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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  March 24, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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you get at people's guts as to what they understand is fair. >> good morning. i'm representative marty anderson from iowa, and we meet all of your governors pretty regularly. >> yeah, ours has been here quite often. >> in our caucus we started doing some very simple things. every morning there's a prayer in our chamber. and so we're bringing in different people to pray. i'm bringing in two nuns who live in my district who were on the nuns on the bus tour. and they're going to say a prayer. and the unitarian minister who lives in my district. so that's one way to start doing that, to counter some of the ministers who come in and frankly offend a lot of people by being very specific about their faith.
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the other thing that we've started doing is we call it moral monday iowa. and i believe it started in one of the carolinas. by -- right. with the naacp. but we just stole the idea. so every monday at noon before we gavel in at 1:00, we have a gathering that draws a lot of press and a lot of advocates, and we talk about an issue that we're not getting any legs on. so we've had moral monday iowas on date rape. we've had moral monday iowas on disparities in education and prisons. we've had moral monday iowa on education spending, and next week we're having it on women's health. we get these huge crowds.
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we picked a small room, so that's kind of cool because the huge crowds look really big. but i think we want to reclaim the moral and the freedom issues, because we believe that we're the ones who work for those, and i think anybody could do some of those things. we get a lot of press coverage for it. >> thank you. senator winfield from connecticut. i wanted to go back to the point about how we talk about things. so last year we did the minimum wage increase after the president talked about it. that was the traditional way that we do things. how we had a bus come out, how we brought out all the people who might be affected by minimum wage, the year, two years before i had gone to progressive states, we were talking about the trust act. and how we could get it passed in the state. we hadn't really done that and i suggested how we go back to
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connecticut and work on it and try to get it passed. >> what is the trust act? >> the trust act deals with the security communities issue, we've talked about in the past, and how the state interacts with i.c.e. on i.c.e. detainers and whether or not it responds in a way that i.c.e. would like it to. so when i went back to connecticut, traditionally this issue was talked about by either the leadership which doesn't look like the community that we're talking about. or, it's dealt with by us sending out information that's all correct. or they pick a latino legislator to talk about it. but when i was thinking about it, i disagreed to some degree with tip o'neill about what politics is. i think politics is all about identity, not where you come from. where you come from is part of it. so i thought about the fact that normally when you have that kind of an issue, there's a gap between the african-american, and latino communities, sometimes they see us as giving them things, such as college tuition, and all of those things, right? so there's a gap. so being one of the people who came back to deal with the
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issue, i thought about how do you get them, the african-american community, to be a part of this discussion. what i talked about was when i was a child, an experience i had with police. it wasn't a pleasant experience. and that experience was one where i to this day do not take out my trash without having an i.d. in my pocket. and then i related that back to what those people who were talking about in the trust act would feel. and what it did was it changed the conversation. so i think when we're thinking about how we communicate -- we also think about who is communicating. and not always have the leadership which generally does not look like the person standing before you right now. because, they can't tell those stories. and i think that will have some impact on whether or not we can move those progressive policies, because, the communities that i represent are a lot of what we're talking about anyway. so i just wanted to put that point out. >> that's a very good point. that is an important point, because, progressives we are a big tent. you know, when we talk about morals and values, let's also
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talk about including, you know, people of faith from islam, and hindu, and all of those things. we are a big tent, expand and make sure that those values are also interconnected into everything -- they're all similar. even when we're talking about it's easy to talk about immigration reform. it's easy to talk about black, brown issues and other things. you know, but you need to have the voice of the people who are affected as part of those conversations, as well. so i appreciate that point. >> and i think it also speaks to, again, the power of personal narrative. we've seen in the anti-poverty community conservatives do something like a lottery winner getting food stamps in one state to further an agenda to put asset limits so there's millions of people who want to build statements -- because of one isolated incident. and so i think there's a need to to give voice to the millions of people who are actually using whether it's social services or need a minimum wage or need paid sick days but define platforms
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for the real stories to get out there and to leverage them for activism. so i think that's a very important point more broadly. >> can i also chime in on this? >> and then we'll take your question, sure. >> and i think this gets back to the values question, and to the point i was trying to make. i think it's a both and point because having the identity recognized, and is i think critically important but i also think we need to have everyone be able to see themselves in the conversation. and i think that's where the arguments about the economy really come into play. it's not -- you mentioned the minimum wage. and i think the minimum wage for example for years, the focus had been, this is fair. this is fair. well, yes, but also, it is good for our economy to raise the minimum wage. and the reason is, because you have more consumers. you put more money in people's pockets. if you don't do that, you've got the stagnant economy where no business -- and that's i think
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the broader story about why all of the policies matter in addition to the identity and the values, they have a broader effect on the economy, and they reflect how the economy actually works. it does not work from rich job creators making things better for us. it comes from the strong and growing middle class, making it function for everyone. and i think when we make those values, fairness, identity, connected with the larger economy story, we have the right mix. >> yes. well it's a good start to wrapping this up. it's been an incredible conversation, i can talk about it. i think we all can talk about this all day. hopefully one of the takeaways that people get from this is that things are happening in the states. this is where the action is. this is where the fight is for the soul of the country, for middle class, working class issues. and it really is, you know, sort of this corporate frame versus the people's frame. and you know, groups like
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c.a.p., and others, are taking it now. are taking it to the states and really supporting this work. and i hope people watching on television, people here in this room, organize ourselves to be able to fight for these issues that matter to all of us in our own backyards. so, thank you for the conversation. thank you for your stories. thank you for your questions. and we look forward to carrying on this conversation moving forward. thank you. [ applause ] president obama welcomes afghanistan's new president to the oval office today. mark knoller tweeted this out today. afghan flag flies over blair house for president ashraf ghani who will be at the white house today for talks with president obama. blair house is where foreign dignitaries stay. they're expected to discuss u.s. troop levels in afghanistan. afterwards, they're expected
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to talk with reporters at about 2:20 eastern. we'll have live coverage here on c-span3 as president obama holds a joint news conference with the new afghan president. immediately after that briefing, we'll take you live to the senate commerce subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security, which is holding a hearing on domestic drones and how that technology is impacting safety and privacy. and coming up thursday we'll be live as homeland security secretary jeh johnson testifies before the house appropriations subcommittee about his department's budget request for 2016. the department's asking for about a 9% increase with the largest increases in immigration, technology, prisons and local grants. here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span2's book tv saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on after words, author peter wallison says government housing policies
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caused the 2008 crisis and could happen again. and at 5:00 on sunday, jeffrey saks on a development plan to counter issues like poverty, political corruption and environmental decay. and saturday morning at 10:30 eastern on american history tv on c-span3, a discussion on the last major speeches of abraham lincoln and martin luther king jr. then, sunday afternoon at 4:00, on reel america the 1965 meet the press interview with martin luther king jr. find our complete television schedule at and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. e-mail us at or send us a tweet at c-span #comments. join the c-span xovgsconversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. the american public transportation association held their annual legislative
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conference here in washington, d.c. recently to discuss infrastructure funding. that event included panel discussions on surface transportation legislation, the impact of transit systems on local economies and an update from transportation department officials on rail and transit initiatives. this is about an hour. good morning, everybody. hello, welcome. great to see you. i feel an air of enthusiasm in this crowd today. and you're not going to be disappointed. good morning, i'm mike allegra the president and ceo of the utah transit authority, and i'm honored to be able to host this panel today with three great mayors from three incredible cities.
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i've been in the business a long time, four decades, i started my career here in virginia. and i appreciate the fact that c-span is here to, frankly, help spread the dialogue about investment in transportation. you know, in utah we have benefited significantly by our partnerships for the federal agencies. our first full funding grant came to us in 1997. subsequently to that, we've gotten six full funding grants have built 140 miles of rails in 14 years, perhaps the quickest in this nation, and we are benefiting significantly by that investment. a decade or so ago, our community, state, local governments and partnerships with the federal agencies decided and made a commitment to invest their tax resources in transportation, highways and transit. we now are one of the best economic states in the country.
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i will tell you that no one, no elected official, has lost their job because of that commitment that they made a decade ago. in fact, our governor is now the chairman of the national association of governors. our state senate chairman of the national league of legislators. our chamber of commerce lane beatty has become on the national board of the chamber of commerce. and our mayor of salt lake city is now the president and the national league of cities. and so, we are looked at, i believe, as a state that is well run, knows how to get things done, but recognizes that investment in infrastructure are one of the key pillars to economic growth and vitality. so we're here today with three incredible mayors that are going to talk to you about their stories.
