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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 26, 2009 3:00pm-3:30pm EDT

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rr$'brr the modal from each of the modal and administrators and also to hear of any obstacles or difficulties in the way of moving the funding out into the stream.
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i am confident that this program is off to a fast start, a good start. i think there are other secretaries, the corps of engineers is working slower. they didn't get their allocation early on as early as the highway did. wastewater treatment did not get their funding as early on as they should have done. we will hear about that in the first week after the july recess. but i know in my own state of minnesota, the state revolving loan fund administrators of taken their $123 million of wastewater treatment, drinking water treatment funding and leverage did into a 502 million-dollar program, and are moving ahead with projects all throughout the state. there are towns that did not have the sewer system that are
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now underway building a sewer system. and others did not have, had only ponsa now are putting in treatment facilities, so they are going to be some very, very exciting success stories as we move into the next phase. i would hold any further comment at this time and yield to the distinguished gentleman from florida, my partner, mr. mica. >> i thank the chairman and also for mutual efforts to try to hold everybody's the to the fire on congress's intent in getting people working and some of the stimulus money out. now, for committee and of course when we pass the 787 billion-dollar stimulus package, most folks thought that 90%, 80%, 70% of that would be for infrastructure and that we would deal with their nation's crumbling highways, bridges,
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ports, airports and roads that they go for daily and they would see dramatic improvements. as it turned out, mr. oberstar and i were only able to get about 7% of that entire package for infrastructure. one of the reasons we couldn't get it was because they said it is very, well it was cbo that scored it and they said, they could only get about $63 billion in the time allotted. >> would the gentleman yield? they actually said we could only spend at the rate of 2.4%. and they were wrong. >> in any event we got an agreement to get out $63 billion. why thank you under arcuri. which is a small percentage of the total package. one of my concerns then and one of my concerns to day and one of my concerns for the future is the problem of government red tape, government bureaucracy,
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government hoops. now, we tried to send the money to the states to distribute it in an orderly fashion and our intent was not to pick project winners and losers, writes mr. rover star? but to do it in an orderly fashion. the problem is we are getting strangled again with government red tape, with bureacracy. the $48 billion, and i prepared a little minority report on-- this is our 120 day report and asked her staff to put together, where is the money? let's follow the money. we had 48 billion given to the department transportation. as of may 29th, the amount obligated was $15.7 billion. now, doe and ed gutman to update reports. one was the end of may, the first day of june. we only had $154 million in
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outlay. that is real work being done out of 48 billion. now the latest update, and we will probably get this from the administrators today, 360 million. folks, that is just pennies on a dollar, fractions of a penny on the dollar of what we have made available. now, don't say that mica is saying that we are mired in red tape. let me just give you a sampling of commentary that i have and apart from the public record. norwalk, connecticut mayor, said after a merris conference, we really need to talk about eliminating some of the bureaucratic things that washington forces on the states. he is talking about why he can't move forward with the stimulus package. missouri doe director, pete rand, this is what he said.
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that are requirements have been taken to a new level. we are going to have to dedicate additional staff even to the recordkeeping and auditing required under these new procedures. madison-- i guess this is madison wisconsin, npo informed their locality about the difficulty in getting money disbursed for projects. koranic click on to much for job creation this year, because the american recovery and reinvestment act requires piles of red tape to get federal funding and it will delay people going to work. i am just giving you a small sampling of what they are telling us as far as the difficulty in getting people. i have been home folks. i have got a lot of folks hurting. florida just went over 10%, double digit unemployment.
