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tv   Washington Journal Charles Moorman and Edward Hamberger Discuss the U.S....  CSPAN  May 18, 2017 1:58am-2:31am EDT

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[ applause ] this week is infrastructure week in washington. up next on c-span 3, the head of amtrak and ceo of the association of american railroads talk about the state of the u.s. rail industry. after that, a federal aviation administration hearing on the nextgen project, the satellite-based air traffic control system. then president trump and the supreme court, that's from the seventh circuit judicial conference. later we'll hear from trons poretation secretary elaine chao. former fbi director robert mueller has been named special counsel in the russian investigation, "politico" writing the justice department is appointing a special prosecutor to investigate russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election. meeting the demands, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein
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named former tib director robert mueller to oversee the probe. based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest rierz me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of end pendens from the normal chain of snand command he said in a statement pay the special counsel is necessary in orpd for the american people to have full confidence in the outcome. our nation is grounded on the rule of law and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly, rosenstein said. again, that from "politico." now a conversation on the u.s. rail industry. from washington journal, this is 30 minutes. >> a conversation on the state of the railroad industry with two guests who uniquely and distinctly represent points of view on this topic. we're joined by edward hamberger he is the president and ceo of the association of american railroads and also joined by
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wick moorman, the president and koechlt of amtrak. good morning to both of you gentlemen. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> mr. moorman, let's start your you can give you us the scope of amtrak not on the miles it covers and the the areas of the united states it covers but also what it gets from the federal government? >> certainly. amtrak is a national organization, obviously, and operates across the entire country in i think 48 -- 47 of the states. we have long-distance trains covering the majority of the states and then we have of course the northeast corridor between washington and boston and run several other corridors in california and then into chicago as well. amtrak, as you said, like every passenger carrying railroad in the world, relies on some level of government funding. and amtrak's job, a case we do a pretty good job, we cover about 94% of our operating costs out
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of our revenues, and then rely on the federal government or the rest. and then we also rely on the federal government for our capital program. if you look at fiscal year 2017 we're going to end up with about $1.495 billion of which slightly over 200 million is the operating -- or we project, we're not done yet with the operating loss. but we think we provide a great value for the money and we hauled last year about 31 million passengers, which was a record. so that's kind of the level of the organization. >> mr. hamberger, you represent the association of the american railroads. could you give a scope of not only it does, what it involves, but how do you look at washington, d.c. or what do you look to washington, d.c. for. >> let me start by saying thank you for having us on in the mid of infrastructure week. all too often it's seen as
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highways and airports and people forget the railroads in moving the economy forward so thank you for having us on. the association of railroads represents about 98% of all freight rail moving in the united states. what people don't understand is that we move 40% on a ton-mile basis of oul all of america's freight, over 140,000-mile outdoor assembly line. amtrak operates outside of the northeast corridor over the freight rail rights and that means we have to cooperate and work together. herein side of washington we're not looking of much of anything to till the truth, pedro, because we are self-funded. over the past four years the freight railroads have spent over $100 billion of private capital to upgrade and maintain that 140,000-mile network and it's paid great dividends for the economy as well as for safety. >> let me rephrase then as far as from your industry, then, regulation wise, how does
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washington affect you? >> regulation wise we're like every other industry in this -- in the economy. we are looking for two specific things. one, a way forward to be able to build things. all too often when you try to replace a bridge or a tunnel, build an inner motor yard to take trucks off the highway it takes six, seven, eight years to get the permits. we need to compress that. you still have to go through the studies and get the permits, but let's do it in a smart way so that the different agencies are operating concurrently not in consecutive fashion. and then secondly our economic regulator we think needs to continue to allow us to earn the capital necessary to plow back into the infrastructure. >> so our two guests representing various aspects of the rail industry, available for your questions, 202-448 new
