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tv   Transportation Secretary Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget  CSPAN  May 3, 2022 8:13pm-10:46pm EDT

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anything. ♪ comcast support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front receipt to democracy. >> next testament by transportation secretary pete buttigieg on the president's 2023 budget request for the agency. he stressed the importance of infrastructure investment and talks about wearing face masks on public transit. this is about two and half hours. [background noises]
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[background noises] [inaudible] secretary of transportation to discuss the dot budget priorities for fiscal year 2023. and budget request 142 billion in fiscal year 2023. for context this represents a 50% increase from the trump administration last dot budget request of 89 billion. the significant increase thanks to members of congress in a bipartisan fashion president biden for making historic investments in our nations infrastructure to create jobs to prepare our nation to remain competitive in the toy for century.
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the presence infrastructure packard to sell freight transportation issues we see today. it was above capacity for the pandemic is not able to handle a 44% increase in e-commerce sales or matures every part of our supply chain is strained due to capacity issues middle 2021 the number of container ships waiting for a docket usb ports have more than doubled peaking at 150 in early february. i weigh conjectures increased truck operant cost by $74 billion. so freight services issues have increased the cost of moving a single rail car for as much is $3000. potentially increasing the cost of moving agriculture products for example from south tacoma to the port of tacoma by 40%. to address these congestions he must improve capacity especially with freight shipments expected to increase 50% by 2050. i know the ranking member is a big party for him as it has been a priority for me in the state of washington. the president infrastructure
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projects helps us by doing the very things we need to do to invest. historic two-point to 5 billion over five years with infrastructure program riffs and the benefits of this program to the modernization of terminal five the port of seattle which is helping a stealth increase value of goods. three and 50 billion in roads and bridges over the next five years and 50% increase from the act of 2015 dot is already allocated money tour states helping to improve infrastructure. what program we authored in the transportation bill passed out of this committee focusing on a grant program to help eliminate some of these most congested bottlenecks in our communities. very much appreciate our colleagues support on that. 5 billion includes over 5 billion for megaprojects that
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of national economic significance. projects like this in my state the bridge over the columbia river which joins washington and oregon but is a critical part of the critical network all the way from the canadian border down to mexico. the department is also charged with helping minimize the impacts that are transportation infrastructure has on our environment. that means more than a century of building roads, bridges infrastructure have resulted in devastating impacts to our stated other passage and many other states that is why the national removal and restoration program providing grants to states and local governments to try to help her move these culverts and were price fish passage is a priority i look forward to hearing from the secretary on this and many other issues. the department also needs to continue to focus on safety both in air transportation safety, and in our roads a tragic
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increase of motor vehicle for till fatalities show we have a long way to go in my state the state of washington six or 34 highly related fatalities in 2021 which has most increase since 2025 -- mixes 2005 put out for two as the secretary about this. the budget request does help us improve safety and focusing on expanding the faa's technical capacity with the national air grant fellowship program an important step in senator blunt and i sponsored was included in our air transportation safety program. this is a great program in building capacity of technical aviation assistance to every branch of government and including here on capitol hill we look forward to and thank you for having that included in the budget. must be a top priority in aviation. and it must be a top priority in
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aviation manufacturing. we look forward to continuing to focus on that the secretary as well. these are many issues we have to discuss we will be releasing soon our aviation report as it relates to the covid package and the result of that package. i know many of my colleagues today will also ask about refund issues because part of that report will also show refund issues as how the department of transportation to guarantee this region with that all turned over to the ranking member. >> thank you madam chair appreciate the secretary being with us today and also appreciate the way he and his team have worked with our offices on getting funds to local communities in a way that will provide for infrastructure
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and better transportation we need transportation system faster congress pass large simple structure bill will make substantial investments in heart infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, ports, pipelines and broadband. and i will say that members of this committee and members of senate worked in the day in and day out with secretary buttigieg and other members of the cabinet and administration on specific provisions of this legislation as we hammered out the specifics. the historic package infrastructure legislation was carefully crafted for bipartisan
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agreement among members of this committee. but the way it is implemented will be crucial in determining whether americans actually see its benefits paid the white house and department of transportation are responsible for duplicating this law as it is written yet so far that has not always been the case. for example i joined senator capito letter to the secretary expressing deep concern about the federal highway administration'sce memorandum tt discourages states from expanding highway capacity. and it madam chair at this point i would like to enter into the record, an opinion piece by the editorial board of the wall street journal how to kill american infrastructure on the slide. >> without objection. >> basically let me just quote if i might, some provisions some portions of this editorially
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white house counsel on environmental quality is revising rules under the national environmental policy act. permitting major construction projects the chair so the changes will provide regulatory certainty and reduce conflict and said though cause moreca litigation and delays and raised if they don't kill projects outright speaking further and later on in the piece, while the 1970 models intended to prevent environmental disasters it'd become a weapon to block. trump administration such a fast tracked projects limiting reviews on environmental effects that are directly foreseeable for example how a pipelines construction would affect a stream it crosses. some liberal judges however havl interpreted broadly to require the study of the effects that indirectly result from a project such as co2 emissions. now the biden administration is
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mandating this and i would interject at this point i certainly hope that does not continue to be the case. the new rule will require agencies to calculate the indirect and cumulative impacts that can result from individually significant actions taken over period of time. this means by thousands of regulatory coats". i share the concerns of the writers of this editorial that many of the project's hopes we have coming out of bi part of an infrastructure act will not in fact be easy to accomplish. separately the safety administration has required motor carriers to participate in the pilot program 18 -- 21-year-old truck drivers to have a registered apprenticeship
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program with the department of labor. there was no mention of either the department of labor or the registered programs in that provision of the statute. again, which was hammered out very deliberately and carefully between republicans and democrats in conjunction with members of the administration. additionally the department of transportation is requiring applicants for major grant programs such as the infrastructure development program to consider climate change and environmental justice in order to receive funding despite no efforts to those parts of the bill. i have heard from constituents who have decided not to apply because of these burdensome additional conditions the
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administration should not be using this carefully crafted bipartisan law carefully worded bipartisan law as an opportunity to insert its own liberal priorities. nominating personnel is another key part implementing this bill and assuring the safety and efficiency of our transportation system. the faa is without a confirmed administrator we need one soon. the merchant marine academy needs the staff and resources to improve its facility, upgrade the training and keep students safe. i was pleased to see that budget proposal includes an additional $11 million to begin addressing the higher adequate. hope the secretary will ensure the resources it needs. the ongoing supply chain issues are well known to the committee implementing in a timely and effective manner will help
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address many of those issues there are also near-term with unanimous support this bill includes key provisions from the freight act which i authored an urge the house to pass it without delay. at any rate it's good to have our friend with us today to iron out some of these issues and i look forward to his testimony. >> thank you, senator and i would say you would be reminding me there are several positions being held on the republican side that are critical i think that general counsel i forgot to mention that. we will get to those during the questioning. thank you secretary buttigiegr for being here. thank you for steering this major investment to our economy as t we saw a lot of this investment in real terms coming
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into effect is very heartening in our communities of thank youf for your leadership and we welcome you please make your opening statement. >> thank you very much a chair cat well, ranking member at wicker into all of committee appreciate the opportunity to discuss the department of transportation fiscal year 2023 budget and priorities. owing to first think that members on both sides of the aisle who deliver the bipartisan infrastructure law on the fiscal year 22 on the bus. this committee helped deliver much needed resources vital for communities across america. because of these historic investments the department is now in a much stronger position to help build transportation future of the american people need and deserve. more affordable for everyone from families transporting kids to businesses moving goods. we have acted urgently and responsibly to do just that but let me offer just two examples. we recently saw the dramatic collapse of a bridge in pittsburgh with not for the
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divine grace of a snow day there could have been school buses driving over the eight story highbridge itself. in december we provided the biggest federal highway funding to states in decades. $52.5 billion to make roads and bridges safer, more modern and more resilient so people can get to where they need to go. another urgent priority addressing the pandemic driven supply chain disruptions and accompanying inflation will also ensuring our nation supply chains are resilient into the future. we have helped to create temporary or pop up inland ports in seattle, savannah and oakland but we made an unprecedented level of funding to modernize america's core infrastructure. and knowing the people are thed most critical element in the supply chain, we have acted hope truck drivers including addressing time spent behind the wheel withoutud being paid, cutting states to build additional safe truck parking and nearly doubling the number of registered apprenticeship program so more new drivers
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enter the profession with high quality paid on-the-job training. all this designed to help move records amount of goods more quickly and stem the rising cost of shipping. it is showing results. a few weeks ago in southern indiana, site visit alongside the transportation is a horror federal port investments will support shipments of iron through a small river port support and jobs for over 1000 people at a nearby foundry. across the country the total number of container ships waiting at u.s. ports has dropped by about 35% since peaking in early february. employment for trucking rose in 2021 to its highest level sincen 1990 and grocery and drug stores have products in stock almost the exact level as before the pandemic. but there is still far more to do to achieve our goals from lauren costa givingow people bak time in their day. fiscal year 2023 we are poised to build for the president's budget for the department of transportation totals
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$142 billion including 3.68 billion in advance appropriations provided by the infrastructure law. here are a few highlights. safety remains our top priority in our request includes funding to address the crisis on america's roadways will support the elimination of railroad grade crossings are frequently blocked by trains. save lives and improve supply chain $4 billion raise in thent makeup program we will rebuild the century-old infrastructure and the groundwork for america to compete and win in decades ahead. we will alsoil start implementig numeral for ambitious fuel efficiency standards. projected to save typical household hundreds of dollars in gas cost excel art to energydu independence and billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. bonus a total of $17.9 billion the reverse decorative under investments make train servicepl available to more people and to keep making progress on supply chain and help move faster and
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fight inflation. $680 million to modernize ports, 3 billion to improve roadways that carried the majority of america's freight and a total of $1.5 billion for grants to improve freight rail. that the sample lowers the cost of goods and services once every generation want to thank you the democracies and ensuring the united states remains a global economic leader. i look forward to addressing your questions for. >> thank you mr. secretary thank you for your fine point on how infrastructure drive down the cost of moving goods and services. time a state feels this every corner of our states. we certainly appreciate it. if i could, i have several issues if i can just core
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infrastructure grant program you mentioned we want to get those funds, when you commit to working with me too ensure to help speed up the infrastructure issue? quick sorry i did not catch the question for. >> the question is, you are dust likes i've heard from stakeholders there's still confusion about how the ma will administer new authority prime asciiaull we submit to work wite and others to ensure recipients can execute their own funding as soon as possible to help speed up the projects? >> yes absolutely paid the window for 2022 applications is openli now. went to the dollars deployed as properly and effectively as possible. >> i mentioned this issue of delayed people holding up some of your nominees particularly i
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since safety is such an issue fatalities mention of my opening statement. can you describees the impact these delays are having on the department? >> it certainly will be helpful to have her nominees confirmed. people throughout the department are doing a terrific job. there is no substitute for having it confirmed, operating administration head. and of course that allows for deputy to fully rise to their responsibilities as well be that its importance. and for safety i would add for the cfo the department has been asked to handle suchhadl an infx our general counsel many other positions we are very eager to see confirmation to the benefit of safety, supply chains, fiscal responsibility and everything we are responsible for managing. >> i mentioned, thank you for the air grant support in the budget. will you continue to oversee the faa and make sure they are adhering to the law we passed on aviation safety and implementing those ruleseg into law?
