Segment 5 Of 5 Previous Hearing Segment(4)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 667 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 MEMBER POLICY INITIATIVES AND REQUESTS FOR HIGHWAY AND TRANSIT PROJECTS IN THE ISTEA REAUTHORIZATION
THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 1997
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Surface Transportation,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:32 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Thomas E. Petri (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today we will hopefully conclude our series of hearings to receive testimony from Members of Congress on policy initiatives for transportation projects that they've requested to be included in the ISTEA bill.
In many cases Members will be accompanied by local officials who also support the request.
Page 668 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This hearing will be useful as the committee evaluates the various requests during the development of the ISTEA reauthorization legislation.
If there are any Members who do have statements, they will be made a part of the record, if anyone would like to.
We will begin with our colleague, The Honorable Spencer Bachus, who is accompanied by, I believe, his old legislative roommate and friend, Mr. Jimmy Harrison, and The Honorable Gary White, commissioner of Jefferson County.
TESTIMONY OF HON. SPENCER BACHUS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ALABAMA, ACCOMPANIED BY JIMMY HARRISON, CEO, HARCO DRUGS, TUSCALOOSA, AL, AND GARY WHITE, COMMISSIONER, JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALABAMA
WARRIOR LOOP-EASTERN BYPASS
ROADS AND TRANSPORTATION ON NORTHERN BELTLINE AND CORRIDOR
Mr. BACHUS. Thank you, Mr. Petri. I thank you and Mr. Rahall, the ranking member of the subcommittee, for allowing me to offer testimony and for local officials from Alabama to testify about important projects back in my home State.
I want to spend very little time talking about some overall policy and project initiatives that I would like to discuss.
What I'm going to do is submit a written report on those. Those include section 130 funds for protection of grade crossings and also involve eligibility of small freight railroads for ISTEA money.
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I wrote a letter to the subcommittee signed by 20 members of the Transportation Committee and 30 Members of Congress talking about the importance of your small freight railroads to the communities.
I also, in my written statement, talk about the need to continue funding for the university centers for transportation research and development. This is especially important to the State of Alabama for us to be able to prioritize our many needs and our limited funding.
Also, Chairman Shuster and I are the two sponsors of a bill to eliminate the mandate that the State highway departments convert to metric standards. I don't believe that they ought to be required to go to metric. It has already cost the State of Alabama close to eight million dollars, and this is a tremendous expense for our State.
At this time I'd like to introduce, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Mr. Jimmy Harrison. He's president of Harco Drugs, which is our largest independent drug store chain within the State of Alabama. They have operations in three States.
Jimmy is a friend of mine and I'm quite fortunate. He has been selected by the city of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County, which is the home of the University of Alabama, to testify about a project there which is absolutely important to Tuscaloosa County and to their continued growth.
With him is Mayor Al DuPont, who is running for his fifth term as mayor of the city of Tuscaloosa, and I predict will be successful by a landslide.
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With him also are two members of the city council, Harrison Taylor, who is also a good postal employee and a friend of mine, and Dr. James Dockery. He and part of his family live in Birmingham and they're good supporters of mine, and I'm glad to see them.
Also, Joe Robinson, who is the director of transportation for the city of Tuscaloosa, and Johnny Acock with the West Alabama Chamber, are with them.
Mr. Harrison will be testifying on behalf of an important project known as the Tuscaloosa Eastern Bypass, or Warrior Loop, as it's commonly known.
I'm going to go ahead and let Jimmy make his statement at this time, and when he concludes I'll introduce my former roommate in the Alabama Legislature when I served in the Alabama Senate, Mr. Gary White, who now heads up the Jefferson County Commission, which is the commission for Jefferson County Alabama, which includes the city of Birmingham and some 670,000 other citizens of the State of Alabama.
Mr. Harrison, we certainly look forward to hearing about your testimony on this important project.
Mr. HARRISON. Thank you, Congressman Bachus.
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the opportunity to speak to your committee. We're here today to talk to you about the Warrior Loop, a proposed four-lane, 18-mile limited access highway around the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, metropolitan area.
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The population of the Tuscaloosa metropolitan area exceeds 150,000 people and serves as the educational, medical, and business home for over 400,000 people in the west Alabama and east central Mississippi area.
Our community has enjoyed outstanding growth over the past several years, in excess of 43 percent in several areas, and it has put great pressure on our resources, not the least of which is our infrastructure.
We are proud to be the home to such outstanding businesses as Michelin, the French tire company; British Steel; Gostage Paper; and JVC, the Japanese electronic giant. But 3 years ago we hit the jackpot when Mercedes Benz selected the Tuscaloosa area for its first American automotive plant. To say what happened in our area was more than we anticipated is an understatement.
I serve on our Industrial Development Authority Board, and the influx of service industries for Mercedes has filled our IDA park, and we have purchased land for two more additional parks to handle the need. All this, and Mercedes has not as yet rolled the first car off the assembly line.
Tuscaloosa is blessed with a wide, beautiful, and navigable river called ''The Black Warrior,'' which is what the Indian name Tuscaloosa means.
We presently have two bridges over our river. If you wish to refer to the metropolitan map, one bridge is the U.S. 43 bridge, which is a six-lane bridge that currently carries 60,000 vehicles per day into the downtown portion of the city of Tuscaloosa. The other is the U.S. 82 bridge, commonly referred to as the McFarland Bridge. This bridge is a four-lane bridge that currently carries 55,000 vehicles a day.
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As far back as the early 1980s, the McFarland Bridge began to show safety and capacity problems. During the mid to late 1980s, to afford some relief, the city of Tuscaloosa and the State of Alabama entered into two contracts to improve the capacity on the north and south approaches to the McFarland Bridge.
While the improvements gave some relief, it was soon obvious that they were band-aids, so two separate studies were commissioned in 1989 and both predicted that the McFarland Bridge would be at capacity by the late 1990s. That is exactly what has happened.
As a result of these two studies, the Metropolitan Planning Agency of West Alabama initiated a study of a bypass around the Tuscaloosa metropolitan area. In 1991, the Alabama Department of Transportation allocated $200,000 to begin the study and hired a nationally known engineering firm to conduct the study.
In 1992, Senator Richard Shelby and our late Congressman, Claude Harris, had included in the Land Surface Transportation Act a sum of $6.4 million for engineering studies, land acquisition, and construction of the Warrior Loop.
Not only did the engineering study cite the need for the Warrior Loop, but the traffic study predicted by the year 2010, even with a new bridge, the traffic on the McFarland Bridge would be about the same or slightly greater than it is today. It was estimated that the new bridge at that time would be carrying 37,530 vehicles.
Perhaps most interesting, the study indicated that 89,061 vehicles per day would be using the McFarland Bridge if the Warrior Loop was not built. Of course, 89,061 vehicles is a paper number, as the McFarland Bridge could not handle a number of that size.
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In other words, before 2010 the McFarland Bridge would be at jammed capacity during peak travel hours every day.
I mentioned the Warrior Loop is an 18-mile-long limited access highway. It begins in east Tuscaloosa and travels north and west to U.S. 82 in the western metropolitan area. You may wish to refer to the map in that regard.
The specific segment for which funding is being requested at this time is the eastern portion of the Warrior Loop, which includes the Black Warrior crossing. The terminus points of this segment are Interstate 59/20 at the east and Rice Mine Road to the north.
Mr. Chairman, I must be talking slow. I see the red light is on. I practiced this more than once. I only have a little more.
In summary, the Warrior Loop is a critical component of the regional surface transportation infrastructure for the west Alabama area, with its ability to relieve an ever-growing congestion approaching gridlock, to provide a corridor for managed growth, to open up a much-needed additional area for development, and to provide an excellent alternative route for regional through traffic.
A 14-point questionnaire details by year the amount of money being requested through the year 2002. The total cost of the segment of the Warrior Loop from Rice Mine Road to Interstate 59/20 is estimated at $118,590,000, of which $94,872,000 would be Federal funds.
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I thank you so much for allowing us to make this presentation.
Mr. PETRI. Sir, I thank you.
Mr. WHITE. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Gary White, a member of the Jefferson County, Alabama, Commission. Today I'm representing the citizens of our area in the State of Alabama and the interstate travelers that pass through our region, where I serve as commissioner of roads and transportation.
On behalf of myself and those I represent, I want to thank the subcommittee for inviting me to appear before you today on the topic of including the Northern Beltline Highway in the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.
First let me describe the freeway system that passes through our county. Interstate Highway 65 traverses the width of our country from north to south beginning near Chicago, Illinois, and ending near the Gulf of Mexico. Interstate 20 begins at Columbia, South Carolina, and traverses east and west to a point near El Paso, Texas.
These two major interstate routes intersect near the downtown central business district of the city of Birmingham. That interchange was designed and constructed in the 1960s for traffic volumes of that time.
Page 675 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Currently, more than 350,000 vehicles a day pass through this highly-congested, inadequate interchange.
The Northern Beltline will play a large role in providing a bypass route to travelers that allows them to avoid the major downtown interchange. Travelers with a trip desire from the north to the east or west may elect to use the Northern Beltline Highway. This is true for all quadrants of travel. Additionally, the proposed new route will open a large area of undeveloped land and afford economic development opportunities for otherwise inaccessible areas of our county.
This concept was proven to be correct by the development of I459 route to the south of Birmingham, which is effectively a southern bypass or a mirror image of the proposed Northern Beltline Highway.
Consideration of a circumferential roadway around the northern portions of Birmingham metropolitan area dates to the early 1960s. Transportation officials considered including the route in the original development of the interstate highway system in Jefferson County, much like I459. Ultimately, however, it was excluded from the interstate plan due to the lack of funding to cover all projects identified in the Birmingham urbanized area.
In the succeeding 25 years, area transportation officials reconsidered the project on several occasions. In some instances, actual field surveys were performed and some degree of construction planning accomplished; however, no continuing study or design activities were undertaken, primarily because of funding restraints.
