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79–798 PS











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NOVEMBER 1, 2001

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman

THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
STEPHEN HORN, California
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JOHN L. MICA, Florida
SUE W. KELLY, New York
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
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SAM GRAVES, Missouri
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
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GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington



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Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Chairman

HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
SUE W. KELLY, New York
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
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SAM GRAVES, Missouri
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
  (ex officio)

ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
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MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JAMES P.McGOVERN, Massachusetts
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
  (ex officio)



     Ankner, William, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation
     Finn, John, Senior Vice President, HNTB Corporation
     Galt, David A., Director, Montana Department of Transportation
     Kruesi, Frank, President, Chicago Transit Authority
     McCormick, Gene, Senior Vice President, Parsons Brinkerhoff, Inc., on behalf of the American Council of Engineering Companies
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     Mortenson, Stacey, Executive Director, Altamont Commuter Express Authority
     Perkins, Joseph L., Commissioner, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

     Rahn, Pete, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department

     Tidwell, Richard, Deputy Executive Director, Metra

    Warsh, Jeffrey A., Executive Director, New Jersey Transit Authority


    Blumenauer, Hon. Earl, of Oregon
    Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
    Cummings, Hon. Elijah E., of Maryland
    Johnson, Hon. Eddie Bernice, of Texas
    Rahall, Hon. Nick J., II, of West Virginia


     Ankner, William
     Finn, John
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     Galt, David A
     Kruesi, Frank
     McCormick, Gene

     Mortenson, Stacey
     Perkins, Joseph L.

     Rahn, Pete

     Tidwell, Richard

    Warsh, Jeffrey A


    State of New York, Department of Transportation, Joseph H. Boardman, Commissioner, statement


Thursday, November 1, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Washington, D.C.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:03 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Thomas E. Petri, [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
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    Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will come to order.
    We are meeting today to receive testimony from transportation professionals on the successful development of transportation projects funded by TEA 21. We are in the final days of the fourth year of TEA 21's six year course. As we prepare to roll up our sleeves and work on reauthorization over the next two years, it is appropriate that we pause and review how TEA 21 has helped our communities and our Nation as a whole.
    Today we will hear from witnesses who have come from across the country, some several times, to tell us about their success stories, projects completed or underway, that reduce congestion, spur economic development, offer travel choices, increase safety and improve transportation infrastructure. Directly or indirectly, these projects are improving our quality of life by creating jobs, allowing families to spend more time together and increasing prosperity for businesses and individuals.
    It is important to acknowledge that these TEA 21 success stories did not come about by circumstance, luck or just doing things the way they had always been done. TEA 21 was successful for many reasons. In the end, the hard work of building coalitions, resolving differences, educating members and wielding our full strength in numbers paid off in a bill that changed how transportation is funded in these United States.
    TEA 21 exemplifies sound policy and good government. It puts the trust back in the trust fund by ensuring that gas taxes paid at the pump by U.S. drivers are not diverted but are invested, as intended, in worthwhile, needed transportation improvements.
    Our witnesses this morning will describe how the guiding principles of TEA 21, such as guaranteed funding and better project development, are being carried out in the real world of project planning and construction. They will tell us about the direct and immediate benefits these projects provide to the traveling public and their States and communities.
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    Originally, we scheduled this hearing for October 18. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Public Transportation Association were planning to host a reception for the day before where a TEA 21 success story video was to be shown. Since the reception was canceled when our offices were closed, we thought it would be fine to go ahead and view the short video as part of the introduction to this hearing. So we will take a look.
    [Video presentation.]
    Mr. PETRI. With that, I will recognize the Ranking Member of this Subcommittee, Mr. Borski.
    Mr. BORSKI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for bringing this hearing together.
    As you talked about and this film showed us, TEA 21 is one of the great successes of Congress and certainly of this committee, of you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Rahall, Chairman Shuster, and Mr. Oberstar deserve enormous credit for the great victory that we accomplished here. It took a number of years to finally get all that gasoline tax to be used for transportation. It wasn't an easy struggle but we were successful with it. I expect it will have future battles and we need to work as closely together in a bipartisan fashion as humanly possible to make sure we remain successful.
    We are on the verge of, if not in, a recession and it would be hard to imagine what our economy would be like now without TEA 21, so I really look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. The improvements that have been made throughout the Nation in transportation are staggering. The construction signs are still visible throughout our great Nation. The increase in transit ridership is at an all time high, so the fact of the matter is, TEA 21 works and works exceptionally well.
    Let me again thank you for bringing us together today. I want to thank AASHTO and AFTA for their great work and the great video we saw today. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.
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    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Other opening statements? Mr. Pombo?
    Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to thank you and the Ranking Member for holding this hearing today. This is a valuable hearing that will allow Congress to learn what worked in TEA 21 and help focus on the upcoming TEA 21 reauthorization.
    I am delighted that Stacey Mortenson, the Executive Director from Altamont Computer Express from my district in California is here to share that success that ACE train has become with the help of TEA 21 funding. Residents of San Joaquin County as well as Alameda and Santa Clara Counties rely upon ACE as an alternative to commuter congestion. ACE serves a population of over 3.5 million and had a 95 percent increase in ridership between January 2000 and January 2001.
    ACE was authorized in TEA 21 for $14 million and has received $7 million total in fiscal years 2000 and 2001 through the New Start Program. The total funding package for the ACE train involves the Federal Government, State general fund revenues, and local funding. The ACE train is just one of TEA 21's many successes. Seeing firsthand how TEA 21 has enabled my district to implement an effective plan to ease commuter congestion has shown me that TEA 21 has done its job. It has provided the resources needed to locals with the ability to set in place much needed infrastructure.
    I am proud to have worked with ACE since its start in 1998. I look forward to working with ACE in future efforts to further ease commuter congestion for many constituents who make daily commutes from the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay area. I look forward to working with the subcommittee chairman, Mr. Petri, and Ranking Member Borski, on making next years' reauthorization of TEA 21 as successful as this round of TEA 21 has been.
    I would also like to say, Mr. Chairman, that the one person who deserves I think the greatest credit for the successes of the ACE train is Mr. Bob Cabral, who unfortunately passed away last year. He had the vision of putting together a mass transit system that really does work. I think it is something we can all learn from in terms of using local and federal funding to make it a success.
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    Again, thank you for this hearing.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    I should have indicated that statements by the Chairman of the full committee, Mr. Young of Alaska and the Ranking Democrat, Mr. Oberstar, will be made a part of the record.
    Other opening statements? Mr. Clement?
    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Borski.
    It is my pleasure to join you today in review of what many have called one of the greatest legislative successes ever, TEA 21, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, which stands as a shining victory for this subcommittee and the American people. With this bill, we changed the Nation from the stable funding sources and firewalls that allow States to undertake multiyear transportation programs to the flexibility that allows each State to uniquely address its own transportation needs.
    TEA 21 has meant a new era in transportation development. In every part of America, surface transportation investment has increased by more than 50 percent and in my own State of Tennessee, that number is closer to 60 percent since the passage of TEA 21. As a representative from the so-called Donor State, I, along with others, led the way in putting the equity back in transportation funding by helping to change the funding formula for States that contributed more revenue than they received in Federal Transportation dollars. So I look forward to hearing how TEA 21 has specifically impacted our country.
    As we look to reauthorization, I will work diligently to protect the gains we have made thus far and to continue us on the path we have started. Now, more than ever, our need for a true, multimodal transportation system is clear. For our economy, for our defense and for our way of life, TEA 21 is the vehicle to get us there and I remain committed to strengthening it and our Nation.
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    Mr PETRI. Other opening statements?
    Mr. Rehberg?
    Mr. REHBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Borski for having this hearing. It is timely, I think. You set a high standard in prior legislatures and I look forward to working with you to meet that high standard.
    As Lieutenant Governor of Montana, I learned something very important about highway construction and inflation. That is, one way to beat inflation is if you need something today, buy it tomorrow at yesterday's prices. So it is hard to stay on top of the cost of construction but I think you have done a good job in TEA 21 and look forward to working with you on that.
    I also learned it is important to have a meaningful program in a sparsely, large geographical area like Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming and some of the rural States. You have done a good job with that as well. To do that you have to have the right people and we have the right person running our Department of Transportation in Montana. I want to introduce him to you and to the committee.
    In my prior life, I was a State legislator. I was the Chairman of the Highways Appropriations Committee. We found a lot of areas of improvement, we worked over the course of many years. There is a gentleman sitting before you by the name of Galt who was our gross vehicle weight officer and head of the administration. If you can imagine a less popular position as far as truckers and the trucking industry, than gross vehicle weight, Mr. Galt became not only the administrator but I guess the Association figured if you can't beat them, hire them because he was hired away from us to go to work for the Montana Motor Carriers Association.
    Our current Governor stole him back to run our Department of Transportation, so he is the right person at the right time. In fact, if I were to use a cliche, he is the one who knows where the rubber meets the road because he has managed it from the ground up. So I want to introduce to you, Dave Galt, our Administrator of the Department of Transportation and I look forward to hearing from you, Dave. Thanks for being here.
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    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Other opening statements? Ms. Johnson?
    Ms. JOHNSON. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Chairman, let me thank you and Mr. Borski for having this hearing. It really is very important and I do hope that we will soon conduct additional hearings to focus on areas that need additional attention. The subcommittee began doing that with hearings earlier this year on congestion on our roadways and bridges.
    The Texas Transportation Institute, which testified at one of the earlier hearings, estimates that traffic congestion cost the U.S. economy about $78 billion in 1999 and that delays attributed to congestion are up 213 percent since 1982. Such statistics also do not capture the cost in terms of how congestion adversely affects our quality of life. ARTBA also issued a report recently which found that 28 percent of all arterial road miles in the U.S. are in poor or mediocre condition and that more than one out of four bridges in urban areas are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
    There are also problems that affect specific States and localities and I am sure members who served when TEA 21 was being crafted recall the debate about donor and donee States. TEA 21 brought more balance by ensuring every State got back at least 90.5 percent of the funds it contributes into the Highway Trust Fund. However, this guarantee only applies to allocated programs such as the National Highway System, such as the surface transportation program and interstate maintenance accounts. It does not apply to discretionary accounts, large portions of which now appear to be under the control of appropriators.
    One particular discretionary account which does not appear to be functioning in the way it was intended is the Corridors and Borders Program. This was an account set up specifically to assist States on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to facilitate NAFTA trade. Unfortunately about 80 percent of the funds in this program go to States that do not share a border with Canada or Mexico.
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    As we begin our work on improving TEA 21, I hope we will soon begin to address this problem and any other deficiencies in the statute that are brought to the subcommittee's attention. Many of the problems will be brought to our attention by people at the grassroots level who have firsthand experience in how such deficiencies impact local communities.
    I heard some of these concerns at the fourth annual Texas Transportation Summit in Irving in my district. At the summit, stakeholders within the State decided to form the Tex-21 Coalition which stands for Transportation Excellence for the Twenty-first Century. The purpose of this coalition is to bring together all of the regions of the State in a collective effort to improve transportation throughout the State. The coalition has asked me to head a Tex-21 Congressional Caucus to focus on concerns pertaining to the Federal Government. I am pleased to be a co-chair of this caucus and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Texas delegation as we approach this reauthorization.
    Thank you and I will yield.
    Mr. PETRI. Other opening statements? Mr. Otter?
    Mr. OTTER. Thank you.
    I wish to thank both you, Mr. Chairman, and also the Ranking Member for holding this important hearing.
    I believe it is important that we learn from the important successes of TEA 21 before reauthorization next Congress. TEA 21 made possible vast improvements in our highway infrastructure and provided fundamental fairness to highway users by reserving all highway taxes for the Highway Trust Fund, probably the best example of user pay.
    Chairman Shuster and all the members of this committee fought to protect the fund from those who would divert it to nonhighway spending. TEA 21 also reserved RABA funds to the Highway Trust Fund. RABA funding made possible even more funding to the States, including a major project in my home State of Idaho. When we reauthorize TEA 21, we need to make sure that every cent of the fuel tax collected is reserved for highway spending.
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    The TEA 21 interchange in Boise which we are going to be hearing more about later has made it possible and the availability of RABA funds for the State of Idaho. When this interchange is complete, a dangerous bottleneck on the highway system will be replaced with a safe and efficient, modern highway system. The Y interchange is an excellent example of how highway trust fund spending can benefit highway users, the economy and the environment.
    TEA 21 is on the whole an outstanding success. The failure of the previous Administration to implement the Environmental Streamlining Mandate in the bill has slowed the impact highway spending could have on our slowing economy. I am hopeful that the environmental permitting will be a subject of not only this subcommittee but other transportation subscommittees in the future.
    In my home State of Idaho, for example, the Transportation Department estimates that more than $50 million of Highway Trust funds cannot be spent because of undue delays in the permitting process. Highway funds that are not spent do not help the economy one bit and without changing a single environmental law, we can help our economy, improve our highways and maintain faith with those who pay the fuel tax by adopting legislative reforms of the permitting process that will speed up the process from years to months.
    I look forward to working with you and the committee and the other stakeholders in the transportation industry to develop streamlining legislation that can be put in place as soon as possible to help not only our highway systems but also our economy.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Pascrell?
    Mr. PASCRELL. Chairman Petri and Ranking Member Borski, this is in the middle of a day of intense debate over another transportation issue. It is certainly a breath of fresh air, Mr. Chairman, to find a way that we can come together on highways and transit. Maybe we should stay here all day.
    We have all learned that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pave a road. This subcommittee offers what I call a pleasant intermission from the partisan rhetoric that often contaminates the House.
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    My State, New Jersey, has greatly benefitted from TEA 21, every district in the State, in the intermodal projects, former Congressman Rowe would be very angry if I didn't use that at least once, and the funding that is included.
    We all have highway projects that have made our constituents' lives better and their travel safer. New Jersey Transit is here testifying today and we welcome Executive Director Jeff Warsh to Washington.
    The State with the highest population density, I emphasize that point, our urban core transit initiatives make commuters' lives easier for both the transit riders and even those who continue to drive. I must say TEA 21 has been an equalizer as I see it. Folks from Idaho and Montana have learned to appreciate and we have learned to appreciate their particular transportation issues.
    The density of population in New Jersey is something that affects the quality of life of all folks in the metropolitan area. I hope New Jersey Transit will help us examine some of those needs in the wake of September 11, and I know they responded most admirably to that tragedy.
    The transportation needs of our State have shifted since that attack and if trends continue, we may need to take that into account in the ISTEA reauthorization.
    Thank you very much for having this hearing.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Simmons?
    Mr. SIMMONS. I served six years on the Transportation Committee in Connecticut. I was Ranking Member and I served with a wonderful Democratic Chairman, Senator Billy Ciato, who used to say ''There are no Republican roads, there are no Democrat roads. There are only the peoples' roads.'' That was the philosophy we had then. I believe that is a good philosophy and one we have here in this chamber today.
    ISTEA and TEA 21 were critical programs in Connecticut for the six years I served on the Transportation Committee. We encountered one success after another, some in my hometown like the Mystic Seaport roadscapes which improved safety and access for tourists and tourism was critically important and others were done on I-95 and other parts of the State. Connecticut is a very densely populated State, a small State geographically, but we have a lot of people on a lot of roads.
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    These programs are critical. It has been a great success story. One of the reasons I requested a seat on the Transportation Committee and on this subcommittee was so I could work in a bipartisan fashion on these projects now and into the future.
    I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Larsen?
    Mr. LARSEN. I want to read two paragraphs from a letter I received from Sohomosh County which is my home county and where I served on the county council before being elected. This was delivered via e-mail. I do not yet have a hard copy and when I get one, I will submit it for the record. I want to be sure I reserve a spot in the record for this hard copy.
    This gives a little flavor for what is going on in Washington State. ''Within Washington State, TEA 21 has helped deliver over 1,200 specific highway, transit, bus, rail, bike, trail and ferry projects over the last four years. These projects are extremely diverse and include large projects designed to deliver high impact traffic congestion relief, projects intended to preserve the State, local and Federal investment in infrastructure, enhance freight movement between ports and shippers, improve the safety of highways and rail lines, provide more transit service to more people and small nontraditional transportation projects designed to strengthen communities and better prepare them for growth.''
    The writers of the letter is County Executive Bob Drole and County Council Chair Dave Summers, who say, ''We want to end by emphasizing that while delivery of projects is certainly the most important objective of TEA 21, we also believe that an inclusive, comprehensive and multimodal collaboration process is critical to ensuring that the investments being made are the most effective and efficient. TEA 21 and ISTEA before it, have supported such a process and we have all benefitted from it.''
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    Mr. Chairman, that last sentence is very important at least for Washington State, that being the emphasis on looking at all the projects and the programs as a whole rather than stovepiping them, that highway and transit has nothing to do with rail and has nothing to do with water, has nothing to do with aviation. In fact, looking at the transportation system as a whole, I hope that as we move forward in reauthorization, that we continue thinking of our transportation system as a whole. That will be the most effective way to address congestion relief.
    Mr. PETRI. Representative Millender-McDonald?
    Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. I am pleased to have been a part of this landmark transportation legislation in 1998 when we passed this with a bipartisan group. Since then, California has had a lot of success stories. As I look at the panelists, I am mindful of the fact that the Alameda Corridor, which you, Mr. Chairman, have seen, was really the number one public works project in this country until Big Rig I think came about.
    Given that, I would like to have seen someone from the southern California area to report on the success story of the Alameda Corridor. I do see Ms. Stacey Mortenson here and we are happy to have her here from Stockton, California and look forward to hearing her testimony.
    As we grapple with the population growth in California, some 34 million and still growing, we see the critical need now for funding for maglev type of rail systems as we move into a world class transportation system in California.
    As we move into the reauthorization of TEA 21, I look forward to working with you in finding the funding for California so that we can move the goods and services throughout the country.
    Mr. PETRI. Without objection, Representative Blumenauer.
    Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you. I appreciate your courtesy in allowing me to join the subcommittee. I have been deeply proud of the history that our committee has had with the enactment of ISTEA in 1991, the TEA 21 you are dealing with today, and hopefully getting a running start on what I hope we will characterize as Green TEA with the next reauthorization.
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    With your permission, I would submit a statement for the record highlights some of the progress that we have seen in the Portland metropolitan area dealing with impressive gains in ridership on transit, welfare to work, and the critical flexibility that has so characterized this legislation. Oregon is one of five States that has flexed more than one-third of its transportation dollars under the provisions of this Act. That is why we could unite as a committee and as a country behind legislation that was as good for Montana as it was for Rhode Island and everybody in between.
    I hope that under your leadership, the committee will craft something that keeps that dynamic in place where we are not pitting one transportation mode against another. If September 11 showed us anything, it was that balanced transportation, as my colleague from New Jersey mentioned, is not simply a curiosity or something that is a planner's diversion or nice if you can get it. A balanced transportation system is what allowed commerce to continue moving between Washington, D.C. and New York with Amtrak ridership going up 60 percent in the next week, with 200,000 people cycling on Manhattan the week after September 11. This committee under your leadership will help focus the flexibility and the incentives for planning so that we can meet all of these needs.
    I look forward to working with you and this session is important to start that process.
    Mr. PETRI. Now we turn to a very patient Representative from Rhode Island, Pat Kennedy.
    Mr. KENNEDY. Just to prove the point that transportation is not a Democrat or Republican issue, I am here to introduce my Republican Administration's Director of Transportation and I felt it was important that I come over here and do this out of courtesy to him because he is such a leader in the northeast among all transportation secretaries. He has a breadth and depth of experience that I know will be very well appreciated by this committee. I am honored to be here today to join him because I know what he has done in our State with TEA 21 and it has made an enormous difference.
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    With that, I won't take more of your time and I appreciate the opportunity to give my Secretary of Transportation, Bill Ankner to speak and testify before you today.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    We appreciate all of you coming. The first panel consists of four representatives from different areas in our country. I think we have heard a bit about most of them. The panel consists of: the Honorable Pete K. Kahn, Secretary, New Mexico State Department of Highway and Transportation; Dave Galt, Director of Highways, Montana; Joe Perkins, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities—he has traveled all the way to be here and then we had to cancel the hearing when we had to suspend operations; and William Ankner of Rhode Island.
    Let us begin with Mr. Rahn.