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>> yes we recognize those of promptly and effectively implementing that whopper and my understanding is about 30% of the new requirements or prescriptions have been addressed so far. we'll continue to work and to ensure the faa meets its obligation responsibilities regression think everyone is>> concerned with the change in faa administration that we do have consistency and continuity here. and continue to make progress by think faa is the final word here on safety and they have to continue to make the improvements we have outlined by congress. one of the issues, i know my colleague is going to bring up senator markey and blumenthal we appreciate their leadership is, on these new rules to address policy gaps in significant delays and how that was defined and whether consumers deserve to have a refunds, what is dot going to do to helps us set a standard so that our consumers we are going to say the psp and
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the supply chain support by all of us collectively had positive results. we also want to make sure our consumers who felt the impact of the pandemic also gets in their response from the airline in a timely fashion. so what doc is not set a standard for how long delay it must be in order to be significant are you going to be doing that? >> we agree in addition to supporting a robust aviation activity to make sure airlines are heldel accountable for doino it right by consumers and make sure the traveling public is treated fairly paid part of how we responded to that is by enforcing on airline obligation to provide refunds with our cancellations or significant changes to flights but we find one airline $4.5 million for extreme delays in providing refundsng. we are investigating and actively working on rulemaking that would address protections for consumers unable to travel due to restrictions or concerns related to serious communicable
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disease. that rulemaking should be ready to go within days. and welcome the chance to work with the on other ways to make sure that consumers have a positive experience and are treated fairly. >> thank you i appreciate i know were going quickly through all of these. i could get you one to other issues. on the budget request forup additional 1.5 mega projects raise you explain what the additional funding for the project look like why it is so important? >> is our flagship programs that are going to allow us to support projects around the country, everything from projects in the mega program to large more complex to fund through traditional streams to raise much of which will go to smaller role projects again viewed as passengers and for goods moving through the u.s. >> thank you. then on the culvert i have to take exceptions to my colleague, agreeing on many things lipo was something scoop jackson was the author of the national bar mental protection act. when i look at my state look at the transportation
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infrastructure that is literally ruined, stream passage and the things that we are now having to pay so much for because of the impact. i look at these issues and say we have to be able to do both. that's of the transportation package said to be have to be able to do both we have to smart infrastructure and continue to help make sure those things are protected by love the greening of our ports particular is going to help us. we have quality productsua throughout the united states this is going to help. so we have secured money for that. and i just want to know if you work with noah to maximize the potential of this program we are waiting for no one dot to get together and push forward on this. >> yes we are committed to work with noah, fish and wildlife service and anyone in the interagency has expertise on this so we can get this $200 million for the sure out the door we hope to have that notice of funding opportunity out the summer.
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>> right. senator wicker. >> thank you madam chair just following up on this passage it would be direct effective building and bridget. >> yes a culvert or a road construction depending of course on the specifics of the project request not an indirect or cumulative effect.u let me just start by getting you to commit to following the requirements of the bipartisan infrastructure law as an active progress absently our aim and our intent is to apply this law as written. >> okay, let's start the truck driver apprenticeship program i think it is important to enact this it would allow 3018 -- 21-year-old drivers to participate in operating interstate commerce. and as i mentioned in the
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statement the additional requirement that is not in the statutes, is that truck carriers seeking to participate in this program register at the department of labor as a registered apprenticeship. as you know the department of labor apprenticeship programs are also highly effective in a long-standing state apprenticeship program. both processes are burdensome in many degrees. for example in my state of mississippi, community colleges have implemented their own programs that have been quite effective. where, in this section, of the law does it say that the labor department should require department of labor apprenticeship programs? >> are idyllic that is the text of the law. it is in our aim to apply the basic text of lot 23022 we stand
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at this it's pretty short deadline 60 days to begin the safe driver apprenticeship program. our challenge of course is to do so both swiftly and safely. and in this case, we believe the best way to make sure we are meeting our obligation to ensure there is no trade-off in safety as we introduce the younger drivers to the road, is to make sure there's a clear and effective pattern for mentorship and education. to have a existing framework an existing one helps us to attract the broadest range of participants and have a high level of retention knowing the excellent retention record of that program also known positive pay progress it's already existing framework that is preferred by the political left. there are already other existing and effective frameworks. and i can tell you, we are just going to have to have a discussion about that.
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because i think you have chosen winners and losers in an arbitrary way they are. have you been to the merchant marine academy yet? what's i i have the deputy secretaries there recently and i am looking forward to the upcoming visit we don't have a date just yet because i think you'll be very, very impressed. there is a national academy public administration studye which says we are woefully not an expertise and training personnel. and yet it is still a great academy but we have got to prioritize theseen recommendations. will you commit to working with this committee and tracking the progress on steps with these recommendations? >> absolute been tracking it closely for my office already. again look forward to seeing how it ist going on the ground two. >> okay.
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what do you think about this editorial that i read to you? there is no language in the infrastructure law that requires dot applicants to address d the factors that are not listed in the statutes. our goal is to start building the infrastructure quickly. for example, automobile dependence in building roads and bridges. that is going to make it harder to build highways and bridges. saying the applicants must consider automobile dependence as a factor. >> the idea here is to make sure
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people have options. whether driving a car, whether taking transit, whether using active transportation. we want to make sure we are working towards a roadway and highway across the country that provide the most and best options for americans to get around. >> okay. i think we are -- make what we seeing and what this editorial indicates is that we are going to see a lot of minor factors pile up and slow projects is much as the litigation has done over the years. you will admit this piece mentioned has rightly or wrongly served to delay implementation of infrastructure projects. you will admit that will you not? >> our intention is to build good stuff well. we would like to do that promptly. i think part of being prompt is making sure there is compliance with the law on the front end.
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eating there is less litigation later in life of the project for a quick plus comply with the law and not reading requirements that are not and the statutory thank you madam chair. >> center klobuchar brickwork thank you very much to both of you, thank you secretary for being here for all of your good work. you and i have discussed this bill a few times. i so appreciate your leadership on the shipping and supply chain. i think we know that we have to get this done. the past few years have highlighted significant supply chain disruption price of shipping containers increase fourfold. that goes on the backs of consumers because prices are passed down to them from manufacturers and farmers who are hurt by this. that's what senator thune and i have joined together and went to appreciate the chair and ranking member on this as well to geth our bill passed the ocean shipping reform act through the
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senate, not just this committee, thanks to the chair and ranking leadership. but also through the senate floor. and now it is over and the house there is a similar version. i just want to get this done as senator thune i think the more the time takes on anything can happen in this town, things get delayed and we have a winner in terms of pushing the shipping industry and actually showing the congress speaks with one voice when it comes to shipping rates. could you talk about the urgency from your perspective of getting this done? >> thank you we know we are in an urgent moment when it comes to supply chain anything we can do to make shipping more efficient and effective is going to make a difference at a time we are fighting inflation with everything we've got pretty much a recognition or leadership and others you mentioned and moving the ocean shipping reform act in the sooner it can be enacted and signed the sooner you can get to work with support from my
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department. in making good on those provisions were. >> exactly. there is some talk of putting it into another bill. you know, whatever. months and months can go by. i built that has 68 -- 70 and we. [laughter] have all of the groups have endorsed this bill. i really think it's time to movt and work this through with the house months go by and we don't send a message we want to to the international shipping. the other thing i wanted to talk about was trucker shortages in addition to the congestion at our port, we also faced a shortage of truck drivers. think estimate the trucking industry was short a record 80000 drivers in 2021. could you talk about what the department is doing on that front? >> yes we view this as a major issue. or ask this to recruit and retain truck drivers on the recruiting cyber work with the
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department of labor unregistered apprenticeships. we've seen ace huge swell of trucking companies and consortia joining that we can recruit more veterans v have a pilot for younger drivers to safely enter the workforce. and weke need to do more to make sure more women thrive in trucking careers but we have whole body doesn't set up now to work on that. then there is the retention piece we lose about 3000 truck drivers a year. made to look at working conditions, compensation among the conditions i would imagine critically important truck parking for the sooner we can address those the sooner we cannot would bring people into the career but have people stay and thrive in that vile important part of our supply chain. >> very good, thank you for your emphasis on that. distracted driving i've long been working on that including was senatorwo hoeven. every day eight people die more than a thousand are injured in crashes with got money and the bipartisan infrastructure bill on that. can you talk about the departments plans when it comes to distracted driving? >> amid such gains as a country
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when it came to impaired driving only to seein the rise of distracted driving especially since the advent of the smart phone need to recognize this as a major source of risk and major factor in fatalities as a role at our new national roadway safety strategy attention to this we were the core elements of our work to save lives on our roadways. >> okay, verysaiv good. going a little more local, the bridge which it connects in minnesota, wisconsin affect the president today the state of the union visited the bridge and earlier this year your department announced significant funding for a number of grant programs including mega projects. to larger complex for traditional funding programs. how is the dot coordinating appreciate with the initial
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projects swells the grant started giving out in my mind a rapid pace we all know for being home. talk about some of these bridge projects and how important they are. >> we've made our $70 billion available there's more that came from programs ranging from the bridge investment program to the selection is especially important for larger bridge or projects that are simply bigger than what is contemplated. a lot of our competitive grant programs. i would add governors about these major bridge projects make sure there is afo smooth process for those applications. >> thank you very much secretary cracks senator blackburn. >> think it madam chairman and mr. secretary, again welcome. we are so pleased to have you before us. things i want to touch base with
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billions of taxpayer dollars with fraud and abuse of the different that are out there. i know that when you look at the infrastructure funding, some of the money issued for enhancements not for roads and bridges but for walking trails, bike paths, things of that nature. i've gone into groups i've got some questions about printing tennesseans have questions about them. you have got groups like speak for the trees, which received ai grant for a project utilizing storytelling and tree walks aimed to increase awareness surrounding an equitable tree canopy cover.
