Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 26, 2009 8:30am-9:00am EDT

8:30 am
that is what we use in mississippi rather than obligated that means to contract that means less than 30 days later that is the notice to proceed and i think that is what you and the stimulus package together want to do is to get projects under contract and put people to work. the other is the kind of data that we keep. right now in mississippi we're only $50 million away and we will issue those notices to proceed with contracts in july and we will be 100%. right now it is over 80%. nationally, we have some excellent, excellent history places like arkansas for example. 48 out of the 51 projects are under way and also 84% to use
8:31 am
the number in distressed area which is another component watching carefully making certain economic development numbers are kept with stimulus numbers as well as job creation. and arizona 60% and 40% of the highway economic recovery fund will be directed to the distressed areas of well. we are not only watching how many projects have been much, but also watching the results of those. but nationally right now i think it would approximate 60% being contacted overall. . .
8:32 am
8:33 am
we'd been able to do since the mid-'60s all the way to the beginning of this new century and the achievements that we've made. our program of work is designed around now two things, capacity needs and economic development. those are the only two criteria we use now in assessing a highway project in the state of mississippi. >> in the construction business it's somewhat unique unlike an iron ore mine or a factory of one kind where jobs are local.
8:34 am
in the construction sector the billing trade workers travel from one site to another following their employer, the contractor as they bid. have you seen movement throughout mississippi that people in the southern part of the state working in the northern part of the state, is that happening in other states as well? >> in mississippi, again, using that that i'm most familiar, i will tell you that when katrina came, for example, and that infusion of capital construction personnel and equipment and companies, contractors all, you know, made that rush. now because of the balanced program that we're doing with our regular program letting a couple with our stimulus funds and having it balanced statewide we're not seeing that migration, but what we are seeing is a better employment picture in every region of our state. and i think from what i've heard from my colleagues, i think that probably throughout america, you've seen a distribution, a
8:35 am
balanced distribution of stimulus funds which cuts down on the migration of the work force. it keeps it more regionalized and localized for the use of those people as they work for those contractors. >> that's very interesting. it's very useful. very important to know that. now, as you work through these projects that are committed and mr. keating, you'll see, you know, members responding to bids and the work of contractors, you will have worked off some proportion of the ready to go -- not all of them. not all the projects that you have 'cause i know at the outset, asto had 11 or 12 projects for us oh, midsummer of 2008. that number has been refined down much more narrowly as we
8:36 am
got to the actual number that is funding amount in the bill. but behind that is a second tier, isn't there, of projects among your colleagues across the country of projects in that category that are not quite shovel-ready but ready to be put out to bid? >> well, mr. chairman, you'll remember because you were an integral part of this that the original list of projects shovel-ready and ready to go that were submitted by asto were well, well beyond that $26 billion package, you know, that passed for transportation. i would say probably two or three times that number, projects ready to go. so not only do we have that second tier that you're referring to, those evolving everyday where we're getting beyond the environmental document, beyond the right-of-way acquisition, utility relocations and all of those items that must take place
8:37 am
before project moves to shovel-ready, you know, before that, we still have an abundance, every state in this united states has another group of projects ready to go that weren't funded in this first round of stimulus. with the other projects as you say in that second tier evolving everyday. >> well, i raise that question because the time is coming fairly soon, in the next six/eight months, that we'll be at the peak of investment and contracts will have been committed to that $27 billion. and states will have been working their way through the recovery funds. and we'll need a follow-on program? >> mr. chairman, we gave testimony earlier while you were
8:38 am
absent, and my colleagues and i all share the same, i think. i'm not going to try to speak to them. but in your absence, it was made abundantly clear, i think, by this panel -- i'll speak -- i shouldn't say that. it was made abundantly clear by my comments that if indeed there is a short-term fix, this proposed 18-month fix, then whatever comes beyond that needs to be from and after passage so that we can get a six-year term. it is impossible for a department of transportation and our colleagues in the industry like old castle, we used, you know, their subsidiaries in our state regularly and i will tell you it's impossible for us to plan and for us to give them data and information that prepares them for future work when we don't know about the status of our funding, the availability of the funding and we can't operate on short terms and on promises. we need a firm, dedicated source