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but before i do that, i wanted to read the president of the united states, i've been told, is competing with us today, because he's at the national league of cities. so i very much appreciate these mayors being here, but i have a statement i want to read to you from mayor ralph becker who is the president of the league of cities. and he says, quote, national league of cities and the american public transit association have enjoyed a close working relationship for many decades. the results of which have been tremendous transit progress for those cities we serve. our great transit accomplishments in the salt lake region is an important example of the benefit of this collaboration. as the nlc president and mayor of salt lake i look forward to continuing to work with apta forwards a long-term, well funded, transportation reauthorization this year.
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the president's proposed grow america act is an important contribution to this must-do reauthorization effort. so with that, those who participated yesterday in the legislative conference heard from a gentleman called jeff loving who represents america's infrastructure alliance. he made three key points that will be the focus of today's conversation. number one, make it local. okay. you have local here. number two, talk about economic benefits and commerce. talk about how transportation does what it's done in utah. talk about how it will affect your community, and lastly, perhaps most importantly, investment saves money. now is the time to make an investment, because it will pay dividends in the future. you won't be borrowing. it will cost you less.
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and i think the mayor will talk about that as we do some local efforts in that regard. you're hearing from three, strong, conservative, fiscally responsible, energetic, motivated, fast-growing communities. each of which have a passion for transportation and transit. these mayors have a vitality of their own, and they are developing a sense of place in a community like no others. i like to say that the cities that are surrounding them, salt lake and dallas, and phoenix are suburbs to their cities there. so, let me have you buckle up your seat belts because you're in for a ride here. i'm going to introduce the three mayors in the order that they're going to speak, and then pose three main topics today. first off i want to hear and have them share with you stories about their city and what their vision is.
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second, they're going to drill down a little bit and talk about transportation, and their transit projects and what they see as benefits to the community, what their future for transportation are, and then lastly we're going to zero in on the partnerships with federal agencies and things that we can do together and perhaps offer some recommendations to apta for things we can do to be great partners with local government. so the first mayor to my left here, on your right, is -- excuse me, mayor betsy price. she is the mayor of fort worth, texas, it's the 16th largest city in the united states. established in 1849, i think, mayor? was an american outpost as part of the mexican-american war. but what i found interesting in looking it up online is there were three transformational times in fort worth's history. number one, they were part of the chisolm trail, the cattle drive. and initially established fort
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worth. then they became the crossroads of the texas and pacific railway. the second major boon to that city. and then in the early 1900s, they had close to 400 miles of street cars in the dallas-ft. worth area. huge, huge investment in street cars. so i think we're going to hear from the mayor today as a mover and shaker. she was elected in 2001, the 44th mayor of this city. she leads efforts in engaging and designing a healthy community. she talks a lot about alternative modes of transportation, particularly walking and cycling, and maybe she'll talk to you about her walking and rolling town hall. she's an avid cyclist. yet she gets time to spend with her family, her husband, her children, and her three grandchildren, and apparently she's a proud maverick with a bachelor's degree from the university of texas at arlington.
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mayor john giles from mesa, arizona. i looked up on wikipedia what a wonderful thing. they call mesa, arizona the center of population for arizona. mayor. >> center of the universe. >> center of the universe, i'm sorry. >> don't sell us short, yeah. >> third largest city in arizona, the 38th largest city in the united states, and its history actually goes back 2,000 years ago, maybe we'll hear about this, with the tribes, and they developed canals in those communities, another form of transportation. mayor giles is the 40th mayor of mesa. he started his mayoralship in 2014 but he's had a long history with governance being on the city council, and in many, many organizations, boards and committees.
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he has a poly sci degree from byu, brigham young university, so he's a cougar. he has a law degree from arizona state, and has managed and practiced and manages a law office of his own. and born and raised in mesa. he's a marathoner. he's a triathlete. he has finished two full iron mans. and this year, he finished his 20th marathon and his fourth boston marathon. so i think, and i hope, we can keep up with him. lastly and not least the mayor of riverton city, utah. from my community, mayor applegarth serves as the mayor, he's been there since 2006. this year they're celebrating their 150th birthday. it is a high energy, high growth community. the population has exploded. he'll tell you about that.
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it was listed by cnn as one of the top places to live in the united states. it also has a rich transit history in 1913 and has the salt lake and utah railways and urban line that went right through its community there. so mayor applegarth has been on city council, he's worked as an educator, he has a law degree, excuse me, a doctorate from byu, is a cougar, as well, and he spent his entire career in the educational system. he does have eight children, and 30 grandchildren. and he is a leader in our community. he is on virtually every transportation community. our relationship with the transit organization and the npo, the best i know of in the country and kudos to mayor applegarth and the things that he does there. so with that i'm going to ask the mayors to talk a little bit about their cities, and what
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they're doing so they can paint the picture for you of what's going on in their cities and then we'll move on to even more transportation agenda. so we can start with either one of you. >> you're miked. >> we're all miked. >> hopefully the mike's not been on, when we were unhere talking. i've been caught doing that. we're not capital steps, we know you're waiting to see capital steps. although mayor giles said he would tap dance for you. in addition to running marathons he's a tap dancer. and i guess we'll stand behind him. i understand that you're coming to cow town to fort worth in may and i hope each and every one of you in this room will come. you're absolutely going to love it. we are the 16th -- actually the 17th largest city now. we got beat out by 105 people in charlotte in the midterm count. i think that's a statistical error. but we're one of the fastest growing cities in the nation,
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since the year 2000. about 1,000 people a day come to texas, and about 350 of those people land in dallas or fort worth. so we are huge. we're 800,000 citizens now, and in the next ten years we'll be more than 1 million citizens. and you know, we always say, we're a big, spread-out city. ft. worth is 352 square miles and 344 square miles of etj. so ultimately we'll be a big, big landmass. and texas heritage, as you all know, we're obviously behind on mass transit, because we love our suburbans and we love our pickups and we're just now getting people to really think about public transit. we've always had it there. it's always served the working class. you mention street cars. believe it or not we used to have the largest line of street cars dallas and ft. worth but
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we don't have a single street car any longer. so we really poured a lot of concrete. but we all know as leaders, we know that you're never going to pour enough concrete to accommodate the growth. you're simply not. and our young leaders, our young millennials who are moving there for the high tech jobs, for the defense industry jobs, aviation, tourism, all really want one car. and we're seeing them move back in the inner city, as well as our suburb cities, but we have to rebuild those inner cities and keep them strong. and transit is a way. they want to be able to leave one car in their garage and not take it out, to take a circulator bus or to take a bus to the intermodal and really get around, and then they want that last mile to be a connection on bicycles. and we've really got a strong museum district. we have 65 million tourists last year in tarrant county. we've redone our convention center and about to redo it again. part of that is development from our transit system.
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our intermodal that went in made a big difference on what we have done. but we are the -- fort worth together, gary thomas is here from dart somewhere, even though we like to fuss about our friends in dart we really are a huge region. and like many of you in this room we tend to not be able to separate dallas from ft. worth. once you come you're going to be able to separate them easily and you're only going to come back to ft. worth. because we are not the center of the universe. but our public we have in the last two years and for the next three years we'll have $34 billion of infrastructure construction going on. we say everybody in ft. worth has got orange cone syndrome. they hate them. they're sick of it. they're just sick of it. but we've got to get our public transit better. we've got to get it for the millennials coming in. and more importantly than the millennials the silver tsunami is here. the number of people who turned
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65 a day, and will for the next ten years, if you haven't googled it, google it. it will blow your mind how many of us there are. and i'm one of those. and they tell me all the time, we want transit because we want to age in place. we're not going to drive for much longer. hopefully they will but many of them won't. they want to be able to take transit but they want to be technical savvy. they want to pull up the next bus locator and see when the bus comes. texas is hot. ft. worth is 110 in july and august. and you don't want to stand on the corner looking for your bus. you want to be able to be in your office or in your home and say, oh, here it comes all i got to do is walk down the street and catch it. and we're beginning to get there. the federal government has helped with some of that. but it's also got to be sexy. but it's also got to be a ride that appeals to people. they've got to be able to put their bicycle on the front, which they currently can't, hop on the bus, go to work, take
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their bike off and complete that last mile. and it really is a major reason for us. we're just not going to accommodate all the cars that we have. my friends that are in the car business hate it when i say that because they say we're going to keep selling. i said keep selling and we're going to try to keep parking them and put them on buses. but gridlock will kill us. the growth that we've seen, already the major arterial from mexico across the u.s., interstate 35 runs through ft. worth and it's the best parking lot in the nation. and we're actively remodeling it. in the next four years it will be remodeling, not the proper term, but renovating it and there will be an express lane courtesy of a federal grant down the center. we have a development on the far north edge. in tarrant county and denton county both, but ft. worth city limits, called alliance town center. alliance town center sprung up from an old ranch property.