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so talk to me about how you can assure us that this money is going to go what is needed, roads, bridges, railways. he already mentioned today a bridge collapse. you were with me in memphis when we toured and dot worked with tennessee and arkansas to address the bridge collapse. talk with me a little bit about your monitoring of these grants and making search and this money goes for infrastructure. >> thank you the senator and of course i remember well the visit to tennessee in our many conversations about the importance of the eye 40 bridge in memphis which went through that closure. every program that is the bipartisan infrastructure law will be subject to very strict controls in very high standards. i can tell you that in addition to our own personal attention to this, the president has charged each of the department heads involved in implementing the infrastructure law to make sure our inspectors in general are empowered to provide the
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oversight that is a very important part of their work asp well. of course if you encounter any case where you believe that the law is not being followed in the implementation or delivery of the project, would certainly encourage you to refer that to my office and/or to the inspector general. >> we want to make certain visa groups, as for the one i mentioned, money is not going there when we need this for expanded roadways. there are construction projects that are needed to facilitate commerce. and to see money going to something like this but it's tax payer dollars is not federal government it is taxpayer money. we talked earlier about the automated -- automotive innovation that is taking place in tennessee. whether it's with electric vehicles or with autonomous
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vehicles. let's talk about those for a minute because china is investing heavily in trying to be first to market. for a vehicle that is going to be affordable. so, i would like to hear from you, what you are doing at dot to support the states and the innovation that is taking place. not only with ev but with av. and how are you working with federal motor vehicle safety standards to set aside areas where this innovation and this testing can take place in order to move these two commercialization support. >> thank you for raising suchutn
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important for the future of driving is unquestionably going to include automated vehicles. if we get it right that meansic our vehicle travel will be safer and more efficient. we're going to continue with safety, organizations and other stakeholders to make sure we are supporting this kind of innovation and making sure it develops in ways that are safe and beneficial. should mention more than many peopleop might be aware, there s not a lot that would stop an automated vehicle being made available provided it meets federal safety standards. we regulate a car to simplify a little bit, not the driver. what we are doing is working to make sure our regulations keep pace a very simple example that can be illustrated here, we have a reference to airbag safety and refers to the passenger seat and driver seat. but of course if there is no driver, we have to be concerned
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about the left seat and right seat not a passenger seat a driver seat. the very language of our legislation needs to be a evaluated working on that to make sure you keep pace with the innovations are happening for. >> thank you very much for that. i am outn. of time. regulatory complexity continues to be a problem i asked you about this, when you came before us for your confirmation hearing. i will submit a question to you on that for the record pretty so thanks madam chair for. >> thank you, senator blackburn. i don't see senator young on the screen. i don't see anybody in our seat or the screen i'm going to go. >> thank you madam chair. secretary buttigieg, iar appreciate the department is committed to investing discretionary funding in rural areas consistent with congressional directives but however i am concerned that pending radio trait matters are not adequately considering rural
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states. in establishing the roots council this committee directed theen department through the council to ensure the unique transportation needs and attributes of rural areas and indian tribes are fully addressed in the development and implementation of programs, policies and activities that apartment and that's quoting from the directive. last week's hearing before the appropriations subcommittee mentioned the proposed greenhouse gas performance rule was sent to omb. my question is, did the department subjected to careful consideration by the council in developing this rule consistent with the congressional district from above? >> i will check whether the council which is as an internal body has been involved up to what extent they've been involved to back to you on that. >> if you would. i think unique needs and attributes of rural areas things like population density need to be adequately addressed. and, as you know measures to reduce emissions in urban areas
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such increased public transit generally are not viable in rural areas. so i would ask that if this particular review is not done by the council that the rule be withdrawn from omb and that review be undertaken. is that something you can commit to ensuring inputs in the council will be incorporated in the proposed rule? >> i don't know if i can commit to withdrawing it from the omb process but certainly will commit this rule and any role will consider the interests of the lower density rule traveled communities. >> back to av's, he just got a question on that. as you know it is something i have worked over the past several years to try and address in a bipartisan fashion. that is to enact automated vehicles legislation which i do believe is the key to ensuring they are tested and deployed under safe and consistent regulatory framework. and i remain committed to advancing this critical emerging technology pay but in the
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absence of legislation i believe it is essential to establish a frame up for the testing and deployment of av's, measures such as granting exemptions or updating relevant modernizing vehicle safety standards in gathering relevant safety data to ensure thema u.s. maintains s leadership it's important technology. will the department continue to support av testing and demonstration initiatives to ensure the united states does not fall behind in testing and deploying this critical safety technology? and in a follow-up, if so could you describe the department's work to advance some of those programs? >> the short answer is yes. i'll share a couple of examples in the realm of our existing authorities even pending congressional action to pave the way for further work on a visa. what is has the authority under section 565 to the employment ot vehicles exempt from safety standards. as well as an operator can show
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it could lead to equivalent level of safety per there's a cap on that, 2500 vehicles per year for two years.ap and they can be extended. what exempts and so far has been granted, we do have additional petitions for exemption and are moving to try to address those promptly. the other thing i would mention is there is the exemption coldbox seven that is for imported vehicles per number of exemptions have been granted to allow for deployment of avp that's restricted and specific routes. but another way to make sure some the innovations are playing out on u.s. soil. the nations trucking and it is the backbone of our economy which we turn out during our pandemic. regulatory framework provides flexibility the truckers need to safely deliver goods across the country. i was pleased by the fm csa's publication of a final rule in june 2022 increase hours of service flexibility.
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and i will continue to advocate for increased flexibility for agricultural and livestock hollers to face unique circumstances with the goods they transport. could you describe how the department fmc are adequately considering thesc needs of small truckers and haulers of agricultural goods when evaluating the regulatory actions? >> thank you par yes, we recognize those who are hauling agricultural goods in the cold chain or in particular live stock face different issues that if you're hauling a load of shoes or other inanimate objects very think the framework of exemptions and the different requirements are intended to reflect that. phone : efficient. flexibility is really key and
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there are in rural areas specifically when you are hauling these loads, this freight, i think there ought to be a different application of thesee regulations that can be not only very expensive, butbu very difficult for agriculture producers to get their animals and commodities to their destination. thank you. >> thank you. senator, i am stepping in for the chair and as chair i am actually up for questions. i can recognize myself. it's good to have you here with us. it's good for the outstanding work thatti we are doing. last week, a long with my senate colleagues and many members of this committee i wrote to you about the need to develop a federal framework to facilitate the safe development and deployment of autonomous vehicles here in the united states. you already have some questions
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related to that, so you know that this committee is certainly very interested in this topic. i know you only had that. i do want to have a conversation about autonomous vehicles. the fact of the matter is one day we all know that cars will be both electric and autonomous as well. those are really the only two, really, the only two open questions. will those cars be made here in america with good paying jobs, including good paying union jobs and second will we enact policies to achieve the bestt outcomes for workers? history hass taught us that technical change is inevitable and while that has reduced benefits for society there are plenty of examples of workers getting left behind as this
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technology moves forward it i believe that we can seize the moment to mold a new pattern. they are not mutually exclusive. my question for you is do you agree with me that we can embrace new technology like autonomous vehicles while opening up opportunities for current transportation workers in addition to creating new jobs. what are some of the steps that you think are necessary for us to achieve that mission, if you agree. >> making this transition whether electric or automated is principally made in america. we need to provide the right kind of policy framework. we are doing everything we can with existing authorities to make sure that it enfolds in a way that is safe and build the confidence of americans and these technologies. providing the flexibility for the kind of research development and testing needed. i believe that there is more
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that we can be doing with our existing authority, but also very much believe that we need to work with congress to have a legislative congress for these w vehicles to be more widespread.s >> more questions related to that. i wanted to shift a little bit here. over the past year, we have seen substantial congestion on ports on the east and west coast which all contributed to significant delays and problems for our economy. part of the solution to ensuring we don't see congestion like this again is make better use of our ports in the great lakes which can play a significant role in easing congestion. reducing emissions in the process which is great for our environment. in order to achieve these goals, we need to ensure that they have equitable access to federal resources and are held to the
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same standards. that is why am committed to working with our smaller seaports as they work to balance security concerns and evolving threats with support business operations and the need to move freight. my question for you is can you describe your vision for how we can better support smaller seaports and equitable distribution of resources as well as the role they can play in alleviating congestion in our coastal parts. someone who is intimately familiar with the great lakes region. h i would love to have your thoughts. >> thank you. this is a very important suggestion and move forward in ways that are more environmentally responsiblele fr the long run, too. the bipartisan infrastructure law authorized a major step uptu for the development program. 684 million being made available
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this year if you can find supplemental with what congress enacted. supporting our ports and while most of the public imagination might center on our largest container ports on the east and west coast. our great lakes and our riveror ports play a very important role. recently we were able to support investment in marquette michigan it may seem small relative to what you may see in l.a. or long beach, but no less important for that regional economy and those investments add you have my commitment we will be paying attention to the freshwater ports as well as our large coastal ports. >> that is good to hear. this weekend i will be at a graduation ceremony for our great lakes maritime academy there. graduating mariners on the great lakes. i know you see those as well. a tremendous amount of cargo.