    Mr. RAHN. I am here today to commend and thank this subcommittee as well as all of Congress for the foresight, vision and successes of TEA 21. TEA 21 provided the States flexibility, increased funding as well as a stable revenue source that gave us the ability to plan and innovate in ways that produce significant cost and time savings for our citizens, the traveling public.
    New Mexico firmly believes that transportation and telecommunications infrastructure will be the key to future economic opportunities for our State and our for citizens. As a result of TEA 21, we have been able to intelligently leverage our resources and four lane over 500 miles of economic development corridors within our State, to address major congestion projects in each of our metropolitan areas and see safety improvements that have made it easier for the traveling public.
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    The results of TEA 21 for New Mexico have meant that we went from 70 percent of our citizens living in municipalities that had access to four lane highways. When the current construction program is complete, we will have 96 percent of our citizens with access to a four lane highway.
    Urban congestion is down significantly, nearly 25 percent. Our deficient road miles—we call them deficient, you call them bad—have gone from over 5,900 in 1997 which was an increase every single year for 23 years and today those deficient road miles are under 3,500 miles, so an improvement of over 2,000 miles of better roads within our State. Auto fatalities are down.
    The innovations allowed under TEA 21—I would add that through a partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, Division Administrator in New Mexico, Reuben Thomas, truly a leader within the Federal Highway Administration—have allowed us to undertake projects like New Mexico 44 which is a 117 mile corridor that has a performance based 20 year warranty, the first of its kind in the Nation. That warranty will save the taxpayers over $89 million during the 20 years of the warranty.
    We were able to construct New Mexico 44 in three years versus the typical 27 years we would have had to undertake if it had been done by traditional means.
    We have the Big I Project which is the interchange in Albuquerque of I-25 and I-40, I-40 being a major east/west route for commerce in the United States. This is a project of 111 lane miles of highway, 55 bridges and 42 miles of drainage within a one and a half mile radius. This project, because of innovations permitted under TEA 21 has allowed us to construct this project in 24 months. Traditionally, interchanges of this sort take five to seven years. It is also important to note that we are seeing a projected $10.1 billion return to the metropolitan area over a 20-year period based on our investment of $289 million.
    U.S. 54 is a multiple bidding option that has been permitted under TEA 21 that has saved the State $29 million in the way we structured the bidding of a 60 mile corridor to the Texas State line.
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    We are extremely pleased with our partnership with Federal Highway Division Administrator, with the increased revenues that have come to us from TEA 21 and the flexibility that we have been provided in meeting the needs of our citizens and we believe the needs of all the traveling public of this Nation.
    My recommendation to Congress would be to expand the flexibility with the reauthorization of TEA 21 as well as provide additional resources which I think is every bit as important to ensure that we have a stable stream of revenue that we, the States, can depend upon and plan for and implement into the future.
    I want to reiterate my commendation to this subcommittee and to Congress for the tremendous successes of TEA 21.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Galt?