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it is now 35,000 jobs and rapidly growing, one of the largest retail centers we have got, but part of our development incentive is that anywhere from 5 to 15% of the employees there to get a tax incentive have to come from the inner city. we struggled with getting them up to 35. and when 35 is redone, the t, which is our transit authority will run an express bus up in the morning, and reverse it and run it back down in the evening. and then they will have to develop a circulator system to get there. and that's already in the master plan and i'll talk just a second and then let them speak about the t. the t is our transit system funded by a half cent sales tax from city sales tax and the federal grants and rider fees. it's been very successful. our next big project is text rail or light rail. we have one rail project now. the first and it's a joint project with dart. the tre, the trinity rail
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express and it's about 8,000 riders a day. it commutes -- it is a commuter line between dallas and ft. worth. it's been successful because young people and all people, really, they just don't see the boundary between the cities. they like to be able to come and go. they like to go to dinner, go to the stockyards, the museums and back and forth. but our next big project is going to be a light rail project and we're excited about that, so, come see us, you're going to love it. >> thanks, mayor. >> well, thanks for letting me be here. things are so crowded at the national league of cities with the president coming, we were joking, we drew the long straw and were lucky to come here and avoid all the chaos that is at the other side of town right now. so thanks for giving us an out to that. i'll respectfully disagree as to where the location of the center
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of the universe is. it's a dual edged sword there. if i'm a little grouchy i'm here instead of there right now, it's because during march, mesa is the center of the basketball universe. we're a big spring training city. if i wasn't here, i'd be watching the chicago cubs. we're a two-stadium city, so we have the cubs or the a's, and i would be wearing short sleeves and sipping a diet coke with my feet up having a great time. so, i invite everyone to come to mesa. march is a great time to be there. because of all of the spring training activity. the weather's perfect and we have a lot of out of town guests, so, next time you're looking for something to do in march, put mesa, arizona, on your map. mesa is is a great place. we're one of the larger cities, maybe is not a household word, in your lexicon out here. we kind of anchor the east valley, the east part of the
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phoenix metropolitan area, where about half a million people 37th largest city in the country, second largest city in the phoenix metro region. kind of big on our own, but still very much a part of the phoenix transportation system, mag and other regional transit authorities. we are the beneficiary of a lot of our funding through them, so we're the beneficiary of having that asset directly to our east. i'm sorry, to our west. but again, on our own, pretty advanced, large city. while there was recently i think a few months ago, an interesting article in forbes that labeled mesa the most conservative city in the united states. and as a large, if you look up here, there's not a lot of large urban cities that have kind of a conservative bent to them, but you see probably three examples of that phenomenon up here right now.
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and so, it's an interesting location to analyze the popularity of transit systems. so, i'm curious to hear my fellow panel members talk about that. we are a large city, we're a growing city. economically, we are still trying to claw our way out of a downturn. we have a lot of things going for us. we have a large boeing facility in mesa. we just added the announcement of a new, $2 billion apple facility. we're riding a good wave of economic development. at the same time i grew up in mesa in a downtown area that in my childhood was part of the old route 66, so, we had motels and a very vibrant, interesting downtown in mesa in the '60s and early '70s. of course with the advent of freeways being built, the north and south of us, our downtown just kind of withered up and died and went to large big box malls. i think i see a lot of smiling faces.
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people recognize the scenario, it's been duplicated all over the country. so we're kind of a poster child for that whole, we had a great downtown. we built malls and freeways downtown withered up and died and i was on the city council in the '90s and we would find every possible way to try to pump life into downtown, that was literally a ghost town and we threw a lot of money at it and nothing seemed to stick and towards the end of my service on the council back in the '90s, when i felt like i had worked that out of my system, one of the last votes i had was do we participate in this regional transit program that's going to bring light rail to the edge of our city. i remember being more than skeptical, thinking this is kind of cute, walt disneyland ride that will come into our city, but i don't see it as something that's going to help us from a transportation perspective, but i reluctantly agreed to go on
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with this communist conspiracy of bringing these silly little cars to the edge of ou community and thought i might live to regret that move. i have to tell you i am so delighted now to come back to city government and no one's ever been happier to be entirely wrong than i think i am. light rail has been a huge boon to our economy. light rail has proven to be successful as a transportation system to mesa millennials, seniors, specifically, for reason you know better than i, are very attracted to that. we've exceeded ridership. we're ten years ahead. but as popular and as successful as it has been as a transportation system, it's been more successful as an economic redevelopment system. the downtown urban core of motels and other businesses that were dying, the property values along that light rail route have
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just skyrocketed and we're excited. this fall we're going to open light rail right through our downtown core. the construction is pretty much complete. and we've seen all this economic development activity and we have another two miles going further to the east that will be open in two more years, so, through a variety of creative and aggressive financing models with the help of regional dollars and federal dollars, we've been able to pull this off and it's really going to breathe life back into the core of my community that like i say, i and everybody i know of had pretty much given up on, so i'm here to tell that story and to encourage everyone to use us as a place to look to when you want to get excited about light rail. mesa, like these other cities, we're about 150 square miles. and so, we're kind of a spread out, urban suburb and community,
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so, light rail has got a lot of excitement, but at the same time, we're so spread out, we have to figure out other ways. one train track going down the middle of our community is not going to have a huge impact on all of our transit needs, so we've tried to be sensitive to that. there's a lot of park and rides worked into this model. as we've progressed further east, we're going to find this next few miles going forward is going to take it actually out to where people live in our community. i think we'll see the commuter aspect of light rail becoming more relevant as we push further east out into our neighborhoods. like i said, from a commercial perspective, generating excitement about a part of our town, the people looked to with some amount of disappointment and almost shame, this has been tremendously successful and i encourage you to take another look at mesa.
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thank you. [ applause ] >> i'm the little dog city up here today. i want to make sure you understood one thing mike said. when he talked about it was our 150th anniversary, i hope you realized that was the city, and not mine. with all these gray hairs, i wouldn't want you to get confused on it. i come from riverton, utah. i wasn't born and raised there. i was born and raised in southern california. and i moved to riverton in 1975. where 20 miles south of salt lake city, so we're in the metropolitan area. when i moved there, there were 3,000 people in 1975. in 2015, we have 42,000 people approximately and by 2030, i believe we'll be built out by then, we'll have 60,000 people. we're 12.6 square miles. i didn't leave a zero off of there. we're 12.6 square miles and we
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have a general fund budget of $9.2 million to kind of give you a feel for our city. as i became mayor, i wrote down some goals that i wanted to -- accomplish, some emphasis. i wrote down some of my philosophy and what i wanted to do that way and one of the things i wrote down that wasn't in my campaign, but as i took office, my major job was to spend money. not to save money. but to spend money, but to spend it in the right way. and then as i analyzed and had when i was on the council, and probably view in your area the very negative funding for us is property tax. if you raise property tax, they want to hang you by the nearest tree. if there's not a tree, they'll just run over you with their
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pickup truck, it doesn't matter, either way. but you don't mess with property tax, so i got our city out of the property tax business. we fund our city basically by two sources. sales tax and utility franchise taxes. and when you do that, people don't care where you spend money. as long as you don't raise their taxes, they are fine and we raise the taxes by good, economic growth that i'll talk about in a minute and so, that is where we have come from and that has allowed me to do that in that way. philosophically for my goals, my overarching goal or principle is if it doesn't improve the quality of life for our citizens, why do it? my job is to spend money to improve the quality of life. i also inherited an area in this 12.6 square miles, i inherited
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an area that was a lot of farmland and then what permanent buildings we had and what i would call downtown riverton have been most of those have been taken away through widening the roads by udot. so, we had a pretty clean, clear canvas that we could develop. and when i went on the council, there was a senior city council member, and his slogan was, which i adopted in my own mind as well, you only have one time to build out a city. build it out right. and so, that became the overarching goal, too, and so, we don't have a lot of economic redevelopment. we have economic development because of that, which has been a blessing for us. and these aren't necessarily in the order of importance, but they're the goals that i've had all the time. one is to have and develop over
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open space. and we developed open space starting with parks. and in the nine years that i've been in as mayor, little over nine years, we spent $28 million on parks. and that's not a lot of money for you folks in one way, but for us, $9.2 million for a general fund, we spent a lot of money on parks. our last project will be finished june 22nd. it will be open. it was our old historic main park. it was falling apart. it had been built in the '50s by volunteers. the sewer didn't work. the power didn't work. the buildings were old. we're just completing a $17 million project where we took the park down to the dirt. and everything has been replaced except the dirt and we even brought in more topsoil, so in a way, we replaced the dirt as well. that project is being completed
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and we turned it into a, instead of a baseball park, it has been turned into a passing park. we built in 2010, we built a new baseball park, spent $7 million on that. so that is just a baseball and football park. for our young people to be involved in organized sports. and some soccer and some tournaments with girls baseball. we have another park for girls baseball. but this was a passive park. our other parks are generally programmable parks for youth sports because we have a high percentage of youth in our area. we have a very young population because of the growth. so, now, we're taking and moving into the second part of that. and that is we're now moving to trails. we have because we were farmland, we have irrigation canals that bisect our city.