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nationally we are now with 9.4%. i have one county with 15% unemployment. not one person ask me to come to washington and pass a more red tape. people want jobs and they want them now, so finally, in this report, and actually, it is not included on the back of the report but i think we have this judy to these to members. and we have taken the figures, provided by d.o.t.. you can see the outlays, the unemployment rate and in each of the states. also, the amount of money again that has been expended. what they did is, on this particular chart here, these are the top ten, highest unemployment states including the district of columbia and it shows the amount of outlay as that, it would be june 1st on this particular one,
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$11 million. folks, this is pitiful that the cannot get people working. we can't get the stimulus money out and we are tied up in red tape and bureaucracy. we have created that, so we have got to do something mr. oberstar and members on this committee, to figure a way to get people working, jobs and cut the red tape. right now under stimulus and in the long term under the bill that is under consideration for the authorization for the next six years. i thank our witnesses and look forward to hearing from them. some of the gun and excellent job. mr. babbitt is going to report on its excesses from the faa and i know they are trying but they are, their main problem, and you guys know it, and there are a couple of galson and not speaking that he will know it. the main problem is right here, congress so hopefully we can figure out a way to help you do your job and get this money out
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quicker in get people to work faster. i yield back the balance. >> thank you mr. mica. i appreciate you. i would like to read your report and i look forward to doing that. and, frankly i have little sympathy for the complaints of state d.o.t.'s that they are subject to, subjected to reporting requirements. that is part of the transparency, part of the oversight. we told them they are going to do this and gave them a mechanism by which to do that. it is the size of my thumb. the state of minnesota uses that. there is no paper reporting in from contractors in the field. there is no lengthy documentation, paper documentations. it is all submitted electronically, instantaneously
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from the field. every one of the 87 counties in the state of minnesota, county engineer, has the flashdrive. they get their information from contractors and report daily into the state d.o.t.. we supplied that technology, made available to through ashto to all other states. most states have that and i have no sympathy for people saying, this is burdensome. you are getting 100% federal funds. you have 100% responsibility to be accountable for it-- you have the 100% responsibility to tell us what you are doing with that and you can do it instantaneously without additional paperwork, so i want to hear what their complaints are but frankly on the surface of it i have little sympathy. our panel today consists of very distinguished administrators of
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the mogil administrations of the department transportation, and we will begin with mr. babbitt. three newly annointed-- that is not quite the word, is it? >> i don't think anointment was the term. >> pouring of holy water on the heads thereof. >> good morning chairman oberstar, ranking member mica, members of this committee. i do welcome the opportunity to testify today on the faa's implementation of the american recovery and reinvestment act which is one of our top priorities and my colleagues and i appear certainly share the sense of urgency and purpose for the task that the president and congress have said for us. although dfa a posh share of the recovery act so loved transportation programs is relatively modest at $1.3 billion this funding will have lasting benefits for nation's aviation infrastructure. congress appropriated
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$1.1 billion of that amount for grants to individual airport honors for airport development in such areas as runways, taxiways, airfield lighting, the terminal buildings and high party safety or security equipment at the airports. the remaining $200 million was provided for the faa's on facilities and equipment programs to upgrade the faa's power and navigation systems and to modernize the air traffic facilities. as this committee is aware, the recovery act sets forward very specific timeline for project completion and for faa, actually more than half of the $1.1 billion made available for airport grants, that would be 550 million, which would require to be awarded out within 120 days of the act. that was last wednesday, june 17th. on behalf of the president and secretary lahood and the hard-working f.a. airports staff i am pleased report for not only met that milestone, we have
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exceeded the milestone and actually have awarded over 800 million, almost 70% of the money allocated has already been set out, past ahead of deadline. there's an estimated 240 recovery act projects currently underway or will be started in the next 30 days. this funding is going directly into the economy now in making a difference in both the short term, supporting by our estimates close to 8,000 jobs as well as the long term with high value of infrastructure improvements. dfa's internal objective is to have at least 90% of the airport grant funding or $988 million awarded before the end of this fiscal year. all sold we anticipate $1.1 billion of the recovery act funding provided for airport development will create or sustain approximately 12,000 jobs over the next two years and that is supplemented by the amount of jobs created in our
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area. we distributed the arrow funding to process and we use the national party system through help guider decisions bogar program requires programs and projects be designated and did before granting awards and while that may require some additional time for planning in getting, this azoff ultimately because the project's construction can begin very shortly after grand award and this results in a plan ready to go projects that have lasting value. also in keeping with the intent of the law to create jobs drought united states the faa monitored-- >> can i interrupt for just a minute. will the social studies class please hold for just a moment? [laughter] i am sorry but mr. mica has a visiting student group of social studies class that he would like
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to introduce. they thought this was set. they thought this was recess, and so, so when someone starts talking it is time to leave, but i wanted to introduce the class. >> sorry mr. babbitt. i want these new and important transportation officials to know that you are being closely observed today, and there are some high paid lobbyist out in the audience mr. chairman and all of these members. we did have tentatively listening to a freeze the beginning of their opening statements, the st. james catholic elementary school students from falls church virginia, and their social studies teacher, kelly crayton, used to work on the hill. there she is back there, but we thank you for bringing these young people and we hope you enjoyed a few minutes of this important testimony.