    Mr. GALT. My name is Dave Galt and I currently serve the people of Montana as Director of Transportation. Thank you for the invitation to speak before you today. Thank you, Congressman Rehberg for the kind introduction.
    Let me start by saying TEA 21 has been a great act for Montana. We strongly support the continuation of its funding guarantees and its budgetary firewalls into the next highway program reauthorization.
    Montana is a large, sparsely populated State. We have a population density of only six people per square mile and 13 Montanans to support each mile of public road in the State. Another way to visualize this goes back to the 19th Century U.S. definition of frontier as land areas with fewer than two persons per square mile.
    In the year 2000 census, 22 of our 56 counties with a combined land area of 59,700 square miles still met this 100 year old definition of frontier. Montana is highway oriented. Seventy-eight percent of our travel is outside urban areas. This percentage of rural travel is the highest in the country.
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    We not only care about the safety and efficiency of our rural arterials and collectors, we are dependent on these transportation corridors to bring virtually all of our manufactured goods to connect our cities, to support tourism and to get our agricultural products to market.
    We often hear references made to the maturity of the Nation's highway system. In Montana, we still need to pave about half of our major collectors and reconstruct over 1,000 miles of our arterial highways that were build more than 50 years ago to pre-World War II construction standards. Rather than mature, Montana's system is best described as an adolescent that needs to be brought to modern standards. TEA 21 has made a huge difference in moving us towards this goal.
    In almost every national ranking of the various States' economic vitality, Montana comes in near the bottom. Because of this, Governor Martz has identified economic growth as her highest priority in Montana. Since passage, we have obligated $979 million of which over 70 percent or $688 million was obligated for the construction phase of projects. This equates to direct high paying jobs on the construction sites, jobs for suppliers of construction materials and jobs in our communities as the profits of these investments turn over. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation every million dollars in highway construction supports 42 jobs.
    Besides the construction sector, one in every eleven jobs in Montana is related to the trucking industry. This economic sector also benefits directly from improved highway safety, and increased transportation efficiencies achieved by TEA 21. Accruing all these benefits at the State, regional and national levels leaves no question that TEA 21 is an economic engine that surpasses any previous surface transportation program.
    As we have already heard the actual mechanisms for making this engine work are the firewall that distinguishes the trust fund from the rest of the discretionary budget and the funding guarantee known as RABA. We believe that the program paid for by the users should be no less than total revenue generated by those fees.
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    TEA 21 has achieved this goal and we are grateful to the drafters. It is TEA 21's strong budgetary mechanisms along with its balanced provisions and its direction to streamline program delivery that has made this program so important to the Nation.
    For a success story in Montana I would like to focus on U.S. 93. This 288 mile long highway links to the fastest growing regions in the State and provides for regional trade movements between British Columbia and the rest of the United States. This corridor also serves as a major gateway to Glacier Park.
    While travel continually increased over the last several decades, the roadway continued to be narrow with few if any opportunities to pass for over 100 miles. These conditions not only made for slow going but also continuing to U.S. 93's reputation as a the most dangerous highway in the State.
    With TEA 21 funds we are moving forward on over 54 miles of major reconstruction in this corridor. These projects are not only building safe and efficient highways but they are also building highways that reflect the value of communities that go along. The design for these projects also includes features that enhance and respect the natural environment in this beautiful region of our State.
    U.S. Highway 93 projects also include numerous wildlife crossings, protection of prime and unique farmland and restoration of historic environmental impacts along with numerous of other design features. The final 58 mile long section of this corridor is now moving into design and will rapidly advance to construction by virtue of Montana's use of GARVEE bonds.
    Besides the funding levels in TEA 21 that have made extraordinary progress in this corridor, it is possible the Act has also given us a mechanism to accelerate improving the remaining segments of this corridor.
    I would like to also touch on a success in our neighboring State of Idaho. The Y interchange on I-84 near Boise is the largest construction project in Idaho history, nearly $100 million in two project stages. It is a multiyear project that will relieve congestion and improve safety for merging traffic for an estimated 100,000 vehicles that use this interchange daily. Without TEA 21's dramatic increase in Federal funding, the reconstruction of the interchange would have been delayed for many years or Idaho would have been forced to delay many other needed projects across the State.
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    This interchange will dramatically increase the efficiency of Boise's transportation system and make moving safer for the traveler.
    On behalf of Governor Martz, I would like to thank you and the members of Congress, your families and staff for your hard work during these trying times. We wish God's blessing on your and America.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Perkins?

    Mr. PERKINS. My name is Joe Perkins. I am the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. I am here today representing not only the great State of Alaska but also as past president of WASHTO, the Western Association of State Highway Officials which is the 18 western States.
    I want to first clearly state that the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, TEA 21, has been a resounding success in Alaska and in the west. TEA 21 provided unprecedented levels of much needed fundings for highway and transit, expanded flexibility for state usage of that funding and guaranteed the Federal gasoline taxes are utilized for construction and operation of our Nation's transportation systems. These three tenets—increased funding, flexibility and the firewalls—I think were critical to the success of TEA 21.
    Let me give you some examples of projects in my part of the country that illustrate my point. Last year in my home State, we completed the Whittier Tunnel Project. This $90 million project converted a 2.5 mile long train tunnel to the City and Port of Whittier into the first dual use, auto and train tunnel in North America. Its unique engineering and construction has garnered ten national awards, including AASHTO's 2000 President's Transportation Award and the 2001 Nation's Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
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    The tunnel will provide traffic flow of approximately 140,000 vehicles and 530,000 people this year. It also serves as an intermodal connector to our State ferry terminal in Whittier. In addition, toll charges will cover the $3.8 million in yearly operating and loan repayment costs.
    In Utah, the Nation's largest design build highway project was undertaken in preparation for the Olympics. The $1.6 billion Interstate 15 corridor reconstruction project upgraded the corridor from 6 to 12 lanes, reconstructed 142 bridges and improved seven urban interchanges and three connections to other major interstates including Interstate 80 and Interstate 215. Due to the new construction techniques, the project was completed in just over half the normal construction time, is now open and ready to handle the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
    These projects would not have happened without the increased funding and the flexibility of the RABA guarantees, and the new innovative financing methods contained in TEA 21.
    In addition to the construction of new highways, TEA 21 has spurred growth in transit system implementation and expansion. In Alaska, we have recently partnered with State and local social service agencies to institute new transit service in three areas of our State. This service has proven invaluable in helping social service agencies meet their goals in implementing new welfare to work programs. These are not your typical city buses or trains. These are coordinated transportation systems that use both public and private nonprofit resources. I have heard story after story about how these systems have helped get unemployed workers to training, children to day care and new workers to jobs.
    In Portland, the expansion of the Max Light Rail System to the airport was recently completed and now is in operation. This project exemplifies the intermodal funding flexibility of TEA 21. I could go on and on and on with example after example of projects like these that tell the tale of TEA 21. Instead, I will close by saying, TEA 21 has been, in my opinion, the single most successful transportation program since the creation of the interstate highway system and the Federal Highway Trust Fund. The vision shown by Congress in adopting TEA 21 has produced the intended results, America's highways and bridges are in better condition than ever before.
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    Thank you for your continued support of the Nation's transportation systems.
    Mr. PETRI. The last panelist, William Ankner.