Page 676 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Significant new interest in the Northern Beltline developed with the completion of the I459 in 1985. A committee of elected officials from the project area was formed under the general leadership of Jefferson County Commission to pursue development of the project. The Jefferson County Commission developed several alternate alignments, which were the subject of studies conducted by the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission in the early 1980s. An economic study of the impacted area was also conducted by the Jefferson County Commission.
On June 11, 1986, the MPO approved a modification of the year 2000 transportation plan to include the Northern Beltline as a limited access expressway with possible western termini at locations including I459 near Bessemer, as well as several locations along I59 between Brighton and Fairfield, Alabama, and the eastern terminus on I59 in or near Leeds.
In September 1988, the House authorized $675,000 for expenses necessary to carry out the Alabama feasibility study, as authorized by section 350 of the Department of Transportation and related agencies.
Local match, primarily from the Jefferson County Commission, in an amount over $500,000, was provided to conduct the environmental assessment, economic analysis, and engineering.
The field environment impact statement has successfully addressed all the social, economic, and environmental issues. The only area of concern or controversy throughout the study process was the location of the beltline.
Page 677 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The route passes within close proximity of approximately 10 municipalities within Jefferson County. Many of the municipalities express a preference for an alternate that would be adjacent to or would pass through their community. That concern was addressed in public involvement meetings and has been resolved in the final selection of a route, as noted on the attachment.
Adequate studies have been conducted to clearly demonstrate the social, economic, and environmental merits of this proposed project. Documents have been developed that clearly demonstrate the need and the worthiness of the project, and the studies are available in my office and can be provided in part or in total, if desired.
The missing ingredient has been and continues to be funding necessary to advance the project to a reality.
Accordingly, it is our sincere desire and request that the Northern Beltline project be included for funding in the authorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.
Your favorable consideration of this request will be greatly appreciated.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you both for your testimony.
Are there questions of the witnesses on either of these projects?
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Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to add one more comment to this.
Mr. PETRI. Sure.
Mr. BACHUS. Sort of to give this panel some understanding of this problem.
If you were to travel from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, Louisiana, you would travel through about a 14-mile stretch of downtown Birmingham. If you hit it at rush hour, you will be delayed an hour to two hours on your trip because of a lack ofwe have half of a beltline around Birmingham.
If you were to travel from Atlanta to Dallas, you would encounter the samewhat we call ''Malfunction Junction.''
If you were going from Chicago to points in Florida, you would travel through this same junction in downtown Birmingham.
Within a 3-mile semi-circle around that junction, over half the interstate accidents in our county happen.
As a result of that more than anything else, EPA says we are not in compliance with our traffic congestion and traffic pollution standards, because basically we bring every car going from Florida to Chicago to downtown Birmingham, going from Washington to New Orleans, etc., etc.
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This project is a project for, I think, all the people traveling north, south, east, west through that region. It's also an environmentalit would have great environmental benefits.
I'm not sure that we can get into compliance with EPA regulations without some way to allow people to bypass Birmingham.
You know, I'm not often in a position of encouraging people not to come to downtown Birmingham, but I think when you're going from Washington to New Orleans the last thing you want to do is spend an hour-and-a-half sitting in a parking lot in downtown Birmingham.
So this, indeed, is a worthy project.
The Federal Highway Administration, in fact, has indicated that this is one of the major cities that does not have a diversionary route.
Mr. PETRI. And these projects are both supported by the Alabama Department of Transportation?
Mr. BACHUS. The Alabama Department of Transportation has said that these are two of their critical projectsnot only this, but the one in Tuscaloosa.
Tuscaloosa, as you heard from Mr. Harrison's testimony, is our most successful city in Alabama in attracting new industry. They've attracted some pretty state-of-the-art companies: Michelin for tires, Mercedes for carswe anticipate another announcement fairly soon in regard to an automobileJVC in electronics. And, in fact, we've had four major announcements in the past 4 months of companies, large companies, coming to that corridor. And that corridor is between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and only will add to the problems that both these gentlemen have testified to.
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Mr. PETRI. Well, I want to thank you both for coming. You're very effectively represented by a hard-working member of our committee in Mr. Bachus.
I think both of you know there are lots of pressures on a budget. We are trying to do what is almost impossible, and that is to adequately provide for a lot of pressing needs across the whole United States, and we're going to be doing itwe'll try to do the best job we can with the resources available.
Certainly, these both are obviously worthwhile and necessary projects, from a national as well as from your regional point of view, so we thank you for coming and calling them to our attention today.
Thank you both.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Bachus, Harrison, and White follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Next we'd like to welcome our colleague, Tillie Fowler from Florida, who is accompanied by: John Delaney, the mayor of Jacksonville; Miles Francis, the executive director of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority; John Clarke, vice president, aviation, Jacksonville Port Authority; and Mr. Bruce Parker, the director of planning for the Jacksonville Port Authority.
Page 681 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 It's good to see you all again. I think you've informally briefed a number of members of the committee of what we're going to be talking about today, but we look forward to your formal testimony.
Representative Fowler, if you'd like to lead off, please proceed.
I should mention, too, that we a little bit short-sheeted the previous witnesses. By mutual consent we've set the timer for four minutes for each witness. I know you've all been told five minutes, and so if you could go through it and cut out a paragraph somewhere.
The only reason is that we're trying to be reasonable with you, because we understand that these are very important subjects, but, on the other hand, there are a lot of them around the country and we have about 120 witnesses today, and as it gets on into the evening hours they'll lose out. So we want to try to be fair to everyone.
Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Chairman, I was already a step ahead of you. I told mine to keep it to three minutes each.
Mr. PETRI. Good.
Mrs. FOWLER. But I'm sort of going to be back and forth.
TESTIMONY OF HON. TILLIE K. FOWLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. JOHN DELANEY, MAYOR, JACKSONVILLE, FL, MILES FRANCIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JACKSONVILLE TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, JOHN CLARKE, VICE PRESIDENT, AVIATION, JACKSONVILLE PORT AUTHORITY, AND BRUCE PARKER, DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, JACKSONVILLE PORT AUTHORITY
Page 682 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 A1A IMPROVEMENTS, INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER, JACKSONVILLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ACCESS ROAD, BLOUNT ISLAND ACCESS ROAD, RAIL LOOP AND INTERMODAL YARD
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of several demonstration projects in northeast Florida.
I'm joined by The Honorable John Delaney, mayor of Jacksonville, who has traveled to Washington to testify on behalf of the Wonderwood Connector, as well as funding for a corridor study and right-of-way acquisition for light rail.
I also am joined by John Clarke, who is the vice president for aviation at the Jacksonville Port Authority, and he will discuss two important projects, a Jacksonville International Airport access road and a Blount Island Marine Terminal access road.
Because Mr. Clarke and Mayor Delaney are going to testify on behalf of these projects, I'm going to focus my remarks today on two projects on the southern end of my District, Volusia County. My written testimony encompasses all these projects.
I'd like now to turn it over at this time to The Honorable John Delaney.
Mr. DELANEY. Thank you, Tillie.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your courtesy. We have submitted some written comments, but I will briefly summarize because I know that you do have a long day ahead of you. We appreciate the courtesies you've extended to us.
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I'd also be remiss if I didn't thank Congresswoman Fowler. We in northeast Florida are very proud of her service and also our personal friendships with her, and we appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
Jacksonville is the largest city in population in Florida. It is also the largest city in land area in the continental United States. Beyond that, it is the fastest-growing city in Florida by both job growth and population.
We have addressed our local transportation needs in a somewhat unique methodology. We self-fund a transportation authority, impose a tax upon our citizens to meet our road needs, mass transit needs, construction and maintenance needs. It is the only statutory creature of this type in the entire United States.
Again, our goal is to try to get ahead of the growth demands that have hit, of course, many cities across the country.
We have two high-priority projects that we are seeking and coming to you to seek ISTEA funding. Each of those is unique, we believe, to some of the others that you would, of course, be hearing throughout the course of the day.
The first is unique in that we are proposing only that one-third of the funding come from ISTEA and the other two-thirds come from our local transportation authority. The second project that we're going to speak to you about is not a request for more money, but it is simply a request to reallocate or reprogram the money that was previously awarded in the 1992 ISTEA authorization bills.
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The first project is known as Wonderwood Expressway. The eastern portion of Jacksonville is, in effect, a barrier island. The population in that area approaches 100,000 people. There are three bridges in Jacksonville that lead from this barrier island to the mainland.
On the northern end of the barrier island is the Mayport Naval Base, one of the larger Naval bases in the State of Florida.
The Wonderwood Expressway, as proposed, is an east-west route, in effect away from this Navy base. We have four critical reasons we believe that this project is significant.
The first is, of course, the Navy base. The Navy has, for almost 15 years, expressed severe concerns about access to and from the base. Basically we have done all we can to widen roads and construct fly-overs to make access easy, but it has become very problematic, and the Navy has increasingly expressed concerns over access to the base in the events, of course, of military emergencies or weather emergencies.
The second is emergency evacuation of this large barrier island. With the population growth that has gone on in recent years, of course, a storm of any size or magnitude could be devastating to try to evacuate that large population across three bridges.
The third is the simple growth in the region, throughout the community. As I mentioned earlier, it is a fast-growing community. All of our transportation models show failure of this road system within just the next few years.
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The fourth is, of course, the two-thirds/one-third match. It's in a reverse. Two-thirds would be funded locally.
This is a top priority of the MPO. Our transportation authority has a regional director of the State DOT that serves on the authority. They have also made it a high priority, as well as, in effect, the entire city.
The second one, just briefly, in closing, is a request to allow reprogramming of the 1992 ISTEA authorization. That was money to complete the Skyway Express. That project came backand you probably don't hear this very oftenwell under budget, so we are not seeking additional money. What we are after there is simply to allow Jacksonville to reprogram that money to other mass transit needs. Our objective is to utilize substantial local funding to get ahead of these pressures in the future.
