fail. so now if i go back an do not finish those 30 inspections that you know i had no way of comple completing, i'm disciplined for not finishing. >> you'll find i'll be your biggest ally, but if they're
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falsifying records, they need to be fired. pure and simple. is there anybody that falsified record ts that -- >> so, you're going to recommend that? >> i'm never going to recommend that. >> but you'll go along with his recommendation? >> i'm going to recommend we look into the situation. >> not what i asked. you're getting contagious. you're answering a question i didn't ask. >> i'm never going to recommend firing our employees. >> will you support the termination of someone who's falsified record that is may have caused the injury of someone else? >> if it was their intent, yes, i will. >> thank you. i'm going to recognize the gentlewoman from virginia. >> thank you, i want to reiterate some of the points about the board statements this week.
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>> -- and am called political theatre, governor of virginia. i think this week demonstrates not only why we need to have major changes at metro, much like the federal state is recommending, we need to blow up the compound. make big changes. currently to be able to make the changes he needs and put the people on task in the way to get the job done. then we need to change the board. mr. delaney and i have a bill on changing the board, but we need to make these decisions so we don't have this type of theatre, o so i hope in the new year with our new transportation secretary, who not only has a lot of experience in transportation, but in the labor situation, so we can have this
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partnership we agree on and support. ipg those are very destructive things that were done and not only very dispointed, but only reiterated the need to make major change here. i'd like to ask mr. jackson, is there a mr. david steve b b? could you point him out? mr. steven is somebody in the same line of mr. conley, being concerned about the attack on virginia. >> i believe we have a different
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opinion on how this system and our binding orb b traditiarbitr be handled. >> last year, we worked together on metro, we got the men restored that was on my own side tried to take out. i worked to do that. very cooperative and helpful mr. meadows just pointed out reasons to fire people. sues to get fired worker back on the job. this was another incident where falsified incidents happened. you're still pursue iing keepin that employee who falsified records. you want to keep him employed. >> what you have understand is
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we have what's known as binding arbitration and the arbitrator decided this to keep the position. i believe that in the findings, this courtroom. >> on the culture, i'd like to, i actually think this is helpful for us. i'd like to go out with your track workers, with with you, and see what the process is because i don't understand, it seems like nobody has any records of this. people say there aren't records. on it, come in and shown us this. i think that would prektd you
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and your workers. that should show that you on a particular time, said you didn't, you'd have to proof in your hand. if we could have the track system, instead of paper reports? >> yes, we have been recording. >> we need to have that, so when mr. jackson makes reports say ing they make reports to do something and falsify it, this shouldn't be a back and forth and fipger pointing. we should have evidence that shows what happened when you went out. we had the technology. this is 2016. this isn't hard. can somebody tell me, do you use that? >> we're not allow. >> why not? >>. >> well, because the authority have a cell phone policy. >> i'm talking about some type of thing that record what is you're doing, not your plan
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phone, but technology. >> we do not. we are not allowed to have any type of electronic device in our work zones. any device meaning any type of electronics would be needed to record something and. >> record iinging the work. >> recording the work. >> the workers are not allowed to have any type of device to record our work. >> i think we talkeded about this at the last hearing because we people coming in with text message to do that. is that being looked at? >> it is. not only for individuals out there, but by driving over the system and recording electronically. the condition of the system. so we're pursuing that right now. >> we should be able to check. we're long past having to have this type of finger pointing
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that we have the technology. >> we've got a few other folks we've got to go to, but if you stay here we'll come for a second round. >> thank you, mr. chairman. they say companies go bankrupt two ways. slowly and then at once. it seems like the same things happen to metro. across time, through decades of bad decisions. we've gotten to the point that everything is collapsed upon itself. the difference is with a company as a reason to exist, it goes to a restructuring. it brings in new governance, new management and gets new capital. it begins the path of a turn around. the problem we have here with metro, there's no obvious forcing function to allow that to occur. it's not a company.