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tremendous opportunities for us to continue to grow thatea industry in the great lakes and appreciate your support in doing that . senator fisher, you are recognized for questions. >> thank you, senator peters.s good morning, secretary, it is nice to see you. in march, skywest filed a 90 day notice of its intent to end service at service communities. nebraska three community served. i am concerned about this development because a central air service is c critical for these rural communities last week i sent a letter requesting that dot continue issuing a hold in order o for these nebraska airports requiring skywest to perform the minimum service required by statute. will you commit to holding orders to skywest and ensure
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their contractual obligations are withheld with these rural communities. >> thank you for the question. we recognize how important it is and share your concern about this announcement by skywest. that dot has ordered them to continue we will prepare a formal response to your letter. making sure that the public is served. >> thank you. i hope that you will work with my office so that we can preserve the essential air service program that ensures that small communities across my state and this country can access larger aviation networks. mr. secretary, i found recent comments from political appointees within the administration to be extremely worrisome when it comes to decision-making that is traditionally left up to our states. for example, internal guidance about the december 16 fhwa mimo
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directed staff on how to d implement not only discretionary grants, but also formula funding and the process. these actions do not align with the bipartisan intent of the law., a law that i supported. it appears that this administration intends to have a heavy-handed and really adversarial approach with the state dot's in the implementation of the highway this is a stark departure for the relationship with state dot is historically paired mr. secretary, do you feel that the administration is trying to strong-arm state dot's and local partners in the implementation of the law in order to advance the climate change goals that did not make it into that bipartisan bill? >> senator, i think that we very
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much value our partnerships. we recognize that there are different conditions and needs in different states. we viewed the guidance as stating commonsense priorities that are important to us as an administration and department. also taking care to make sure any guidance that goes out internally or externally is compatible with the law as written. nothing, for example in this guidance would preclude any lawful use of funds from taking place. if there is ever any indication that comes to you or project that is otherwise lawful that runs into trouble, i would certainly welcome a chance to speak with you about it. >> i will hold that to you, sir, that we have that conversation. i know that it is not just my state department, but many others that cross this country that are concerned about the direction they see this going. in your view, what is the fhwa
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administrators role in working with transportation partners that have, really, boots on the ground and are charged with churning dirt to complete these projects. ultimately, the success of this program, it really depends on the localal and state partners o get d the job done. it is not federal bureaucrats that will be doing this. >> we view this as a partnership. of course we have responsibility to make sure -- ultimately, the bulk of the dollars are employed by the state leaders. federal highways have a presence on the ground in every state. it allows us to have a tight working relationship. they are at different levels of, i would say, energy when it comes to pursuing the goals federally and have different priorities based on conditions on the grounds. the most important is to ensure
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that these dollars are used in a way that maximizes the value for the taxpayer. weco recognize that may mean different things in different contexts. were will be responsible to make sure that use as required by law. >> i appreciate that. every state is different. they have funded different infrastructure projects in their state as well. to be able to have a state set priorities without the federal government coming in or without federally elected representatives taking projects that they think should be t priorities, i think that you have to look at how states set those priorities. how they determine what those priorities are based on the plans that they have worked on forever and the goals that they set forth in their five-year plans. their 10 year plans in meeting
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the growth that they see in various parts of their state. that is important to have those decisions made at the state and local levels. don't you agree? >> i definitely agree. they will not know all the details of local context. they have important things to consider. we value that exchange. providing whatever knowledge ans resources that we can. they are on the ground implementing the dollars. >> thank you. i appreciate you being open to have a conversation. you have been that way in the past and i look forward to future conversations with you. thank you. >> senator fisher, thank you. senator rosen, you are recognized for your questions. >> thank you. i appreciate you being here, mr. i'm just going to get right to it because i want to talk travel and tourism.
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more than two years into the pandemic, international tourism and business travel to las vegas remains below 2019 levels. our travel and tourism industry continues to face challenges. the infrastructure investment and jobs act improved bipartisan bill with ranking member wicker, the tourism act which requires the department of transportation to update the national travel and tourism infrastructure strategic plan and developing an immediate long-term strategy for using infrastructure assessments to provide the travel and tourism economy of course in thn wake of the pandemic. so, mr. secretary, the law we passed requires these updates to be made. 180 days which gives the eldepartment until may 14. given the deadline, can you provide the committee and update today on the status of the national travel and tourism infrastructure strategic plan? >> thank you.
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we know how important it is to every economy. there was a lot of attention to this in the bipartisan infrastructure law. there was a national advisory committee on travel and tourism infrastructure that dotsu supported. that did not get dedicated funding. there are additionalw requirements now that are in the bell. updating theic strategic plan which needs to include elements related to covid-19 recovery. also, a study to how our own department evaluates considering option for grants and establishing a chief travel and tourism officer to carry out the strategic plan and other related matters. we are workingl on all of these pieces. right now we are participating in the tourism policy council. they are developing the national travel and tourism strategy. we want to make sure that that u is completed in order for us to integrate that into the strategic plan.go
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our goal is to do so as promptly as possible. >> thank you. travel and tourism probably the top economic drivers for every state in the country. it is a really important by bipartisan issue. any infrastructure investment authorizing the national electric vehicle infrastructure formula program. providing funding for states that employee electric vehicle charging infrastructures. the tod -- the dot guidance designated the fuel corridors will not be considered fully built out, a designation needed for states to be able to take full advantage of affordable funding until charging is installed every 50 miles along the states portion of the interstate highway system. i just want to tell you that the 15-mile criteria could be challenging for nevada.
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on interstate 80, and some of the most rural areas, there are seven charging infrastructure gaps of more than 50 miles. secretary, how do they plan to provide flexibility, these vast areas, world mountainous front t areas given the challenges in our rural communities? >> i understand that i 80 in nevada looks very different than the iad that passes through indiana. we are trying to ensure that our practices reflect an understanding of that difference. of course the intent of the national electric vehicle program is to address rangeer anxiety by ensuring whenever you go on a road trip, you would know that there would be access to a reliable and excellent charging station. we need to make sure that that is available, even in remote the program allows states to
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submit requests based on conditions that could be justified by recent justification provided by the state. each of those will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. certainly, having a merit for an exception request wouldst encourage that to be submitted and considered. >> thank you. i appreciate that. like i said, the mountain west will have definite differences of that of indiana, of -- for sure. autonomous vehicles and the challenges and opportunity forke employing artificial intelligence and machine learning. we are in the middle of a bow. i'm taking over the chair temporarily while others are voting. i will take this time to thank you and recognize senator young. >> thank you, madam chair.
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welcome, mr. secretary. good to have you before the committee. you discuss the crisis of deaths on america's roadways in the current need a to address this major safety concern. i could not agree more. e one significant way to tackle this crisissi in the short medim and long-term is to support thee development of automated vehicles. they have the potential toth increase safety, reduce traffic and benefit the disabled, blind, elderly and others. the united states has long been at the forefront of automated vehicle innovation. as we approach a critical point in the evolution of the technology, companies need opportunities to safely scale testing and deployment the other nations are creating opportunities that do not exist here in the u.s. singapore hast dedicated over 0 square miles of road testing. the secretary, our automated vehicles a priority of the department of transportation in
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this administration, and, if so, do you support passage of the national framework? >> they are a priority for us. partly for the reason you have cited. we are in the middle of a crisis for roadway deaths. one of the many promises are areas with this. an opportunity to fundamentally change the safety outcomes on our roadways. we are doing what we can with authorities and flexibilities that we have, but we lack a fully established legislative framework that we have. we would welcome one and particularly i would mention a division of labor that unofficially exist between my department in the states. which does not really contemplate automated vehicles. we tend to regulate or ensure the safety of the design of the vehicle in the state dmv's are concerned with the driver. there framework make sense until you have a scenario where the vehicle is thehe driver. i don't know how we can address
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some of those issues without the involvement of congress. >> ythank you for that. >> what is dot doing to support, you know, creation of pathways for the safe expansion of testing and employment of automated vehicles in the u.s. >> e one thing we are doing is using the statute authority that admits it does have to allow deployments of vehicles that ari exempt from the vehicle safety standard. to give you a few examples of how this may come into play, a vehicle safety standard right now mays prescribe where a mirs has to go in a vehicle that does not have a driver. same thing around the steering wheel, et cetera. there is a limit to how many exemptions can be authorized. we can offer up to 2500 per year for two years. so far we granted one exemption. we have more exemptions that have b been requested and are working to address those because we do want to see that kind of
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research developing testing continue and of course we want to see the future made and there . >> thank you, secretary. the department is currently relying on standard generalci order to collect specific safety related data and driver assist technologies and automated driving on u.s. roads. what is the goal of this standing order? and why is the department relying on this standard general order approach as opposed toli something like a pilot program. or streamlined and expanded exemptions which was, i would thinkprovide the department with much more robust data needed to perform regulations as well as other priorities. >> this standing general order is intended to address the safety of automated vehicles and also position our department to take action if an automated
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vehicle or advanced driver poses an unreasonable risk to safety. by doing that, by requiring operators and manufacturers to report crashes, and the cases of automated systems, that is all crashes it is serious crashes. we think it allows us to gather that information, take action where needed. the most recent or one example would be the ida s recall which took place in march of this year. that happened because of information we had visibility all through that standing general order. this is something that could no doubt be refined through updated congressional authorities. it is an update to make sure that we are not missing on anything that can pose a risk. >> with the administration be open to specific directive that gave the department, you know, the authority to scan up a pilot
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program which, in turn, i would hope, would lead to more robust data collection. >> i would certainly be interested in working with you for something like that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you. >> senator baldwin. >> thank you. good morning, secretary. it is good to see you. a few weeks ago i know you were in the state of wisconsin visiting company loma and highlighting rural investments from the bipartisan infrastructure law and our ongoing work. i am also really pleased to know that you are able to spend the day with high schoolers who were eager to learn about careers in the construction trade. that is marvelous. when you came before us back in january of 2021, i asked you about why america waivers for manufactured goods.