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hampshire 8 now for democrats and 202748-8,002 for independents. what has the trump administration suggested or telegraphed about his budget about what it wants to do for amtrak stresk specifically for funding? >> the administration's skinny budget proposed that the funding be withdrawn from the long dance train network and the focus be on the state-supported networks and the northeast corridor. there is an argument to be made in that regard in the sense that when you look at amtrak's finances it's the long distance network that really requires most of the subsidy. having said that, there, like everything in the world, there are complexity dollars within the way we do business and not only does the long distance
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network serve a lot of areas that are underserved by other forms of public transportation, but -- and i think therefore a very valid argument that it should exist. but if you look at amtrak finances, if you weretor hypothetically cut funding for the long-distance network, it really would ripple down and the ultimate impact would be you would not be investigating in the northeast corridor. so we think the best approach continues to be a balanced approach. that's what congress has decided on over the many years. wind make the point about amtrak, which i make all the time, that in a very real way amtrak is a corporation. it's not a -- it's not an agency, right, it's got a board, a chief executive officer, and we try to run it like a company. and i view amtrak in a very real way as a government contractor, right. the government, the congress and the administration decide what amtrak's mission should be, what things amtrak should be doing,
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and then our job is to do that as efficiently and effectively as possible. to date, the decision has always been made that amtrak should be in the businesses that it's currently in and should continue to do what i think we do best, which is promote the idea of passenger rail transportation across the country. >> first call four comes from rock creek, west virginia, democrats line. richard you're on with our guests. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i rode an amtrak train the other day to washington, d.c. and the conditions on the train, they weren't really what i would expect from a big corporation like amtrak. and, you know, i just am wondering -- >> apologies for that, gentlemen, let's go to cromwell, connecticut, republican line. this is linda, good morning. >> caller: good morning. first of all, the big santa
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amtrak i ride it all the time, but one of the things i wanted to know is when is the positive train control going to be instituted across the country? thank you very much. >> and mr. moorman you may just want to remind folks about positive train control and what it is. >> it's a technology, actually a set of quite complex technologies which effectively mean than once installed it will preclude the possibility of human error cause a train accident. it will eliminate the idea that trains because of human error can run into each other, that they could overspeed, that are it could prevent any number of things. it's exactly what the name says, it's positive train control. i'll let ed obviously comment on ptc for the freight railroads. and by the way i came from the freight railroad so this is still an issue i've dealt with as well for a long time. from an amtrak perspective where
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we run on the host railroads as ed said we're relying on the host railroads to install the basic infrastructure, we install the technology on our local motives. on the northeast corner we're effectively finished in installing it were we have 2002 or three little half-mile segments in stations left to do. and then our remaining major corridor we'll well along up in the state of new york. so we're, i think, in good shape on positive train control, although, again, like the frats, and i'll let ed take over from here, there's work to be done. >> there's work to be done. it is an incredibly complex set of technologies and the industry has so far spent almost $8 billion, that's b as in boy, $8 billion of private capital to develop it and install it. we are under a statutory mandate to have it installed by the end of 2018 and we will meet that mandate. there will then be an additional year or two to make sure the bugs are out of the system.
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just a couple of years ago it was about a 65% reliable system. that is up now to 85 to 90%, but if you're going to rely on a safety system, you want it to be about 99.99% and so that's what's being worked on. but we are committed to getting it done. i will say one thing that needs to be done is there needs to be some additional revenue going to our friends in the commuter passenger train industry that run the commuter rails around some of the larger cities around the country. >> i think some of them are strapped for resources and i think that's something that congress is going to need to step up to do. >> does the dead line provide to all railroad depaending if it's freight, amtrak, passenger rail, does every railroad have to meet this deadline as far as having the ptc installed? >> there's an additional two years for short line railroads but the class one railroads
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which move the vast majority of the freight. >> and all the passengers railroads, yes, that's correct. >> democrats line, peter, go ahead. >> caller: yes, my question is for either gentlemen, what is the possibility of establishing rail service between los angeles and las vegas and what are the problems in doing so at the present time? thank you. >> well, that's an interesting question. there's been a lot of conversation over the years about that route. there are actually some folks, some private investors who are looking at establishing such a service. they've been obviously working with amtrak in terms of what we would provide, in terms of crews and things like that. they've also been working with the host railroad where they would need an agreement as well. so i think that there is right now some amount of momentum in