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it's multijurisdictional enterprise. the jurisdictions will continue to fund it as low levels. it will litsch along. won't be able to do the restructurings it needs to do and can't change the government structure. but ultimately, by cutting through all the stuff we've discussed here today, that's where this has to go. we have to get to a point where there's actually, not a change in management, that part of the turn around is occurring. where governance has to change. we need to restructure contracts that don't work. new money from the stake holders. that has to recur in some kind of forcing function where all kind of brought to the table. and met ko clearly has a reason.
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and then, so my question to the chairman and the general manager is what can we do to accelerate the occurrence of that day. because that day which i defined as the day when the model changes, we're in a position to restructure and only when those occur, will the stakeholders put more money in. what can get us to that day as soon as possible? because that's what is in the best interest of metro and the various stake holders, including the constituents. >> thank you. >> i agree with both of you. the original suggestion of getting rid of this board was mine. to a lot of fanfare back in the day, but now, the federal city council has adopt ed the model. they're suggesting that the federal government withdraw support.
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if they were to do that, the compact then collapsed. then jurisdictions are out and you have to start over gep. my suggestion is a 16 member board, doing the best i can with what i have for the comments here today, all of us including myself end up being parochial because we do. a five-person board, d.c. board of local people, but here's the catch. >> a sales proposal. whether it's that or similar. change of governance, restructuring and change of resources. it's why these situations, to my mind, many are better than what we have now. what can get us to that? because it's not an enterprise that runs out.
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that maybe the biggest problem. what can get us to that? >> again, the federal city council has the legal outline. if congress withdraws support from the contract, that will be the triggering mechanism that the compact then collapsed and everyone is forced at that point to get back together again and restructure the system. and the structure from 40 years ago just doesn't work. just like the dedicated fund resource. that has b to be a part of it. we don't have it. so all of that has to be new board. new tax. all of that. and you can make this system work. >> does the general manager have this? >> thank you. >> mechanism to attack this. >> okay, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. >> one observation. of course. while he still has time.
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>> it's complicated. i find it ironic that the district of columbia that talks about taxation, which has support, would none the less favor a system that metro that would take away representation of the people paying taxes. you are going to find fierce resi resistan resistance. >> you don't have anymore time. i took it. just teasing. >> i'm not proposing any specific governance model. new model. rerestructuring, more resources. 50 different ways of doing that. that's where we have to go. >> i thank the gentleman. gentleman from wisconsin. >> we'll go a little different place than so far. just a couple of months ago on september 13th, there was a train that apparently came to stop outside the farragut north
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station. apparently, for a while, there was no communication between the operator of the train, rocc, could you comment on that? prior to that time, there was can a surgeon. tell us what happened and whether you think it's appropriate. >> one of the issues we have, once they leave, there's no communication with the six or eight cars, walk lg, talking, so there were some issues around that. so that is a, personal issue, did they follow the issues they were supposed to follow. when an ins occurs in the tunnel and if there's only one employee, once they leave the cab and you've lost the ability to communicate, you're walking
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through a crowded train and you're talking, we have megaphones in the cab they're to take to help with the communication. what we have to do is figure out a ways to quet get the rock to be able to talk to the train. >> as i understand, there was no communication between control central and o the operator. was that accurate? >> there was some. it was not done according to the policy. >> there were concerns even before that. that central felt they weren't getting all the operators. is that right? >> be charged ahead. now, you're telling me, there's no communication, the operator got up and began walking through the train? >> yes, that's -- what they should have been doing. >> kay, were they unable to communicate with the passenger sns. >> you can communicate when you're in a cab, but as you do know, we have problems.
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with that issue as well. because if we use different series of cars, put them together, ewan kagss don't work. so, that's issue we're addressing with the 7,000 series, but once they leave the cab, all they have is their walky talky and megaphone. >> and because of the lack of communication, some got tired of commune waiting and walking down the track. never recommend any leaving the car. it's just not acceptable. >> were yu aaware, was any employee of metro aware these passengers were walking alone down the tracks? >> yes. just outside the station. >> other employees were there.