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this waiver has been in place for over 40 years and despite the clear intention of congress to require federal dollars only by american made any fractured goods. as you know, i push to include strong by america requirements in the bipartisan infrastructure law and this gave agencies six months to put procedures in place for full implementation in place by may 14. last week the department announced it intends to seek a waiver to purchase american-made construction cereals for 180 days. given the history with perpetual flavors at dot, i am concerned by this waiver and would like your assurance that dot intends to fulfill its by america requirements promptly and fully. >> we are committed to delivering on the intent of the
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buy american provisions in the law. we recognize how important it is to the country and certainly to states like wisconsin and areas like my industrial hometown. on april 28 we posted for public comment the proposed interest waiver to provide recipients ofp dot funding what is intended to be a reasonable adjustment. that is open for comment through may 13. let me just back up and say philosophically if we view waiver is not as an alternative to increasing domestic production, but only as a tool for allowing us to get on the right path. we recognize that capacity has to be built so in order to deliver on these projects some early flexibility may be needed but we also recognize how important it is to balance thato with serious requirements and clear demand signals. as soon as that capacity can be stood up domestically, it needs toto be used, rather than forein
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sources. >> thank you. bipartisan infrastructure law also contains historic investments in our nation's roads andnd bridges. it allows us to ensure that those investment support infrastructure that is better able to withstand extreme weather and the effects of climate change. the infrastructure act will enable states to use emergency highway funding to rebuild infrastructure. it is more resilient. withstanding the next flood, the next storm. can you provide me with the status of implementation of that provision. >> the laws as you mentioned require several updates to the emergency relief program. including in the er manual. a comprehensive update underway.
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it will include these requirements. it is a big undertaking. we are hard at work on delivering that. as you indicated, there is an ogincreasing need when these fus go out. it makes little sense to have the asset be vulnerable as it was before only to have potential further damage take place. we recognize the importance of the provision in this law and we are working as promptly as we can to deliver on it. >> i would also like to give you the opportunity to highlight the investments included in your 23 budget request that also supports stronger, more resilient infrastructure. >> yes. thank you. formula funding under protect and 1.4 and competitive grants years for this. our budget request reflects our desire to get those dollarsto
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moving. we need c to support communities that already know, often, where the greatest resilience needs are but they have not had dedicated funding too help them address that. we are looking forward to working with project sponsors in the state and local and tribal transportation authorities to get these dollars aligned in the right way. to make that transportation infrastructure resilient for the future. >> thank you. no one saw it, but the gavel magically moved to me so i would like to now recognize senator scott for your question. >> thank you. i want to thank the chair for hosting this important meeting. i have been called on to testify more than six months to h understand exactly what you been doing in regards to inflation and the supply chain crisis. sixteen months ago january 2021 you are open to increasing the gas tax when you testified. now we have seen this unbelievable increasing gas prices. can you tell me where you are an increase in the?
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>> as you know, there are number of proposals in congress on gas tax holiday provisions. i think that all options need to be on the table when it comes to relief. >> i have a question. you are consistent that you still are open to raising the gas tax. >> no. we are not open to raising the gas tax right now. provisions to provide relief which are being discussed and congress. thanks for the clarification. >> inflation has gone to 4.5%. this crisis a huge increase a high-classss problem. do you believe that this is 8.5% inflation is a high-class problem? >> sorry, which bidenwo administration use those words? >> high-class problem. >> so, we view it as a problem and that is why we are doing everything that we can to cut
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costs for american consumers. c when it comes to gas and oil company checks with the administration on how much to charge for the gas. >> so you believe that the only gas companies are the problem here, not the biden administration shutting down the pipeline making it difficult for oil and gas to be produced in this country. >> as you know, there are thousands of permits right now for oil and gas production. >> the leases are there, not the permits. your administration has prevented people. >> i'm sure you are aware, senator of the statements.ut they are not pursuing production at this time because they are so profitable. >> that is not true. >> let me ask you another question. secretary was here last week and i asked her do you take any responsibility for the inflation crisis we are having in the country. >> taking responsibility to do everything we can to ease shipping costs.
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>> the secretary said that it was the federal reserve's problem. inflation was the federal reserve's problem. do you agree that the biden administration is not responsible? focusing on tax increases, making it more difficult to get permits. this regulatory environment is causing inflation.ti >> we certainly oppose tax increases. especially for the poor. in the balance between monetary and fiscal policy, both of those can have an effect on inflation. it's one of the reasons why we are acting to reduce the things in the shipping sector. the part that we view is most under the area of responsibilities of the department ofde transportation knowing that backan and contribe to high prices. whether we're talking about landside trucking or ocean shipping. those are unquestionably part of the source of pressure on prices. >> so, you saw gdp numbers. negative gdp for the first quarter.
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so, do you believe we have a rolling economy? >> looking at the period of the biden administration so far, exceptionally high rates of economic growth and exceptionally high rates of a drop in unemployment. we think that is due to theg fiscal policy. it will take a lot of work to get that going. >> use all the crisis out in the ports in california. you have seen the pictures. you only went out there one time. why would you have not gone out there more? one of the biggest crisis we have had in shipping in this country. >> we took advantage ofti opportunitieshe to convene plays when you see the ships backed up , part of that has to do with the port.
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it is just as important to be dealing with intermodal issues. certainly problem of the availability of for truck driving as it is the things physically located at the port. we are proud of the investments. youu ran for president. what would you have done differently? >> i am sure hindsight will .2 all kinds of things. what we are doing right now, i believe, will make the biggest difference. if we could persuade more of your colleagues to ease some of the other sources on families facing inflation, insulin cost to the cost of childcare, we think that that may take the edge off.
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faced with the tools we have we are proud of the work that we have done. o cutting the backlog of containers to cut other things that are going. you have my commitment that we are continuing that work. >> thank you. >> next i recognize senator wuhan for his questions. >> thank you very much, chairgi baldwin. i want to begin by thanking you for working with us. senator scott and i worked to pass the halt act honoring the legacy to terminate a drunk driving act as part of the infrastructure law. the law requires all new passenger cars to include impaired driving technology and drunk driving onceor and for al. nowto it is up to the department of transportation to implement this statute. one concern that i do have, mr. secretary is the national roadway safety strategy that you released in january of this year
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saying that you would initiate a rulemaking for other safety standards. but when the report discussed the halt and right act, the document said "consider a rulemaking. i am concerned that your office is holding their requirement as a lesser standard and using considered when talking about that act. mr. secretary, are you aware that the i ij a requires you to issue a final rule within three years to require passenger motor vehicles to be equipped with advanced impaired driving prevention technology? >> yes and we are implemented committed to implementing that. >> why then did the national safety strategy use the word consider? >> i will investigate the alignment of that language. what i know is that the finalor rule has to establish a federal safetyar standard.
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also having to meet all of the requirements to go into any of those. i know that it will take a lot to ensure that the timelines can work, butk, what i can commit to you now, pending my double checking on the alignment of that language is our desire to make sure that that happens as promptly as we can responsibly do. >> i appreciate your commitment there. based on whatni i have been learning here is omb had something to say about this yet i hope that the omb folks are listening into this hearing. i will be calling them soon to find out what is going on. from the beginning we were warned. they would do anything they can to delay and kill this. not my words, they are scared i know i will be here for the next three years. and i will be on this. as you know, i am a survivor of head on drunk driving crash myself. and the families that i have met and i know that you have met, they need this done, we need this done.
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we are losing too many americans on the road every year. i look forward to working with you and your team for that implementation. hot air balloon regulations. we had a chance to chat on the street. it is an important tradition in new mexico and thriving industry. last year thehe federal aviation administration started regulating what was impossible for hot air balloon regulators to follow. i want to thank you for fixing this festival in new mexico. we know that much more must be done before the next and with upcoming rulemaking's after outreach by myself and senator heidrick, representative stansberry at the department granted that one year waiver for this role. one of the questions that i have, as the faa continues to work on implementation of this rule and others, do i have your commitment to provide engagement with blueness regarding rules or
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regulations that impact the industry? >> yes. they will make sure they are in touch with the albuquerque balloonn community. we know how important this is. economically in many places. >> i appreciate that, sir. i know your travels and responsibilities are taking you in manyd areas. i want to thank you for being as responsible as you have across america. if time allows, i would sure like to invite you to come on out to mexico again and visit with those blueness and maybe chat with them directly. we will see if he can get some time and god willing we will get you to new mexico soon. >> appreciate that. i have another question on tribal access and infrastructure funds. it has been my experience in the epast based on other infrastructure projects in previous years that there has been, not a strong environment to support investment in tribal communities, meaning that one federal agency declares an emergency or access funds, it is
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hard to get an easement approved. sometimes those projects which would take a few years will end up taking a decade or more. i am fearful what that would mean with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. that is a series of questions i have for the secretary. i am hoping that we can find a way to find it expedited approval process bringing federal agencies together. gettingas those approvals done s quickly as possible rather than one being done in setting the pop for the next one. these indigenous nations across america, not being left out when it comes to infrastructure. thank you. >> thank you for that important point about a governments relationship. senator. >> thank you, madam chair. welcome. good to see you again. i have a couple of quick questions. first i would like to comment on
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taxiway a relocation project for virginia international airport. my airport where i fly in and out of. it does not meet the modern design standards. taxiway a is too close to the airport. we have a relocation project which would re-create this issue and i support the faa allowing the project to proceed as a category exclusion. i wanted to put it on your radar screen. you don't need to comment on it unless you want to. i also wanted to call to yourt attention the faa contract hour. this is really important for our aviation safety. for airports in the state of west virginia. also, congress created the competitive grant program which allocates 21 million annuallyio for five years. willll you and your team work wh us to ensure that the program continues to play a key role in our nations aviation system.
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>> yes. we know how important this is especially in rural communities. we welcome the chance to work with you. >> thank you. over spectrum policy with the faa and aviation and 5 g, for the committee, they said that there has been a resolution working with the spectrum coordination initiative at the doc. how are we going to avoid these kinds of conflicts in the future. this one went on for a while before kind of rare to's head. is there an interagency group working on this so we can avoid thesee issues? >> yes, there been a lot of discussions on howre to get ahei of this. we knoww that there will be moe spectrum and overlap. we know that it is important for them to be addressed before any kind of deployment is looming. as you know, the issue with aviation that happened early
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this year and we are still working through was partly the consequence of regulators not all being on the same page before something went forward. >> regulator being the ftc and faa. >> and you could deal, send the and cia as being part of that turn as well. i know that they are committed to working with that. i have had dialogue with them. i know that the white house ist encouraging that all of the different players, i would add dod in some cases are at the table so that we can have the smoothest possible process for dealing with these. >> we already know we are a little behind on some of that. we are on the resolution of those kind of conflicts. they will save time and money and move us along. letle me ask you about the workforce issues. spirit airlines as a seasonal
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flight out of the charleston airport. it goes from yeager airport to myrtle beach every summer. very popular. it is a great challenge. what are we going to do about this? this is systemwide.t, i know senator fisher mentioned that. as another one that impacts our airport. how arere you working at the department to lead this challenge? >> yes. thank you. this is a national issue. it is affecting the whole industry. disproportionately affecting smaller regional carriers. what we are seeing is that even major carriers have cut schedules on regional routes. the larger carriers had to offer the better salaries and tend to attract pilots. safety, of course, is such an important part of aviation.