    Mr. ANKNER. Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today. My name is William Ankner and I serve the people of Rhode Island as their Director of the Department of Transportation. It is an honor to be here to discuss the success of ISTEA and TEA 21 as well as other opportunities to improve it.
    I have been fortunate to have been involved in every reauthorization since 1981 and know that ISTEA and TEA 21 are a great success. I think my colleagues have already indicated that and I strongly concur.
    TEA 21 and ISTEA also created a significant sea change in the manner in which transportation is undertaken by the public sector. I would like to depart a bit from what my colleagues have done and not talk so much about specific projects but about the policy changes that I think were taken care of by this.
    Overall in transportation, historically the Federal financing role prior to TEA 21 and ISTEA was capital improvements and it was big capital improvements. You had to look at transportation in terms of stovepipes, primary funds, interstate funds. You could not use those funds separately and combined with other funds. You basically drew down that stovepipe and at the end of that, you could move to the next stovepipe. You could not combine, you did not have the flexibility. Consequently, transportation officials were primarily landlords. We built our infrastructure and added capacity when we felt the demand was needed.
    TEA 21 changed all that. We have now become managers of our transportation system. We are looking at how we can do preventive maintenance, something we weren't allowed to do before and some of the things Dave and Peter have talked about indicate the success we are able to do by going out and fixing our transportation system as well as improving it.
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    It also has allowed us to flex the dollars. Flexing of those dollars allows us to deal with transit issues that may be the best solution to our decisions as opposed to simply building new capacity, particularly in the northeast where Rhode Island is the second heavily dense community. Transit is an important component of our transportation solutions.
    The other thing it has allowed us to do is to determine our success overall as opposed to whether or not we spent the money in each of those stovepipes.
    The other issue I would like to raise with you is something that came up already, something that is not as successful by some token, environmental streamlining, one of the more controversial issues remaining. This topic has been difficult as well as contentious.
    Last year, during my tenure as the President of the North East Association of State Transportation Officials, we took up the subject and I think we successfully met with the environmental secretaries, directors and commissioners from all of the NASTO States. The result was unanimous. We challenged the Congress and the Administration to move away from a process driven regulation and to move to outcome or performance based regulation.
    The Federal Government should determine what it wants to achieve so the States can then develop a process or processes to achieve these outcomes. The fact you have already given us the flexibility to allocate resources to meet the transportation needs of our citizens in the Nation and the success that is already there, it is certainly indicative of the fact that we have the capabilities of developing the processes to meet the goals and objectives of our environmental laws.
    If we develop these, have the Federal Government certify that these processes can work to meet those goals and then have the Federal Government act as an oversight to make sure these processes are indeed successful. Too often, the process driven regulation structure delays projects but more importantly in NASTO and our environmental counterpart's judgment, the process means we spend tens of millions of dollars each year checking off the right box but not necessarily achieving sustainable results and outcomes which we thought was the whole point.
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    Thank you.
    Mr. PETRI. All these bells mean there is a vote on the floor, so we will try to be back here by 11:20 a.m. If you can stay, there will be a few questions and then we will take the next panel.
    The subcommittee is in recess.
    Mr. PETRI. We will begin the questioning with Representative Borski.
    Mr. BORSKI. Let me thank all our panelists for coming and your testimony. TEA 21 has obviously been a great success as has its predecessor, ISTEA, so we are delighted to hear your testimony today.
    If I could start with you, Mr. Rahn, I wanted to ask about revenue bonds and how they have worked and what kind of problems you may have had and what kind of criticisms you have received and how you have dealt with them. For instance, are you mortgaging the future for today's satisfaction?
    Mr. RAHN. I have heard that before about us mortgaging the future. I think the important thing to understand is two fold. One, the GARVEE bonds that we have issued represent less than 11 percent of our total Federal funds as we make payments on that. The combination of the 20-year warranty with 15 year bonds ensures that New Mexico 44 is going to remain a good highway past the point where we are making payments on our bonds. I think that is one thing people are always concerned about, having a road that has been bonded and have it fall apart, continue to make payments on it while it still needs work. So we have addressed that issue.
    The interest rate and the way the market has responded to GARVEE bonds has been very strong. The interest rate we are paying on our GARVEE bonds is at 4.5 percent which happens to be the same inflation rate for highway construction that has been tracked for the last 10 years nationally. The net cost in interest has washed with inflation, so in essence we are getting this road at today's dollars for free.
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    Mr. BORSKI. Tell me a bit about the warranty. How does that work? Does that mean you don't have to fix this road for 20 years or that it must be mandated and updated as frequently as necessary?
    Mr. RAHN. Exactly. The warranty is a performance-based warranty which in essence says, it doesn't matter what caused the pavement to not meet the standard, Coke Industries through a subsidiary known as Mesa is responsible for 20 years to provide a very high level of performance. This performance on a scale of one to five, the fist five years is 4.5 and then a 4, the next five and it goes down by half a point each year. At the end of 20 years, it has to still meet a performance level of 3 which in a nontechnical sense means the public has said a 3 is an acceptable rate on an interstate.
    This warranty requires a very high level of performance on these pavements. The State of New Mexico is still responsible for mowing, signage and snow removal but if it involves the pavement, Coke Industries is responsible for that performance and it is at their risk.
    Mr. BORSKI. Are you using any new and innovative materials to make it last longer or is it the same as everyone else is using?
    Mr. RAHN. Coke brought in I think a level of detail that we have not applied and also a real concentration on the aggregates, the rock being used within the roadway. It is the way they built it, the quality that was produced, the densities they are ensuring the road is being constructed to is something we have learned from. Part of our contract with Coke is that we have the right to use that mixed design and construction method on any other highways in the State of New Mexico. So we see this as a great deal for our State.
    Mr. BORSKI. Mr. Galt, do you want to tell us a bit more about your experience with the GARVEE bonds?
    Mr. GALT. I would, however, I don't have a lot of experience yet. We are about to embark on that endeavor and use the GARVEE bond vehicle to fund a 58-mile stretch of highway in Montana on U.S. 93. Just yesterday, I authorized travel money for a crew of our financial experts to go down and study with Mr. Rahn's folks to try to learn some of the pitfalls because that certainly is a concern.
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    We have been trying for 14 years to get agreement between us, the Federal Highway Administration and residents along that highway and the members of the Salish and Kootenai Tribe to on Highway 93 as it continues to grow exponentially. We need to do something on that road. We are giving very strong consideration to GARVEE bond issuance in the near future to fund that construction.
    Mr. BORSKI. I was also curious about your concerns about future Federal payments. Do you have any? What if we don't enact the next bill and maintain the firewalls and there is a shortfall in some fashion for NTEA. What happens to your project? Are you protected in any way?
    Mr. RAHN. We do have insurance on the GARVEE bonds but can tell you the greatest risk the bond insurance companies in New York saw was really the concern about the delay of reauthorization and not the actual loss of the Federal program. So their concern was, was there going to be a Federal highway program in the future and from their standpoint, I can say the market doesn't believe it is going to go away.
    As an administrator, I am concerned about fluctuations in Federal appropriations for the Highway Program and it is those fluctuations that make our job so difficult. Part of my testimony is the desire for a stable program, whether it is increasing or not and we need to be able to plan for the future and have it a relatively high level of assurance what revenues will be coming to the States.
    Mr. BORSKI. You have all testified to the great value of TEA 21 and I believe everyone mentioned the guaranteed funding level and the firewalls as the great examples. It seems to me you may be a little more exposed than most as to those guarantees and how important it is in the future for us to maintain that. Is that fair to say?
    Mr. ANKNER. Yes, Mr. Borski.
    Mr. BORSKI. Mr. Ankner, can I ask you a question or two. I think I saw where you suggested perhaps we could use a method other than fuel tax?
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    Mr. ANKNER. Yes, Mr. Borski. One of my concerns is the fact we rely totally in financing transportation through the motor fuel tax. Certainly in light of the energy problems we have experienced historically as well as recently and are currently undertaking, any environmental impact, financing our transportation system solely on the basis of motor fuel tax is inconsistent with other national policies and goals.
    I think we need to be looking at a situation for more usage, looking more acceptably to the issue of tolls and also putting on some sort of tax on the automobile itself based on its environmental and energy consumption and impact.
    All of us here, and almost all of my colleagues if not all, would like every American to go out and buy a Ford Expedition, get 8 miles to the gallon and drive it as much as they can because we will then get the yield on the gas tax up. That is obviously not what we all want as a policy for energy or the environment.
    If we go to an 80 mile per gallon automobile, we are concerned what the impact is going to be on our financing. If we tax the automobile in terms of its use, we can make decisions that an 80 mile a hour vehicle is something we want to see happen nationally and tax at a lower rate than if we would tax something such as a Ford Expedition or similar vehicle. That gives us a great deal more flexibility, a greater opportunity to tailor our financing to meet not only the transportation needs which are significant but also our energy and environmental needs.
    Mr. BORSKI. Very thought provoking. The obvious answer to that is we worked well here in maintaining that gas tax and using it and being able to distribute it. If we change that formula, Lord knows what will happen but it is worth thinking on. I can't imagine a bigger fight we would have than trying to figure out how to dispense funds if we were using only general revenues.
    Mr. PETRI. Questions? Mr. Rehberg?
    Mr. REHBERG. I guess I'd like to ask specific to TEA 21 and in light of the new terrorism situation going on, are you considering in your individual States, other than Rhode Island, your greatest enemy is congestion and we measure congestion in Montana by minutes not hours, are you doing anything with your individual departments to consider construction changes or additional needs that might be able to be put into reauthorization to address the security issue at the various ports?
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    We have tried to address the weight differences at least in our State between Canada and Montana in dealing with the construction of our highways based upon different weights and categories and such. It would seem this would be an appropriate time unless we did separate legislation to consider addressing the vast expanse of space that occurs in the State of Montana with three different Canadian provinces on our border to have additional funding or specific funding to address the influx of people coming from foreign countries.
    Why don't I start with Mr. Rahn and you can talk about New Mexico specifically and then go down the line.
    Mr. RAHN. New Mexico's efforts currently are to conduct a vulnerability assessment of our transportation system. We are doing this in cooperation with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and Kirkland Air Force Base to assess our entire transportation system along with the border issues with Mexico.
    We are at the preliminary stages of this assessment. We have identified certain areas that are critical to military and DOE installations in our State. We are attempting to in many cases use jersey barriers and other temporary fixes to try to address these on an interim basis we do know that more short term but something longer than what we are looking at today.
    We are going to need resources if we are going to address issues of national security and attempting to better protect vital national interests within our State.
    Mr. GALT. In response to that, several things we are doing at the department and several ideas I have actually sent up your way for your consideration, we are taking a look at our structures and seeing what we can and cannot do in the future to protect our vital structures in the State.
    As far as transportation, Montana is, I think, a pioneer in the concept of joint vehicle inspection stations with its neighboring States and provinces. We actually share a facility north of the border in Montana with the province of Alberta where our vehicle inspectors work and we share that facility.
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    A lot of the border crossings themselves are in the domain of the U.S. Customs/U.S. Immigration and we work diligently with the General Services Administration to upgrade a joint concept at the border at Sweet Grass as well.
    One of the things that I suggested for your consideration, over the years in Montana in my work in commercial vehicle enforcement, two things. One, in order to keep those way stations open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we would need additional funds. I know our guys are prepared to work more time and keep those things open. Over the years, we have been migrating to where we check our borders more diligently and use portable scales in-State and portable inspectors.
    The second thing is an idea that came to the trucking industry which is some means to assess the background of an actual driver similar to what we do now for the purchase of a firearm. A lot of times, the standing joke is if you load a new driver and send him up to Canada, you find out real fast whether he has a problem in his record.
    Our industry has come to me and said is there something we can do to find out more and there are issues of privacy and issues of confidential information but I think that is an area that bears merit to review, study and possible offer some solutions.
    Mr. PERKINS. Alaska is a bit different and we got pretty close to security real quick because within our Department of Transportation we manage 262 airports, including Anchorage and Fairbanks International, plus run a nine vessel, seagoing ferry system, plus on own most of the harbors in the State. So we end up in an intermodal type of security much bigger than the highway side.
    We have completed a complete threat analysis for the entire transportation system in the State and it should be presented to the Governor tomorrow with listings of projects and so on that we will need to do. The majority of this is on the airport side, however, we also have bridges in our State highway system that also carry the Alaska pipeline which is mixing multithreat to our bridge. The pipeline is carrying something like 20 percent of all usage for the U.S.
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    We are very deeply into security. There are a lot of things we need to do. We are going to have to change the way we guard things. We are establishing checkpoints on highways to where we are checking what is in the truck, particularly those going up the Dalton Highway which is the road to Prudhoe Bay. It is going to be a pretty expensive proposition before we get finished when we consider all the modes.
    Mr. REHBERG. So you perhaps would like to see something in the reauthorization addressing specifically the security?
    Mr. PERKINS. Yes. I think we certainly should and in the case of Alaska, a lot of times we don't have alternatives. We have one route. We are going to be looking at bypassing and all this. I think each of the State departments need to certainly have contingency plans in place that we know what we are going to do if we lose one of our key structures like a bridge somewhere. We are going to have to look at new construction and figure in now what will be the bypass. I think it is only smart to do it and will certainly save us a lot if we do have some of our structures that get hit.
    Mr. PETRI. Other questions? Mr. Otter?
    Mr. OTTER. Starting with Mr. Ankner, could you tell me what the gas tax is in your State?
    Mr. ANKNER. We are the highest in the country, 29 cents a gallon.
    Mr. PERKINS. We are the lowest in the country, 8 cents a gallon.
    Mr. GALT. 27 cents for gas, 27.75 for diesel fuel.
    Mr. RAHN. 17 cents for gas, 18 cents for diesel.
    Mr. OTTER. In Idaho, we have what we call the new CCC for highways which is collaboration, consent and construction. What we have done is brought all of those agencies of State, usually the DEQ, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Fish and Game Department, all those that have a permitting process for the construction of a highway. Do you have that in your States? Mr. Ankner?
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    Mr. ANKNER. We have formal agreements with our environmental community and other transportation modes and it works very well.
    Mr. PERKINS. We have it about halfway. We end up dealing with a lot more agencies probably, particularly on the Federal side and we do have agreements that hopefully are not requiring two EISs on projects. You can get into one for the project and one for the permit, so it is working.
    There needs to be more work done on this. We see in many cases a perceived shortage of people in the research agencies to really process our permits. I think that needs to be looked at and the process needs to be locoed at in great deal, the lines of approvals, particularly when we give up and send it one notch higher.
    Mr. GALT. Yes, we have relationships with our Federal and State counterparts. Sometimes they might not be as congenial as they should be but they need a lot more work. We have even gone as far as to fund with State dollars positions at the Federal agencies and State agencies to help streamline our applications for permits.
    Mr. RAHN. New Mexico also has relationships with the Federal and State agencies. We have formal relationships with them as well as informal that promote communications. I don't know if we have gotten to the point that was envisioned by Congress in TEA 21 that referred to streamlining. It really seems to me that today there doesn't seem to be an agency that has stepped up and assumed responsibility for the implementation of a streamlined environmental process. So we continue to be frustrated like most States in dealing with multiple agencies who seem to have varying agendas.
    Mr. OTTER. As I mentioned in my opening statement, Idaho has between $50 and $60 million tied up in these other considerations aside from construction. Nationwide the estimates have gone well over $1.5 billion. I am wondering would you know what that is in your particular State, the same process, Mr. Ankner?
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    Mr. ANKNER. I have no dollars tied up on the environmental. I can give you an example of something that has worked very well. We had a Brownsville project, an intermodal facility with the northeast corridor, 1,500 of Amtrak's northeast corridor from Greene Airport and we decided we wanted to have a station, make improvements in the roadway system, make it a transit hub and put a people mover.
    Federal Highway initially estimated it would take two to two and a half years to do an EIS. We decided to do an environmental assessment and we were able to be successful in 11 months with a finding of no significant impact without one negative comment because we got everyone involved right from the beginning. The first day we called everybody together, the community, all of the agencies and said, this is what we would like to do, we are not exactly sure how we are going to do it, we are not exactly sure where we are going to locate but you are going to be a part of the solution, and we worked hard. I conducted all those meetings with the public. In 11 months, we made it through all the hurdles without any negative comments.
    Not all projects are going to go that way. I have one right now that I am starting an EIS with but it is important to have everybody at the table right from the beginning and a lot of the problems go away.
    Mr. PERKINS. I think to answer your question, it is how you define how much money you have. What is happening is we are taking very, very high priority projects that get tied up in the environmental process and go ahead and put our money in other things while this process goes on. So what you have is we have a lot of projects out there that are very, very high priority that there is no invested money other than paying for the EIA as it goes, so we are not holding up money because we have gone ahead and spent our money on something else, but the projects are taking too long to develop. That is the problem you are getting into, 6, 8 10 years to develop a project, a lot of which is in the environmental portion, particularly those contentious projects.
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    Mr. GALT. I have my staff right now working on putting together a list of how much money we spent on environmental documentation and environmental mitigation efforts. I don't know a total right now. I know we spend a lot of money on a lot of things we are prepared to do such as wildlife crossings, different kinds of culverts, different kinds of technologies. Some of those are very positive. We are winning awards for them and are very pleased with those.
    On the other hand, I am in the middle of a second EIS for a little over $1 million that is the result of a lawsuit that stopped a major project because its first EIS was too old, so we do have a time problem, we do have a process problem and we have a lot of work to do in that area.
    Mr RAHN. New Mexico does not actually have a project similar to what Mr. Perkins has explained, that if a project is held up because of the environmental documentation, we move forward with another project but we have been fairly successful in moving projects forward, but it is the amount of effort that is required to get these off center. It is the process itself which is so difficult and requires a huge amount of energy to actually go out and be able to start construction.
    Mr. OTTER. Thank you, gentleman, for your responses.
    It would be more convenient if we had one place to go to to surrender when we want to do these things. I fully understand that but the environmental and habitat and wildlife considerations are important and ought to get a high priority. I understand that but on the other hand, when we are looking for areas, money we have already appropriated, money we have already spent in some cases is laying there waiting to become part of a slowing economy.
    I would hope that through your national organizations and the organizations you have an opportunity to speak to that you would come back to us for the reauthorization bill with perhaps a little stronger streamlining effort and maybe finding one place to go to to surrender.
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    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Rehberg?
    Mr. REHBERG. The question I have perhaps isn't as much on the reauthorization of TEA 21 but more specifically to the economic stimulus. One of the things I am working on with Senator Baucus at this time is the opportunity to step aside from TEA 21. I guess what I want to ask is, are there projects currently ready to go that if you didn't have to meet the funding match, could be begun immediately to help us with an economic stimulus package today, tomorrow or next week?
    I don't know if that is appropriate to this group but since I have them here and it is an idea we are working on at this point over the Senate side, and hopefully we will get a chance to see it in the House, maybe I could ask them that question. Do you have projects that are ready to go if you didn't have to meet the matching fund?
    Mr. PERKINS. Our national organization, AASHTO, has gone to each of the States to come up with what projects could we deliver. If I remember, the time frame was in 120 days, which means to bid and on the street. The number was sizable. I didn't see the final number but that report is certainly going to be—I am available to you. It was just handed to me.
    In Alaska, I have $110 million I can have out on the street and awarded in the next 120 days. I think it is an excellent economic stimulus program because it puts people to work, people forget there are other people involved other than those who are out driving dozers and digging ditches and things like that. We have a lot of suppliers and other folks. I think it is an excellent program and I sure hope the Congress comes up because we will make it work.
    Mr. ANKNER. Actually all four of us probably are the lower end of the amounts, California, Texas and Florida will certainly have more, but for Rhode Island, we have $177 million we could put out within 120 days. I agree with Joe, it isn't just the roadbuilders, it is all of the other elements that are important to the economy.
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    As we are seeing the vertical construction industry starting to soften, it is going to be important that those opportunities now can move into the transportation side. We have a lot to do and hopefully you will be helping us on that.
    Mr. GALT. We do have projects we can get ready to go and get on the ground. I responded to the AASHTO survey with a figure of about $88 million. Since that original review, I have drilled down within the Department and shook the dust out of the rugs and I believe there is even more than that.
    I concur with the statements about not only construction but including all the preliminary engineering in those opportunities as well.
    Mr. RAHN. New Mexico has $138 million worth of projects that could be on the street within 120 days and are projects that will not go forward without additional money. These are projects that we had intended to undertake but because of the economic circumstances in New Mexico, we have had to shelve. They will not occur without additional funds and I would specifically add that even if Congress provided us the $138 million, if there is a matching requirement for State funds, New Mexico does not have the State funds available to match these additional Federal dollars. So whatever comes to us if there is an economic stimulus package, I do help Congress will consider the matching requirements because we are close to being tapped out on matching funds.
    Mr. REHBERG. I am not sure you have seen those numbers. I have not and if we could have it for the record, that would be helpful.
    Mr. RAHN. Those numbers represent $14.3 billion and 2,283 projects in 48 States.
    Mr. REHBERG. Thank you.
    Mr. PETRI. Mr. Borski?
    Mr. BORSKI. I would like to follow up if I can and strongly support what the gentleman is talking about and let him know I have introduced a package that I believe will really stimulate the economy. Someone said, I believe Mr. Galt, $1 million produces 42 jobs, $1 billion creates 42,000 new jobs. It is something that works and has worked.
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    We have introduced a package to raise the obligation ceiling by $5 billion for highways. We understand that money can be used immediately to put people back to work and improve our infrastructure.
    We are also looking at money for transit, $3 billion, and to raise the amount of credit assistance under TEA 21's innovative finance program by $2.4 billion.
    I think we need to look at transportation as a whole but there is no doubt in my mind that we can really stimulate the economy by using and working in a bipartisan fashion to get transportation funding as any part of a stimulus package in the end. Hopefully the Senate will be able to do something and perhaps we can get it going in conference. My understanding is you all would support at least the highway piece of this. How about the transit or innovative financing part?
    Mr. RAHN. I believe I can speak for all the 50 DOTs, we like to fix transportation, we like to build transportation and if Congress gives us the money, we will do that.
    Mr. ANKNER. I share that thought. I also strongly support the move towards continued investment in transit and the innovative financing.
    Mr. BORSKI. The flexibility is there. I am one of those who fought hard to be able to have highway dollars spent for transit but my understanding is it works both ways and if transit dollars were available to you, you could flex it into highways if transit projects weren't available.
    Mr. ANKNER. That is correct.
    Mr. PETRI. There is good public policy reason why we do have cost sharing and that is everyone is always happy to get 100 percent of money and spend it on something or other and it will come back and bite us if we are not careful because there will be excesses and then it will be hard to develop the support we need to grow the whole program.
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    As I understand the matching, States are in there, their revenue is down, they have various constitutional provisions for balancing the budget, and in addition, sometimes they have to go through an elaborate process to raise additional money but I do hope some thought is given to trying to figure out some mechanisms for accelerating spending but not just ignore the kind of matching constraints so we can have some sort of temporary loan or some other kind of arrangements to get us over this hump and get things flowing.
    You each highlighted and said additional flexibility in the last two Federal programs has been one of the great successes of it. At the same time, we hear continually from people in the transportation community, particularly construction and some others, that they see increased funding at the top but don't see increased construction at the bottom, everything is transportation related and that money is flowing out of the program at the State level into other perhaps desirable purposes but not really hardcore transportation projects.
    Could you comment on that? That is not my only concern, it is a concern we hear out there and I am sure it will come up as we go into reauthorization. We want to see if we can keep flexibility but how far to go and any comments you have are appreciated?
    Mr. Ankner. If the Congress gives the State of Rhode Island $177 million, we will come up with a match.
    With respect to the concern, I have heard that as well but I think some of the facts belie the situation. Our roadway and bridge systems are getting better; the overall system is getting better. Part of that is the ability to do preventive maintenance and make those kinds of investments as well as the new capacity projects.
    Too often, States, particularly in the northeast that rely on Federal funds, allow their systems to deteriorate to the point where they became eligible for Federal funds. That created a tremendous disincentive and created a situation where we had less of a transportation system.
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    The other key aspect for the East Coast and the north east in particular, is the ability to flex to transit and to other ways of looking at transportation as a system. I can't build my way out of congestion in many places. That isn't true in other parts of the State and they need to make different kinds of decisions. I have to look at other ways of being able to provide the mobility to the citizens that is necessary.
    Transit many times is that way of being able to provide that mobility. That flexibility is important but we are also building the transportation system as a whole. The capital projects for our system bridges and roads have improved. That is what the numbers are showing and has improved in my State. We have gone in five years from 49 percent of our roads in poor or very poor condition to next October being down to 13 percent poor. Our system is better, our capital outlays are better and yet our overall transportation system is better because of the flexibility.
    Mr. PERKINS. We are hearing probably more from people who are saying there is too much construction, and they say that on a short term basis, than we hear about putting money in other places. We have an enormous amount of construction going on in my State and in the west. We are not out west and most of the area is not a mature system. I still have probably around 1,200 to 1,300 miles of gravel road of which 400 is on the National Highway System. We are paving that. People are seeing it, appreciating it and I think largely at least in my State, people are well aware that TEA 21 has done this for them. Although they may be a bit inconvenienced and so on, they are happy to see this done.
    Mr. GALT. In Montana, you heard we have one of the highest fuel taxes in the country and would have difficulty but it would not be impossible to match that kind of injection you are considering.
    I would point out that we can put it work, put it down on the ground and the monies that come through the State collection of fuel tax and monies are dedicated and protected by the Montana Constitution to be spent on road building, and the collected monies go to match our Federal aid program which is about 93 percent of our total construction program. We are very dependent on the Federal program. We also give an allocation to counties and cities for their roads and we fund our Montana Highway Patrol with that money.
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    Mr. RAHN. I would reiterate New Mexico will have a difficult time matching. It is a problem for us.
    From the standpoint of increased dollars coming to the States being turned into construction, the increased funding provided to us by TEA 21 has allowed us to leverage our dollars. That leveraging has meant that our program has gone from what over a five year period would have been $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion. So in New Mexico, increased highway dollars has meant substantially increased construction of our system.
    Mr. OTTER. The stimulus package the House of Representatives just passed, the figures you folks gave us of $14 billion would represent about 14 percent of that stimulus package we passed. The one the Senate passed would an additional stimulus of about 25 percent, so we sort of kill two birds with one stone if we could go forward.
    I am also aware that part of the problem we have and the cost we have that we don't put into brick and mortar, concrete and signage is a lot of the mitigation we have to go through. That is very necessary. I think the wetlands no let loss has proven its value to the Nation not only in cleaner water but also in increased habitat and continued habitat.
    One of the things I am aware of is at least in Idaho and in Montana and Alaska and New Mexico—I can't speak to Rhode Island—we have many Federal lands there that could serve a dual purpose and save us a lot of money in the mitigation process if we were allowed to shift those mitigations we need to make from private ground, therefore not having to buy it, to public ground that would be available in the State.
    I would also suggest that Rhode Island if we looked at this as a national policy could get mitigation credits from some of these other States that do have large land miosis owned and controlled by the Federal Government. We have 14.5 million acres of BLM in the State of Idaho and 21.5 million acres of national forests. I would hope your organizations would also look to perhaps mitigating instead of buying private property, that we would be able to mitigate on some of the public lands that would be available within the States, therefore staying with the national policy of no let loss of wetlands and other mitigations necessary for habitat and the Clean Water Program.
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    My question would got to wouldn't that indeed free up a lot of money for concrete, brick and mortar and do you think that is possible in your State?
    Mr. RAHN. One issue I would like to address is the $14 billion number which was just kind of the pool of projects that would be available, so Congress could choose any amount they would like to fund up to $14 billion.
    Specifically to respond to the question, I have to admit I am not prepared, because I don't know what the overall benefits to New Mexico would be, but the concept sounds very interesting and would sound promising. I am afraid I cannot respond to what the dollar amounts would be.
    Mr. Galt. Congressman, that would be our response as well right now without some detailed analysis. I do know, however, that we go on and work and develop wetlands with a lot of private landowners on a voluntary basis. We have just been given the opportunity in our legislature to go back and revert those wetlands once they are done to landowners and other groups that would perpetuate that use.
    In a lot of cases, the cost of the land isn't that much, it is the actual development itself. So there would have to be some detailed analysis before I could give you a figure that would represent what we could put back in bricks and mortar.
    Mr. PERKINS. I think that certainly is a good idea, Congressman, to look into that. Anything that can be done to help us with mitigation will certainly help. I run into cases where I will have to mitigate in an area surrounded by 50 miles of wetlands. The solution there to me is not to create another wetland, because I can't do it, it is already there, so I think we can do in coming up with some centralized or different kinds of mitigation, even in other States, because we should be looking at this from the national viewpoint, would be very welcome by myself.
    Mr. ANKNER. Congressman, I particularly like the idea of looking at things regionally. I think there is a value, particularly for a State like Rhode Island, that would probably fit into your forests if you put it altogether. I would also like to invite you to Rhode Island, if you have not had the opportunity to be there. We would love to show you around so you can see our waters as the Ocean State.
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    Wetlands is certainly an important issue for us. Congress has allowed us to get wetlands banking and things like that which I think provides a very good way of starting to address some of these issues.
    I would like to make one other point. That is we have in Rhode Island, the Ocean State, more coastline than the State of Texas.
    Mr. PETRI. With that, thank you all very much.
    We will turn to the second panel which consists of: Mr. Jeffrey A. Warsh, Executive Director, New Jersey Transit system; Gene McCormick, Senior Vice President, Parson Brinkerhoff, Quade and Douglass, Inc.; Stacey Mortenson, Executive Director, Altamont Commuter Express; John Finn, Vice President, HNTB Corporation; Richard Tidwell, Deputy Executive Director, Metra; and Mr. Frank Kruesi, President, Chicago Transit Authority, who is a familiar individual to this committee having testified in another earlier role some years ago when we were considering keeping or getting rid of the ICC. He put a lot of the Republicans to shame by taking a very hard position in favor of abolishing the ICC at that time.
    In any event, welcome, all of you. We will begin with Mr. Warsh.