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that's when they saw them leaving. >> was the third rail still on? basically, that's why they grabbed these people and put them on the walk way to get them away from that. that's what caused a lot of the delay. >> unbelievable. just like anything else in washington, why would it work. i have a question. >> i say the problem is lack of money. one of the problems we have is health insurance costs. the plan for employees of the metro and what's the coast per year? >> i can zblet you the details. there's two levels. one for the nonrepresentivity employees, the 2,000 people. the arbitration process. the other, we have more control over it. just recently, we've reduced the
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cost of the system by charging our employees more for the reps. >> how many nonrepresentative employee sns. >> the 2-000. >> what is your cost per employee? >> i don't have that number. >> how about 18,000 a year? 17, 25? >> i don't know. >> anybody here know? >> if the gentleman would yield, i have some of those numbers. >> sure. 75% of the cost. 70, 75% of cost is ranges. it's my understanding. what the information you had given us, the average salary for controllers over the past few years is between with the starting base salary was 71.
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$216,000 in yore tovertime. this is the information metro gave us. >> when there's overtime, the people who have the most seniority and this is in the contract, so the highest salaried employees who are about to retire to get the first dibs on the overtime, so they're able in your last three to five year, run up your salary so you get a $216 salary. that overtime is tied to your pension. is that correct? >> gentleman's time is expired.
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>> the cost of what type of command you have. market based or that sort of thing. i hope one of you up there, one of the four, what is the overall cost per employee share and ploer share of insurance. do we need to go last year anyone one of those. >> i will get that in a second. >> it's amazing incompetent for none of you to have a clue. whatever. >> i -- the chair recognizes mr. miss watsoncoleman. >> that was a little concerning
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to me that a person with a base salary of 77 to $80,000 a year could have overtime as an operator to the tune of $200,000 a year. when does that person sleep? that's a little scary to me. i'm just going to ask can you a couple of questions. and encourage people to use it so, do you have a comprehensive plan that lays all of the things that you need to do with your cars, your tracks, your electrical, your whatever. >> we do. both on the track and the cars. we have it r if our buses. a big part of it is working
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closer. those core issue, i agree with that as well. >> so, there is a plan that goes for what, five years, ten years? >> to get to the core issues that we have to address immediate ly. >> to get the system in good repair. you have a longer term plan, right? >> we do. t >> do you anticipate a certain amount of money? >> yes, we have program for the next six years! koouf what you need? or is there a running deficit? that the word is board is
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considering now, on capital side, the needs are always much larnler than what we have available. we've identified a need of $25 billion. but you know, we have capital program that we're proposing 7.2 billion over the next six years. >> so, if you have a seven times six is what? you have a $7 billion plan for six years. >> over six years. >> about -- annually. >> what is going to be your deficit there? >> the dif sdeficit on the operating side. >> the capital side is again, you have more capital needs than you can afford. >> we're really focusing on the fact that your infrastructure hasn't held up the way it should and have been serious injuries and loss of life.
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things of that nature. so that's where i'm trying to focus right now. >> right and we believe we have enough dollars to prepare, to get to a was level, expansion. >> i'm going to yield my time. >> i thank my friend. mr. evans talked about utilization and cost and loss. on a certain line in the system. do you maintain an actual cost or dwane for each station or each line of the system? >> we manage ask a regional system. >> how is he able to desegregate
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from everything else declare it's going to cost something in the future? >> i don't know what numbers were thrown around. >> let me just ask this. if we're going to go down that road, the wants to siedah ta on every line and station. if we're going start talking closing things on gain or loss, we're all eyes. we'll be participants. so we want to see that data. >> why picking on me just one parking lot of the system. >> secondly, you were talking on the board about the affluence on part of the compact. you made reference to jurisdictions i represent in
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terms of median household income. was that a predicate to how finance based on median household income and ability to pay rather than utilization or physical presence of metro in a jurisdiction? sxwl all of my comment rs directed at getting the attention of maryland and virginia that we needed. >> why would you take on median household income and affluence? what was the relevance of that? >> what i was saying is fairfax county is the second richest county in america and arlington, is sixth and yet, a dedicated funding source. this goes back the your comments on the silver lain. it's 400 square miles.