8:39 am
revenue stream for an extended period of time, not like the one we just came out of where it took three years to get us to a bill for six years. >> mr. keating, there must be a mr. oldcastle somewhere. give us your thoughts about the short-term proposition advanced by the administration and the effect that short-term financing will have upon the industry as you and your colleagues -- not just sand and gravel but asphalt, cement and the cement part of ready mix. >> yeah, one key area is just capital investment. i mean, we are always looking ahead to -- for technological improvements, plant and equipment replacements. if there is no forecast out five, six years, there's no way
8:40 am
to really way to justify an investment. you're not going to get the pay-back. if we're dealing with it on such a short period of time, we won't be investing in equipment with companies like john deere and caterpillar or aztec industries on new plants for asphalt plants or ready-mix plants. process machinery industry -- it all kind of goes to a screeching halt. it just gets stagnated. in addition to that as the work is kind of paring down, we all know the economy and the state of the economy today and we don't see an immediate recovery in the private commercial sector. you're going to see a peak of employment with road activity and then it's going to end and then you're going to go back to the level of funding -- >> do you think that peak will arrive, this spring, sometime next year? >> very well could, yeah. and then you're going to enter the next construction season which is primarily the summer and fall months of 2010 where that work will be tapering off.
8:41 am
we won't be seeing a private sector recovery, in our minds, and then you're going to just see all these jobs that i believe we've been protecting and that the stimulus has done a very good job of protecting and securing existing jobs, that's going to lead to layoffs next summer and fall if there isn't some sort of a fix. and you really need to think long term. i totally agree with secretary brown, five, six years is a very good horizon. we can plan as an industry with our capital investment plans. the states can plan very effectively with what their master road and bridge program will be that addresses both the maintenance needs of the state as well as whatever capacity expansion needs of the individual states. when you have that all kind of drawn out, we know what to expect. we need to be low bidder on the projects we bid but we know what to expect and can plan accordingly as they can. an 18-year fix does not help us
8:42 am
at all. >> 18-month? >> i mean, an 18-month fixed. >> that's music to my ears. i wanted to hear it straight from you. commissioner brown, have you had an opportunity to review -- you've seen in broad strokes the proposal for project expediting and progress expediting in the federal highway administration that i've crafted and that is in our bill and we've had bipartisan agreement on with some touches yet to come, what are your thoughts? do you think that's -- what are lessons from the stimulus that -- if any, that can be applied to the future transportation program? i want mr. casey and mr. penrod to think of those as well. >> if you will injud judgjudg j
8:43 am
you live -- indulge me where katrina. i was with the federal administrator and they were there hand-in-hand with me, shoulder to shoulder within three days after after that storm and i will tell you that everything that came from that storm was in an expedited mode. now, whether or not there was any sort of an expedite division available at federal highways, it proved one thing and that is that federal highway administration can expedite, and the stimulus package comes along and we find out that we've got to have projects ready to go in 90 days, shovel-ready to go to contract in 120 days with benchmarks along the way.
8:44 am
and every one of owes benchmarks and every one of those conditions, you know, have been laid out there through federal highway administration working with the departments of transportation so indeed there is a way and a reason for an expedite division, if you will. the other area that needs focus in my opinion, if you'll bear with me is an office of freight and a national freight policy. we're no longer building highways for automobiles in this country. every roadbed that we build is built for heavy truck and freight and an intermodal system and we don't have that national freight policy that's desperately needed. >> in our legislation we created a council on intermodalism and undersecretary for intermodalism requires them to meet together to create a national strategic
8:45 am
policy, a national safety policy and to oversee the development of a freight goods movement policy. you know, i've served in the congress first as a staff member and then as an elected member beginning in january, 1963. my predecessor, john blocknik my predecessor and who's picture is over there and who was the subcommittee of the public works and also the executive and legislative organization subcommittee of another committee and that's the one that handled johnson's request to create a department of transportation to combine 34 agencies of government that had something to do with transportation into a department of transportation. he said we are the only industrialized nation that does not have a department of transportation.