Thank you very much for your time and for your courtesy.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Mrs. FOWLER. I'd now like to recognize Mr. John Clarke.
Mr. CLARKE. Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to come before this committee.
The airport access road, which was the interchange off of 295, was funded in the original 1991 ISTEA act. That will be underway this year.
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The access road, which we refer to as the South Access Road, will lead into the main airport, the Jacksonville International Airport, which will provide a secondary access point to the airport.
Initially the interchange was funded at about $7.1 million. We are here today requesting that the access road from the interchange to the airport, itself, be funded at about $3 million, and an interchange that will connect that access point to the major entrance point of the airport, as well, at a total of about $9 million.
We believe this is very important because this access point will allow the western part of the community to access Jacksonville International Airport and save about 20 minutes in travel time to actually enter into the main entranceway off of I95. We also believe this will begin to cut down the congestion that is now being realized because of the substantial growth in that area.
The second project that we have is an access to the 21st Street interchange, which is at our marine terminal at Tallyrand.
What is happening now is there is considerable truck traffic that, unfortunately, has to go through neighborhoods and community residential areas, and we believe that, by providing this interchange, it will enhance the safety and the efficiency and ultimately enhance our opportunity to accommodate international and national trade through the marine terminal in Tallyrand.
Page 687 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Finally, our project, which isthese projects are all submitted in written formatis to provide a rail loop intermodal yard at the third terminal, which is the Blount Island terminal. This project is estimated at about $4.5 million, and we believe will add significantly to the marine operation for the Jacksonville Port Authority.
To step back for a moment, the Jacksonville Port Authority provides the air and sea components for the region of Jacksonville, and that region extends as far north as Savannah and as far south as Daytona.
We have seen tremendous growth in this area, and we believe that these projects will add significantly to national and international trade and commerce.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Mrs. FOWLER. Now, Mr. Chairman, I just would like to mention briefly, too, our projects in Volusia County, A-1-A improvements in Daytona Beach, Florida. This project is the cornerstone of a redevelopment effort in the Daytona area. The request covers 1 mile of a proposed 11-mile project that's going to go through three cities.
While some enhancement funds can be used for the project, the entire county does not receive a sufficient allocation to complete construction of the project.
Strong local support of the project is reflected by the 40 percent local match for the project. The Volusia County MPO has adopted a resolution stating that this is a priority.
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Another project in Daytona is an intermodal transportation center for Volusia County. The County proposes a facility that would provide 1,700 parking spaces, integrate public and private transportation services, and provide access to the local beaches and hotels, as well as the convention center and other central Florida locations.
Again, the Volusia County MPO has adopted a resolution supporting this facility, and I've submitted copies of those to the committee.
Lastly, I'd like to conclude by expressing my support for a policy initiative which my colleague, Congressman Mica, who is here today, has brought to the attention of the committee.
Quite often, when our older roadways are upgraded, replaced, or widened there exists an opportunity for the cost-effective retrofitting of storm water management systems.
Currently, ISTEA funds cannot be accessed for the purpose of environmental restoration or pollution abatement in this area. As an example, our St. John's River Water Management District has found that the lack of flexibility in the ISTEA program has precluded them from getting some much-needed funds.
So, as we are looking to provide greater State flexibility, I would recommend that the committee consider allowing States to use ISTEA funds for storm water retrofitting for transportation projects.
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This policy would be environmentally sound and would be extremely beneficial to our States.
I would encourage the subcommittee's favorable consideration of all of the projects that have been presented to you this morning. Each is important as we are looking to deal with safety, congestion, and environmental concerns that are brought on by our high population growth in northeast Florida.
Mr. Chairman, we did it within the time frame. I want to thank you very much for having us today, and we'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions of this panel?
Mr. RAHALL. No question, Mr. Chairman. I just want to commend our colleagues, Representative Fowler, who is on this committee, a very valuable member of our committee, as well as Representative Corrine Brown. Both have talked to me numerous times on this project and brought their people in to see me, and we appreciate it.
You can be assured you have effective leadership here in Washington and on this committee.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you.
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Mr. PETRI. Mr. Pease?
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a quick question.
The presentation was very helpful and very well done. I had one question, though, about Mr. Clarke's presentation.
I understood from Mr. Delaney's presentation that you're going far beyond what's expected in terms of local fundingmore than twice what we normally hear, and we're grateful for that.
It was not clear to me, though, on the presentation that Mr. Clarke made, what local and State match, if any, was going to be on those projects. It appeared to me that the request was for 100 percent Federal funding for those projects.
Mr. CLARKE. No. These projects have received support from FDOT, and the Florida Department of Transportation has been a participant, as well as the Port Authority.
Mr. PEASE. You could get for usnot necessarily at this point, but at some point, how much that breaks down?
Mrs. FOWLER. They do have the figures. The State is putting in a substantial amount, and the local, too, so there are figures on that. We'll make sure we get them for you.
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Mr. PEASE. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you all for coming. We'll be working with a member of the committee, Representative Fowler, on these projects.
Mrs. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DELANEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Fowler follows:]
Mr. PETRI. The next witness is a group led by our colleague, John Mica, and he is accompanied by: The Honorable Pat Patterson, Commissioner, Volusia County; and Wayne Rich, chairman of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority; as well as Commissioner Daryl McLain.
Mr. Mica, would you like to proceed?
TESTIMONY OF HON. JOHN L. MICA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY PAT PATTERSON, COMMISSIONER, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA, WAYNE A. RICH, CHAIRMAN, ORLANDO/ORANGE COUNTY EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY, AND DARYL MCLAIN, COMMISSIONER, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
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Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to follow my colleague, Tillie Fowler. As you know, we represent some of the same areas, some of the same counties, and so I echo her sentiments on the projects that were just previously presented.
Florida is a growth State, and we have just incredible transportation needs and requirements.
But I'm pleased today to present to the subcommittee several central Florida leaders, particularly in transportation.
I have with me Pat Patterson, who is chairman of the Volusia County Council, and he is also chairman of the Volusia County Metropolitan Planning Organization. He's going to discuss the replacement of the St. John's River Bridge, which is over I4 and has become a real problem for transportation because it's the only north-south link in central Florida.
Daryl McLain, who has been a Seminole County Commissioner since 1992, is with us, and he is chairman of the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority. He'll discuss a central Florida regional light rail project which is underway.
And then I'm also pleased to have from Orange County the chairman of the board of the Orange-Orlando Expressway Authority. He's going to be discussing a proposal to expand State infrastructure banking and innovative and creative transportation credits.
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So, with those introductions, I'll yield, if I may, Mr. Chairman, first to Mr. Patterson.
Mr. PATTERSON. Thank you and good morning. I'm pleased that Congressman Mica invited me to come up here to talk about the St. John's River Bridge.
As a defensive driving instructor and instructor/trainer for over 20 years with the National Safety Council, if you know anything about the defensive driving programit has been in existence for many yearsit's based upon common sense and trying to find a way to effectively avoid traffic accidents. This is a situation we do not have on that bridge at this time. There is no safety shoulder. It's about 18 inches on the right side, 6 inches on the left side. We've had many accidents where people have been actively touched by another car and thrown off the bridge. For many people the biggest fear is not so much what happens after you hit the water, it's the alligators below.
I appreciate coming forward to talk to you about a project that we feel is of national importance.
The bridge was originally built in 1960 to handle 32,000 cars a day. It's currently at 70,000 cars a day and growing by about 5 percent.
We have our new city of Deltona, which is currently about 60,000 population, and it's only 50 percent built out. These people leave our area and head down into the Orlando urban area to work. So it is important locally, but of national importance with the 25 million visitors that we get to our area each year. We are concerned about the safety of those people.
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I appreciate coming before you, and anything that you can help us with on that issue.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. And I'll yield now to Daryl McLain, who is going to talk about our light rail project.
Mr. MCLAIN. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I might add that Seminole County borders Volusia County, and the bridge that Mr. Patterson talked about is very important to Seminole County, also.
The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority is the public transportation agency serving the Orlando metropolitan area. The Regional Transportation Authority, which residents simply known as LYNX, serves three countiesOrange, Seminole, and Osceola, with a population of 1.4 million.
I really appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the authorization of a very high-priority capital project in central Florida.
Several of our agencies and governments in central Florida are working very closely together to coordinate their transportation priorities, and this effort includes LYNX, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, who is here today, and the Florida Department of Transportation.
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We are here seeking an authorization of $440 million from funds made available under section 5309 of the Federal Transit Act to construct the central Florida light rail system project.
We are also seeking an appropriation for fiscal year 1998 in the amount of $48,832,000 for the light rail phase one project, and we envision this project to be a cost-sharing of 50 percent with the Federal Government.
LYNX is a rapidly-growing system embarked on an aggressive plan to improve and expand transit services to the central Florida community.
The authorization we are requesting will enable LYNX to address the growing mobility needs of our region.
Interstate 4 is the primary light rail corridor which extends through our entire Orlando metropolitan area and is the major transportation facility servicing our region. Virtually all of the region's major attractions, activity centers, and suburban residential areas are within this I4 corridor; however, construction on many of the segments of I4 date back to the late 1960s and, in essence, our Interstate 4 is incapable of providing existing or future capacity for regional mobility.
Understanding the importance of developing multi-modal transportation solutions, our Florida Department of Transportation has adopted a State-wide policy of constraining the Florida urban interstates to no more than six general purpose lanes and four HOV lanes.
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This policy also indicates that a fixed guideway public transit mode shall be used to complement the highway facility and serve the mobility requirement of our interstate corridors.
In September 1995, our metropolitan planning organization unanimously adopted the joint Florida Department of Transportation and LYNX Interstate 4 recommendation.
Our ultimate light rail component system would stretch 50 miles; however, the initial light rail line would encompass approximately 24 miles. The total cost of this initial project, including our park and ride, bus, and light rail facilities, is approximately $800 million.