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we have five of those. and every canal if you're aware of the west and irrigating to the dry farming you have a road next to it, a path, for canal maintenance. we have the jordan river on our east boundary. the jordan river has a nice trail that has been put down to jordan river and completed in our area. we're now in the designing and working with canal companies to move ahead and put trails as well. we're basically concerned with active transportation. which is we're moving and that is becoming our city engineer's major focus in that regard. we'll talk about our road transportation later, but we're pretty well completed on that. we've spent quite a bit of money on that as well. but we're moving to the trails. we've got young people, old people that like to walk, so we need bike trails, walking trails and running trails and in part of our city, horse trails. there's part of our city that we're moving towards higher
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densities and we'll be in high densities, so there's no horses up there, but in the traditional part of our city we have horse trails and are expanding those as well as we go along and do that. the third goal we've had is economic development. it's critical to us to develop rides because we're so dependent on sales tax and franchise and so, we're in the process right now of finishing a deal that hopefully will bring about $400 million of construction into commercial construction, into our area. principally, a retail development with some office space, a hotel and big boxes as well. during my administration, we've had the opportunity of seeing big boxes move in. so, we have the walmarts, we have two walmarts in our city. we have home depot. we have lowe's, kohl's. before that, we had peterson's
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market and riverton drug. and so it has been fun to see those develop. development in our county comes from the north and the east. so i learned easily and quickly that you have to wait your turn. but i just didn't want to sit there, so my time was spent a lot of infrastructure improvements and that's what's going on there. we'll finish out our infrastructure improvements in the next couple of years in that way. so economic development is important to us. if you're familiar with salt lake, we're in the southwest part of salt lake. we sit in a valley, surrounded by mountains or the lake. we are very narrow. i'm not sure how wide we are. i would guess about 15 miles wide. in that regard and so, we have this corridor and right now, when i moved there, there was one road out of riverton because of the jordan river it was a barrier to us and the
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sensitivity we have in our area for the lands around the environment around the jordan river and not to interfere with that very much. we now have two roads out of riverton. one is bangalar highway, a road that carries about 45,000 people a day and so, we've widened our other roads so that we have roads, our other road we had in riverton handles 30,000 people a day. we have bangular highway, which goes north and south and east and west. it circles because we're against the foothills where you can't go directly out. we've had those kinds of things and mobility going forth, and we'll talk about that a little later. but it's important for us to include all aspects of transportation. public transportation is an important part, rail, a very important part. which we'll talk about a little later.
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as i mentioned, i grew up in los angeles, california. grew up in the smog era. grew up where you can't see the beautiful mountains because they were hidden a lot of the year by what we call smog in those times. grew up with a healthy young man, but when you're too involved with athletics, your chest would hurt because of the air pollution that was in the area. moved to salt lake and saw the big, blue skies and the mountains, but have seen that deteriorate as population has come. a major goal that i have is air quality. we don't have, we have some pollution, but we live between the mountains and the winds move it out of our city a lot against the mountains. even though the bad pollution of
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the salt lake valley is not my direct responsibility geographically, it is politically. that's another critical reason for rail as we develop it in our area. thank you for letting me be here as a little dog. nine years ago, when i got involved, my natural interest would have been to be involved with homeless shelters and social programs. that's where i would normally like to move towards. we don't have any homeless in riverton. i still take part on boards and help finance homeless shelters in salt lake from our city. but i realized that as mayor, the important thing i got
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involved with was roads. as a teacher, what did i know about building roads and all of that? i was in my first elected office 13 years ago as a council member, what did i know about the political way to work? what i soon found is i looked at grants that were coming our way and development coming our way as far as roads and so forth. i never saw riverton's name on it that first year, and so, i started asking what do i need to do and what do i need to be involved with. and this name probably will not mean anything to you, but mayor tom dolan of a major city in our valley, he was gracious enough to go out to lunch with me and i could pick his brain and he said, bill, get involved in the transportation community. so, i've learned the language. i've learned the politics.
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i have the passion. and it's critical to our city, the mobility part is a very, very critical issue. and that's why i've gotten initiative that you have. as you've picked up on, you've got city that's got light rail under construction right now. you've got pun one that's right on the cusp. just about the there. we're happy to help you get over that line and then the mayor talks about future development, planning and preparing for future transportation investments. i was just in phoenix last month. and road the line out to mesa.
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saw the construction. the train in the middle of the day was full and mayor help me, but it was with those silver tsunamis. >> silver tsunamis. >> were packing that train and riding it around and loving it. >> right. >> it's there. ridership is at its highest point in history. utah transit authorities, people are screaming for transit service and alternatives and options, so we'd love to hear from you about a little more specifics about your project. and if you can focus on the benefits to the community. economic benefits, community benefits. perhaps environmental and beneficial. >> sure. well, as i mentioned earlier, our ridership has really exceeded expectation, we are currently at a place where we had hoped to be ten years from now and right now, light rail just comes to the edge of my community. we are the end of the line for the phoenix transit line.
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this fall, probably end of this summer will open three miles from the edge of our city to the heart of our downtown. through literally down the middle of main street and that as i indicated earlier, from an economic development standpoint has been a huge blessing for us. from a transportation point of view as well, it's a huge blessing. we are, we have a fair amount of seniors. arizona particularly the east valley kind of viewed historically as a retirement community. we have one of the amenities we have in our downtown area is a huge, $100 million plus performing arts center that is a magnet for seniors, so there's certainly it's popular, we have a large senior population and it's popular with the senior population, but statistically,
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actually, mesa is a younger than average community. the ma len yals is what's been a surprise to me. we're in a, our culture has changed i think in ways that we didn't anticipate 20 or 30 years ago. folks now don't want to sit in cars. if they can find any way to park a car and get on transit and it works with their lifestyle, they are going to do that. mor often than not. and that's been the case in mesa. soo so, we have a large, several large park and rides at this edge of our community where the system currently terminates. huge parking lot frankly and part of the challenge that we're going to have as a community is once we move the terminals further east, we're going to go back and redevelop these parking lots that aren't quite as big a deals as they needed to be and that's a great opportunity for us as well. it's going to provide more economic development opportunity along this very act of downtown
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light rail route. so, it's tremendously popular. as it goes further east, it's going to continue to add thousands and thousands more people as we reach like i say ultimately, four or five years from now, we'll be in the neighborhood i live in, a very residential neighborhood. not you know, a low income neighborhood. i could very easily hop in my car, travel a block or two, hop on the light rail, go to downtown phoenix, go to all the sporting events, go to the airport, all like i said, just a short car ride, a block or two to go to a light rail station. so i think when that happens, you'll see it impact not just the menials and seniors, but you'll get to the average joes like myself that see it as a viable transportation option as well. >> i think that's true. and we have a focus in ft. worth now on healthy communities.
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a fit worth and blue zone initiative and we will be by far the largest city today that's been designated blue zones and if you can get people out of their community, out of their car and back in their community and transit can do that. transit can allow them to walk and stand and visit, whether at all levels. whether it's the mobility impaired transit that allows them to get around or whether it's young folks with strollers, young families or the it's the silver tsunamis, but getting that transit system expanded adds to the value and vibrancy of your community. we started trinity rail express in '96. it was the first commuter line in the southwest with about 2 million passengers a year and then it sat, but people used it and now, we're back, we realized that we've got to get light rail again. if we're really going to succeed where we want to be in the city,
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you've got the starts of it. and our friends in dallas have seen it. houston, austin and so, ft. worth has been focused on our text rail project and it's our latest project and it will help not only with vibrant, strong, healthy communities, engaged communities, but with our air quality. all our buses like you in the salt lake, we started, there's a brown haze and all of these will help, but tex rail will be our direct to start out with. goal is ultimately, it will be net worked out across the city. but originally, it's going to dfw airport. the airport is jointly owned. it's the third busiest airport in the world and dallas has had dart at the airport, you can come out of your terminal, hop on a people mover and go to the dart link and be this dallas. now, if you're traveling public, coming on business for a convention or if you're coming
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just with your family for tourists and you've got an apgs when you fly into the airport, you'd get a rent car or a $70 cab ride to ft. worth or a $8 bus ride on light rail? to dallas. what are you going to do? >> i was on it last month. it is fantastic. >> it is fantastic. so, we really realize that we have to return our focus on connecting to the airport first and not only will it give us that competitive enl that we need to continue to grow and develop our convention trade, our tourism trade, but it also allows, we've got so many people who live in ft. worth and work in dallas. and if they can go to the intermobile center, hop on tex rail, go to the airport and hop over on to the orange line on dart and be in dallas with no congestion and you know, everybody's married to their ipad or iphone, so, you're not driving, so what can you do in
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you can work or you can read the morning paper. or is my daughter used to say, she could put on our make up and comb her hair when she took the rail because she didn't do it in the morning. but we have our partner cities, city of grapevine and richland hills are partnered with us and it will be funded with our sales tax and we have a request in for a full funding grant and 50 million has been put in one budget and 100 million in this time's budget at the federal level and the good news about the federal grnts on this rail project is that it awe allows us to leverage our sales tax dollars. it's that leveraging we would lose if we don't get federal funding. we're really excited about what tex rail would offer. we have 54 miles of trails and many people say i want to take the train to the airport, get on a trail and peddle back into ft. worth or i want to go to dallas and ride to ft. worth.