8:46 am
we started in january and had -- working with the white house, with the senate had a bill to the president's desk in october. he signed the bill. allen boyd was the first secretary of administration, january of 1967. did you know it hasn't worked as we intended. we created these modal administrations and they haven't so much as sat around a table and had coffee with each other in 40 years. we have to change that. we have to put them to work. give them an agenda. make them meet monthly, not their subalterns but the administrators. they have an agenda that has a national investment plan or a surface transportation programs in coordination and incorporation with the states. a national strategic safety plan. that's laid out in the legislation.
8:47 am
and a national freight policy. and the metropolitan mobility centers. and the projects of national significance so that there is a national view and not just a little isolated view here and an isolated view there and an isolated somewheres else. each other can learn on safety objects goods movement. we're also going to by the way include in this council amtrak, the corps of engineers and the coast guard. they all have goods movement and safety responsibilities. and we need to engage them in this process. and your point well-taken. we insist on having freight goods movement part of this future transportation. we also, mr. casey, propose to greatly simplify the process for
8:48 am
getting transit projects approved. we have today is new starts, small starts, slow starts and no starts. and when i first said that, you know, it is a little humorous but it is also sad. that's the state of affairs. now, we have to, just as we need to expedite highway projects, bridge projects, we need to expedite consideration of transit projects and compress the 14-year period that those projects now excruciating go down to into three or so years. have you looked at our proposal and seen the specifics of it; think we can do it? i think we can. >> i think we have to do that. you know, again some of the these projects especially in the philadelphia area, we've been studying new starts for a number of years and they just simply can't get off the ground. speaking of philadelphia, though, our biggest need right now is our infrastructure.
8:49 am
we still have an old system. and we still have to concentrate on rebuilding our assets, our transit assets, not only in philadelphia but in all the old rail cities. the fta report identifying a need of $50 billion to bring these systems up to -- a state of good repair. and i really want to commend you, mr. chairman, for your leadership, especially, with the authorization proposal that you set forth and we really think that will go a long way in allowing transit agencies to rebuild their systems. >> we've used a project expediting in aviation to speed up aviation projects. we included that in the 2003 aviation authorization bill and then adapted those concepts to the provision 6001 in the code
8:50 am
in the legislation and have you had experience in the expediting procedures in aviation? >> i think just specific on the stimulus programs, absolutely. but i think really where, i think, the industry sees that benefit is -- we know that next gen is a great technology and that's the solution in the sky, but each one of those trips begins and ends at a airport and whatever we can do to expedite to have additional cement at airports, it is a benefit to everyone because 10 to 12 years to build a runway is entirely too long because the demand is here today. >> well, it sure is. it is astonishing to me that hong kong built an airport in the ocean 600 meters of ocean depth. they blew up a mountain. crushed it, dumped it.