    Mr. WARSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Borski, and honorable members of this subcommittee.
    I have to say on a personal level, it is truly and honor to be here. I have had many opportunities over the years, having served in the State legislature and the executive branch of the great State of New Jersey, I have been in many conference rooms but this is my first time I have been invited to testify before the United States Congress. As Joyce will tell you, I quickly said yes and I am honored to be here before you gentlemen and ladies this morning.
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    I had the opportunity to talk with Congressman Bill Pascrell who had the opportunity to serve with in the General Assembly for a couple of terms before he moved on to the House of Representatives. It was a great opportunity to see him again here in his new home of Washington, D.C.
    We are pleased at New Jersey Transit that we were invited to testify here as a TEA 21 success story and we are an unqualified success with respect to how we have utilized our TEA 21 and prior to that, our ISTEA funds in order to promote not only mobility but economic development. We have used it to reinvigorate our neighborhoods. We have used it to contain sprawl in by far the Nation's most densely populated State.
    If New Jersey continues in its current development pace, it will be completely developed by the year 2030. No other State can say that. I am not sure that means we win the big prize but it does mean that our State is filled with massive transportation challenges. Overall, it has resulted in a huge increase in the quality of life for the State of New Jersey.
    We are particularly proud of the fact that when we have gotten funds, and we certainly have gotten our fair share of funds, we have completed our projects on time and on budget. Considering the fact that they are some of the world's most complex rail projects, whether it be Secaucus Transfer Project which connects 11 of rail lines all at one point, 11 of our 12 rail lines in the New Jersey Meadowlands or winding the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System through the most densely populated county in the State and the fourth most densely populated county in the entire Nation, we have had great challenges and we have met them.
    When folks said that DBOM, design, build, operate and maintain, would not work, we proved not only did it work but we built it on time and on budget. We received the APTA 2000 Innovation Award for the first DBOM in the western hemisphere, something we are very proud of. We received the APTA 2001 Welfare to Work Award, having a very large welfare population as well and we have used mass transit effectively to mobilize the welfare recipients to get back into gainful employment and it has worked and worked extraordinarily well.
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    I would like to go through the numbers to illustrate what we have been able to do with TEA 21 funds. We purchased 2,400 new buses, the second largest bus fleet in the Nation; 257 new locomotives and rail cars; 45 new light rail vehicles; we constructed Midtown Direct, one of the most successful commuter rail segments in international rail markets; we completed and will soon operate the Montclair Connection; we are close to completing Secaucus Transfer, the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link—our Newark City Subway received $150 million in modernization currently carrying 19,000 people a day; and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail which I know our friends from Parsons Brinkerhoff are going to speak more extensively about. It has resulted in 30 million square feet of new space being developed, more office space than Baltimore and St. Louis combined. It is the first transit project in the Nation to use the Design, Build, Operate, Maintain Methodology and continues to work and work very well.
    I was interested to follow the discussion before as to what projects we could move if we did not have the match. TEA 21 and its predecessor ISTEA in New Jersey has stimulated an enormous amount of pure State investment, way beyond the match. We are in the process of now building a 34 mile light rail connection from Camden, the Nation's poorest city, to Trenton the State capital, $864 million, not a penny of Federal funds in that project whatsoever. I could go on and on and discuss other projects.
    We have no choice in New Jersey. As the Commissioner of Rhode Island said, we cannot build our way out of congestion. My boss, Department of Transportation Commissioner, Jim Weinstein, and former Governor, Christine Whitman, were the first administration in the State to admit that. We could not do it; it has to be mass transit and we are in the process of building mass transit.
    One point I would not be able to leave without stressing is what I call following the bouncing ball. I am a former member of the New Jersey Legislature and we used to carve up our budget the way you carve up the National budget. You would see this county got that, this county got that and that is where the analysis generally ends. This is a different kind of business.
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    With respect to our TEA 21 funds, we received $600 million in Section 6307 funds we used to build buses and we have about 400 of them delivered from Motorcoach Industries, MCA Bus; $600 million to a little town in North Dakota called Pemberton, North Dakota, a town of 800 people that has 500 people in one factory that will be doing nothing but building New Jersey Transit buses for the next three years. New York MTA tacked 320 buses onto that. There is another year that little town with a big factory is going to be cranking out the world class diesel buses. That is important—providing $500 million also with Section 6307 funds of locomotives and coaches, 24 electric locomotives, the world's most powerful commuter rail locomotive and 230 coaches including 230 New York MTA metro north. They are being built in Hornell, New York.
    I am in the process now of working closely with APTA and business members to track exactly where this money gets spent. I think if you follow the bouncing ball to the end, you will see while New Jersey gets an enormously and appreciates the economic development, the mobility aspects of what we ultimately do with the funds, we tend not to build. The building gets done in other places, in other States that benefit. I would urge you look to that and I will share that research with you when it is completed by the Transportation Association.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Mr. McCormick?