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i want to peddle to dallas and ride back to ft. worth and we even get runners who say we're going to go to arlington, hop on a bus, go into is dallas for dinner. it's an interesting concept that people are beginning to think very creatively and innovatively, outside the box, but it's economic development, it's mobility. it's better air quality. it's engaged and healthy cities. it would really make a difference on light rail. >> my previous boss had a saying, if you like to text, twitter or tweet, take transit. >> we're at an interesting time in our city. we have a culture, we'll talk about this later, a culture of unified transportation, roads and transits are together. so, we have that in our city. or in our state. we also have, i came from a background of riding transit. as i worked downtown, the downtown salt lake, rather than drive, i took, i drove over to sandy to get the tracks lined when that came in. i did express buses and just different ways. i had a natural feel for transit.
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i was in a position where i was working ten to 12 hours a day. it gave me time back, i could answer my e-mails, coming and going and that kind of thing. so i had an interest in that, but transit is really a local issue. it's not locally financed in our area. nor could i, but it's a local issue. and so, i was sitting in an npo meeting and they were talking about transit and so forth and some of the new lines and things going forward and there was nothing coming my way at all. there was nothing coming my way. close, to my way. and so, as i sat there, it irritated me. and so, when i was there, i knew that i had to do something. it was my job. so i raised an objection to it. and that we needed to stay in the southwest corridor there. study.
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and i pledged $100,000 for that study. now, keep in mind that we're a $9.2 million. general budget. when i went back to our city manager and we were in high budget. it was during the downturn. i said you've got to find me $100,000. his eyes just went like that. you've got to be kidding me. what have you done? and so, we jumped into the study, it was a $2 million study and is going on now, we're finishing it up in the next few months and it will go before the city councils, four cities that are involved in this. where the city council for the preferred corridor to do. ended up being a $2 million study. uta threw in through their sources $1 million. we pledged $500,000 and went knocking on doors of the other three cities and developers to get other money to round it off. so, it really is that kind of a
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local issue. and then where we are now in addition to funding the study, that's only the start. we've had to work on corridor preservation. so, our planning director and i asked him so many times when new development was coming in, he just got sick of me. do you have the setbacks far enough to that a transit corridor can go through this commercial area. the last thing we want to do is buy building at a time or house at a time, so, we had some various routes, but we had to protect them because of our geography, there was only a couple of ways we could go any way, so we moved in a quarter of preservation in that regard and in our area for roads, we got developers to donate land for roads, we have big developments coming in now and my expectation, i've already talked to them, my expectation is that we will get donated land. they're giving us farmland. right now, the transit project can go through our city without
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tearing down one dwelling. now, that's a, that's an accomplishment of corridor preservation and i'm proud of what our people have been able to do with that. but that's only part of it in our area of study or our point of view. one is to educate our people. the foundation of our city is farmland. farmland and transit don't necessarily mix. but we have it urbanizing, so we're trying to bring through education, bring both groups together. so, we have the people's support. the last thing that uta needs if they're going to build a line through our city is for political pressure to come against that line and protesters
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lining their board meetings and not want to, not want it. if that comes, we will be dead. in the water. and so, that's a very, very important part to me as well. but to get it, it's my job as a mayor and my colleague's job as mayors in our state to get involved in transportation funding. i don't believe that i should ask those in the state legislature and the county council in a congressional area to fund any kind of transportation, road and transit, that i'm not willing to stand out in the front of the parade and take some arrows. i asked them and i'm willing to support them. and so, we'll talk about that later, too. >> you raise an interesting point about planning. i think for 50 years, particularly in the high growth urban areas, we tended to not do as good on regional planning. probably 15, 20 years ago, we started our rtv. our regional transportation
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coalition and it was made up of dallas and ft. worth and all the surrounding seven counties involved in it and it has been a major tool in helping connect. obviously, ultimately in a region like ours and like yours, john, large areas, you can't operate alone. it's too expensive for one city to run a whole system is. you've got leverage and you've got to leverage your regional dollars because if we can plan for the right away and corridors to try to get those through and if we can partner up with our partners and have a master plan, then we're all better served. the t is in the middle of working on their master plan. the city is updating our master plan. present a workshop on transit and it was very interesting and that's going on all over the metroplex and i think that will make you stronger by saying as a region, we're working together. dallas ft. worth used to hardly talk and now, we have weekly dialogue. paul and gary and a lot of them
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meet because it doesn't make sense for us to run a line that stops here and you've got to get off and jump on another one. >> that's a perfect segue to the next session there. >> what both of these mayors were saying resinates. there's no better issue for regionalism than transportation. and when one mayor that has an exciting transit project going on in the middle of his downtown, you become everybody else's new best friend. my mayors to both sides of me are clambering, hey, we need to go out to lunch because i need you to partner with me on some studies. so it's made from a personal popularity perspective, it's been a great thing for me with my fellow mayors and it just makes a tremendous amount of sense. regionally, it can bring it together in ways that other issues don't have the same sex
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appeal. >> and there's a whole lot of friendly competition and mike rawlings is the mayor of dallas and i say it's a friendly co-op. >> we get motivated when cities step up and decide they want to invest in this. that is the best motivator thatnd of to say okay, we're quoing to partner and that is the segway to the next option. which is what can we do to partner this enthusiasm and commitment at the local level. we're seeing referendums pass 75, 80% around the nation, conservative states are passing referendums to support public transportation. we're seeing local governments step up and extend their budgets to the enth degree to invest in that planning that's so
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important. the mayor talked about three other cities, stepped up and said we've got to do this for our future. how can we convey that energy and enthusiasm here to washington. share that with our congressman. share with them how important this is to you, your communities and frankly, mayor, you talked about community engagement. how do we build that grass roots support we're evidencing with you and your cities and transfer that here to washington? >> i'll give you a couple of examples. we passed a bond election, a $294 million bond election this past november. 220 million of that is dedicated to transportation, to streets and roads and the state of texas passed proposition 1, which was constitutional. we passed that bond election at almost 80%. funding guarantees constitutional amendment of several billion dollars a year flowing back into transportation
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projects. but what you, i think part of what we did was we got out and we talked to, we did town halls and we advertised and talked and we formed coalitions on prop one to pass this state guarantee to get out and talk, but we've done the same thing with washington. we come up here and lobby fairly often and when they're home and when they have, people tend to think and you as mayors understand, you get an invitation to a local elected official or u.s. senator or house member's election to their fund-raiser. and you think, well, they just want me to give them money. that's not necessarily the case. they want to hear from you. they want your money for their campaign, but you need to be going as transit members, as people working on transit, you've got to go talk to them. catch them with when their home, when they're here. tell them how critical it is. give them the statistics on the
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growth. give them the statistics on what's happening. you know, take them for a ride on your train system or your light rail or where ever you are, but keep them in the loop. education is what's killing us in d.c. and for us in austin because they've developed a tremendous disconnect from what's happening at the local level and no one knows better than what's going on than your mayor and council. it can help spread that message, but to do it, you've got to advocate with your citizens. they can help you because they're voting for those people, also. you've got to turn your local citizens on to local transit to get d.c. interested in it. >> i agree. in order to afford this, you have to have regional funding. you have to work with your neighboring communities and you have to pass sales tax, you have to and i think there is a real appetite out there. all of us share the frustration of getting in our car and tryinging to get from point a to b.