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those conversations, but we're going to have to let them work out all of the issues with us and with the host railroad before that train will go on. >> yeah. i think what i've heard as well, peter, is that the las vegas piece to california is much more likely to occur but once you get into california and southern california being able to get access all the way down into los angeles is a challenge from a right of way standpoint. >> again, our guests joining us to talk about the state of the rail industry. john from pennsylvania, democrats line. hi. >> caller: hello, how are you. >> fine, thanks. go ahead. >> caller: that $25 billion that trump wants to use for the wall in mexico, i'd rather see that $25 billion used for amtrak and development of high-speed rail. i think it's a waste of money and i think something like that would employ many, many millions
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of people. and that's what we should be looking for, infrastructure. the other thing is too that i live in johnstown, pennsylvania, and we only have two trains a day here. we used to have ten to 20 trains at one time. i don't know why all the trains stop in harrisburg and then somehow western pennsylvania is forgotten about. there is pittsburgh on this side over here which is a large city, and they're going to get two trains a day plus the capital limited from washington. so we need better train service in this area. thank you. >> well, let me talk about one thing in particular, and that's this whole issue of high-speed rail. because i think this is a conversation that goes on a lot and you'll hear a lot of people say why don't we have high-speed trains like we do in europe, you know, and ha has amtrak done about those things? i think the key issue with high-speed trains which people don't always recognize is they essentially, i completely new
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sets of right of way because it requires a much different track geometry in terms of much less curve ture and real segregation of trains from existing freight trains and slower speed operations to true high speed. europeans, the japanese, and the chinese amongst others have made really significant commitments to that in the orders of hundreds of billions of dollars, and that's the kind of commitment it takes. i think we do a good job with the northeast corridor in terms of running as fast as we can and there are things we'll do to improve that speed. but in order to achieve anything like we see in other parts of the world, we're talking about huge amounts of infrastructure renewal and huge amounts of comment e expenditure to get it there. so we'd love to see it, but it's a question of priorities, as the caller said. where do you want to spend your money. >> if i could just add one thing
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there, it's a frustration of mine that everybody says why can't we have railroads like we have in europe or i've been to japan, ridden the high-speed trains there. the fact of the matter is, we have the best freight rail system in the world, we are the envy of the world. a month doesn't go by that i don't get visits towards from russia or europe or asia saying how can we get trucks off the road, how can we move more freight by rail. so i think it's a very complex set of issues that has to be looked at. wick has it right to get high speed passenger rail it's got to be a dedicated line, a sealed corridor, no grade crossings and that just takes a lot of investment. >> the los angeles times reports that it takes a look at california's bullet train and one of the concerns suspect cost overruns in order to get such a system done. is that because of underbudgeting or not estimating the full cost of putting these systems into place. >>?
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>> i think when you look at california and i've looked at that just a little bit, i think there's both an underestimation of what the true costs are once you actually start construction and just i think an inability at the same time really to identify and be certain of the long-term funding that's required to commit to a project like that. you know, one of the -- one of the issues that we have which i think is different in some other countries is that if -- under different systems there are governments, great example's the uk where they made a commitment to a project called hs 2 which say brand new high speed line between london and manchester. i forget it's 70 or 80 billion pounds in investment. but once that commitment is naid made, the funding will be there. in this country it's far more difficult and california's an example of that, once they really start to understand how much money it takes as to, okay,
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where are the sources of funding are really going to be available to do that. >> from the virginia republican line, phil, thanks for waiting. >> caller: good morning, mr. hamberg are mr. moorman this is your own friend phil from eerie locka wanna. >> good. >> caller: morning. i want to thank you bj for the hard work you've done on these issues over the years. i was wondering to what extent have you incorporated 3d printing in your maintenance and you mr. moorman and ed have you seen a lot of your railroad clients don doing that? because i wonder to what extent that can benefit the companies by bringing down costs and making it easier to keep specialized equipment moving. >> that's a great question. i have not seen much evidence of it. i probably wouldn't necessarily see that sitting here in washington. we have our meeting later this afternoon of our chief operating officers coming in town and i'm going to make a note and ask them and see what their response is. i don't know if you've --