The implementing agency, LYNX, is requesting your support for the engineering and final design portion of the light rail program.
There are some special considerations of this particular project that are kind of unique, and some of those are, of course, our whole light rail project has been led by our Florida Department of Transportation. Our Florida Department of Transportation has committed 25 percent of the total cost, up to $400 million, for our light rail program. And we do have significant local private sector support for our project.
These aspects are rare and unique in light rail initiatives in the United States, and central Florida's light rail project stands apart from others, representing a powerful blend of local and private support.
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I want to take this time to thank you for this opportunity to be here today and consider this request, and would like to answer any questions you might have.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MICA. I'd also like to recognize, if I may, Mr. Chairman, Wayne Rich. Wayne is going to talk about infrastructure banking.
To my members on the panel, this is a great example. Wayne is a great example of local ideas coming to Washington and actually giving us the innovative approaches to making the limited amount of funds we have go further.
It was Wayne and the local authority who suggested infrastructure banking to myself and Mr. McCollum. We were able to get that incorporated as ten demonstration projects on the highway bill, and 10 States now have benefitted by that. I think Mr. Slater, the Secretary, has also endorsed expansion of the concept.
Mr. Rich is now recognized.
Mr. RICH. Thank you, Congressman Mica. And good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
I, too, want to thank you for this opportunity to come before you this morning. I am Wayne Rich, chairman of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
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This Authority was created by statute in 1963 to facilitate the development of expressways through the central Florida area. To date, the Authority has developed over 79 miles of tolled expressways built to interstate standards and funded through the issuance of approximately $900 million in tax-exempt debt.
During the previous three fiscal years, the expressway has received no Federal funding; however, we hope to receive some innovative funding monies in the near future.
Today I'd like to testify on behalf of innovative financing and the provisions that you will consider when you rewrite ISTEA. I believe the innovative transportation financing laws Congress has already passed have been a great success, and I strongly urge you to continue and expand the scope and magnitude of those provisions.
The reason for this is very simple: there are simply not enough resources available, either Federal, State, or local, to meet all our Nation's infrastructure needs using traditional financing methods.
It is not good enough to get a dollar of highway or transit construction for every dollar of expended gas tax funds. Instead, we must take advantage of the leveraging we can create and achieve through innovative financing.
At times, a dollar of gas tax through a line of credit or an interest rate buy-down will result to $10 to $15 worth of construction.
Page 699 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority is planning to use Federal innovative financing authority to help build a significant portion of a new project, the Western Expressway.
The Western Expressway, which divides into two parts, A and C, will run from Interstate 4 in the south to U.S. Highway 441 in the north. When completed, the Western Expressway will provide travel relief for U.S. 441 from Apopka into Orlando. It will also provide relief for Interstate 4, a major highway artery through the metropolitan area and the source of the largest traffic problem in central Florida.
In simple terms, we must get traffic off Interstate 4 or we'll face gridlock in the Orlando area. The Western Expressway will help relieve that situation.
We are turning to the Federal innovative financing only to bridge a funding gap in project financing. The expressway has received over $40 million in State funds, in addition to county contributions and the bonding capacity of the Expressway Authority, and the participation of municipal governments. We are not asking for Federal financing to create the project, but only to close the gap and make the project feasible.
In other words, innovative financing will leverage over $100 million of non-Federal funds.
Originally, the Expressway Authority had proposed financing the Western Expressway with TE-045 type funding. As you know, the authority for this project had originally been authorized by Congress in ISTEA.
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In developing this proposal, the Authority received the active participation and interest of the Department of Transportation's Secretary Rodney Slater, who at the time was the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, and Jane Garvey, the deputy administrator of Federal Highway. I want to publicly thank them for their help and commend them for their vision.
I strongly urge this committee to continue to expand the SIB program and to continue to fund all potential projects. From my contacts in the industry, I'm convinced that the demand for SIB-funded projects far exceeds the money made available to them to date.
I also urge you to support the new national innovative financing program proposed by the Administration as part of the fiscal year 1998 budget. The details of this program were just released yesterday, and I understand the program will, in essence, create a Federal SIB to help fund projects of national significance.
I can assure you that, if such a financing program was created, agencies like the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority would quickly agree to participate.
At the same time, I would hope that FHWA would use its new authority to push the envelope, if you please, and develop new and better innovative financing concepts.
In summary, this Nation has built the finest transportation system in the world. This committee has played an integral role in that effort and is to be congratulated for its successes.
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To continue to build on that success in a time of limited resources, I urge you to facilitate new forms of innovative financing techniques, including expanded SIBs and the new Federal credit program. With these tools, organizations such as the Orlando Expressway Authority will combine it with our own resources to build needed transportation arteries.
Sir, thank you for your time. I will be happy to answer questions.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know on the of the things that you look for is local and State participation, and you certainly have that in these projects. We built nearly $1 billion worth of toll roads as a bypass around Orlando, which isn't quite complete yet, but all with local resources and funds.
With the light rail project, also we have a commitment from the State and locals for participation. So we thank you for your attention and for the opportunity to make this presentation.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Are there questions of the panel?
Mr. PETRI. I'd just like to observe that the subjects you've testified on have excited a lot of interest. The light rail program is a major program. As you know, there is a lot of interest in this in different parts of the country. Doing it in a way that actually makes economic sense is harder. You may have hit on something. At least if it's going to work anywhere, probably this is the place that it's likely to work next.
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And innovative financing is something that we're all interested in. It's not the answer to every problem, but it's maybe an answer to some problems.
We are trying to be as cautious as we can, only because we don't want to end up with problems down the road. But if projects can be done now as investments and actually generate stream of revenue to pay it back, obviously we're all better off by moving forward the investment stream.
So we thank you. We look forward to working with Mr. Mica on these and other projects.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Mica, Patterson, Rich, and McLain follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Our colleague, Mr. Kim, is bringing our former colleague, Jim Lloyd, and The Honorable Gary Ovitt, a councilman from Ontario, and Michael O'Connor, city manager of Ontario, California.
Page 703 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 TESTIMONY OF HON. JAY KIM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. GARY OVITT, COUNCILMAN, ONTARIO, CA, HON. MIGUEL PULIDO, MAYOR, SANTA ANA, AND MEMBER, ORANGE COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, AND HON. JIM LLOYD, FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS
ONTARIO INTERNATIONAL GROUND ACCESS PROGRAM, MOUNTAIN AVENUE/I10 INTERCHANGE
Mr. KIM. Thank you. Thank you very much for inviting us today.
With me today, as you know, is our former colleague, Mr. Jim Lloyd, who will address the Ontario access project. He's to my left. And we have a mayor pro tem from Ontario, Mr. Gary Ovitt, who will discuss the I10 and Mountain Avenue underpass. Finally, we have a member of the county transportation authority, Mr. Pulido, who will be addressing the highway grade separation project.
Let me go back and give a little background.
The project was funded way back in 1986, and this airport is scheduled to open soon, and we don't have any last stretch of access road to come to the airport. We can't open the airport until this road is completed.
We are only asking $10.5 million for the last section of the roadway access road to complete the project. If we get this funding, I won't bother you any more on this project. This is going to be the last stretch.
The second project is I10 and Mountain Avenue underpass. That Interstate 10 is under design and CALTRANS is scheduled to add HOV lanes. We'd like to widen this underpass at the same time because this underpass is so narrow and poorly-designed that it's no longer just a congestion matter; now it becomes a public safety issue. Every day we seem to have some kind of accident. It's a very, very important, urgent project. We ask you only $5 million.
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Finally, Imperial Avenue in Yorba Linda, Orange County, that's a big project. We are asking $38.4 million for the grade separation of this huge railroad track. Imperial highway is a main roadway cutting Yorba Linda, and because of this Alameda Corridor and morning and afternoon Metrolink commuter rail project, this crossing becomes very, very congested every day. Not only that, but the configuration is that interstate crossing and railroad crossing so close to each other creates a tremendous safety issue.
Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At this time I'd like to yield to our colleague, Mr. Jim Lloyd.
Mr. LLOYD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the opportunity to be here.
I would ask consent to submit my remarks for the record and make a few brief comments.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection.
Mr. LLOYD. Thank you. I don't think there are any surprises in this. We started on this project in 1980. We first got funded in 1986, and it has been funded repeatedly in the ISTEA legislation in the past.
What Congressman Kim said is absolutely true. Let's just finish the project off.
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We don't want to offend anybody. We've been at it long enough. Clearly, this project serves all of the people of the United States, not just the city of Ontario or the county of Los Angeles.
What it does, it serves all the counties around there, but we have cargo and passengers who arrive at this airport from all parts of the globe.
So the answer is: it's of vital interest to the United States.
I know that all of the people on this committee have heard about the project and have probably almost too much.
I appreciate very much the opportunity to be with you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. KIM. Mr. Chairman, at this time I'd like to yield to Mayor Pro Tem Ovitt from the city of Ontario.
Mr. OVITT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee.
As mayor pro tem of the city of Ontario, it is a pleasure to appear before you today to present our request for $5 million in Federal funding to supplement $2 million of our own local funding to construct the much-needed $7 million Mountain Avenue at I10 freeway interchange and intersection improvements.
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This regional interchange impacts three adjacent communities: Ontario, Chino, and Uplandsome quarter of a million people.
Mountain Avenue is a major arterial feeder link to the I10 freeway, which runs through Ontario, San Bernadino County, and Los Angeles County.
The interchange project is completely designed, and all plans and specifications are ready to advertise for construction bids.
This project is shelf ready. Construction can be awarded in June 1997, and be completed 2 years later in June 1999.
Ontario's $5 million of requested Federal funding can be obligated immediately and expended within the next 2 years.
Ontario for years has attempted to obtain funding to construct this interchange expansion and widening project. We have exhausted our financial resources to fund the project ourself. We have managed to allocate some $2 million of local funds towards the construction.