8:51 am
they didn't have an aclu to raise questions about it, and they didn't have environmental impact statements to file. dumped it in the ocean. 3 meters above sea level, built 2,500-foot runways and had aircraft taking off while at the same period of time seattle's 8700 foot cross-wind runway was just getting bulldozer on the property site. now, that's not being competitive in the world marked place. mr. keating, do you have some counsel for us on project expediting? >> the only counsel i would give is the sooner we can get everything moving, the better. because, in essence, we're in business to pave roads and
8:52 am
build -- and supply the materials to the roads and bridges. you know, i think the ultimate game here is to get work, get it engineered, put it out to bid and then execute the work. >> now, commissioner brown, mr. casey, i would ask you to review our expediting -- project expediting language and give us your thoughts about improvements that we might make in it. you know, i was somewhat disappointed over the past five years -- actually, four years of implementation of the safety legislation, that few states actually used that language that i crafted -- we're now planning
8:53 am
something substantial in the future, transformational. we need your suggestions. >> mr. chairman, we call it project delivery. you call it expediting. they are all the same. we'll use your language now and it will help us in the future doing expediting than project delivery. but in doing that, what we want to emphasize is that, you know, we know that projects can be delivered at an expedited way. if you remember back in the former administration there was -- there was a presidential edict that was going to be called environmental streamlining, and we were going to do environmental documents faster than ever before in history. and out of that program came not one streamlined environmental document. somewhere along the line the environmental issues are going to have to be adjusted. they're going to have to be addressed. i'm not saying detracted from but somehow there's got to be
8:54 am
project delivery in the environmental process. it takes as much time to do a environmental document as it does to construct a project. i'll give you an example. we have a bridge under construction across the mississippi river that's been under construction for 10 years. it's a magnificent bridge. it's a suspension bridge. it's magnificent. that bridge has been under construction for 10 years. in 2005, when hurricane katrina came, we replaced two bridges a total of 4 miles of bridges, 6 and 8-mile lanes in length. 85 feet above water, all constructed over water and we opened both of those bridges to traffic in 15 months. there is a way to expedite, sir. one of the reasons we didn't have the problem that we have at greenville, mississippi, where we're crossing the mississippi river is that we had a categorical exclusion on the environmental document. we were able to go to work. we were able to do design bill
8:55 am
and go to work in construction in 15 months, with rode cars across the biloxi bay bridge and the bridge of st. louis. >> that's a great result just like the bridge in minneapolis. of course, it was replacing a structure that had collapsed. there were a great many steps in the permitting process that did not have to be repeated but there was also an element of that project that was very important. it has missed public attention and that is the contractor had a facility -- had a building near the construction site, rented for the period of construction, and minnesota d.o.t. and federal highway administration district engineer office also had offices in that building. separated a corridor apart but
8:56 am
they walked back and forth daily, daily, reviewing plans, discussing needs and cutting through the approvals -- cutting the time of approvals that would be required and would be time-consuming in other projects. now, that's the kind of expediting that i want -- that's -- you talked about hand-in-hand a moment ago, this is hand-in-hand. this is partnership. >> yes, sir. >> and the permitting process is not only environmental issues; it's a whole host of other permitting issues that have a whole to play. we need -- instead of each one having a sequential process, turn that on its side and get everybody in the permitting room at the beginning of the project so that they're all together at the end and they can cut that time from months to weeks. >> that's true. >> take a look at our language and see if it does that.
8:57 am
>> i will make certain that the ashto staff will look at the bill and your language and i think we'll probably -- if you don't mind, we'll reply and respond to you as to what we think about that language and what we would propose to change or add to it. >> i just talked to a representative and so far their review is very favorable but like aashto we'll ask them to formally respond and ask for recommendations if we're required. >> okay. well, i want to thank you for your patience waiting for all these votes. these are issues that are very important to me, to all of us on the committee. but in closing, i invite your
8:58 am
review of our bill reported from subcommittee. it's a rather copious document, but i -- i put this together on a couple of pages in a very simplified version, and i have a copy of that with me. maybe i don't have it with me. well, but it's a lot easier to sketch this out in a schematic then to craft the legislative language to implement it. but we now have it spelled out, implemented in our bill.
8:59 am
here we are. so this is it. >> we're going to leave the remainder of this recorded program and take you live to capitol hill, a forum on healthcare policy. the national institute for healthcare management invited healthcare policy experts and insurance company executives to talk about how the healthcare system is funded. that's nancy who's president and ceo of the foundation. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> about some very important issues. we'll be touching on the financing. we'll be touching on acand we'll be touching a lot on payment reform and how to control healthcare costs. we brought in some great examples of some things that are working at the state level. i'm going to just go ahead and push right through. we're going to hold questions until the end. we do have a microphone here. and there is a purple paper in your slide -- in your packet of information that you can go ahead and fill out if you have questions. you have a yellow one. [laughter]

110 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on