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that's a common denominator. so, there is that angst to draw upon and if we can rally regionally with our neighbors, you can get it. an amount of money that's going the attract washington's attention. you're seeing from their point of view, the reasonable likelihood of a success stories. washington leadoffs success stories. they love the come to ribbon cuttings. tell positive stories and if you can paint a positive scenario in your community, you stand a good likelihood of attracting the federal money you'll need. as mayor was saying, it has to be a regional priority. in our community in order to expedite things happening, we are able to shift some of the federal stp money and flex it in a way that we can prioritize it for light rail. and by doing that, we expedited things happening. we've used this t pan is the
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phrase we use, but we're using multiple dollars to expedite the funding. we're paying city of mesa funds, knowing the money will be here rather than waiting five or ten years to make a project happen. people came to mesa knowing this was our priority and that we would put our money where our mouth is but i think that commitment to success attracted the cooperation of the federal government loosened up the regional dollars in ways that we can focus because we used some flexibility and said we don't really need some of the street projects that we have on our budget. are less a priority than the transit projects, so let's prioritize our money in a way that we can do a large,
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significant project and get it done now instead of ten years from now. >> you know, we have a regional in our area statewide and we need to be working together and we, i had nothing to do with this, but i'm sure glad that others put in in place. we have a unified transportation plan. so, we are unified in our transit and our road and our active transportation. so, in our, our legislature is in session right now. will finish this thursday, so we have some major transportation funding we're after and the ceo of our transit district, the nbo, or npo is there as well. hand in hand with their staffs. the city, league of cities in the state is there together. we also are have the business community, the chamber of comers
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is there with us. we realize that if we weren't united in what we wanted and we were fighting against each other between transit and roads and this and that, that we weren't going to get it. to say the least, utah is not a liberal legislature. some of our representatives and i understand their position, are trying to help you as long as it isn't a tax increase. and so, now, what's happened in our state legislature, what's going on right now and today we'll change some things i think and go forward from this. but right now, there's two types of financing that they're looking at. for this. one is an increase in gas tax. and one is a sales tax. there are different groups that all have a part of this pie and we have to work together. our state roads run through our cities. u dot in our city is finishing a project, a $45 million road project. so, i can't worry about city roads and say to the director of udot, hey, you do what you want, i don't have any interest in it.
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he's united with transit as well in this, so, the state needs money. they need more money. the city needs more money for construction and maintenance terribly needs more money in that for roads. so, we have that as well. and public transportation needs more money, and so, we have right now, a bill, we have several bills, but the bill that is more encompassing is a sales tax increase where you would get a .1 for transit, .1 for local roads and a .05 for counties and in the rural part of our state where you don't have transit authorities or needs, then that 1.14 for transit goes to the county because you'll have more roads in that. at first, i thought why are we counting these roads? we have 30 miles of roads in salt lake city and some of our southern communities, we have three and four thousand miles of roads. because that's all there are. rural areas. and so, we have that and we also have a gas tax, several bills on the gas tax. one's just a straight increase of ten cents on gasoline. five cents on diesel. 70% of that goes for state roads.
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the other 30% goes for local roads. the other part of it is to take our gas tax, 24.5 cents per gallon and change it into a sales tax on fuel so it grows with inflation. but it's -- uniting together and each of us have our roles, so, our fight in the legislature right now is is not, it's between the senate and the house. it's not about the need for more transportation money. a very conservative state keep in mind. it's not that. it's about you do gas tax or sales tax. or do you do both? isn't it kind of nice to have a mom and dad fighting over how to give the kids more money? i don't care whether it comes out of the left pocket or the right pogt, but the way we've achieved that as mayors is that we've said to the legislature with the sells tax, we don't want you the raise sales tax. we want you to put it on the ballot.
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we're willing to stand with you and champion the cause champion the cause. so what problem is ann authorization for both these states through the the county council of commission and have a county council or commission put it on the ballot. it will be then distributed in the county of orgin, it will distributed in a variety of ways, wu we as mayors and we are united on this. are willing to stand up and walk on. it's not there. if i say to my legislator, get me money. and then i just sit back and let
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him take the heat. it's my role to be arm in arm with him. >> and the other way to get their attention is to talk about jobs. they tend to forget how many jobs are involved in any transit and any transportation project. and then when you start construction, you've got additional jobs on the construction that come in and that's a big deal for any official to be able to talk about jobs. >> you're going to move this into the q and a for the audience, but i wanted to summarize what i think i've heard today. to be successful, you've got to have four major ingredients. good projects, good merit. good value added to your community ch you've got to have a good team that can deliver
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them. whether they're construction or operation, you've got to engender that trust in the community that's out there. you've got to put your money where your mouth is and come up with the local resources an then you have to have that community that says i want it. underscore what the mayor just said. there are 85 cities in six counties that have gotten together along with the highway department and transit agency and virtually every other decision making body for transportation and have endorseded a plan. we're not fighting about what's on the plan. we're just in the weeds frankly talking about how to pay for it. those four ingredients understood score the need here in washington. we can do it, they can do it, too. they can be our partners. i don't want to forget and mayor, i touched upon the fact that a lot of this investment in utah is for state of good repair.
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to think about a conservative state that isn't talking as much about the shiny bells and whistles, more about potholes and replacing street pavement and running buses, number one gel i think that's a story we can share, so, success, you've understood score the need here in washington. we can do it, they can do it, too. they can be our partners. i don't want to forget and mayor, i touched upon the fact that a lot of this investment in utah is for state of good repair. to think about a conservative state that isn't talking as much about the shiny bells and whistles, more about potholes and replacing street pavement and running buses, number one goal in our state. it's an amazing phenomena that's coming to fruition. and i think that's a story we can share. so success begets success. i think you've seen it in all of these communities. and i think that's the message we put forward in washington. let me open up to these mayors and see if you can promote them.
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i know you're not a shy crowd. >> capitol steps are waiting. >> mayors, maybe one thing you can share with apta or us as an organization that we can help carry forward from your comments today. >> i love the stand up for transportation. i think taking the message back how critical it is that this country continue to rebuild its infrastructure that we can continue to offer modern, innovative ways to attract people to use traffic because it helps us at every level from air quality, congestion, time save, productivity and a healthier community. it's just a great message and this group can be a great vehicle for helping pass that along. >> great 9th, don't forget.
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>> the best lesson you can learn from what's happened in our community is the importance of flexibility. and looking at the pots of money that you have and trying to figure out how to focus the resources you do have on the most important projects. to prioritize. are there ways you can shift some of the federal and our regional moneys to address the top needs. we've all got budgets with a variety of projects on them. and if some of the projects that you have funding for are not the most important projects, then you need to figure out how to make that problem be a problem anymore. so that's one of the things we've done locally that i'm proud of that i would suggest you take a look at. >> i think from my perspective is do what you do best. and that's build and operate public transportation. i wish i could tell you that you wouldn't have to worry about your funding.
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but you do. but tell us as mayors how we can help you with the funding. i have no idea how to build anything. but i need your help in tells me what i need to do and where i need to support and what buttons i need to push. because my job is to get the funding for you, but i can't do it on my own. >> great. >> sorry for being a little late coming up. to your funding question, you talked a lot about sales tax and you've talked about other pots of money. have any of you used tax increment financing, value capture, special assessment districts and could you just give us a little flavor of how to get the businesses that will be taxed in those areas on board with those funding streams? >> when trinity rail express came in in '96, following that,
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it comes to the -- what's our old t & p. texas and pacific terminal both. we had very little downtown living and the t & p building is in a tiff. tax increment financing zone and that money was able to come in and help renovate what the terminal along with the t and several, the city money and build residential lofts there and they sold out in less than a year, but the tiff zone around it is an incredible asset because it helps with the landscaping, the upkeep on it. there's another area they're looking at that is in that tiff. he's telling me yeah, it extends over to the side. it's been an incredible tool for us for reinvestment and we expect to see the same thing on tod developments as tex rail comes in.