As a point of reference, $2 million of local funds is approximately equal to our total gas tax highway receipts for 1 yeara major commitment when considering Ontario is responsible for the repair and maintenance of some 480 miles of roadways within our community.
Page 707 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This Mountain Avenue Interchange project is identified on the RTIP. The MPO for our area, Sandbag, has identified this interchange as one of its top-priority projects within Congressman Kim's District.
I would like to emphasize that Sandbag intends to award an $80 million contract to widen the I10 freeway. The I10 freeway carries some 247,000 cars per day at this location. The intersecting Mountain Avenue carries 45,000 cars per day.
Ontario's engineers, as well as Sandbag's engineers, have determined that if Ontario's Mountain and I10 interchange can be constructed simultaneously with the regional I10 freeway widening and the HOV project, approximately $4 million can be saved. The $80 million freeway widening project will be of no help in improving Mountain Avenue interchange traffic.
Mr. Chairman, let me summarize in five main points.
Number one, the project is shelf ready. Construction can begin in June and be finished in 2 years.
Number two, Ontario has already exceeded its match of funds by contributing $2 million of the $7 million total.
Number three, there are no outstanding environmental issues.
Number four, air quality, a significant issue in southern California, will be significantly improved by cars not idling in gridlock.
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And, number five, safety is a great concern. There have been many accidents attributed to the problems at the I10 and Mountain Avenue interchange.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we respectfully request the committee look favorably upon our request.
Thank you for your time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. KIM. Thank you. Our final speaker will be Mr. Miguel Pulido, who is the mayor of the city of Santa Ana and at the same time is a member of the Orange County Transportation Authority.
Mr. PETRI. I apologize for not introducing you at the beginning. I think we had a different name here.
Mr. PULIDO. No apology necessary, Mr. Chairman. I'm honored to be here.
I would request if I could submit my comments for the record, I will be brief in what I have to say.
As a director of the Orange County Transportation Authority, there are two projects I want to touch upon briefly. One is the transitway project which goes through the heart of Orange County. It is home to 57 percent of the county's jobs and more than one-third of the residents. It also connects three of the Nation's ten busiest highway interchanges in the country.
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What we're requesting is $61 million for that project, which will put us well on the way towards part of the $2 billion local and State investment that we're making to improve the heart of Orange County as we connect everybody through this project.
Second, we're requesting $38 million for really part of the impact of the Alameda Corridor. If we're able to help the Alameda Corridor be a successand we think it will be a wonderful project for the countryif we don't address many of those feeders that feed into the corridor, it simply will not work.
And public safety is something that concerns us very, very much because currently there are 230,000 vehicles a day using 15 existing grade crossings along the railroad right-of-way. So addressing this whole issue of the corridor project as it relates to grade separations I believe is imperative to the ultimate success of the project.
As we look at Imperial, we also have to look at Orangethorpe and obviously other areas that interconnect to the Alameda Corridor.
So, with great appreciation for the leadership of Congressman Kim, who is just doing a wonderful job, I believe, on many different levels, and also noting that this has been previously approved on the many ISTEA FTA recommendations, we respectfully submit these two requests before the committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 710 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. Kim is doing a good job. We enjoy working with him, and he's a very active member of this committee.
Are there questions of the panel?
Mr. RAHALL. No question, Mr. Chairman. I'd just say we welcome back our colleague, Mr. Kim, and our former colleague, Jim Lloyd, who has been a good friend for a number of years. It's good to see him back.
Mr. LLOYD. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. We've discussed one of these projects, in particular, with Mr. Lloyd. He has been very active in calling it to the committee's attention, and we appreciate having the opportunity to learn about it.
We will be working with you on this, and we thank you for coming here this morning to testify.
Mr. KIM. Thank you.
Mr. OVITT. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Kim and Mr. Lloyd follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next panel is our colleague David Weldon. He was here. I don't know if he's here now. Well, maybe we'll be able to adjourn early. Here he is. Good. Our colleague, David Weldon, is accompanied by: Robert Lay, operations supervisor of Brevard County Emergency Management; Dr. Vincent Griffith of Melbourne; and Ms. Stacey Griffith from Melbourne.
TESTIMONY OF HON. DAVE WELDON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT S. LAY, JR., OPERATIONS SUPERVISOR, BREVARD COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, DR. VINCENT GRIFFITH, MELBOURNE, FL, AND STACEY GRIFFITH, MELBOURNE, FL
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here. I very much appreciate the hard work you are doing on behalf of the people of the United States in this very important piece of legislation.
I had a small taste of the challenge that you face just a few days ago attending a meeting amongst officials from the State of Florida and listening to the large number of diverse transportation needs just within our State and the tremendous challenge that we have right in our very own State, and I can easily seeand my heart goes out to you and the members of the committeethe challenge that you will face in making the decisions ahead regarding these transportation needs involving our whole Nation.
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As you may recall from my testimony before this committee in 1995, U.S. 192 is a road in central Florida that runs from Orlando or the Orlando area to Florida's east coast. The stretch from St. Cloud to Melbourne is the portion that has concerned me from the very first days that I began living in Florida, and widening it has been a priority of mine as a legislator.
The 35-mile segment in question is a two-lane road that has abnormally high rates of center line crossing accidents; specifically, 22 have occurred from the time period of 1993 and 1995, and there have been an additional 132 crashes, 217 injuries, and 11 fatalities in this same time period.
U.S. 192 also serves as a primary hurricane evacuation route for 300,000 people living along the coast and is a major trade and travel corridor.
I have asked Federal assistance in widening this dangerous road before, and I ask you to help me again in this project.
You may recall, Mr. Chairman, when I did testify before the committee in 1995, I went back to my office and was notified by my staff that an accident had occurred the night before involving two trucks colliding, killing one driver, closing the road for a 24-hour period, and you were very cordial at that time to allow me to come back and share that additional testimony.
One of the particular characteristics of my District is a lack of east-west roads in the southern part of Brevard County, which is the county that I live in. It has about 450,000. I believe we have provided you a map.
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There are three main east-west arteries in the north half of the county which arose primarily because of infrastructure needs of the space program. Two of those three roads are four-lane, and together they provide adequate space for daily travel needs and safely serve as hurricane evacuation corridors for the residents of that northern part of the county.
However, the central and southern parts of the county are now high growth rate areas, with most new population and economic growth occurring in Melbourne and Palm Bay, two large cities in the southern part of the county. This high-growth area, which spans nearly 60 miles up and down the coast, is home, as I said earlier, to 300,000 people and has a single east-west corridor, U.S. 192, the road I'm asking for assistance in.
Now, I know that you may hear from many who appear before this committee about the dangers of narrow roads, but I wanted you to have an opportunity to hear first-hand about a very personal tragedy caused by the dangerousness of this road.
A medical colleague of mine, Dr. Vincent Griffith, to my right, has been gracious enough to come up here and testify. He lost his wife in a tragic accident on this road. His lovely daughter, Stacey, has come up with him. She was disabled in that accident. They are going to take some time to tell you a little bit about their experience.
I am gravely concerned about additional deaths on this treacherous road, but I fear even greater the consequences if east central Florida faces a major hurricane threat. Fear and panic could set in easily during an evacuation, and we could have a scenario where a single motor vehicle accident could block this road for 30 miles and literally trap potentially thousands of people along this highway.
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I feel very strongly about this issue, and I have asked a county official to describe to you the hurricane evacuation situation in a little bit more detail.
Mr. Robert Lay is the operations supervisor for Brevard County Emergency Management, and he is to my left. I'd like to begin by letting him speak first, tell you a little bit about the hurricane evacuation issue and the concerns of the county in this arena, and then I'll ask my medical colleague, Dr. Griffith, and his daughter to speak.
Mr. LAY. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to address the public safety hazards posed by U.S. 192 and how widening the road to four lanes will provide a safe and an effective highway that can be used as a regional evacuation route.
Due to our limited time, I would like to submit a more-detailed statement for the record, which includes a map, concerning U.S. 192.
Brevard County is located on the east coast of Florida, and it's midway between Jacksonville and Miami and due east of the Orlando/Disney area. Currently, 235,000-plus residents live in the southern half of the county in the Melbourne/Palm Bay area.
U.S. 192 is the only road directly connecting south Brevard with the inland area of central Florida. U.S. 192 is not just a narrow road, it's a very narrow road.
U.S. 192 is a significant public safety hazard to both residents and tourists for two primary reasons: first, U.S. 192's traffic crash history; second, the inadequacy of U.S. 192 as a hurricane evacuation corridor.
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Between 1993 and 1995, 132 motor vehicle crashes occurred on this section of U.S. 192, resulting in 216 injuries and 11 fatalities.
No other road in central Florida has more cross-the-center-line-type accidents as U.S. 192. When such accidents occur, they are frequently at high speed, often head-on, and many persons are injured or killed.
Because of this, U.S. 192 is perceived as such a hazardous road that each day thousands of motorists avoid the road altogether and drive 50 or 60 miles of their way to get to their destinations by safer four-lane routes.
The second reason for widening U.S. 192 is to ensure adequate hurricane evacuation of all evacuees in south Brevard. As a coastal county, hurricane evacuation planning is something that we take very seriously.
On the map that's with your packets, 192, again, is the only direct western evacuation route for southern Brevard County. Our basic concern is that U.S. 192 in its current figuration will not provide sufficient and safe evacuation capacity during a major hurricane.
There are thousands of hotel rooms and public shelter spaces in the Orlando area. This will be the destination for many evacuees, not only from the Brevard area but from other parts of Florida, depending on the track of the hurricane.
Page 716 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The northern and central parts of the county are adequately served by four-lane western evacuation routes; however, those roads are 25 or more miles north of U.S. 192 and would be full of evacuees from other areas.