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>> ed, i think it is a great question and when you ask them all let me know. but you can certainly see the potential out there for that technology, particularly early on in some of our shop locations in terms of kind of that part that you don't really want to keep in stock a lot, maybe something particularly around a passenger car. think so it's an interesting thing and we'll go back and take a look at it. >> as a side bar, the transportation secretary elaine chao is going to testify in front of the senate environment and public works committee today. that will start at 10:00. you can see that at c span.org and find out more information about it as far as the transportation secretary, have had you a chance to talk to her about your issues and what's been the response? >> ed, go ahead. >> we did have a chance to take our board of directors over to meet with her and she recognizes the importance of freight rail to the economy. she, i think, will be testifying this morning talk about the fact
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that the amount of freight moving will probably double in the next 20 years and therefore you need all modes to be able to play their role. and she recognized that we are privately owned and privately funded and wants to enable us to continue to reinvest. >> and we have obviously a somewhat different relationship with both the department of transportation and the secretary and federal railway administration not other they our safety regulators, they are with all of the railroads, but they're also much more involved with the funding mechanisms for amtrak. so we have met, i think had a very good conversation with her about infrastructure about the big infrastructure needs on the northeast corridor, including the so-called gateway project which is the new -- includes the new tunnels that are required under the hudson river. i think she and her staff were very good in terms of of the
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dialogue and very open to kind of hearing ideas and suggesting ways in which we might be able ultimately to move forward. so, yes, we've ever had nothing but positive conversations. >> from wisconsin, democrats line, mike. >> caller: i'm going to see a few things with governor walker turning on the amtrak funding to expand the system out here. what do you think how that affects the amtrak system going west? >> well, i've only been at amtrak a short period of time and i was not obviously wasn't around when that decision was made. and i just have to tell you i really am not familiar enough with the details of what might have been done with that money to comment intelligently on the impact of it, you know. clearly, like every state, wisconsin's important to us and we want to try to provide the best service we can up there, but i just don't really know
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enough to know how to comment on that. >> randy from wisconsin, independent line. >> caller: good morning. after retiring from a class 1 railroad 42 years and riding the freights, simple question is what is the rationale behind having one person behind the cab of amtrak with all those passengers back there, are you going to run airlines without a copilot? >> well, that's a good question and obviously one that there's been a lot of conversation about. and, again, the origins of this were done through collective bargaining before i became ceo. but i will say they. i think amtrak's had an outstanding safety record, by and large, in terms of this type of operation. we obviously have people back on the train and i can tell you
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that we have, you know, policies and processes which we enforce carefully in terms of the dialogue between all of the people on the train in terms of everything that's -- that's going on. we also, as the caller probably knows, have some limits on the duration of time that someone can be on the train. and i will say this, and, ed, you might comment on it too, that we don't have any data at all of any kind that suggests that it's any less safe than having two people in the cab of a locomotive. in fact, unfortunately, we have had significant severe accidents in the freight industry with two people in the cab and that was the genesis of positive train control. so. >> let me set the stage by saying that freight railroads the class ones are by contract have two people in the cab.
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but there was a rule making last year that the federal railroad administration tried to promulgate and in their opening couple of panlz they said exactly what mr. moorman said, the fra does not have any data to show whether or not having one or two people in the cab is safer. nonetheless, they wanted to mandate two people in the cab. we're not going to one person in the cab right now, but positive train control is referenced by the first question today is that backup to the engineer. it provides redundancy in the cab, and when we're spending or at least the last administration wanted to spend $4.9 billion to help truckers operate autonomously, i call them driverless trucks, they call them autonomous, and when we have drones, you know, technology is coming. we're on a fixed guideway going from point "a" to point "b." at some point we will be moving, i'm sure, to less than two people in the cab.