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how much many stations. >> 40. >> if you take out silver line, fairfax has four. if you're generous with falls churnl, five. the as kifdifficult task persuag our taxpayers to increase, let alone vote for a dedicated sourts of revenue. that was the genius of the silver line to get service in the airport which was a federal responsibility. as a stakeholder and metro. i urge you that next time you decide to -- about the jurisdiction. >> chair recognizes gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you again for making the hard decisions.
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you weren't able to address in the spoken testimony, you talked about the speed restrictions and many of mine use the yellow and blue lines. >> they're in place so soon after the work has been completed. can you explain when those will go away? >> had to do with a near miss out there. we have certain parts of the system. to reduce a line of sight issue. we worked with the national parks service to remove a tree. what we're doing is instituting a electronic technology so that when workers are out in the blind curves in effect, they are
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alert ed that a train coming an more importantly, that the operator knowing that someone is in frochbt them and once we have that in place, then we can bring speeds up. if one's out there, we want to make sure they're not in danger. >> much has been made of the culture. the hardest thing, how long dc what are your steps to change the culture? i got to ask mr. jackson this, too. do you see the union as a willing partner. >> i do. with this evolution. just asked to go look at the -- we've been asking this since 2009 i can't remember the guy's
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name, but -- we have been saying this for a while. that the authority have a serious cultural problem. something needs to be done. can't get done by discipline and management. out of this b problem we have. if we sit down. the union and management come together. i believe we can fix this problem. all we need to do is to trap it. >> let me ask the general manager the same question about culture. difficulty, time. >> basically, they're very proud and a lot of things you're starting to see now is the result of the safety culture taking root. so, for instance, about three weeks ago, we had an issue with
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4,000 series raised by a manager person that said wait a minute, there's an issue here and the lead on the trains. a lot of the other restrictions weren't, but there's a number that have been occurring throughout the last few months, that's coming from employees and that's where it should come and what we want to promote. but u i believe that there's been a culture here over decades that have evolveded. i'm not going to turn it around in months, but i think the it's going to by management and labor to do that. >> we gave you a hard time about wantinging the blue line to be closed for six months or you cut service and attributed more money. floated the idea of a flal takeover just last week, this notion of not continuing silver line phase two, even though virginia's paying to construct
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it. i know you're working hard about dedicated sources of revenue and all that, but how do you respond to all these statements, which seem to deepen the parochial divides and perhaps further understood mining rider confidence in our system? >> thank you, congressman. actually, i think and you take those statements one by one what i i foupd was a lack of o aw awareness. nobody on the operation side, we had just celebrated richard's leaving as one of the great times in metro and the whole thing was a wreck and nobody knew it. the finances, when i walked in there, i couldn't believe what i found. what i've tried to do, starting out with closing the blue line
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for six months, we needed to do something to fix these lines. a follow up on just that statement. all of these statements which were inflammatory at the time turned out to be what metro needs. i have to say, we're not even close to fixing this thing. there's a lot that 23450eds to be tone, but i will say this. we are light years ahead of where we were a year ago at this time. >> chair recognizes gentlewoman from new york. >> it's good to hear this. progress has been made, but i want to look at the capabilities of the federal tran transit adms the entity with responsibility for oversight and safety. at metro. so, i'd like to begin with mr. wells.
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how many safety inspectocktors fta have? >> we have ten. we have 24 people total. who are involved in inspections and oversight right now. >> ten people. and 24. what are the this? detail from other agencies? there's a combination of 13 employees. we have some contractor employees. we have some detailees from the rail row administration. >> how many? >> i can report that back to you. >> do you have any contractors that help perform safety inspection responsibilities and if so, how many u? >> i will provide that to you for the record. >> chairman hart for the purposes of comparison, how many rail inspectors does the federal
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railroad administration have? >> i'll have to get to you. >> does it have federal regulations or does it regulate metro on the standards that metro has established for itself? >> at this time, we enforce metro standards, we hold metro account b bable to carry out its standar standards. >> is fta working on role making regarding standards? ? >> yes x we are. that's good to hear. what is the status of that? in this past year, we've issued four safety regulationregulatio. one to state safety our national, the overall framework.