Likewise, as shown in a recent regional evacuation study conducted by the State of Florida, Interstate 95 will be at capacity with evacuees from other regions; thus, the only out-of-area evacuation route available for south Brevard is U.S. 192.
However, my office's analysis indicates during a major storm event the capacity of U.S. 192 will be insufficient to meet demand during the peak evacuation period. Westbound evacuation traffic will back up for several miles on U.S. 192 through the center of Melbourne.
While the duration and length of this traffic queue will depend on many things, the result will be gridlock for at least a part of the time. This would effectively block evacuation from our barrier island, impair our ability to transport the at-risk population to Brevard shelters, and could even strand some residents in their vehicles after the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
A traffic accident on U.S. 192 will shut down all traffic for some period of time and will make things even worse. Our greatest fear is that frustration and panic set in and we would no longer have an evacuation but a stampede.
Our analysis shows the addition of westbound capacity by widening U.S. 192 to four lanes will significantly improve south Brevard's and the region's evacuation capability.
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In closing, we have a U.S. highway that residents are afraid to drive on, and the current capacity of the road to provide evacuation for a major hurricane is unsatisfactory.
I ask that you act now to ensure a safe route from the east coast of central Florida for evacuation during hurricane season and for motorists who use the road on a daily basis by approving Congressman Weldon's request for Federal funding for widening U.S. 192.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. In closing, I'd like to ask Dr. Griffith to speak briefly to the Members, and if his daughter would like to say a few words, as well.
Dr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you here today.
My name is Vince Griffith, and this is my daughter, Stacey. I'm a Melbourne-area physician, and I would like to briefly talk to you today about U.S. Route 192.
This Saturday, exactly 12 years ago to the day, my family and I were involved in what has become an all-too-frequent event for motorists traveling Highway 192 between Melbourne and Kissimmee, Florida.
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Highway 192 is a narrow road with a significant amount of high-speed truck traffic. The majority of the area is rural, with small roads often running off at various haphazard locations.
It was this exact scenario that led a tractor trailer driver to swerve his rig in an attempt not to hit a pickup truck that had abruptly braked to turn off onto a side dirt road.
Unfortunately, he swerved into our oncoming car. Both vehicles were estimated to be exceeding 40 miles an hour at impact.
I awoke the next day in the intensive care unit of my home hospital. My daughter was in the cubicle next to mine. I had learned that my wife, who I had first dated as a freshman in college, had died of massive internal injuries. She was wearing a seat belt, as were I and my daughter.
Stacey had her intestine ruptured and her spine broken when she was snapped over her seat belt. She underwent two major surgeries within 48 hours and has had three subsequent major procedures that were the direct result of this tragedy.
I no longer travel that highway, not because of superstition; the highway is just too dangerous.
With only one lane in each direction and virtually no shoulder, there is no margin for error.
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Though I have delivered several thousand babies in south Brevard County and have enjoyed a successful medical practice, I am perhaps more well-known as the doctor whose wife was killed on 192.
Highway 192 has a reputation for danger that is known throughout central Florida.
Today it is easy for me to blend in. For my daughter, Stacey, it's not quite so easy. She has been dealing with her paralysis since the age of five. She has been the proverbial trooper, however, in dealing with her handicap. She never uses it as an excuse, never uses it to her advantage, and neverI repeat, neverlikes to draw attention to it.
That is the reason why I'm so very proud that Stacey agreed to come here with me this morning. She recognized that not to do so would have been, to quote her, ''the most selfish thing that I could do.''
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I'd like to introduce my daughter, Stacey.
Ms. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my father was correct. Recognizing my handicap makes me very anxious, probably more than you will ever know. I wanted so badly to come up with some kind of excuse to get out of appearing here today; however, I knew if I did not appear here today it would be the first time that I ever let my paralysis beat me. I also would miss my chance of helping prevent this from happening to someone else, and I could not let that happen.
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I'm here today to get your attention to how important widening this road really is. I have been driving over a year now. It has opened up the world to me. It has also taught me judgment. I avoid roads like Highway 192, which took my mother's life. I cannot remember my mother, but hopefully you will remember me at allowance time.
Please vote for widening Highway 192.
Mr. WELDON. I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member. I guess what you're about is not just about concrete and steel and asphalt, but it's about human lives. I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify, and I wish you well in directing the upcoming legislation.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you all very much for this testimony. I was a great memorial to your mother, Stacey, and we appreciate your making the effort. Thank you all.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Weldon, Mr. Lay, Dr. Griffith, and Ms. Griffith follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next group is led by our colleague, Richard Baker from Louisiana, and he's accompanied by Mayor Tom Ed McHugh of Baton Rouge.
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We have talked about some of these requests in the past, and I know how important they are, but I'm glad you're bringing them to our attention again.
Welcome. Please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF HON. RICHARD H. BAKER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM LOUISIANA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. TOM ED MCHUGH, MAYOR, BATON ROUGE, LA
LOUISIANA PROJECT REQUESTS
Mr. BAKER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I certainly understand, as a member of the subcommittee, the difficulty we will all face in making these important allocations in the coming weeks. I felt it so important this morning to have our distinguished leadership from back home, The Honorable Mayor Tom Ed McHugh, come before the committee and outline the particular reasons why we feel the priorities we are requesting are so significant.
At this time I'd like to introduce the mayor and ask him to make his remarks.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I'm delighted to be here.
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I represent about 250,000 people in the city of Baton Rouge and another 150,000 in the Parish of East Baton Rouge, or county. Through the process, we work very closely with our neighboring counties or parishes, and we work, as the metropolitan planning organization, to try and deal with some serious transportation problems.
The uniqueness that we're plagued with at this point is that Interstate 10, which gives access from the west coast to Florida, when it comes through Baton Rouge, when it reaches the Mississippi Bridge in downtown Baton Rouge, is forced to be constricted to one lane of traffic because of design deficiencies in the interstate system at that point.
From that point all the way out to the spread of I10 and I12, a number of deficiencies were built into the system that are plaguing us now, and we're asking for some assistance as we try to correct the problem. You might say that the interstate system is from California to Baton Rouge, and then starts again in Baton Rouge to Florida because of the constriction.
I think that if you look at that and U.S. 190, which is a major access route for the south Louisiana area, especially in terms of mass evacuation of south Louisiana, we think that we have some uniqueness that would be very beneficial to not only Baton Rouge, in itself, but the entire Nation.
We also know that in the overall need for capacity there are a number of projects that we've made Richard very knowledgeable about, and we also want to incorporate ITS, or intelligent transportation system, into our program.
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A transportation center is something that we feel like will be very helpful in addressing some of the congestion without adding capacity.
We have grown consistently over the last 10 years as one of the growing areas in the State of Louisiana. We are now rapidly approaching 700,000 in our metropolitan area, and we're not in a position, even though we work very closely with the State of Louisiana and we've initiated a number of projects at the local levelin fact, on May 3rd of this year we have a tax election that we hope will help us in building a better local transportation system to complement the State and Federal projects that we're working hard to get.
Again, we appreciate very much the opportunity to appear before you today and give you some insight on those issues.
We've worked with Richard very closely, with Congressman Baker very closely, to ensure that he's knowledgeable about the needs that we have and suggestions that we have on how to meet those needs.
Mr. BAKER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you and would just simply like to add a couple of words to the mayor's request.
It is unique, when you're sitting at the bottom of the Mississippi River Bridge, which, if you've never been across the Mississippi River in south Louisiana, it is a very big river. It accommodates very large vessels in international water, so it's very tall.
Page 724 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 When you're at the bottom of that bridge coming into the city from the State of Florida or Georgia, or wherever you might be coming from, all of the sudden you look in your rear view mirror, while you're sitting in one lane of traffic on an interstate highway, and see several 18-wheelers coming down that very tall bridge at 55 miles an hourwe think. It causes a lot of thoughts in people's minds about why they're in Baton Rouge at all.
Additionally, given the congestion that occurs, we have significant environmental problems with our ozone emissions. We are currently in a nonattainment area, and one of the principal contributors is the fact that traffic simply cannot move. From a safety perspective, you will find a very low number of mileage of interstate highway miles in relation to the city streets that we have.
The city and the local community have done their part. They are going to raise taxes in order to support additional highway construction. We're willing to pay tolls in order to get new bridges built. It is not a question of us coming to this Government and saying, ''Take care of us.'' We feel we've done our part, and we think, in large measure, the mistakes of the past are causing us the difficulties today.
And so we hope that the committee will look very favorably on this issue from an environmental perspective, a safety perspective, as well as an economic development issue in future years.
We thank you very much for your time. We know of the difficult decisions you must face.
Page 725 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. I think it's obvious that, though therebecause of the size of the river is massive, it's part of a nationwide system, and you happen to be located there. If the river were smaller, you wouldn't have the cost.
So it is a national responsibility, and we have to figure out some way of trying to meet it. Perhaps this is one of the areas where, when they talk about allowing tolling or innovative financing on the interstate system, because of the special nature of it, there may be some opportunities there.
But we will be working with you on trying to figure out how to move this forward.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Baker and McHugh follow:]
Mr. PETRI. I understand our colleague, Mr. Lazio, who is scheduled next, is on his way, but our representative Sue Myrick is here, and therefore we'd like to hear from her at this time, along with our colleague Mel Watt. They are accompanied by Pat McCrory.
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I believe our colleague, Howard Coble, wanted to say a word at this point.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to share with you, Mr. Chairman, and the gentleman from West Virginia to your left, that the mayor, even though he presides over what I presume is the largest city between Washington and Atlantais that correct?
Mr. MCCRORY. That's correct.
Mr. COBLE. And even though Mel and Sue may claim him now, Mr. Chairman, and Nicky Joe, the mayor was reared in my District, so I'm glad to have him here.
Mayor, it's good to have you and good to have Congressman Watt and Congresswoman Myrick with you.
Mr. MCCRORY. Thank you very much.
Mr. RAHALL. We won't hold that against him, though.