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>> right. >> in terms of national security, we hear concerns about infrastructure such as water, electricity. does that apply to the railroad system as far as concerns about national security and how that could be affected? >> certainly. >> yeah. >> >> how is that addressed? >> well, in terms of -- let me answer in a couple of questions. first of all, there are key parts to the railroad infrastructure across the country on the freight side and on the passenger side where if there were significant disruption it would cause a lot of economic damage to this country for -- and could be for quite a period of time. the railroads all of us together were very early movers in the field of security in terms of working with all of the federal agencies, in terms of formulating our own plans on how to protect vital assets, particularly at various stages of alert, and i think that we
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have done a very good job, an excellent job considering the fact that, you know, we essentially operate a factory outdoors. and you can't watch everything all the time, but there's a lot of training with all of our people in terms of heightened levels of awareness, in terms of reporting anything that is seen that could be out of the ordinary. so, you know, the answer is, yes, there are significant security issues but it's been addressed in a very positive and meaningful well really for, ed, a long period of time. >> right after 9/11 a director and ceo directed us to come up with a plan and so we have four levels of alert with very specific action items to take depending on what the threat level is that we get. we weren't very creative we call them step level alerts one, two, three, four as opposed to red,
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green, blue, and yellow but it seems to work for us. and we have had since been 2003 a railroad expert sitting day in, day out at the national joint terrorism task force of the fbi. we have established a secure, sanctioned by the department of defense operation center at dar which is side into the operation centers of the larger class one railroads and amtrak around the country so that if an alert comes in that there's going to be an attack on a bridge, all too often, again, the dhs might say well what highway bridges? >> well, we've identified important bridges and we have an action plan as to how to protect those. and then finally i'll just say that we also have a very aggressive emergency response training program, the railroads train 20,000 emergency responders a year around the country and we have a handson facility out in colorado which
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trains about 4 to 5,000 people every year. >> charlotte, north carolina, independent line. lynn, go ahead. >> >> caller: my question is whether have you plans to improve service in the southeast region involving service between charlotte, north carolina, raleigh, high speed train service and also any whistle stop service between gas doneya, north korea, and charlotte. it's pretty discouraging for people to catch the train at midnight, 1:00 in the morning. we have to wait for the train to come in from new orleans and there's no attendants that could discourage passengers -- >> caller, thanks. >> well, as you -- i'm surety caller knows were there's a lot of investment going on in terms of this state-supported passenger trains between raleigh
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and charlotte in particular. in fact, an earlier caller referred to some government money that came out of the effectively the high-speed rail portion of the stimulus act in 2009 that's been invested in that route. so the train frequencies there are going up and there's a lot of investment in it's not going to be a high-speed railroad but it's going to be faster because they're easing curve alignments and doing a lot of positive things. in terms of the other train that you mentioned, that's our long-distance train between new orleans and new york, and so the schedule puts it through north carolina in the middle of the night. we currently do not have plans to add service on that train and the thing about long-distance trains is they run for a while and they're going to be running the middle of the day somewhere, in the mid of the night somewhere. we do try to make it as good a service as we possibly can and we'll continue to focus on that, focus on improving equipment,
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improving service. that's a big, big thing we're paying attention to right now is trying tacoma prove our customer experience. >> dalton from alabama, democrats line you're the last call. >> caller: good morning, ja gentlemen. my name is -- oh, you already know my name. anyway, i live in the gulf coast region of alabama and my question is do you guys -- are you guys planning on having trainings around the mobile area? i understand you all go through the new orleans area like the previous caller said, which is not real close but i was wondering if you all, going to be adding service to my point of the country let's put it? >> a lot of specific requests today. >> that's a good question. there's actually a group down there called the southern rail commission that has
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representatives from louisiana, mississippi, alabama, and florida who are very aggressively working to try to reinstitute passenger train service between new orleans and jacksonville through mobile. in fact, i met with a group of those folks the other day. there are a lot of issues to be worked out around the host railroad, but, you know, i think that there's a lot of momentum. there's certainly a lot of political support. so we'll just have to see what happens. >> two guests joining us for this conversation taking a look at the state of the rail industry put just heard from charles moorman, wick moorman, he's the president and ceo, edward hamberger president and ceo also joining us for this conversation fot both you gentlemen, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> thanks very much. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, republican congressman doug
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collins of georgia talks about efforts to strengthen the mental health system and part of criminal justice reform. and brexit central, editor at large matthew elliot discusses the impact of brex it on u.s. transrelations. then democrat congressman brad sherman of california will talk about president trump's first foreign trip. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 aim thursday morning. join the discussion. treasury secretary steve ma mnuchin will talk about domestic and international fiscal policy at a senate hearing. he'll take questions from the members of the banking housing affairs committee. live coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. on c-span 3. saturday on book

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