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andy get the opportunity to see how we congressional hearing is chaired by mr. oberstar and participation by other members of the committee. thank you for being with us. >> and you will go back knowing that you are-- your member of congress, mr. mica is a partner in the works of all of this committee, and from st. james, so appropriate, the epistle of james is the epistle of works. [laughter] by your works, you shall be saved, so you were here. you quebecan read the epistle of st. james, and then related to what we are doing in this inputting people to work. >> and if you don't study hard, we will make a comeback here and sit through all of the hearings. [laughter] thank you very much class.
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class dismissed, as you wish. [applause] now that you have regained your composure thank you very much for that interruption. please proceed. >> not a problem. i was actually looking for to the increased scrutiny. as i believe i was mentioning that in keeping with the intent of the law, to create jobs throughout the united states the faa has monitored the allocation of this funding to attempt the historical patterns we use for granting grants, and as a result, the knouse projects of this funding are represented in all 50 states as well as puerto rico, american samoa, mariana islands and guam. in addition to airports grant funding the recovery act also made available to hundred billion dollars for the faa facilities and equipment program
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to support the faa infrastructure and modernization and sustainment of equipment aware putting network to replace airport control towers, to improve the air routes, traffic control center buildings to replace, improved and it some cases power systems and implement navigation and landing system components. while these projects may not be as visible to the public as the airport grant program, they still provided very important part of the functioning in faa's operations and many of our facilities are showing signs of age and are in need of repair or rehabilitation. with collocated this funding set out in the recovery act and put $50 million towards our power systems at 90 different sites, 50 million for modernization projects in 18 and rich control centers, 20 million for navigation with 145 different sites and the largest part only three control towers and the modernization of three other
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tower sites. all the-- although the act is not set a deadline we have allocated almost 50%, i am sorry, 25% of that money or close to $50 million through june 17th. their 157 projects currently underway and we project an additional 30.2 million by the end of this month and our plan calls for obligations of 129 million by september of 2009 and we plan to have the entire $200 million out by july of 2010. this support on its own will support 2100 new jobs. all of these projects are work that the agency had planned, that is their part of our corporate work than. this funding allows is simply to accelerate that plant and accelerate the needed improvements for facilities torstar replacement project sooner or ahead of schedule so we look forward to reaping the benefits of such projects including the energy efficiency that will come with that in the cost savings resulting from the
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extension of the operating life of our facilities. finally, not only did the president and secretary lahood direct this to get this funding out in the economy to make a difference to be fast and smart in their terms, bauder decisions we also have to be accountable so currently the faa is making all of our program funding information publicly available by posting the information on the faa web site is updated project information becomes available for airports and facilities. this information is available to the public and it includes the recovery act funds received, expended and obligated on a project by project basis. we are stepping up our project and financial management oversight as well. dfa a project managers are planning more on-site inspections for the recovery act projects. it is been our experience that the most effective oversight comes from physical inspection of the work being done in the field. in addition we are going to
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close the monitor the grand caymans to ensure that this recovery act funds are used appropriately and were using some of the administrative funding were provided by the recovery act to hire an accounting firm to take a look at the factors we currently use to consider high-risk grantees. this will help this repayments made to such grantees to identify and correct in realtime any problems that we see. mr. chairman, this faa is proud of what we have accomplished and we are in the midst of billions of dollars of bids being received daily. the bidding process is robust and the savings resulting from excellent bids are allowing us to stretch the dollars. we are actually being able to undertake more projects and plant and found more projects than we originally anticipated so we thank you for your support in this effort. we will continue to keep you informed on our progress and i have course of be happy to answer any questions you might have at the end. >> thank you very much henigan congratulations on your
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designation on clearing the senate and your appointment. mr. martin szabo was my colleague on being designated and clearing the senate to the administrators reaudit administration. i know you have a long record of experience, hands-on experience in railroading and welcome to our hearing. will be the first of many key will have before this committee or subcommittees. >> thank you mr. chairman and a ranking member mica, members of the committee. certainly it is an honor to appear here before you today to discuss the progress in implementing the american recovery and reinvestment act. in addition to putting people back to work, the recovery act also sets the stage for one of the most significant new initiatives of president obama,