TESTIMONY OF HON. SUE MYRICK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NORTH CAROLINA; HON. MELVIN L. WATT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NORTH CAROLINA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. PATRICK MCCRORY, MAYOR, CHARLOTTE, NC
Page 727 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 SOUTH CORRIDOR TRANSITWAY PROJECT
Ms. MYRICK. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for allowing this opportunity for myself and Representative Watt and Mayor McCrory to come before you to present to you this Charlotte South Transitway plan. This is something that is really critical to our area, in addition to the funding for the outer belt, which is already before you in another manner. These are the two most critical needs for our region.
I served as the mayor of Charlotte from 1987 to 1991, and during that time we experienced horrendous transportation problems because our city is growing by leaps and bounds, especially to the southeast. So we were looking then at starting to see how we could address this for the future, so this has been an ongoing plan for several years.
And we decided that one of the most important things we could do was to protect the railroad right-of-ways that were already existing in the city before it got to a point where they were gone so we would have it there for existing busways or metro or light rail or something in the future.
We started that process, and this is part of that process. This plan has been underway for a long time. I mean, this is several years of planning. It's not just something that we decided to do at the last minute. So it's part of a coordinated effort that we have for our whole region, and it will expand to the region.
This particular piece of it is a 13.5 mile rail line that goes from the central city down to this southeast part of the city which is, again, where the majority of our growth is taking place.
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Mayor McCrory is going to expand upon this, but I just wanted to tell you that this is something that we feel is very, very important for our region, and that we do hope that you will give it every due consideration. I know you've got a lot of demands on not only your time but your money. We appreciate anything that you're willing to do to help us on this.
I would like to introduce now Representative Mel Watt, who also represents the District, to further support this project.
Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I understand we are operating on very strict time limits, and the most important person here to present this is the mayor, so I have a short statement which I'll read into the record if I have time left. If not, I'll submit it for the record and I'll defer to our mayor, Pat McCrory, from Charlotte.
Mr. PETRI. Welcome, Your Honor.
Mr. MCCRORY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me just say my two colleagues on my right and left have been very supportive of Charlotte and have actually contributed to making Charlotte I think one of the greatest cities in which to live and work today, and we appreciate both your leadership.
And, Mr. Coble, I'm proud of my education at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, thank you very much.
Page 729 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Let me just briefly tell you about Charlotte. We're a city of a half million people. Our regional area is at 1.8 million. We currently right now have much congestion. We do have some serious air pollution concerns because of this tremendous growth, but the biggest concern is not just right now but also in the future.
In the year 2015 we're going to have a 40 percent increase in population, a 50 percent increase in employment, and, most important, a 75 percent increase in the use of vehicles in our city.
In other words, if we continue at this pace, our entire city will become a parking lot very similar to what I think you know as Shirley Highway here in Washington, D.C.
We already have several Shirley Highways in Charlotte, and what we need to do is make sure we do not become a parking lot in the future, which will continue to cause us serious environmental concerns and also stop any future economic growth or opportunity.
Let me just briefly tell you about our plan. The plan is this: we have a central corridor plan in which we are reserving right-of-ways from our central cities out to the continued growth area outside our city.
The area that we're selecting is the area we call the ''south corridor plan,'' which will go from downtown Charlotte all the way to South Carolina, which is another very important regional partner.
The mode of transportation that we're most interested in right now is what we think is the most efficient, most economically sound, and also most flexible, and we find it a very progressive and proactive means to meet our mass transit needs in the region like Charlotte, North Carolina, and this is what we call ''transitways'' or ''busways,'' which we're currently wanting to implement at this point in time.
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The reason this is so interesting down the south corridor plan is that you don't have to wait for implementation until the entire project is built. You can target those areas that have the greatest needs among that corridor, which gives you a lot of flexibility, and you can begin implementing it within a very short period of time.
In addition, in the long run, as technology changes for more efficient and more cost-effective light rail, you can then convert the transitways or the busways into light rail maybe 20, 30, or 40 years down the line. But at this point in time we definitely think the busway system is the most efficient way to use our tax dollars and also Federal tax dollars.
The other innovative thing in this is that we want to share in the cost. In the proposal that we've presented to you, we've presented a 50 percent sharing program where we'll pay for 50 percent of the $100 million cost, and we're asking for $50 million from the Federal Government to help us out in this endeavor.
Let me also say we're also implementing a very innovative bus system to complement these transitways, which we're currently spending $25 million on in current tax dollars, and we're going to be also expanding our investment in this effort also.
We think this is innovative, it's flexible, it's efficient, and that's the way Charlotte likes to operate, and this is where we need your assistance.
You have our prepared testimony with all the details, and we are showing you the corridor plans, but we're very excited about this, but we need to start now because we are going to become a Shirley Highway very quickly if we don't move very quickly.
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We'll be glad to answer any questions.
Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, just in summary, I want to hit two or three points and just submit my statement for the record.
The number one point is obviously Charlotte has experienced tremendous growth as one of those major, major growth cities in America.
Both the State, Federal, and local level have committed substantial resources to roads. Despite that fact, we still have substantial congestion. You can't build enough roads to address problems of growth like Charlotte has had.
So I believe construction of the transitway will be a major step forward in addressing this problem by providing an alternative to roads and promoting the use of mass transit. I also believe this is extremely important because Charlotte is kind of down in a valley and is subject to environmental inversion, and the more road traffic we have, the more serious that problem has become.
The EPA has gradually increased this requirement and continues to do that, and that's a worthy objective. The more cars we put out there, the more roads we put out there, the more that will be a problem. Mass transit, obviously, again becomes the major answer to that and response to it.
So this is an important project and we all join across the partisan lines in support of it. This is not about one part of the city or the other part of the city. It's about having a vibrant, vital community. We all are committed to that and we appreciate your listening to us and we will appreciate any assistance the committee can provide.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. I think your city is also a hub now.
Mr. MCCRORY. That's correct.
Mr. PETRI. I fly through it going down to Florida from time to time.
Mr. MCCRORY. We've got one of the top 20 airports in the Nation and we're a major transportation system and we're proud to have a USAir hub in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ms. MYRICK. And we appreciate your business.
Mr. PETRI. Well, thank you for coming here, Mr. Mayor. We'll work with our colleagues on this joint request.
Thank you very much.
Page 733 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. WATT. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCCRORY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
[The prepared statements of Ms. Myrick and Mr. Watt and Mr. McCrory follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Representative Lazio is here and is accompanied by Dr. Clifford Bragdon, who is vice president for advanced technologies and program development, Dowling College's National Aviation and Transportation Center.
TESTIMONY OF HON. RICK LAZIO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW YORK, ACCOMPANIED BY CLIFFORD R. BRAGDON, PH.D., VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, DOWLING COLLEGE'S NATIONAL AVIATION AND TRANSPORTATION CENTER
INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER FOR ADVANCED SIMULATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Mr. LAZIO. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Rahall, members of the committee, I'm happy to be here. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak. I also want to thank the chairman for accommodating my schedule. We're in the middle of a markup over in Commerce, and if I have to excuse myself it will be for only that reason.
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I am here today with my friends from Dowling College's National Aviation and Transportation Center, which this committee has been very supportive of in the past, and I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to testify in support of a proposed Center for Advanced Simulation and Technology on Long Island.
Since time is short, I'm going to limit my remarks and ask that my written document be submitted for the record.
I'm honored to introduce the distinguished vice president for advanced technologies and program development at Dowling's NAT Center, Dr. Cliff Bragdon, who will outline what I believe to be a compelling case for funding for this project as part of the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, ISTEA.
Dr. Bragdon brings over two decades of experience in the area of intermodal transportation and is an internationally recognized expert in the field.
He'll present to you today a proposal that relies not solely on Federal but also on private and State funding. Dowling College's plan is well thought out and enjoys the support of the entire Long Island Congressional delegationin a bipartisan manner, I might add.
I fully support this request for funding as part of the ISTEA reauthorization. The CAST project will play a crucial role in the coordination of transportation initiatives in my State of New York for decades to come and truly brings value to the investment the Federal Government is making.
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Thank you again for this opportunity to speak, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. BRAGDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm proud and honored to have the opportunity to testify before the subcommittee in support of the $19.5 million proposal in the ISTEA reauthorization to establish the Center for Advanced Simulation and Technology, which we call CAST.
We call it basically a one-stop transportation resource center, not only for New York but the entire United States. I prepared a more-detailed written comment, and I'd like to have that put in the record if you would accept that.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection, it will be made a part of the record. Both your submissions will be made a part of the record.
Mr. BRAGDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Center for Advanced Simulation really is not a surface transportation project that your subcommittee is used to hearing about since it's not a rail project or a maritime infrastructure project, nor is it a bridge or other more traditional transport project.
Page 736 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 CAST is, however, a state-of-the-art intermodal transportation simulation technology and research asset that will allow transportation planners, policy makers, and researchers to apply computer-based simulation to technologies to those traditional surface transportation projects and implement them at a lower cost with greater efficiency.
In short, CAST represents a transportation solutions integrator.
Mr. Chairman, if you look at all the pictures in this room, what we have to show here is a system that talks. It is an ecumenical transportation method. It is a holistic system unlike anything that's ever been done before.
Basically, there are three fundamental reasons why we believe that the funding for CAST should be appropriate for the ISTEA reauthorization.
First, CAST is consistent with the goals of title six of the original ISTEA legislation. It is equally consistent with the stated goals and objectives of the current Administration for ISTEA, as set forth by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Transportation in testimony before Congress over the past 3 weeks.
The initial ISTEA bill and current administrative plan for reauthorization of this important legislation places great weight on the role of research and technology.
We feel this is the linchpin in transportation planning an information. CAST would be able to apply research and technology to solve intermodal transportation problems in complete harmony.