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it leads to necessity a very rigorous standards and requirements. but that does not mean that we cannot act to boost pilot recruitment and retention. a lot of the players have been ater the forefront of this takig steps to expand the training and recruitment of pilots. we have some tools that we can use as well. the faa will shortly be releasing those funding opportunities for the aircraft p pilots, workforce development grant program which is one t example of the steps we can take with federal funding to help that pipeline. there will not be a quick fix but we have to work on shoring up the domestic aviation workforce. >> do we have enough pilots trained or is this a situation where we don't have enough at the very beginning? it can transition into commercial airlines. >> i would say we were already on track for a shortage. you had early retirement programs. voluntary departments.
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the thinned out airline issue. >> we have a development in west virginia right nowe through marshaling university and we have one at fairmont. shepherd will get into that space as well. we are doing what we hope we can do to help fill those workforce issues. we also have it on the maintenance side, too. it is just as important. projected to be hundreds of thousands of jobs in that space in the future. thank you. >> thank you, senator. let's see. actually, senator blumenthal, if youy. are ready, if not, we like to go now? >> thank you so much for your service and thank you for the good work you are doing at the department of transportation and i apologize i was not here earlier so i am going to try to
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avoid replicating questions that were already asked. last saturday, as you may know, may 1 was national heat stroke prevention day. i want to commend for its look before you lots campaign against this year. we know in connecticut this kind of tragedy can happen at any time. that is why i have worked hard on provisions in the hot car act which passed into law in the infrastructure investment and jobs act. very specifically the law directs your department to issue a rule requiring automakers to implement rearseat alerts in their vehicles.y in my view, that language failed to go far enough. what we need is the requirement
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that there be detection, not just alerts, but detection inf the back seats of cars. not an abstract or hypothetical issue. this last week i heard the heartbreaking story of a family that lost their child that the vehiclee was equipped with the infrastructure and job act requirements but this tragedy still occurred because the child was in the backseat and there was no detection system. this kind of technology is easy to implement. it would cost pennies if it was done in mass scale. it's already been implemented by many manufacturers. so with apologies for this long-winded introduction, could you update us as to the status of the rulemaking requiring backseat alerts in your view
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about the possibility of requiring backseat detection systems. >> thank you. we recognize the importance of this sincece it began in 1988. i believe 800 children have died of heat related injuries after being trapped in a hot car. this provision in the bipartisan infrastructure law we think will we want to make sure we do everything we can to save lives. hard at work on the rulemaking. we are aware of the interest and safety committee and other measures that could go further than the alert system. we will make sure to take all input on board during that rulemaking process. >> thank you. in another issue close to our hearts, in connecticut, i should just tell you about the family.
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on april 20 of 2020, cory stopped to assist a driver whose vehicle was disabled. and never made it home. cory was just doing his job working for his family business when he was killed by a driver that did not slow down or move over. his death could have been avoided. connecticut, like other states have a move over law that directs motorists to slow down and move over for stopped emergency and maintenance vehicles.e these laws are critically important to the safety of our travelers and equally important people who assist them. i understand that, obviously, each state has its own laws and it partners with law enforcement and authority to help raise awareness of slowdown, move over laws. a more assertive or aggressive
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role in either providing incentives or imposing requirements or raising and elevating this issue so that more people are aware of it. >> i will have to investigate how the authorities may overlap with or align with over laws. certainly aware of them and in the context of the strategy we want to make sure that we are contemplating those effects in meeting any responsibilities that we have in that direction. >> thank you. my time has expired. madam chair, thank you. >> thank you, madam chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. it is nice to see you again. i know that senator fisher, capital already raised this issue, but i will raise it again. it makes you aware of just how significant it is in our state and that is retention of commercial air service in our small communities. the largest regional airline in
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north america sky west recently announced it would be withdrawing from 29 markets due to a lack of pilots. of course what is surprising about this is the most pullouts occurred from some of the smallest markets in the country. wyoming dodged a bullet on this one this time, but it is only a matter of time because our communities are small and they are far apart. the economics are difficult for airlines. knowing those challenges and recognizing that in the west, especially the rocky mountain west which is more sparsely populated, these are tough issues. do you have any, what are you noodling about on this within the department?
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>> we certainly recognize the importance for so many communities. let me mention two pieces that we are working on that touch on this. one mentioned earlier is the question of a pilot shortage. making sure that we ensure a strong pipeline and support in aviation sector that is competitive and retaining as well as cultivating talent will be important if we are to prevent further cases where pilot shortage cited happening in the case of skywest as a rationale for withdrawing. the second are direct authority to intervene in cases like this. that is what we are using in the case of skywest. proponents for replacement services are due next week on the 11th of may in the meantime we have at holding action. and then of course just continued support in the form of funding for eas to make sure that it is able to robustly support the needs of communities
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where it is an economic lifeline in manyes cases. of course, we see that in particular and smaller and rural communities. >> on the essential air service side, did you receive adequate funding in the infrastructure bill? does your current budget provide for adequate funding? >> it does include an increase of $18.7 million. altogether in the request a funding level of 450 million. 368.7 out of the appropriationem and it gets 81.2. because there was so much reduced air traffic in the past couple of years, now we see that rebounding. we think that will be helpful. we do believe the 450 million
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request is robust to supporting eas. >> thank you. i want to join with the senator who earlier invited you to his state. you could hit wyoming, colorado new mexico right in a row. [laughter] and getting a sense of the unique needs of u our states. i know that the senator who was probably your next question would probably be delighted to host you as well. we would love to show you the unique needs of our states. with regards to the transportation issues, population dispersion, our transportation needs, both in terms of highways and air service are different from what you will see east of the
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mississippi. by all means, let's try to work with your staff to arrange for you to visit and get a sense of how different the rocky mount and west is when it comes to our special and unique needs. thank you, mr. secretary. look forward too working with you. >> it looks like you have a big western invitation coming at you >> thank you, adam chair. secretary, good to see you again i kept getting feedback where you would y stop and speak to te people. the people that work on the roads and help us deal with the landslides on a lot of the issues that we've had to face. i'm sure you've been dealing with it all across the country. thank you for your service. let me talk about autonomous vehicles.
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i think they are a great opportunity for innovation and benefits include safety and job creation, while i was governor we worked hard to ensure that colorado would be welcoming to anna thomas vehicle testing. i think one question that i have is how would the dot ensureip america maintains leadership in the autonomous vehicle technology. >> a great deal is in the hands of the state. we need to make sure that therei is a healthy state partnership to support that. they have offered themselves up as testbeds. our responsibility is to make sure that the vehicles are safe. i've been working to make use exemptions and flexibilities under current law but would also very much welcome the opportunity to work on a framework on the spirit as you
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know, the federal regulations tend to pertain to the physical characteristics of the car. state law tends to be enforced around the conduct of the driver. we have an area, in terms of the car becoming the driver that is simply not contemplated by the existing division of labor. >> exactly. i think you can play a pivotal role in trying to facilitate and maybe even orchestrate how this process goes forward. we talked some time ago about elevators. autonomous elevators at the end of the 19th century and they were not fully accepted by the public for 15 years. now, switching over to rail and reducing emissions fromm rail, reducing carbon emissions from all manner of transportation has been a top priority. it should remain a top priority for the department of transportation. passenger and freight rail
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acquire, i think targeted solutions to integrated technology to both increase aefficiency and reduce emissio. how do you look at the dot's work to improve rail efficiency in connection with our climate goals? >> as you mentioned pound per pound rail can be one of the least carbon intensive ways to move goods. it is also a vital part of our system where we can improve the fluidity of our supply chains. recently i testified before the surface transportation board. the first time i am told and perhaps two decades that the secretary of transportation has done so. emphasizing the importance our department places on freight, rail and goods movement at large. we see a lot of opportunity through enhanced datasharing, perhaps clarification and common carrier responsibilities othermo
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measures. some of which we can encourage and some of which might be deserving of attention to congress. all of which would add up to more fluid and effective rail service in this country it if there is even an ounce of efficiency to ring out of the system, now is the time to capture. >> yes. absolutely. the aviation sector has also made many commitments to get to climate appropriate goals. some companies in colorado are developing aircraft relying on sustainable aviation fuel to reach net zero goals. how can program such as the faa continued lower energy emissions and noise program, the clean program help support these efforts moving towards a cleaner energy for aviation? >> within the $42 million requested in the budget for the
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clean program that you just mentioned, they are specifically aligned for aviation fuels. we think it's the most promising medium tool we have to reduce aviation climate impact. partnering with the department of energy in the sustainable grand challenge trying to advance the development and employment of high integrity sustainable aviation fuels. i suspect this will be a big subject at the september meeting of the organization. we want to make sure that america is leading the way as it is being discussed in the global context, to. >> thank you so much and cleat untreated keep the great work on trade -- keep up the great work. >> under your secretary policy,
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carlos, who recently visited alaska, he got all around the state and we really appreciate that. i think he came away with a better sense of some of our challenges as you are seeing here. all wantingalal you to get up tr states. i think that the chair had a good idea that a swing out west would help. see all the unique challenges. over 200 communities not connected by roads. pretty unique challenge. wyoming, not very densely populated it i think it's important for you to see that. let me provide another invitation to you, if you can make it, senator. we will be hosting a meeting on may 23 dealing with the two dogi the strategic ports that matter a lot to our states. the port of tacoma, the port of
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anchorage, they are connected frommi a standpoint of economic act cavity together. but they also are very important to our military, to myriad and aunfortunately they were ranken the lowest in terms of readiness in terms of the 18 strategic ports. we are trying to get together with the administrator, the trans- com commander, under the secretary, if you can make that as well, that would be an eeimportant meeting with member, including the chairman of this committee. mark your calendar on that one, if you can make it. >> senator sullivan, if i could, how much of the product that goes to alaska is delivered by water? >> most of it comes through the great state of washington it is important stuff.