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in the coming -- one is the public transportation agency. it's also ready for issueance. >> purposes of comparison, does it hold the railroads it regulates to establish federal rules or to the standard that is the railroads establish? >> well, let me, there's a clarification that's warranted here. our understanding is that what the federal administration is putting out is voluntary safety standards. fra puts out regulation, which means you must do this or can't do that. there is a large distinction between the two activities and i'm not sure that under the circumstances, where fta is attending to be a temporary body, i'm not sure under the circumstances, they would be eager to create an infrastructure and inspectors to
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find out if the regulations are being followed and they're trying to see the states take this function over. so i'm not confidence they would ever want to create that infrastructure that we think is necessary that they have. >> do you agree? >> voluntary? in the future, there will be certain mandatory standards and other standards that agencies will follow. >> certainly with homeland security, you have standards in homeland security. >> yes. >> i want to look at f trta's d. how many fta inspectors are assigned to oversee safety? >> so, we have as i noted, a
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team of 24 people total in our washington metro safety office, which we established a year ago. >> and do fta inspectors produce regular reports on their findings at the metro for review by senior officials and how often are these reports produced to reviews them and has fta recorded any changes in metro's operations to respond to findings that have been identified by these inspectors? >> we've done two things. we've done targeted investigations. of key problem areas. for example, red signal overreturn, track maintenance and then we have conducted day-to-day inspection, so we've conducted over 300 daily inspections and they've resulted on the investigation side, 250, one specific correctivity actions to carry out and of those, some of the ones we
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brought forward have been assigned by the state safety oversight agency. about half are ones that we've identified during the past year. >> i thank gentlewoman. thegentlewoman. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from virginia for a quick 1 1/2 minutes, since they've called votes. >> okay. the information you provided with us earlier, there are about 5,000 employees in the transit infrastructure and engineering services, the ties department at metro. and my understanding is that that comparable transit networks have about 19 of those employees per track mile and metro has 42, according to those statistics, would that be correct? >> i don't know. i would have to look at that. i just don't know. >> okay. could we get that information? i think what we really need to have and what we haven't been able to get, i know you've said it's costing more and we're doing less, and we need to get
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comparable data. i know mr. evans has said to me in private meetings that the contract is unsustainable, and having $100,000 bus drivers or $216,000 controllers are a very difficult thing. i'm sure you're teachers in dc don't make $216,000. my husband is a teacher, was a teacher in fairfax county. i can assure you he does not make that, he doesn't make $100,000. this wealthy county that has been referenced, their teachers, their firefighters, their police, are not making $216,000 or $100,000. and these are often people who have graduate degrees. i would like to get that comparable data, we need to have that. given mr. jackson's comments today saying that people are forcing them to falsify things, those are very serious charges. i think we need names and information on that. and you very factually stated that. so i would hope you would present us with facts to back that up. you are here under oath today.
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and i think it's incumbent, if you have employees, because, you know, if your employees are being exploited like this, we need to have that information. so i would ask you to provide us names and places and incidents and go back to your employees and give us that information. and then i would like to make my request again, and i hope you would be able to take us sort of on a tour so we understand, when your employees are called to do, whether it's 42 per mile, and i should also point out that these are people who from the apta data that we have compared to what metro is paid, your workers are paid considerably higher, you are aware of that, mr. jackson, than the average? >> i know what our workers make, their salaries were negotiated with wmata. >> i understand they were foreshadowed. for example, the track workers who with their benefits make $55 an hour is comparable to the average of $30 an hour. it's the wage and hour rate is
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36, then benefits are 17. the davis-bacon track laborer makes 23 and $17 for fringe benefits for $30. your employees are paid considerably higher than davis-bacon and higher than the national average, would you agree? >> i would agree our employees would also have to go behind those same contractors and we do the work they've done. >> you're saying even though you have 42 workers per track as opposed to 19, you still haven't able to -- and you're paid more -- i mean, i'm looking at the data that metro gave me. these employees are paid more, and there's more of them than the average. and yet you're not acknowledging that? >> you're asking for the quality of the work? >> no, i'm asking for the salaries. maybe if you could provide me, your union, with that. i know your union is under investigation right now by the
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labor department; is that correct? >> we're not under investigation by the labor department. >> they've sued about the election wasn't properly held; is that correct? >> yes. >> but do you have somebody that could provide us with the information on the salaries and all that? e you've made claims that you're paid i think publicly, outside of this hearing, that you aren't paid more than the average, and that there's -- and you're asking for considerable salary increases; is that correct? in your current negotiations. >> we are in contract negotiations now. that's what they are, they are negotiations. so -- >> so for this 55 -- $53 an hour, you're asking for more? >> we're asking for more. the authority is also asking for more. so that's why it's called negotiations. we will negotiate with the authority. we will come up with something that i believe will be fair for
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everybody. >> i think, again, i would reiterate, that's why the federal city council has pointed out, this is unsustainable given the costs that are not comparable to the national rates and why we need to get rid of this existing compact and the binding arbitration that really makes it impossible for the leadership to implement what you're asking them to implement. i thank the chairman. >> i thank the gentlelady. i thank our witnesses. we have an opportunity to make metro great again. i think this panel is in very good hands. some of you may wish one of these days that congressman micmikca was back chairing these hearings. there being no further business before this committee and the dual subcommittee, government operations, transportation oversight, this hearing is adjourned.