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vice president biden, secretary lahood. and that is the development of high-speed rail in america. fra postal appropriation in fiscal year 2008 was approximately $1.5 billion. the recovery act appropriated $9.3 billion over and above the $1.7 billion appropriation for fiscal year 2009. despite the significant new responsibility, fra takes great pride in the fact that we have met or exceeded every one of the milestones set for us in the recovery act. the first significant recovery act milestone for f r a was the obligation of $1.3 billion in capital funds to amtrak within 30 days the announcement. that milestone was met on march 17th. over and above the obligation of those funds, amtrak has approved
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specific projects totaling some $1.1 billion. the bulk of the funding awaiting final approval and all security investments in the department homeland security is assisting fra in the review of these projects. we anticipate the remaining projects covering the entire $1.3 billion will be approved within the next three weeks. amtrak is now turned approve projects into orders for materials and supplies and working on rebuilding its railroad. i know that amtrak's president is a witness today and so i will leave it to him to talk about the progress that amtrak is making with these dollars. let me now talk about the president's high-speed inner-city real initiative. the obama administration believes that our transportation investment strategy must address several strategic goals in the coming years. ensuring safe and efficient transportation choices, building
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a foundation for economic competitiveness, promoting energy efficiency and environmental quality and supporting interconnected, livable communities. heist ditto inner-city passenger rail is well positioned to address many of these strategic transportation goals. and at fra we are on track to achieve this vision in a timely manner using the same buildout approached the european countries have used for coker grant guidance, which was issued on time, we seek to advance new express high-speed services at speeds above 150 m.p.h. on dedicated track in corridors of 200 to 600 miles. we intend to develop emerging and high-speed corridor services at speeds of 90 to 110 miles an hour and 110 to 150 eilperin irrespectively in corridors of
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100 to 500 miles. we intend to upgrade the reliability of service on conventional 79 to 90-mile per hour inner-city rail services. the president's high-speed rail initiative is going to transform fra as an agency in many ways. historically, we have been a state the agency that also gave amtrak in annual grants but now we have a new mission, a new set of partners in increased responsibility. our financial assistance that today is sized for that quieter era. staff's timely response to the aggressive schedule and the recovery act is a testament to the dedication of that small staff. but in order to meet our growing responsibilities, i ask that your support for the president's fiscal year 2010 budget that begins to address fra's resourced needs. and i will also note the successful oversight of the
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expenditure of $8 billion will require that the amount of funds available for use by the secretary in project oversight be more consistent with the 1% takedown that is historically authorized for grant oversight and not the one quarter of 1% that was currently authorized in the recovery act. in closing these are exciting times at fra. long servings that there is told me that never before have they seen the level of administrative support for real programs as they see today from the president, vice president and the secretary. i look forward to working with the members of congress and in particular working with the members of this committee to help this nation reap the numerous benefits offered by high-speed rail. and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. szabo. that is a very encouraging report, carried enlightening i
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must say. mr. rogoff, i am sure that side of the table is new to you. in your years of service in the other body, the staff have a steep you and the issues of transit and transportation programs and in general transit in particular, and you are more accustomed to being on the other side of the table, preparing questions to grill witnesses. now it's your turn to be grilled. congratulations and welcome and glad to have you here. >> thank you mr. chairman. i know releasing why day elevate the dias. i'm not accustomed to looking up during these events. >> are remember how it was when i was elected. i tickets seaway down there and the chairman, bob jones, let each of those new members say something for one minute. he came to me, and i said well
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mr. chairman this is a different feeling from when i had real power on this committee when i was administrator. [laughter] >> thank you mr. chairman and i appreciate this opportunity to discuss the recovery act. i do want to take a moment on behalf of secretary lahood, myself and the entire family to express our condolences and mourn the tragic loss of life that resulted from the washington metro crash earlier this week. we have been singularly focused on that event. we have been in constant touch with members men, the ntsb and i'm happy to talk more about that in q&a and i have also been notified that ms. norton maybe calling ect hearing and we are happy to participate in that as well. on the recovery act mr. chairman, in the 16 weeks since this hallmarked legislation was enacted, the fda has been working very hard to deliver funding to support the economic recovery and today want to share with the committee some of our accomplishments


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