    Mr. MCCORMICK. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to be here.
    I am here today representing both the American Council of Engineering Companies and Parsons Brinkerhoff PB. I am a Senior Vice President with PB and also serve as a member of the board of directors at PB. We are an ACEC member and one of the largest transportation engineering firms in the country. We have over 9,000 employees worldwide.
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    The passage of TEA 21 was a milestone in our Nation's transportation history. The combination of dramatic increases in funding, coupled with new program features has resulted in a robust construction program for both highway and transit projects. The private sector is pleased to be playing a part in bringing these projects to reality. Private sector engineering and construction firms are working hand in hand with State DOTs and local transit agencies to use innovative financing and construction techniques to expedite critical projects around the country.
    The success stories I would like to relate today are but a few examples of those that are being aggressively pursued using the many tools of TEA 21, in partnership with the private sector to again deliver quality transportation infrastructure.
    A project which successfully embodies a wide range of TEA 21 elements is the South Carolina DOT Construction and Resource Manager Program. By combining the increase in Federal funds with State bonding and the use of a variety of TEA 21 innovative financing techniques, South Carolina expects to complete over 200 construction projects statewide in the next seven years versus the original estimate of taking 27 years.
    To handle the peak workload without having to dramatically increase in-house staff, South Carolina DOT choose to create a unique public-private partnership to augment their staff. The first of its kind in the Nation and many other States are currently looking at that model of success.
    Innovative financing techniques available through TEA 21 also provided a very important asset in this South Carolina program.
    Ft. Washington Way in Cincinnati is another excellent recent example of a major highway reconstruction project completed in a congested urban environment. The $313 million reconfiguration project reclaimed 15 acres of riverfront land converting it from roadway use to recreational and mixed uses and open pedestrian access to new sports and entertainment facilities on the riverfront in Cincinnati. The use of a private sector program manager compressed a typical six to eight year project into 34 months from planning through design and construction, opening to traffic in August of last year on schedule for the first Bengal home game last year.
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    With regard to transit projects, a notable and timely success story is the Salt Lake City Light Rail Project. It is a 50 mile, light rail project with 17 stations, a very key component in the overall transportation plan associated with the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was designed and built in the heavily traveled I-15 corridor by the Utah Transit Authority. The line opened in December 1999, months ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Ridership levels in the meantime have exceeded all projections.
    The light rail line was developed in close coordination with the massive reconstruction and widening of I-15, the highway corridor, to create a truly balanced and integrated transportation system for Salt Lake City.
    Expanding a bit on Mr. Warsh's earlier comments regarding the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit System in northern New Jersey, it is one of five design build transit projects that have been designated by the Federal Transit Administration, roughly a 20 mile line including 32 stations, 5 park and ride lots and the initial 7-1/2 mile leg of that system opened in April last year.
    The project is using a super turn key procurement method under which the private sector contractor will complete design, participate in the construction financing and perform construction and then operate and maintain the system.
    I have appreciated the opportunity to mention but a few of what I consider to be very successful projects that come about as a result of TEA 21, I look back at the long and what I consider to be the effective history of the Federal Transportation Program, it has been built on a strong public-private partnership throughout its years. Yet I think TEA 21 has created an even more dynamic public-private synergy mechanism for our future.
    Thank you for the opportunity. I commend the work of this subcommittee over the years and we look forward to the future knowing that the future of our transportation system in this country lies in the hands of such able members of Congress as this subcommittee.
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    Thank you very much.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Ms. Mortenson?

    Ms. MORTENSON. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and Congressman Pombo, who is very familiar with our transit story, we are undoubtedly the smallest project that you are going to hear about today but hopefully, you will see that even small victories play a part in helping our transportation system.
    As background just to orient you, the ACE service began three years ago as a partnership between three counties in northern California. I say partnership a little awkwardly. I have to level with you, partnerships are not always easy and usually involve compromise and battles, and a lot of differences. What we shared in common was a crippled highway system due to the workers that were pouring into the Silicon Valley and the east side of the Bay area. When I say pouring, I mean like molasses; they weren't scurrying in, they were really just stuck in traffic.
    Typical travel demand models, which our consultant friends use quite a bit, really didn't work in our case and they really warned drive alone commuters in California will not trade in their automobiles for the train. Thankfully, the employers, the major business groups of the Silicon Valley, became the leading voice and leading advocate that said we need you to implement this as a way to give our employees a reliable way to work.
    Typically, the work force in the Silicon Valley was arriving one to three hours late and that was really impacting the economic engine of the Silicon Valley. In the private sector, startup businesses require that someone take the lead and take the risk and it is very difficult for government to do. In our case, the Central Valley, the smallest county, took that risk, sort of like the David and Goliath situation where we were the David in this fight.
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    A lot of decisionmakers along this multiregional corridor had a difficult time envisioning what this new idea would be like. A lot of people need a tire to kick before they can really buy into something like this. So before we had funding relationships worked out or institutional relationships worked out, which made some people nervous, this Central Valley County went out and bought train sets.
    We believe that a good business plan revolves around the ability to generate interest in the new product and the delivery of this large scale very colorful equipment did just that. It generated interest and then financial support of the agencies along the corridor.
    I think the most successful factor was the major businesses committed and they pledged the financial support in the form of ticket subsidies and flexible work hours to meet what would initially be very limited train schedules. A departure from regular government, we used the advice from the business community to set the train times. Government doesn't like this, railroaders do not like this and we all cringed at the thought of a 4 a.m. darkness departure but that is really the desired schedule of the users that now flex their work day to better incorporate both work and family life.
    As testimony to this working relationship with the businesses, we are attracting commuters out of their cars. The recent survey on board indicates 80 percent previously drove alone.
    During our first three years, ridership grew beyond all expectations. We only had two roundtrip trains running but we had 2,000 people each morning boarding the trains leaving 600 standing. While this generates a very stunning farebox recovery of 65 percent, businesses were shouting and clamoring that we offer more space for their employees and more train times for better schedules.
    The system goes beyond the steel wheels and rail and onto the streets in the form of shuttlebuses. These carry workers from the train to the job site. Without this important link, many people would be forced back into their cars. People who have never used transit on the ACE trains are accustomed to a train and a shuttle trip in each direction.
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    The dedicated revenues for shuttlebus services associated with commuter rail are often overlooked in the traditional funding programs on all levels. I would hope the next TEA would consider this issue as we will at the local level as we try to pursue a seamless system.
    While we did explore funding in the first TEA, this project was really not ready to compete well in light of the many other national priorities. In hindsight, this was very disappointing to us at the local level but it solidified our resolve to go back and demonstrate the leverageability that you are looking for and that would merit Federal involvement in the future.
    Those dreams finally did come true with the overwhelming response to the ACE trains, TEA allocations were spearheaded by Congressman Pombo and they have proven to be crucial. They leverage State and local funding and those partners came to the table in a big way. It did this at a time when the crowded conditions on board the trains really was unbearable.
    The return on the Federal commitment is far beyond the dollar value because it brought other money to the table. It is our goal to make room for everyone to wants to ride the train, as well as every complementary mode. What really makes ACE work? It is important to have a flexible, businesslike approach. Whether you like it or not, you need to have a direct collaboration with your customers and a very personal accountability for all the incomes and expenses.
    True to our business philosophy, I assure you we will be focused on improving our product continually and finding innovative new ways to attract people out of their cars and onto the trains.
    I know security is keenly on everyone's mind and I want to assure you that even the smallest system is focused on this issue. We are fortunate, and this is probably the most prominent factor that makes our passengers feel safe, local law enforcement officers use the trains to commute to work. They ride for free in exchange for providing assistance to the train crews should any security needs arise. Without any major additional financial burden, we are able to have armed officers on each train that are committed to the safety of the service because it is their personal means of getting to work.
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    We know there will be more to do and we are open minded for that challenge. The public has to have confidence that they can use our system safely and we will join forces with them for a system that works.
    On behalf of the San Joaquin Rail Commission and the ACE Authority, I thank you for this chance to discuss the project in this very esteemed forum.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Mr. Finn?