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[ instinct conversation ] [ indistinct conversation ]
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[ indistinct conversation ] [ indistinct conversation ]
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>> some of the members of congress were talking like it was still six months ago or a year. had to seem to be aware that a lot of reforms have taken place. do you feel like you've gotten the message out adequately about some of these internal reforms? >> clearly we have to continue to improve that. they have a lot on their plate, i'm sure metro isn't the only one. >> what do you think they need to know about what you've done internally? >> i think overall, that the entire organization is moving in the right direction. i really do believe that. it's slow. i guess you heard me say before, that's what we're doing. >> does a hearing like this do anything to make metro better for everyone? >> i think to air some of the
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issues that have been out there is good, i think it's good. it definitely helps me to understand where they're coming from, i think that helps. but i think they all recognize the importance of it. so i think it's very encouraging. i apologize. >> one last question. do you agree from the outside it's hard to discern progress? >> no. i've heard from -- literally customers come up to me in the system and say, continue to do what you're doing, i see it, keep plugging away. i apologize. [ indistinct conversation ] a . >> repeatedly by gerry connolly.
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you didn't seem to want to go into it with him. >> i think i explained to the congressman, comments on the silver line, we have a huge deficit and it costs us a lot of money. everything is on the table. so you put that out there as well. >> do you agree you're guilty of the parochialism that he says you are? >> we all are. that's the dual fiduciary duty we all have of trying to represent our district but do what's in the best interests of metro. every one of us falls into that trap once in a while. >> have you talked to the mayor and other councilmembers about this two-year possible deal? yesterday you kind of backed away and said let me talk to the mayor. >> i haven't had a chance to talk to her. i think the mayor put out a statement saying she's firmly with it. i personally have not had a chance. >> could you clarify? in testimony today you said you talked to the mayor -- >> no. >> that was with the eight hours, if you remember, the district didn't want to do -- they wanted to go back to 3:00
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in the morning immediately. the chairman agreed reluctantly to have the 1:00 closure. now the issue is, we only want it for one year. and the board yesterday passed it for two years. we have to find out where we are on that. >> you're steadfast on the veto for two years, that's a deal breaker? >> as i said, i have to talk to the mayor and the chairman and make sure everybody is on board. >> what's your feeling? >> i would veto it if it was up to me. i don't want to represent constituent without having conferred. >> councilmember evans, these members of congress, based on comments today, aren't thrilled with your style and don't feel like you're building consensus with them on issues like funding. will you change? >> i didn't get that impression either. i've had a chance to meet personally with most of them. our discussions are actually quite good. i think my job is to continue to make sure that the region is aware of the problems, and if
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some people get upset about that because i call them out, so be it. >> is this all bs, then, all this public excoriating today, because you say you get along with them in private. >> you have to ask them. >> what do riders get out of this public bickering going on, the report yesterday about falsified inspections? what are people to make of this? >> there are two separate questions. the public discussion bickering, however you refer to it, i think it's healthy. i have encouraged my board members who in the past have done nothing and rubber stamped things, to speak out and discuss these issues publicly so we all have an understanding of how this is working. because the board did nothing for years, the system was allowed to deteriorate. now that's changed. so on that, on the falsifying records, again, that's our general manager has been saying. we're going to get to the bottom of this, we're going to fire people who aren't working. changing that culture has been a challenge. and you saw we fired somebody and he got his job back because of the binding arbitration, it's