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>> the port infrastructure isn't supported more, 90% of the goods cannot be easily delivered or delivered at all. >> yes. big priorities. you and i talked about it, the chair and i have been focused on tit together. we want you to try to make that, i won't try to get your commitment now, but if you can take a hard look at your calendar and try and make it, it would be really important. essential air service for our state is also really, really important. let me talk about another topic that i think hopefully you are concerned about. i am concerned about. i was one of the republicans that voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. you know i am on the committee as well which wrote a lot about bill. one of the things that we werein able to get in that bill that we thought was very important was
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the permitting reform. we have talked about permitting reform. i think some of the biggest advocates in america were streamlining permitting, not cutting corners but 10 years to permit a bridge, 20 years to permit a gold mine in alaska. over 400 jobs. it is called kensington mine. our permitting system is broken. there has been a bipartisan effort who was in the bipartisan infrastructure to start addressing that. a number of us talking about infrastructure and energy issues even yesterday a bipartisan group was a really big topic of discussion i think. i know that when you and i talked during your confirmation process, mayors and governors in particular, regardless of political party are veryec motivated by this because they see challenges on the front
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lines when permitting takes 10 years to permit a bridge in america which is just ridiculous where you consulted on this very recent neva regulation that came out of ceq? madam chair, i would like to submit an op-ed for the record. this is from the wall street journal. how do kill american infrastructure on the slide. the white house revises rules that will scuttle new roads, bridges and oil and gas pipeline. >> i think that it already was. make sureon without objection. >> we will do it again. where you consulted on this? i am reading through it and i am really concerned that what we all want to have happen now, in terms of implementing the bipartisan infrastructure legislation is literally going
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to be delayed, i know it's going to be delayed, by this new rule. where you consulting on this, and do you have a view on it? are you concerned it will delay infrastructure projects? >> we are at the table on processes likeis this one andwa value the chance to weigh in. we want to make sure that all laws are, of course, complied with and we want to make sure that project delivery is prompt and efficient it one of the first things that we did was to work on that one federal decision provision which i think was a 60 day requirement to establish that pathway for information about categorical inclusions which is one of the way the projects can move through with very little friction. i certainly recognize wherem. these concerns are coming from. also believe that with the right level of partnership, transparency and technical assistance upfront, these
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requirements need not unduly delay requirements that are worthy and legally compliant. >> just real quick, i am out of time, but one quick follow-up. it is not just that compliance, that rule has to comply with the bipartisan infrastructure bill itself which had a number of important permitting reform provisions. not as many as i would've liked, but it did have some. can you commit to me to make sure you are looking at that new rule and make sure that it actually complies with the most recent law that just past which was about streamlining and moving projects more quickly. i think that this new rule will do the exact opposite. can you commit to me to doing that? >> yes. we will certainly review that. >> thank you, madam chair. >> senatorou, are you ready?
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>> i am. >> i know we have been joined by a few people online. the next recognition would be senator who has -- it is good to have you here, secretary booted usage. as i think you already know there have been a lot of legs of flights that have been canceled. don't have enough pilots, not because of demand, they were full or nearly full. i'm sure that they will tell me they cannot get enough pilots. is the department of transportation playing in this realm as far as getting pilots' talking about regional or whatever you want to talk, if a plane is not flying, a plane is not flying.
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are you guys playing this game as far as trying to get more pilots available to these airlines and if so, what are you doing and when would you anticipate this problem being solved? >> we recognize a shortage of pilots inis some ways is not completely dissimilar to the shortage of truckers we are seeing. we think it is related to a number of issues of the pipeline in to the thinning out of workforces that happened during the worst periods of covid related flight cancellations to some questionsbo about pay and conditions. many pilots that are very well-paid. many who are less so and i can make it difficult for regional players to be competitive. taking the lead with cultivating students and building those skills, but we play a role, too and making sure that faa funding is being aligned towards supporting a stronger pipeline inof people into the profession. >> are you monitoring how the faa is utilizing these dollars?
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>> are we actually getting more people trained or are we funding saying you it or who is watching them? >> i requested updates on how those dollars are being used. we will want to see them translate, obviously, into outcomes only go. >> is it translated to a bigger pipeline yet and when do we anticipate, you know, i mean, i will be honest with you, i drive four and a half hour sometimes a flight that gets back out here so i do not defy halfway around the world to get to washington, d.c. if i am doing that, every business person in the state is doing that, to. >> we are gathering information on how that needle is moving.h i would be happy to stay in touch with your office about what we are seeing and what resources we need. >> i would like that. last week you testified the person before the transportation board, becoming the first transportation secretary to do
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that a more than 20 years. thank you. the issue that brought you there ongoing supply chain disruption. keeping consumers from beingof able to buy products they need keeping farmers unable to bring their products to their ultimate final destination. it is a big complex program with a lot of interconnecting parts. it is going to take a lot of work to resolve the problems and make sure that we do not end up at this point again. based on everything you have seen and heard, what concrete steps do we need to take, do you need to take to get past this? >> several things. we testified about this and they have engaged the freight rail carrier untreated carriers. some of the things that we are pressing on in the industry including datasharing and clarified common carrier standards. i would also say that we have a
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role to play ourselves in delivering infrastructure that will help with fluidity. other uses of the program which congress has provided us with the funds to do and it is one of the main supply chain relevant usesva of the dollar in infrastructure law and we are working to get those out there. >> as far as this budget goes, do you believe that it is adequate to continue to address this. >> it is a major step up and it will certainly be enough to make a big difference. we will be the first to say it if we think our resources are needed. >> doesn't everybody. thank you, madam chair. >> senator cruz. >> thank you. secretary, welcome. i want to start by discussing president biden's disinformation governance board or as many of us are calling it the ministry of truth that was recently you said in 2019 the point of defending free speech is not that you expect everyone to be
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perfectly aligned with every speech act that is protected it as a fundamental american freedom. a huge part of what makes america america and when that same flag was on my shoulder i did not think of the flag is something of itself as an image that was sacred. something that was sacred because of what it represented. one of the very reasons, one of the very things it represented was the freedom of speech and that is one of the reasons i serve. i have to say, secretary, that is a sentiment that i wholeheartedly agree with.h. i think mostt americans do as well. simple question. do you still believe that? >> of course. >> that freedom of speech should not be subject to censorship by the government. >> sure. >> why is the biden administration then putting someone who is an obvious partisan, someone who is engaged
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in the repeated pushing of misinformation, putting them in charge of a board directed at regulating thehe free-speech of american citizens. >> this is outside my area of expertise and responsibility as a department. but i search also note that when i was wearing that flag on my shoulder i was qualified in information warfare. knowing that the use of misinformation -- >> with respect, we have limited time. should the government be censoring and regulating the speech of american citizens. yes or no. >> that is a philosophical question. i obviously believear in free speech. but as you know you don't have the right to yell fire in a crowded editor. >> did the government to silence voices that are politically inconvenient and that it disagrees with? >> of course not. >> why is the biden administration creating a board to do that.
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>> misinformation at this information is used as a weapon. >> was a hunter biden laptop misinformation? >> i'm not familiar with all the details of those stories. what i know was that russia notably and other players, to. >> it was not russia. now the new york times has acknowledged that after the election. yet, the head of this information board happily pushed out that it was disinformation. a code word for things that are politically inconvenient. let's turn to a different topic it as you are well aware recently a federal court struck down the mask mandate. when that happened, americans across the country saw footage of people on planes hearing the announcement over the loudspeaker and cheers bursting out. when i flew to d.c. from houston yesterday on the plane i would say there are fewer than 10% of
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people that chose to wear masks. does it concern you that the biden administration was putting in place a policy that now a federal court has concluded was illegal and that a huge percentage of americans found arbitrary and unjustified. >> if i'm not mistaken most americans support the mask mandate for flights. >> then why would they be cheering on planes? what's that? >> why were they cheering on planes. >> i think a lot of us were looking forward to the day where it reverted to personal choice. >> is it safe to travel on a commercial airline without a mask? >> people should make their own choice. >> when you next fly commercial, will you wear a mask? >> depends on where iar am traveling to. >> commercial flight anywhere. one american city to another american city. >> i'm not sure.
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it depends on the conditions that day. next time i do, i will think it over. >> under the current cdc guidance whichha is actually posted on the department of transportation website, it says they continue to recommend that people wear masks at this time. it also says traveling on public transportation increases a person's risk of getting and spreading covid-19 by bringing people in close contact with others for prolonged periods. in many others are dismayed with the cdc and the department of transportation for the politicized nation of this issue. do you agree with those statements? >> i certainly support the cdc has the authority in this country on public health determination. i share your dismay at the politicized nation of masks. i think the most important thing by far is whether it is on the flight or bus or anywhere else, respect is shown to those that wear masks and those that choose
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not to. >> if you agree with the cdc statement on the department of transportation website, multiple pictures came out this weekend from you at the white house correspondents dinner, you are not wearing a mask, you are having a good time laughing, jokes were being told. how did that not qualify as to use the cdc's words, bringing people in close contact with others often for prolonged periods and why did you make the choice not to follow that? >> i made a personal risk decision. consistent with the public health guidance and rules any fact which, as you know, did not require the wearing of masks in that environment. i would add, if i'm not mistaken it would have expired by now. >> why is the administration appealing that decision and presumably trying to reinstate the mask mandate even now? >> i would not agree with the premise of that question. it is not the same as the
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rationale for appealing. i don't have the legal background that you do, but my understanding is the appeal is whether or not the cdc has the authority to do that in this pandemic or any pandemic which is completely extinct. >> so are you telling this committee that even if you prevail on the appeal that the administration is not going to reimpose the mask mandate? >> it's not me saying so. it would have expired today. >> prior to the court decision the administration cap i extending it. >> you would recall the extension was only two weeks. and if i'm not mistaken, those two weeks when i passed by now. >> you're saying you would not. >> it is not up to me. it is tsa acting on cdc guidance. it is certainly the case barring something that would have led to an the mask mandate would have expired. >> and you think it should have been allowed to expire. >> based on the conditions that
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it was set for two weeks, yes. again, it is not my call. >> senator cinema. >> thank you, chair. thank you to my friend for joining us today. representing a historic investment in our infrastructure update and modernize our highways, bridges, airports roads and public transit systems arizona will receive an additional $200 million annually above existing funding levels for our highways and bridges over the next five years. the department of transportation has a crucial role to play in dispersing these funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law to make sure it is distributed equitably and with provisions of the law. i look forward to working with you, secretary, and with my colleagues on this committee to advance implementation of the infrastructure law to help arizona families and small businesses get ahead. one significant highway project to arizona is expanding interstate 10 on the 26 miles
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the highway passes to the river community. arizona motorists to travel between phoenix and tucson and when departing to connect to interstate eight south of casa grande. the only stretch that narrows to two lanes between arizona's two largest metropolitan areas. congestion on this part of the i 10 cost arizona motorists time and monday and hinders the availability of commercial projects to arrive at their destination on time. that is why they highlight expansion projects as an important piece to addressing our state's transportation challenges along with improving other transportation modes such as public transportation. secretary, can you share your approach to distributing competitive grant funding and give me your commitment to distributing highway funding with the statutory provisions within the law. >> thank you, senator. the short answer is yes. i am of course committed to make
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sure all funding formula and discretionary is distributed in provisions with the law. the area that you are describing is adr good example of a place where for safety reasons and for other reasons we need to consider new kinds of investments and i have every expectation that competitive applications will be coming in from the region. >> thank you. under the provisions of the bipartisan infrastructureti law, arizona airports were expected to receive $340 million for infrastructure improvements over the next five years. for budget year 2022, phoenix sky harbor international airport in every airport in arizona will see increased funding. senator kelly and i enjoyed hosting you at sky harbor in november of last year to tour the new concourse at terminale four which will serve thousands of travelers every day once it becomes operational.