    Mr. FINN. Good afternoon, Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I am very pleased to be here today to talk about the successes of TEA 21 to the American traveling public.
    I am a senior vice president with HNTB Corporation and I am President of the firm's Northeast Division. I am also on the American Council of Companies Transportation Committee and I am a member of the AASHTO/ACEE Joint Coordination Committee.
    I would first like to say I appreciate the committee's recognition of the consulting engineering industry's contributions to the successes of TEA 21 and we are happy we were invited here today to help provide testimony.
    My firm operates from 60 locations throughout the U.S. so we work with almost 40 of the State DOTs. Our transportation experience stretches across the country, encompassing the majority of the Nation's highway and transit systems. The projects we perform extend from small rural towns to the largest of our cities.
    I am here today to tell you what we have seen since the enactment of TEA 21, and that is progress, not partial solutions and quick fixes, but long term, built to last progress.
    The TEA 21 Program provided the State DOTs with the one thing they required to maintain and improve our Nation's transportation infrastructure and that is secured funding. In the actual design and construction of many major transportation projects, that type of security opens a broad range of faster and more cost effective options that can never be achieved under limitations of short term funding.
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    We have seen the benefits of the secured transportation funding daily in hundreds of projects form critical upgrades of national landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge to simple transit improvements in urban core areas that give a few hundred people better access to employment. We have seen the impact of TEA 21 programs stretching coast to coast and I would like to talk about a few specific examples today.
    The first of these projects may be painfully familiar to may of you here today. The residents of Springfield, Virginia called the project the Mixing Bowl. The Wall Street Journal was somewhat more direct when they referred to it as the Interchange from Hell. The Springfield Interchange has 24 lanes mixing three interstates and one State highway together in a three-quarter mile span. It carries more than double its intended capacity to and from major employment centers like the Pentagon and has the most complex configuration of any interchange along the entire I-95 corridor. It is one of the most dangerous bottlenecks in the State with close to 180 accidents a year.
    The Virginia DOT understood both the present and future cost of this bottleneck to its citizens, its economy and its environment. Without TEA 21 funding, the project could have remained stalled for years. Today, that interchange is going through complete redesign and construction that will bring immediate and significant benefits to the citizens and the regional economy.
    The guaranteed funding of TEA 21 allowed VDOT to appropriate the additional funds required to kickstart the project and bring the benefits to fruition two years earlier.
    On the other side of the country, TEA 21 has enabled the seismic retrofit currently underway on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The bridge is a national landmark recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven engineering wonders of the United States and represents a vital transportation link of great significance to the economy of the San Francisco Bay area.
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    In 1989, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake served as a brutal reminder that the Bay region remains vulnerable to the ravaging effects of major earthquakes. Immediately following that quake, consultants did a vulnerability analysis on the bridge. The unmistakable conclusion was that under a 7.0 earthquake, epicentered near the bridge, the damage would be severe putting this vital transportation link out of commission indefinitely.
    Because the U.S. Geological Survey predicted a 70 percent probability of at least one quake of magnitude of 6.7 or greater impacting the Bay region by 2030, the need for substantial retrofit was obvious. TEA 21 provided funding turning the unnerving results of that study into positive action and a seismic retrofit of that national landmark is going strong today. The third and final construction contract remains unfunded today.
    When completed, the retrofit will serve as a benchmark for other similar projects across the country and across the world.
    In conclusion, we have worked on literally hundreds of projects like these from the Alameda corridor in Los Angeles to the highway speed rail in the midwest, to the Nation's most critical transportation systems on the East Coast. Nearly all have been facilitated to one degree or another by the visions of this landmark legislation.
    Members, there is no doubt in my mind that the results of this groundbreaking bill have been positive, measurable and permanent. They reflect not only improved transit and highway systems, but also an advanced traffic congestion management that better utilizes existing resources and enhanced safety programs that simply save lives.
    Reauthorization of this program is central to our growth as a Nation, the benefits are not vague or intangible. They are cast in concrete and steel for the next generation. Let us continue to build a world class transportation system for America.
    Thank you.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
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    Mr. Tidwell?

    Mr. TIDWELL. Chairman Petri, Ranking Member Borski, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning.
    My name is Rick Tidwell and I am the Deputy Executive Director of Metra. Metra oversees all commuter rail operations in the six county northeastern Illinois region with responsibility for day to day operations, fare and service levels, safety, system planning and most importantly for purposes of today's discussions, capital investment planning and implementation.
    Please allow me to thank all of you for your vision and wisdom in passing TEA 21. Please allow me to also thank the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation who serve on this panel. Metra is well aware of the efforts of Congressman Kirk and have closely witnessed his enthusiastic support for transportation, especially in championing our north central service. He is a great addition to Congress and to the subcommittee and we look forward to working with him in the future.
    I have also had the privilege during my years at Metra to observe the important work of Congressman Lipinski. As a senior member of this committee, he is keenly aware of the region's transportation needs and has always been an active supporter of the Metra Program. We thank him for that assistance.
    I would also like to thank Congressmen Costello and Johnson for their continued support.
    As one of the three service boards comprising the Regional Transportation Authority, Metra has specific responsibilities with respect to the utilization of the available public funds for capital improvements to the commuter rail 500 route mile system. For years, we have focused our investments on preservation of the existing system. The emphasis on infrastructure has led to the replacement of aging rolling stock, deteriorated track and structure, adequate signal systems and other outdated passenger and maintenance facilities. The benefits of this pattern of investment have been enormous in terms of greatly improved service reliability, enhanced customer comfort and convenience, and significantly reduced operating costs.
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    The stable funding sources of TEA 21 have played an absolutely vital role in this ongoing record of success. Certainly Metra has benefitted from the increased levels of authorizations for transit provided for under TEA 21. In the past, transit has often seen years where annual appropriations failed to live up to the authorization levels set forth in the bills. TEA 21 changed all that and in revolutionary ways.
    The guaranteed appropriations provided by TEA 21's firewall provisions, together with the assurances for higher authorization levels in future years has allowed Metra to make the capital investments required not only to sustain but to grow the system as needed to meet our ever increasing passenger and service demands. Indeed, the approximate $100 million per year Metra receives in rail modernization and formula capital financing funds has been the backbone throughout Metra's 2001-2005 $1.8 billion capital development program. We believe it essential that they remain as the core of our capital investment strategies as we move beyond the final years of TEA 21.
    The benefits of TEA 21 today are measurable and they are real. We have benefitted from almost every aspect of the TEA 21 transit title, especially rail modernization, the urban formula allocations and the funding for new starts. In this latter regard, new start monies have totaled about $68.1 million to date. Future new start allocations to Metra will total an additional $251 million. In part, this will include double tracking portions of our north central service line. This work is required in order to meet local demands for more service where our initial ridership projections on this line were met and exceeded within three months of its opening in 1996.
    New start funding will also be used to assist in extending our Union Pacific West Line to meet growing demands in the western suburbs and to upgrade and extend our southwest service. In addition, we have also been able to utilize funding under the CMAQ and STP programs for a variety of station and parking lot improvements, expected to total some $45 million over the life of TEA 21 authorization. These monies will be successfully used to help Metra in removing thousands of cars from our roads and highways resulting in the reduction of millions of vehicle miles traveled annually.
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    We have been guided by the fervent principle that the more we capitalize, the less we need to subsidize. In other words, the better we deploy our available capital resources, the more likely our trains will run efficiently and cost effectively. Our history of limited fare increases and ever increasing ridership stands as clear testament to the wisdom of that philosophy and to the very wisdom of the funding strategies contained in TEA 21.
    The infrastructure investment strategy of TEA 21 has directly contributed to the economic vitality of the region, particularly with respect to direct job creation as well as the ancillary employment growth derived from major capital infrastructure investment.
    It will be our continuing investment that no doubt will be of critical importance in restarting our economic development during these perilous and difficult times and in sustaining our economy and freedom of travel in the future.
    In conclusion, it is simply unlikely that Metra or the region as a whole would have been able to make the progress it has in modernizing, replacing and expanding the system without the dedicated funding levels of TEA 21. This landmark legislation helped foster a major funding increase at the State level and is making a very real difference in the lives and economy of the greater Chicago area.
    I thank you for the opportunity to be here today.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    Mr. Pombo has been very patient and has a question he would like to ask before we complete the panel. I think we will give him that courtesy.
    There are three votes on, when the question and response have been concluded, we will recess for 45 minutes and come back at about 1:15 p.m. We will give you a chance to have lunch and then we can hear the final witness and have questions and be done.
    Mr. POMBO. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman.
    I had a question for Ms. Mortenson that I wanted to give her an opportunity to get on the record. I thank you for your excellent testimony and both trips you made to testify.
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    I would like to ask for the benefit of the committee, what specific difference did it make to have the TEA 21 funding to make your project a success?
    Ms. MORTENSON. We started out with two trains which is really a dangerous idea. It provides the idea of the project but not really the capacity to carry it through. So we felt we had to do that at the local level but the Federal money really made the expansion possible that is turning it into a system and not just a fledgling seed project. I think the Federal money really makes it work for the employers and the businesses.
    Mr. POMBO. So the project started with State and local funding and because of the TEA 21 funding, you were able to make the system a better, workable system even though you started it with local funding?
    Ms. MORTENSON. Yes, that is right and it became leverageable at that point.
    Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    The subcommittee will recess until 1:15 p.m.
    Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will resume. I thank the panel for indulging the congressional schedule. This is how business is here on the Hill quite often.
    Our final panelist is Mr. Frank Kruesi.