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driving me crazy. i agree with the chairman who said, can't you file these people for lying and falsifying records? i would do it tomorrow. the question is can we do it with the processes we have. >> thank you, sir. >> mr. connolly was -- >> thanks. i'm just losing my voice. >> are you good? >> i'm fine. >> the silver line person cutting in? >> i don't agree with congressman connolly on that. the silver line was a discussion of many options to try and save money. and maybe it's just one of the many discussions we've had. >> are you confident in the fta's ability to issue oversight? >> yes, i am, actual. >> so like what's you're reaction to the representatives, badgering you on accountability versus supporting the general manager? >> i think they're doing their oversight duty. i was fine with it. that's why i came, to hear what
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they had to say and be able to have time to explain, the opportunity i had to explain, i tried to make them understand. >> what are you taking away from today, this discussion? >> i think it was a good discussion. i think, again, the more we deal with problems, the better we are. we have a $40 billion asset, we've all got a stake in this. to the extent we work together and can make it work, that's what we've got to do. the positive aspect is we have enormously increased the awareness in the region of the problems, financial and operating. number two, metro has made progress since i was here in april. a new board, general manager, got a plan, the finances, at least we know where they are, they're a mess but at least we know where they are.
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there's a lot of positives that people need to focus on. >> one more question. do you think that it's actually making metro safer given the fact that there are all these defects? >> absolutely. of course it is. of course it is. no question. safetrack is making metro safer. >> in what way? >> we're fixing the tracks. you had the general manager say there's two factors in safety, tracks and cars. we're fixing the tracks. it takes a long time. that's what we're doing. >> you had -- >> you had one more question. that i don't know. the other guy was talking about it. [ indistinct conversation ] tonight on c-span, minnesota congressman keith ellison who is
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running to be chair of the democratic national committee, vermont senator bernie sanders, and american federation of teachers randy weingarten speaking. see it live on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. president-elect donald trump has offered montana congressman ryan zinke the job of interior secretary. he serves on the natural resources committee which has oversight of the interior department. earlier this year he asked the current interior secretary about the department's priorities. >> i'm sure we all agree, the importance of our parks. by looking at your budget, we all know you're behind. and i just got finished talking to the superintendent of yellowstone, i know the superintendent of glacier, i know how important it is, i grew up in the backyard. you and i have both toured the parks. on your budget it doesn't seem like you prioritized the
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infrastructure. if the infrastructure is so important on road maintenance, why isn't it at the top of the list on your budget as far as national parks? >> infrastructure and beginning to deal with the backlog is a very high priority in our budget. so it's in there not only in the discretionary budget but also our centennial initiative which would clear up the maintenance backlog over ten years. >> would you say it's a top priority? it should be infrastructure first, i would think, before other education programs, ones that are less on the list. >> in our centennial year of the park list, visitors' experience is also very important. >> follow the transition of government on c-span, as president-elect donald trump selects his cabinet and the republicans and democrats prepare for the next congress. we'll take you to key events as they happen, without interruption. watch live on c-span. watch on demand at or
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listen on our free c-span radio app. i do think you can learn from failure. i think if the next president wants to aspire to be like somebody, they probably want to aspire to be washington or lincoln. well, you can't recreate the country and you can't have the civil war. what do you have next? you aspire to be james monroe? i don't know. but you can aspire not to be james buchanan. >> sunday night on "q&a," historian robert straws talks about james buchanan's presidency, in his latest book, "worst president ever." >> i think the differentiation of good presidents and bad presidents, washington, lincoln, fdr, are always at the top of the surveys historians take. they were decisive men. you can't come to the t


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