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>> that hasn't been part of our formula, frankly. we rely heavily on the regional transit tax. and i think that was past several years ago based in large part of the angst that our community was feeling over the failure to build highways as well as we should have. so, and wrapped up in that very popular notion of let's build more popular highways was a component for some transit and so, now, we're the beneficiaries of the transit money that really was sold to the public as part of the larger, more aggravating concern about highways. the phoenix system now is fairly well built out when it comes to highways as a result of this regional tax and like i said, the smaller component we're talking about here now has been the transit money that has allowed us to do the other portion of the projects. >> and funding for i-35, the major renovation was sadly not getting funding. we just couldn't seem to get it
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across the finish line until we revamped the plan and put a transit lane up the middle and suddenly, they came in and said, we'll fund it. >> in our community, regional and federal funding is what's taken care of the actual building and there's a 600 acre development we're involved in now. i believe my role is to get that land given to the city so we can give it to the transit authority. and we are using part of that is our cda, cda, we can put in another infrastructure and pay for that. i don't know, but i don't believe we can do that with transit, pay for transit out of the cda money. i'm not sure of the law there, but we can pay for other infrastructure and then get land donated as a result of that and we're putting, we're requiring 20% open space and that will be in transit is in that open space definition and so that's the way
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we're trying to help. >> there's an international lesson learned here. in the asian properties. they're seeing 40, 50% of their resources come from their land development in the european properties, there are 20 and 30%. we're having a hard time reaching that. yet in this country. it's a long way to go. it's part of our cultural and institution infrastructure. there's a lot of reasons why, but there is great progress being made in cities that i know of in the united states and we need to keep that pressure on as the mayor talked about community development, grants and value capture and those kinds of things. it's a resource that probably isn't going to be the primary resource for our business, but it's certainly one of those leverages options that you've talked about today. any other questions? i'm going to say thanks to these mayors. it's been an incredible, phenomenal -- [ applause ]
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>> and i want to show our appreciation by giving them each -- where is phil washington? this is a t-shirt. thank you, mayors, appreciate it. here's a t-shirt for each of you. they are right-sized. enjoy it. thank you all for coming today. i appreciate it. on the -- the afghan president is at the white house today for a meeting with president obama. the two leaders are now following that with a joint news conference, which is expected to get underway here in just a moment in the east room. ahead of this, the "associated press" is reporting the united states and afghanistan are ap nouns announcing the u.s. will slow troop withdrawal, maintain 9,800 troops through the end of this
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year. this joint news conference expected to get underway in a moment. live coverage here on c-span 3. again, waiting for the joint news conference with the president of afghanistan and president obama. should get underway in a moment. while we wait, a discussion on the republicans' budget plan from today's "washington journal." >> congressional republicans released their budget resolutions last week and are looking to move them through their respective chambers this week for a response to the priorities laid out in those budget blueprints. we turn to six-term congresswoman and democratic member of the budget committee wisconsin congresswoman gwen moore. first, how would you describe the priorities of the gop budget plans released last week? >> well, i can tell you, i think their priorities really are to
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shift the largest of the country to the top 1%. and i'm not saying that in any kind of anecdotal way. when you look at the budget priorities literally, they -- they, there are over $5 trillion in cuts. 69% of those cuts are to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. children. the other cuts are aimed at cutting infrastructure investments in research and development, health care, and all of the benefits to the top 1%. with tax cuts. and spending through the tax code. it is really really egregious budget. and in addition to that there are a couple of versions of their budget, which really
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increase military spending above and beyond with the generals and the president have asked for. >> if those are the priorities in the republican budgets released last week, what are the priorities of the democratic budget blueprints? >> oh, the priority of not only the budget as an alternative but the progressive budget, the congressional black caucus budget. really, to end the sequester to pay for the sequester, to make investments in students and education, to make investments in transportation infrastructure. and to really end some of the more onerous and egregious corporate welfare benefits through the tax code. >> here's one of the headlines from the republican budgets that were released last week. this from the "wall street journal." house gop outlines a plan to end deficits. house republicans unveiled a budget proposal last week they said would eliminate federal budget. >> the united states and the president of the islamic republic of afghanistan.
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>> good afternoon, everybody. please have a seat. before i begin, i want to say that our thoughts and our prayers are with our friends in europe. especially the people of germany and spain following a terrible airplane crash in france. it's particularly heartbreaking because it apparently includes the loss of so many children. some of them infants. i called german chancellor merkel, and i hope to speak with the president of spain later today. to express the condolences of the american people and to offer whatever assistance that we can as they investigate what has proven to be an awful tragedy. our teams are in close contact
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and we're working to confirm how many americans may have been onboard. germany and spain are among our strongest allies in the world. as their steadfast friend and ally america stands with them at this moment of sorrow. now, it is a great pleasure to welcome president gani to the white house. as many of you know, president gani spent time here in the united states as a student and as a scholar. where we both studied and spent time in the world bank just down the street from here. and so his life reflects in many ways the friendship and mutual respect between americans and afghans. and in that spirit mr. president, i want to extend to you the warmest of welcomes. president gani's presence here today along with chief executive
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abdullah underscores afghanistan's progress. and last year's election, millions of afghans defied the threats from the taliban and bravely cast their ballots. in the spirit of compromise and putting their interests behind the interests of the nation, president gani and dr. abdullah ensured the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in afghanistan's history. and together they now lead a national unity government that reflects the diversity, the strength and the determination of the afghan people. their government signed the bilateral security agreement between our two countries. and on december 31st, after more than 13 years america's combat mission in afghanistan came to a responsible end. afghan forces now have full responsibility for security across their country. some 330,000 afghans served in the police and security forces.
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and they are making extraordinary sacrifices. fighting and often dying for their country. and they continue to grow stronger month by month. today, we honor the many afghans, men women and children who have given their lives for their country. we salute the more than 2,200 americans patriots, who made the ultimate sacrifice in afghanistan and the many more who were wounded. now, this morning, president gani and dr. abdullah visited arlington national cemetery to pay their respects to their fallen heroes. we are grateful for that gesture of gratitude. and we know it meant a lot to the families, as well. we'll see the bonds again between our people on display when president gani has an opportunity to address congress tomorrow. so would a new government in afghanistan and the end of our combat mission, this visit is an opportunity to begin a new
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chapter between our two nations. president gani and dr. abdullah, i thank you both for your strong support of the partnership between our two nations. and yesterday, they had a chance to spend time in camp david with our respective teams, and had excellent discussions on how we can move forward together. today, guided by our strategic partnership, we focused on several areas. first, we agreed to continue to keep in place our close security cooperation. afghanistan remains a very dangerous place. and insurgents still launch attacks, including cowardly suicide bombings against civilians. president gani is pursuing reforms to further strengthen afghan security forces including respect for human rights. and as part of the ongoing nato mission, the united states will continue to train advise and assist afghan security forces. as we announced yesterday, we'll work with congress on funding to
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sustain 352,000 afghan police and troops through 2017. at the same time we'll continue to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations and we agreed to maintain a dialogue on our counterterrorism partnership in the years ahead. now, at our peak four years ago, the united states had more than 100,000 troops in afghanistan. in support of today's narrow missions, we have just under 10,000 troops there. last year, i announced a time line for drawing down our forces further, and i made it clear that we're determined to preserve the gains our troops have won. president gani has requested some flexibility on our drawdown time lines. i consulted with general campbell in afghanistan, my national security team, and i've decided that we will maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops through the end of this year. the specific trajectory of the 2016 drawdown will be
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established later this year to enable our final consolidation to a kabul based embassy presence by the end of 2016. now, this flexibility reflects our reinvigorated partnership with afghanistan, which is aimed at making afghanistan secure and preventing it from being used to launch terrorist attacks. reconciliation, and a political settlement remain the surest way to achieve the full drawdown of u.s. and foreign troops from afghanistan in a way that safeguards international interests and peace in afghanistan as well as u.s. national security interests. second, and since the best way to ensure afghan's progress is a settlement, we're going to continue to support an afghan led reconciliation process. president gani, you've shown bold leadership in reaching out to pakistan which is critical to the pursuit of peace. afghanistan and the united states agree on what the taliban
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must do. break with al qaeda, and abide by afghan laws including the protections for women and minorities. third, we'll continue to support the national unity government in its efforts to truly serve the afghan people. we discussed the urgent need with parliament support to seat a full cabinet. president gani in your inaugural address, you spoke forcefully about the need to combat corruption, uphold rule of law and strengthen democratic institutions, and the united states very much commends you for those efforts. and you moved many afghans with your eloquent tribute to your wife and partner, first lady. america will continue to be your partner advancing the rights of all afghans, including women and girls. and finally, we'll continue to support the development that underpins stability and improves the lives of the afghan people. over the years, there have been major gains, dramatic
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improvements in public health life expectancy, literacy, including for millions of girls who are in school. president gani is a leading expert on development, and i've been impressed by the reforms he's pursuing to make afghanistan more self-reliant. he wants to power afghans in developments. that's why u.s. economic assistance will increasingly go through afghan institutions in support of afghan priorities with an emphasis on accountability, performance and achieving results. as many of you know, president gani is a training anthropologist. it's said the purpose is to make the world safe for human differences. afghanistan and our world is marked by incredible diversity and differences of history and culture and faiths. but i believe that the progress we've made in this visit will help to advance the goal for which so many of your citizens
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have sacrificed over the years. of making our two countries and the world safer. thank you both for your leadership and your partnership. our commitment to the afghanistan people, that will endure. president gani? >> president obama first of all, i'd like to express the deep sympathies of the government and the people of afghanistan. both of these countries took part in the -- they have major commitments in afghanistan. i'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those common sacrifices and simultaneously take the
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opportunity to pay tribute to the 2,215 american servicemen and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, more than 22,000 american soldiers who have been wounded in action civilians, numerous contractors. you sit shoulder to shoulder with us, and i'd like to say thank you. i would also like to thank the american taxpayer. for faith in her hard earned dollars that enabled us. yesterday in the pentagon, i saw a young girl. her name is reese. and her father came out of retirement, out of reserve to serve again in afghanistan. she's sending a care package every week to her father, and i want to thank her and the
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fathers of all other american children for making sure their parents are helping us in standing next to us. reese, i promised now has 3 million sisters in school. and those sisters are dreaming of achievements that would have a career path and hopefully, one day we'll see an afghan woman president. it should not be too far, soon we now have four women in the cabinet, that's 20% of our cabinet are women. i hope that some other countries will match us. that we are b intent and thank you for the -- delighted that to have an opportunity to speak to mr. obama.