    Mr. KRUESI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am honored to be here before this panel today to speak about TEA 21 as we move toward reauthorization.
    With your permission, I would like to ask leave of the committee to accept a copy of my written testimony to be entered in the record of the proceedings.
    Mr. PETRI. Without objection.
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    Mr. KRUESI. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the members of the Illinois congressional delegation who serve on this panel and who have been tremendous advocates for the CTA and for regional transportation generally. Notably, I would like to thank Representative William Lipinski, the Dean of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, Representative Jerry Costello, as well as Representatives Tim Johnson and Mark Kirk.
    As this reauthorizing committee debated the guiding principles and minimum funding guarantees that became the foundation for TEA 21, I was serving as the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the Department of Transportation. When I left that post to head the Nation's second largest public transit agency, I worked to fashion a capital spending plan that was consistent with these guiding principles of TEA 21 as envisioned by this very committee.
    The principles of flexibility and reliability speak to the cornerstone of TEA 21, which is equity. This important but very basic concept was conceived by this committee during the authorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and continued under TEA 21. Starting from the premise of equity, the committee set the stage to encourage a balanced, regional approach to transportation planning and spending.
    In northeastern Illinois, transit and highways are both a part of the solution to mitigation of congestion and pollution, as well as sustaining the vitality of the local economy. As congestion on our roadways only gets worse, transit promises hope for not only slowing the increase of congestion but also reducing congestion.
    By this committee creating a level playing field between transit and highways, regions can make the choices appropriate for them and not simply be left with the traditional option of building new lane miles. Equity fosters an environment for choice and allows local officials and planners to employ a broader range of alternatives in addressing sprawl, congestion and air quality.
    TEA 21 funding allowed CTA and many other transit properties around the country flexibility in utilizing funding resources. This flexibility encouraged the State of Illinois to develop its own spending plan for public transit. A part of Illinois Governor George Ryan's Illinois FIRST Initiative, the $12 billion package provides more than a billion dollars for public transit in northeastern Illinois, and Metra and CTA are major beneficiaries of that.
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    This State funding allowed CTA to leverage its Federal capital funds under TEA 21, effectively getting a $4 return for every State dollar received from Illinois FIRST. I would like to spend a moment to talk about our own successes with TEA 21 at the CTA.
    As committee members know, the CTA is the Nation's second largest public transit agency. On an average work week day, CTA provides 1.5 million rides per day. Ridership on the CTA system has increased 7.5 percent since a low point in 1997. The CTA, along with our sister agencies, Metra, Pace and the RTA, work interdependently at the Federal and State levels to achieve the common goal of improving transit in the northeastern Illinois region.
    Thanks to the bipartisan support and leadership of the United States House of Representatives Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Governor George Ryan, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and the entire Illinois Delegation, northeastern Illinois managed to successfully compete for and win authorization of five Federal New Start projects. The CTA has two of these projects and Metra has three.
    On September 10, we broke ground on the Douglas Branch Blue Line Rehabilitation Project at a cost of $482 million. It is the largest capital project ever embarked upon by the CTA. This new start venture, when completed, will provide more than five miles of new smooth track along with renewed structure and eight rehabilitated rail stations over the next four years. The Douglas Branch of the Blue Line is the very first new start project at the CTA to receive a full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration.
    The second new start plan for the CTA expands capacity on the Brown Line, which is a 9.3 mile rail line serving the downtown loop area as well as several communities on the north side of the City of Chicago. Most of the line is elevated and was built between 1900 and 1907 and had never been renewed. This will allow us to provide service to the capacity that is indeed necessary.
    Neither of these projects would have been possible without the Federal funding provided through TEA 21. The Federal investment in public transit is crucial to the ongoing success of the CTA. The many customers who use our system each day are responding to that investment by using the system more and more. Today, 68 percent of our riders are choice riders, people who have access to cars or other forms of transportation but choose the CTA as their preferred method of travel. This changed from just under one-half only four years ago, so we are clearly winning customers as a result of improved service and are able to improve service through the work of this committee.
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    I want to thank this committee for its vision and leadership for setting forth principles of traditionally competing modes of transportation as equals and in fashioning a program that gives every transit agency the ability to plan for its future in a responsible manner.
    Thank you for this opportunity to address this body this afternoon. I especially want to invite you, your committee members and staff to see firsthand how we are putting the committee's vision to work for our customers every day. In the meantime, I would be pleased to answer any questions that you or any committee members might have.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank all of the panelists.
    Mr. Ferguson?
    Mr. FERGUSON. Thank you for having this hearing today and giving us an opportunity to learn a bit more about and to talk a bit more about how important TEA 21 has been particularly to our regions and our country which are so densely populated. I represent a district in New Jersey which amongst the most densely populated in the Nation.
    Particularly following the September 11 tragedies which touched our region particularly hard, it is very, very important that we continue to monitor our transportation needs as we look forward to next year with reauthorization. I want to thank the Chairman for his leadership on these issues for years.
    I want to address Mr. Warsh who heads our New Jersey Transit and happens to be a constituent of mine, and has done a tremendous job. In the past, he has provided leadership in our State Assembly and now heads a major, major organization which has a huge role in the transportation needs of our region.
    I particular, I want to offer my congratulations and praise to Mr. Warsh for the way he and others in our region handled the tragedies following September 11. As is well known by now, the tragedies not only touched the lives of the families and communities I represent, we lost 81 constituents in the World Trade Center disaster, 81 families in our district alone that experienced tremendous grief and sadness.
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    There have been so many ways that we have been working very, very hard to recover from the enormous strain and challenges that we have faced following September 11 and Mr. Warsh has done just a fabulous job in helping us to meet these new challenges and new crises.
    I have just a question for Mr. Warsh. Following September 11, the ridership as you mentioned in your testimony on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, increased dramatically. I just wanted to ask if you could expand a little bit on the comments that you made earlier about the value of not only this project but other similar projects to Hudson Light Rail which has been enormously successful, that are funded by TEA 21 in particular in our very densely populated region in the metro New York and New Jersey and Connecticut areas, if you could talk a bit more about the value of projects like that and some of the other light rail other new ideas that frankly are having an enormous impact not only on the ability of people to get to work and try and take some strain off our highways and other arteries but simply to peoples' quality of life, enabling people to get home to have dinner with their kids or to get to their little league game or a recital, just the enormous impact it has had on the quality of life for New Jerseyans?
    Mr. WARSH. First of all, Congressman, thank you for your very kind comments. I stand on the shoulders of 10,000 New Jersey Transit employees incredibly mission-directed, facing the most awesome and terrible event in American history.
    To put you into context, the World Trade Center is about eight football fields away from Hoboken Terminal, our second largest terminal and in time, 15 minutes away from Newark-Penn Station, our largest terminal, 70,000 a day at Newark-Penn Station and 30,000-35,000 a day at Hoboken Terminal. So we saw it both from Newark and Hoboken and within minutes, Hoboken Terminal was turned into three triage areas. We are very fortunate in that we have one of the world's great burn centers at St. Barnabas. I guess people instinctively knew that.
    However, we normally carry 33,000 people a day and through private ferry operators over the course of an entire day in three hours, they carried 165,000 people specifically to Hobocan Terminal where the triage centers were set up and we took care of them from that point forward.
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    Hudson Bergen Light Rail became very prominent and while it does not quite reach Hoboken yet and will next year when Phase I is completed. This committee should be very proud of the work that you have done, the FTA should be very proud of the work they have done in advancing the full funding grant agreements so that we could have Hudson Bergen built.
    I would like, at this time, if I may, to praise your staffer, Joyce Rose, who came up to visit with us for a couple of days. She rode Hudson-Bergen up and down and saw Secaucus transfer and a lot of the other big projects we are building. We took a lot of abuse when Hudson-Bergen first opened, 1,400 riders a day when the predictions were significantly higher than that.
    Prior to September 11, September 10, we had grown from 1,400 a day to 5,000 a day over the course of a year. The parking lots were almost completely full. On September 12, we doubled that number literally over night as a result of that Path connection not being there between Exchange Place and the World Trade Center. Two things happened. Those folks who normally took that Path link were displaced and needed to use Hudson-Bergen and 8,000 jobs that were located in the financial district of Manhattan moved to the Jersey City waterfront which was already called Wall Street West, so at least they had a home and were able to quickly relocate there. It has worked out extraordinarily well.
    If it was not for Hudson-Bergen, whether we believe it was right sized, right invested and the right time, but if you take the opposite view, it was not for the significant investment that this Nation made and the State of New Jersey made in Hudson-Bergen, there would truly be bedlam along the Jersey City waterfront and would have caused further lack of settlement that was necessary quickly as a result of such a huge dislocation of 30 million square feet in space in lower Manhattan. It has been an enormous success.
    Some numbers you should be aware of. I deal with them every day and still find them to be spectacular. Prior to September 11, 83 percent of folks who went from New Jersey to New York, did so using mass transit. It is now 89 percent as a result of the events of September 11. Our Newark to New York commuter rail, good portions of which go through whether the Valley Line or Midtown Direct, your Congressional District 7, Congressman, and increased from 33,000 people a day to 48,000 people a day, literally overnight. This is a system that was already, while not at the breaking point, had about 8,000 standees a day. We are now up to around 14,000 to 15,000 standees a day by way of illustration. That is a typical train. That is what they look like, incredibly crowded, police stuck in the middle of all that and it is something we are working our way out of through $5 billion worth of rolling stock that you heard me mention before, rolling stock and other system expansions, but that was supposed to carry us to 2010. So we find ourselves by the middle of 2002, having used up capacity that was supposed to carry us to 2010 which is why you Congressmen are properly leading the charge for access to the region's core, another segment of tunnels that need to be built from New Jersey to New York.
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    So there are enormous changes. I could go on and do this for another hour but will not. Suffice it to say that without TEA 21 and ISTEA investments, the region truly would be in a shambles and would not be able to recover as quickly as we are in the middle of a rather incredible recovery.
    Mr. FERGUSON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to address that with Mr. Warsh. The town and community that Mr. Warsh lives in lost close to a dozen people just in that one town. In addition to all of us in our area trying to recover emotionally and physically from the losses of loved ones, it is great to have a success story like TEA 21 to point to to say this is helping us get back on our feet economically and from a transportation perspective. TEA 21 has been enormously important in the quality of our lives and in our ability recover after September 11.
    I am delighted that Mr. Warsh has been able to be here to put a face on that for us.
    With that, I yield back. Thank you.
    Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
    This subcommittee earlier this month, we didn't have a public hearing but we had people in from different agencies briefing us on security and what people were worrying about or what we could do to help them as a result of the adjustments that have to be made to improve things after September 11.
    I have to say that the transit industry of all the different modes probably has done as much or more thinking and preparing, I suspect in part because around the world, there have been a number of transit-related instances, Tokyo and other places, so this has been the subject of a lot of conferences and presentations and so on within the industry. Clearly, it has resulted in procedures being put in place and they are being tightened in a number of aspects as we speak.
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    Let me conclude this by asking one general question. If you want to respond, fine. We will be having other hearings. That is, I really was impressed by all of your testimony, Ms. Mortenson's in particular in the sense that it is a new system and seems to be very customer oriented and trying to work with employers and the community to make it practical for people to use mass transit. I guess commuters going to and from work that is a fixed point to point, home to work, situation for most people, so that is a prime market for mass transit.
    I wonder if this is going on generally in the industry. I guess my question really is, are there some things we should be aware of that are happening or could happen in the transit area due to changes in technology, particularly communications technology and the ability to communicate to customers by their cell phones and these palm things and everything else so they know when trains are coming so you can leave work?
    People know where their car is and it is there and even if it takes longer, it is predictable, so psychologically there is a little barrier to overcome in using mass transit sometimes as a result. Are there things going on in the industry that we should be aware of that we could help to enable you to reach out and gain people you can serve better than alternate transportation opportunities provide for them?
    Mr. KRUESI. If I might, let me add one thing to your other comment about the coordination among the transit agencies in light of the tragic events of September 11. Jenna Dorn, the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, has gone out and contacted me and worked with many of the transit agencies to provide technical expertise that we have found very valuable. In addition, we have worked very closely with other transit agencies, including MTA in New York and WMATA here, and shared experiences, advice, circulars and ways of dealing with what are ongoing issues, most of which end up being false alarms, thank goodness.
    Since I have been here today, I have had four pages of incidents of little white powder somewhere or someone leaving their brief case or backpack, which caused all sorts of responses.
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    I appreciate this committee's concern and interest in security. We are taking it very seriously and understand that we have to all do a better job in tightening security in transportation and indeed, we are dealing with an entirely new environment.
    We also have a lot of technological opportunities that we are taking advantage of. In the case of major transit systems such as the CTA, where our service is very frequent, the main thing we need to do is make sure we meet our schedule. When we are running trains during rush hour every two to three minutes apart, the issue isn't so much making sure people know which specific train is coming but have absolute certainty that it is going to be there. That is the ''on time'' component that is really important.
    We are upgrading our communications, we are installing fiber optic systems. Our right-of-ways are very valuable for fiber optic companies, so as a result we are able to upgrade our communications and our notification skills both for train operations and our ability for our customers to communicate.
    In addition, we are also working to ensure that we are able to use cell phones and other communications devices throughout our system, including our subway tunnels, because I am great believer in communications to make sure people are aware of what is going on.
    We are finding as we have issues, for example, a cable fire under one of our trains which thankfully doesn't happen very often, the fire departments find out about it through calls to 911 through cell phones or our customers before our operator is able to notify the control center. So this modern age of communication is creating new opportunities and challenges.
    The key thing that technology is providing for us is a better understanding of who is riding our system where and going to where. So we are able to really track that and design services to better meet our customers' needs. That is largely through smartcard technology in Washington, D.C. and that we have in Chicago as well, and are expanding dramatically. That will allow us to have a much better system that is putting service where customers need it when they need it. As we do, that helps to make it more attractive and more convenient for customers.
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    Mr. TIDWELL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that within the next month in the metro system in Chicago which covers 3,500 square miles in northeast Illinois, we will be having a system of GPS satellite tracking of all of our trains, will be up and running for our entire system. We have coupled that with two-way communication between our crews, our engineers and our control center so that we can communicate and know exactly where every train is at every moment, whether it is moving, whether it is stopped, be able to make announcements to our passengers on board those trains and be able to make announcements to passengers standing in stations waiting for trains. In the event something happened, we would be able to give them firsthand information and knowledge and also be able to tell them and predict the arrival of the next train so they will be aware a train is coming to pick them up.
    We are very proud of the system. We hope to have this up and running. We started this back in February and we should have it up and running by the end of November.
    Mr. PETRI. Very good. With that, thank you all very much. This hearing is concluded.
    [Whereupon, at 1:43 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]