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our infrastructure law also includes funding for the $5 billion airport terminal program and $5 billion for air traffic control towers. can you provide us an update on those infrastructure programs? >> thank you. it was a pleasure to visit sky harbor with you and senatorli kelly and see the work that is going on. we are working as swiftly as we can tobo make sure that all this funding is aligned. recognizing that there is a great deal of need for improvements and enhancements. whether were talking about our terminals or in some cases runway another enhancements. serving to make our airports not only more effective in moving passengersn and goods more environmentally sustainable and more accessible to all. something i was especially impressed with. providing your office with more detailed timelines. the formula for apportionments.
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we are working to meet all statutory deadlines to get these dollars delivered efficiently. >> thank you. you also visited the valley metros northwest extension and that will extend to phoenix across interstate 17 to the former metro center property currently undergoing redevelopment. arizona's public transit systems are expanding in other places as well. like the south central expansion in the street car opening to writers later this month. the infrastructure law increased our investment of all sizes. i am particularly proud of a provision i worked on to increase funding to small transit and transitive cities. flagstaff and yuma that have under 200,000 residents but enjoy high-performing transit systems. as a a former mayor about that same size, and you talk to us about the importance of public transit investment in the smaller communities.
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>> thank you. it is a very important topic. it also invokes images of subways and some of our biggest cities. a very important part of the story. so was transit in lower density communities. i think that there is a great deal of micro- mobility connecting in the transit systems and some alternatives to traditional hub and spoke models for how they work. to better serve these kinds of communities where theti need iss great or greater and to create alternatives. so people own a car not have ways to get to where they need to be that are affordable, sustainable and reliable. >> well, thank you. with that i yield back the remainder of my time. >> thank you. senator lee. >> thank you for being here and for your service.
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on march 31, just a few weeks ago, nixa finalize café standards. pursuant to which cars and light trucks would be required to meet an industry wide fleet average of 49 miles per gallon by 2026. how much would that cost an average vehicle? >> i would have to pull the statistics for you w and send them. >> safe to assume that it would cause a cost increase. we do not have café standards anywhere near that approach. >> it will acquire innovation 49and investment. the tune of hundreds of dollars for every customer.
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>> any idea of how much it will cost on the vehicle? >> let me pull the exact numbers. >> i do worry about this because the average american family is struggling to get by.t especially with inflation. it is causing a concern that worries me a lot. >> that is exactly why we think these rules are so important. savings in people's pockets. this really will mean savings. the café standards at issue also deal with regulatory compliance by manufacturer. i think that the threshold is 17%. sales consisting of electric vehicles. but, of course, electric vehicles require access to a lot of minerals like cobalt and
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lithium for their batteries. with this end up impacting our demand for cobalt, lithium in a way that would make us more dependent on companies like russia and china? >> one very important issue is sourcing the raw materials and the refining capacity to go into batteries. there has been a lot of work that i've discussed with many of the u.s. auto industry leaders on how to onshore or nearshore more of that. have a lot of including lithium untapped certainly a preferred alternative to some of the alternative foreign sources that orare currently leading in somef these raw material needs. >> averages can be misleading. the last i saw was a kelly blue book figure. that includes $189,000 portion.
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if you look at the vehicles coming online now they start in the mid to high 20s and go up from there. >> it does concern me. overall it is a higher price point. i understand that it includes hiring vehicles. relatively few number of those higher inch vehicles that are being sold. it can end up being a regressive policy. one that affects the poor and hard-working middle-class americans and people in rural communities. people already struggling with inflation and having a difficult time getting from one place to another as it is. .... .... understand that inclus higher end vehicles but it is a relatively few number of those higher end vehicles being sold. technology does cost money. if we are not careful, this could end up being a regressive
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policy. one that affects the poor and hard-working middle-class americans and people in rule -- rural communities already struggling to get from one place to another as it is. you have a role specifically and transportation. what are your policy views on how that affects transportation of whether it's worth the difficulty that creates? >> the difficulty of wearing a mask? >> e. you noted a few moments ago in response to a question by senator cruz you think the standard ought to be people need to show respect for those who wear masks and respect for those who choose not to wear masks. there are a few ways in which more disrespect can be shown to them by threatening to arrest those not wearing masks, choosing not to wear masks. >> just to be clear i don't mean
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people who were not wearing a mask that breaks the law. what i mean is an environment where the mask mandate has been lifted be it on a bus or a train. >> and it's been lifted by court order in that court order is being appealed. if the standard ought to be showing respect to those who wear masks and those who are not why would the administration appeal it? it's important to establish the cdc's authorities in this regard. we have any number of safety measures in this country including transportation ranging from the requirements to wear seatbelts to the requirement to wear masks during a pandemic. >> that tie -- i see my time has expired. the administration has yet to rule out that seem mandates for interstate travel and a few other things in writing. >> senator warnock.
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thank you for your indulgence. >> no problem. thank you so very much madam chair mr. secretary it's great to see you again. i know you've been down to my home state of georgia. you've been to atlanta and havana and you've seen up close the overpasses and the highways toto get to where they need to . unfortunately many of these bridges and highways were dealt directly through historic communities without any concern for how would affect the folks who live there. disproportionately affecting historic communities and when we look at these bridges and overpasses it has a landscape history of the arc of our country. these projectsed contributed to poor air quality in the communities diminished access to jobs and economic opportunity
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really splitting communities communities and happen it disrupted the rich culture of theth neighborhoods that i was down my hometown of savannah georgia and some of the folks who world or me were talking about how the very community where i grew up that had been once a vibrant jazz community with restaurants in black distances all disrupted and i 16 that goes straight through the middle of these communities and then i served as pastor of ebenezer baptist church, historic committee lots of black businesses and america's largest concentration of businesses also disrupted. when we look at these structures built in the name of urban renewal this is structural racism in the most literal sense of the word. that's why he fought to reverse the damage done by highways and
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large infrastructure projects by securing money for their reconnecting of the community program. mr. secretary whatt is the transportation department's timeline for implementing this very important program that i think in a literal sense builds what we call the beloved community and how will you ensure the program accomplishes our goal's? >> thank you senator. we are hard at work in delivering the first year's funding for the pilot program. $195 million will be ready to go out in the notice of funding opportunity that we hope to put forward by the end of the year and what we are to know is that there will be applications from places around the country like those in georgia. we've seen it everywhere from jackson port in richmond that i visited not long ago to the area
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around i 81 to syracuse in the hill districts in pittsburgh and often as you said. the fabric of communities in knowing transportationon infrastructure is never to divide we recognize the moral as well as the -- to ensure federal dollars went into those positions and federal dollars going toll healing them as well. >> thank you so much and the folks in savannah are very excited to hear about this and folks in atlanta and all across the country who are on the underside of this legacy of progress in historic communities. i always feel proud and i talk about savannahwe so much. that's my hometown in one of the things i'm proud of is the support in how they showed ingenuity and adaptability in
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the face is supplied chain challenges last year. they were the ones he came up with the idea of using pop-up container yards to unclog the port and keep supply chains running i was glad i was able to work with you iny your office o secure more than $8 million to the port authority to alleviate congestion and funding pop-up container yards. how did funding for the supportive national priorities for improving transportation infrastructure and restoring supply chain facility? >> you where we have a lot to be proud of in the port authority and the ports of savannah native appreciate you highlighting a particular the creativity of problem-solving that went into that pop up temporary container yard. it's being emulatede in oakland and the northwest and will continue to other countries as well.
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and one that matters not only for the imported good. agricultural products which is one area where savannah leads. we looked at those flexible and original purchase which we are not able to make thanks to funding is why partisan infrastructure law from everything for the ports themselves to rails andhl highways. >> thank you for your work on this and i was glad i was able to secure $11 billion for roads and bridges, highways ports another of her structure and i look forward to working with you on this and reconnecting with you. >> likewise, thank you. >> secretary buttigieg that it concludes there hearing. for air traffic commercial space and aviation safety certification and i hope you will respond to those to help
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prioritize thoserg safety refors and aegis one teeshon of that exchange with senator chris: is the difference between the challenges we face everyday in the event you just attended everybody got tested amber claire prior to that appended here and now on planes not going what everyone statuses. my colleague senator scott and i have pushed forward on a temperature checks at airports and some of our international colleagues have had great respect and so thank you for continuing to work on it. this hearing will remained open for two weeks into may 17 of 2022. any senator who would like to submit questions for the record can do so by may 17 of 2022 and the secretary response returned to the committee as quickly as possible. no later than may 31, 2022.
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thank you for being a great partner on the infrastructure bill and i think you can see from our colleagues they appreciate when you visit our state and weco thank that interaction in helping us with the infrastructure investment in getting it out the door will be great for america. thank you very much. the committee is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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