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she's devoted her life to the most underprivileged of our funds. and all of us are committed to make sure that 36% that live below poverty would live with dignity and one day, not in the distant future, see prosperity. we are grateful for the reception, mr. president. your national security team has gone out of its way to engage in intensive, comprehensive discussion. and both of us would like to thank secretary kerry for the loss of hours of sleep we caused you. and for your diplomacy, that is now on display, the government of national unity is going to be an enduring phenomena. and both of us stand for the unity against the divisions that
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our opponents and enemies hoped for. this unity is a reflection of the desire of the public to overcome the last 200 years of our political history where rarely public figures have chosen the country before themselves. we are committed in this regard to emulate the founding fathers and mothers of the united states where national interests will stand above personal or fractional interest. often, i'm glad that the security transition is completed completed. you fulfilled your promise to your people, and we fulfilled our promise to our people. have guarded our homeland and have a reputation for serving. the last years were an exception
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when we needed help and we're grateful that help was provided, but we are pleased that the security transition has been met according to the time line that you set. today, the combat role of the united states in afghanistan is over. that the train advise and assist mission is a vital part of our collective interests and collective indifference. interest now unite us. and we can assure you that the government of national unity is revitalized the partnership and looks at this partnership of the united states as foundational. not just for our stability, but for regional and global stability. much binds us together. and the flexibility that has been provided for 2015 will be used to accelerate reforms to
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ensure that the afghan national security forces are much better led, equipped trained and are focused on the fundamental mission. i'm pleased to say that the departure of 120,000 international troops is not brought about the security gap or the collapse that was often anticipated. i'd like to pay tribute at this moment to the continued sacrifice of the security forces civilians, and a patriotic nation. our patriotism is part of simultaneously our internationalism. we are unique in that we've embraced democratic ways. we're very proud of our islamic civilization. that is truly in dialogue with the world. and we have the capacity to
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speak. they do not speak for islam, we do. and it's the genuine islam that is interested in dialogue between civilizations and cooperation and endeavor forward. on regional cooperation we've taken both novel steps, we do hope that these steps would be reciprocated because the threats that exist the changing ecology of terror are making it imperative that all governments cooperate with each other. today, the state system as we've known it is under attack. these are not classic liberation movements. these are destructive movements and it's essential we confront them with vigor and determination. but we must differentiate between those and afghan
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citizens who desire peace. any political difference anything that divides us must be dissolved politically. and we've shown the wisdom and determination that we can arrive, unity of purpose. so our commitment to peace is clear. what we require is reciprocity so that patriots will choose the country over themselves and unite in resolving whatever might be that divides us. but we'll not have peace with those who use our territory as a proxy for other purposes, as a battleground for alien forces or as a launching pad for global terrorism. this trip is provided us an opportunity to have a comprehensive overview. and, again, want to express.
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thank you for your commitment to submit a bill to congress for support of our security forces 2017. there's much work that lies ahead of us. and the flexibility that has been provided will be used to maximum effect, to accelerate reforms, to ensure that our security forces honor human rights, that they internalize the practices that binds an army, a police force, a secret service, to the people. violence within our people has no place in our security culture, and we will overcome those types of legacies. it's, again, a pleasure to be standing next to a graduate of columbia university. there's much that unites us. and your mother was an inspiration to us. i understand the president of
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the war bank actually got the job because she -- he invoked your mother's teachings to convince you. so, thank you for according him that rare opportunity. >> he's doing a great job. all right. let's take a couple questions. leo, "military times." >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. this is on, right? >> it's on. i can hear you. >> reporter: with the increased slowdown and drawdown here we're looking at more risk more danger for u.s. troops that are in afghanistan. how do you justify that to them? how do you tell them the mission is still worth it? how do you assure them there is an end coming to this mission? and for president ghani, you've talked the last couple days a lot about the sacrifice of u.s. troops. you were at arlington earlier today. how do you tell them that this continued sacrifice will be worth it to them as well?
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>> well first of all i think it's important to mplremember, lee yoeshgs the timeline of a drawdown to an embassy-centered presence. a normalization of our presence in afghanistan. remains the end of 2016. so, that hasn't changed. our transition out of a combat role has not changed. now, i am the first to say that as long as our men and women in uniform are serving in afghanistan, there are risks involved. it's a dangerous place. you know casualties have come down precipitously as we've engaged in the drawdown. it's been over 90 days since two americans were killed in afghanistan.
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that has occurred precisely because we're not in a combat role. and i think it is worth noting the significant casualties that the afghan security services have incurred as we've drawn down, they've stood up and they're fighting. and, you know, they're fighting with courage and tenacity and they're getting better month by month. but you can't minimize the sacrifices our military families make. it means some folks will be rotating back into afghanistan for a few extra months relative to what otherwise would have been the case. we're essentially moving the drawdown base over to the right for several months in part to compensate for the lengthy period it took for government formation. in part because we want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to help afghan security forces succeed.
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so, we don't have to go back. so, we don't have to respond in an emergency because counterterrorists -- or because terrorist activities are being launched out of afghanistan. we're on path to do that. it was my assessment as commander in chief that it made sense for us to provide a few extra months for us to be able to help on things like logistics, making sure equipment is not just in place, but it's also used properly. that the training and advising and strategic input that's been provided continues in this fighting season, in part so president karzai, who has taken on the mantel of commander in chief in a way we have not seen in past from an afghan president, can do a serious review and can assess, here's where our strengths are, here's where our weaknesses are, and we can proceed with more effective
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joint planning going forward. so, you know the bottom line is, our men and women in uniform make enormous sacrifices. their families do, too. they serve alongside them. this will mean that there are going to be some of our folks who are in afghanistan under the new schedule who would have been home. but it is important to keep in perspective, first of all, that we've gone down from 100,000 down to under 10,000. that they are not on the front lines because they are not in a combat role. we are doing all that we can do to make sure force protection is a priority for those who are in afghanistan. and the date for us to have completed our drawdown will not change. but it is my judgment, the judgment of general campbell and others who are on the ground
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that providing this additional time frame during this fighting season for us to help the afghan security forces succeed, is well worth it. and in that sense you know, once again we are asking or men and women in uniform to fight on behalf of our freedom and on behalf of a more orderly world. it does, perhaps, raise one thought, which is right now there's a debate going up on capitol hill about budgets. this would be a good time for my friends up on capitol hill, including on the other side of the aisle, to take a look at their budgets. if we're holding both our defense and nondefense budgets to 2006 levels, it's a lot harder for us to do the job that we need to do not only on the national security side but also
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here at home. making sure that when our men and women come home and when they potentially go into civilian life, that they've got a strong economy, that their kids have good schools, that they can send their kids to college, that they get the veterans benefits they have so richly earned and deserved. that would be a good way for us to express the thanks for the sacrifices they consistently make. >> i met yesterday the widow of general grady. she would like the memory of her husband to be preserved by a sustainable afghanistan that is secure. those that have died, must not die in vein.
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they must leave behind a legacy of a stable afghanistan. and it's that preservation of those gains that i think inspires the american servicemen and women to obey the call of their commander, the order of their commanders. second, we have taken them out of the harm's way. as the president mentioned, for the past 100 days, because the combat role has ended the exposure, the number of casualties is really down. there isn't -- my most horrible reading of the day is my first middle of the day end of the day security reports, where i see the casualty figures. but thank god, they're no longer american or european casualties. general campbell is making sure that they remain in support role, train, advise, assist role his risks but they're
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nowhere comparable to combat role. end of the combat role is very significant to this. and, again the institutional gains that would be achieved through the train advice and assist role is what will guarantee that the investments of the last 14 years pay off in terms of gains that would ensure. last point, afghanistan is the front line. because of american engagement in afghanistan there have not been attacks on mainland united states. but let's not forget that fortresses cannot be built around countries or continents. we are living in an interconnected world and our security is joined together.
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>> reporter: you're talking about long-term strategy between afghanistan and united states. at the same time you're talking about deadlines, about the withdrawal of soldiers from afghanistan. how do you ensure the long-term or how do you define the long-term strategy partnership after 2017 -- or from 2017 onward? general ghani what do you expect, mr. president -- what would the expectation come to the united states and what would you like to return with to afghanistan? >> translator: our expectations were that our cooperation will be enhanced. and we will have clear vision and practical vision for cooperation --


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