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For example, issues of conflict resolution, how to resolve projectsthis is an ecumenical tool. A graphic here to your right shows what we call a ''hyper media auditorium.'' We call it a Disney World for transportation, not for entertainmenta Disney World for transportation, not for entertainment.
Second, the NAT Center has an impressive track record of generating private sector and other non-Federal matching funds to its program. CAST will be no different.
To obtain an additional $12.5 million to our requested 9.5 represents a 41 percent non-Federal match to these funds.
To date, the NAT Center has received $13.8 million in Federal funds; however, we've generated privately $23 million, which represents 62 percent. So we've leveraged almost two-thirds/one-third for the money that you graciously appropriated in this past year.
Finally, the capabilities of the Center for Advanced Simulation and Technology will have a direct positive impact on a number of regional and national intermodal transportation projects in the State of New York and around the country.
A lengthy list of those projects is contained in the full written testimony and statement, but let me just focus on one which I think will excite the imagination of this committee, Congress, and the entire United States.
We're working with the State of Florida in the private sector to demonstrate a magnetic levitation passenger/freight project. I want to mention that. It's the first passenger/freight maglev project in the world, and it's being done in Brevard County, Florida.
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The computer simulation, which we have doneand we've built the simulation module, which will be shipped to Governor Chiles in 2 weeks, will be sitting in the Legislature of Tallahassee as a demonstration of technology.
This is a 20-mile test bed that connects Port Canaveral, which will be one of the largest ports for ships in the United States, connecting that to the Kennedy Space Center and then the Tyco Regional Airport.
So this is a demonstration of our capabilities not only to New York but to the country.
There will be three things that we can do with this facility, the CAST. We'll be able to do accident reconstruction, such as the TWA situation; human factors and safety analysis; driver technologies in terms of highways.
In closing, I want to reiterate my appreciation for allowing me the opportunity to testify in support of the Center for Advanced Simulation. This project has full support of the Long Island Congressional delegation and many private sector business groups in the State of New York.
I hope the subcommittee will provide full funding of CAST so we can continue our ongoing efforts to apply state-of-the-art technology to solving transportation problems holistically and in an ecumenical way.
Page 739 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. Is this in the Administration NEXTEA bill? Do you know?
Mr. LAZIO. It is not earmarked right now, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Okay. Thank you very much for coming and testifying and calling this to our attention. We've discussed it with Mr. Lazio on other occasions, and we're hoping to stop by and visit your center.
Mr. BRAGDON. We'd love to have you there to see our facility. I thank the committee.
Mr. PETRI. Yes.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Lazio and Bragdon follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. Our colleague, Frank Mascara, has been patiently waiting. He's accompanied by John Durbin, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
TESTIMONY OF HON. FRANK MASCARA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM PENNSYLVANIA, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN DURBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION
MON FAYETTE EXPRESSWAY
Mr. MASCARA. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to commend you and Ranking Member Rahall for giving Members the opportunity to offer policy initiatives and to testify on behalf of their project requests.
I'm here seeking a little different mode than my friends from Charlotte. I'm seeking some of their problems. I'm from southwestern Pennsylvania. As you well know, we suffer from economic decadence there.
As you both are aware, I come before you today as someone who has spent many years working on the county and regional level to promote strong and efficient transportation systems. In the late 1980s into 1990s I served as chairman of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission, and one of my primary responsibilities was to implement the current ISTEA program as it applied to southwestern Pennsylvania.
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I've had the unique opportunity to view this program both from the bottom up and now from the top down, and I can tell you from my experience it seems to work well.
This does not mean, however, that ISTEA cannot be improved as we consider its reauthorization.
I come before you today to present a policy initiative that I believe, if incorporated into the new ISTEA bill, would enable us to fund more projects.
As you know, studies done in this country and around the world have documented the direct link between transportation systems and economic growth. State and local governments invest millions and perhaps billions of dollars each year on economic development efforts to attract jobs and improve the quality of life for their constituents.
And they all recognize the critical and valuable role good highways and bridges and other transportation modes play in their efforts.
It is no wonder, then, that there are more requests for Federal transportation funds than are available. State and local governments and private enterprises realize the investments in transportation systems consistently generate a return on the investment by fostering economic growth and by reducing costs associated with travel time.
I come from an area of Pennsylvania that was economically devastated from the loss of jobs in steel and coal and manufacturing industries. In fact, over the past two decades the Pittsburgh region lost 250,000 good-paying jobs in these industries. We still have a long way to go, but we have begun a long, precipitous climb back to economic normalcy, so to speak.
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We know the value of a good transportation system, but also recognize the scarcity of transportation funds. Because we believe so strongly in the link between our ability to recover economically and good transportation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have spent or committed to spend $700 million on a highway project in my District called the Mon-Fayette transportation project that includes only $24 million, or roughly 3.5 percent, in Federal funds.
I strongly suspect State and local officials and private enterprise from other areas of the country are willing to invest more than their expected fair share of non-Federal dollars in order to construct a badly-needed transportation improvement. That is why I strongly believe the new ISTEA legislation should include an incentive program that rewards projects that contain a higher than normal percentage of non-Federal dollars.
If a State or local government or private enterprisein all likelihood a combination of thesehave been more aggressive in securing funds through means other than Federal Government, it seems only fair that their project be given a higher priority than others relying more heavily on Federal Government aid.
In other words, if the normal funding ratio is 80/20, local projects' sponsors willing to contribute local shares of 40, 50, 60, or eve 70 percent should receive a higher Federal priority for funding. Or, in the alternative, a separate fund should be established under ISTEA for projects of this sort.
The expected benefits include more Federal transportation funds to assess more-needed projects, more public and private investments in our transportation systems, and the creation of more short-and long-term jobs.
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I certainly appreciate your willingness to allow me to appear before you and respectfully request your consideration of my proposal.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Mr. Durbin, did you have a statement?
Mr. DURBIN. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I do have some remarks.
Mr. PETRI. Please.
Mr. DURBIN. Thank you, Congressman Mascara.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and other honorable members of the committee. My name is John Durbin. I'm the executive director of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
I wish to thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on behalf of the Turnpike Commission.
We wish to request $500 million in Federal funds for two transportation projects which are crucial to the economic vitality of the Pittsburgh region of southwestern Pennsylvania, the Mon-Fayette Expressway and the Southern Beltway projects.
The 70-mile long Mon-Fayette Expressway is a Federal pilot toll project extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Morgantown, West Virginia. It is on the national highway system and eligible for Federal aid funding.
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The 30-mile-long Southern Beltway is a proposed tolled expressway extending from a junction with the Mon-Fayette Expressway west to the Pittsburgh International Airport.
The project from the Pittsburgh International Airport to U.S. 22 is on the national highway system.
The primary objective of the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects is to significantly improve regional mobility and access which, in turn, will encourage and support new and expanded economic development in southwestern Pennsylvania.
These projects will significantly increase the capacity of the existing highway system, provide alternative access, and will support and enhance intermodal travel in the region.
Considerable local support exists for the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects, and no unresolvable environmental issues have been encountered.
The projects provide numerous benefits to the region and beyond. Economic development will be stimulated by providing access to the region's national highway system, including eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.
The redevelopment of thousands of acre of available and abandoned industrial sites will reduce the environmental impact of developing new greenfield areas.
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The projects will result in a 14 percent decrease in overall delay times and will reduce congestion on existing roads around the city of Pittsburgh.
The projects will provide travel at more efficient speeds and will reduce overall pollution and energy consumption.
The projects will also result in a lower accident rate and increase safety.
The total estimated construction cost to complete these projects is approximately $2.5 billion. The Mon-Fayette Expressway is estimated at $1.8 billion, the Southern Beltway at $700 million.
Completion of these major transportation projects is scheduled for the year 2005, provided the necessary funding becomes available.
The amount of funding currently available to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for these projects is $700 million. Although toll revenue will ultimately provide for the cost of operating and maintaining the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway, major transportation capital improvements of this magnitude simply cannot be constructed without a significant infusion of Federal funding.
We recognize these are difficult financial times. Consequently, we are proposing not the typical funding ratio of 80 percent Federal funds matched by 20 percent State and local funds, but the reverse funding ratio. We are requesting Federal participation of $500 million, which is only 20 percent of the total project cost, with the remaining 80 percent being paid by the State, the Turnpike Commission, and local and private funding sources.
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I want to thank Congressman Mascara for his leadership on these projects that are extremely important to the future of southwestern Pennsylvania, and I wish to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership in holding these hearings and listening to the needs of State and local transportation providers.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you both.
Are there questions? Yes, Mr. Pease?
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Durbin, I think you are to be commended for the work you're doing here and for the tremendous local participation in the project, so don't misinterpret the question I'm about to ask you.
In the materials that were provided to us, at one point there's information that says that local participation onI forget which of the two projectsis at 2 percent, and then there's another place that says it's at 3.5 percent.
Mr. MASCARA. I can answer that, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. PEASE. Okay. Please.
Mr. MASCARA. The current funding, the State has committed to spend or has spent over $700 million. The Federal Government has only $24.1 million invested, which is less than 3.5 percent of the current funding of this highway that's under construction or that has been completed.
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Mr. PEASE. Okay.
Mr. MASCARA. So that's the difference. And what Mr. Durbin is talking about is the total project cost of both the Mon-Fayette and the Southern Beltway. Of a total of $2.5 billion we're asking for $500 million, which represents only 20 percent of the total cost of the project, which is usually the reverse of 80/20. We're asking for 20/80.
Mr. PEASE. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Well, as you know, Mr. Mascara is an experienced, knowledgeable, and active member of this committee, and we look forward to working with him.
Our chairman is from Pennsylvania, so I think he's probably knowledgeable. I think our ranking member, Mr. Oberstar, is going to be visiting this area in the next few days, as well, to take a look at it. You're as well aware as I am of the different competing pressures, and we'll do our best to work with you.
Mr. MASCARA. Now I know how these people feel when I'm up there asking the questions. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DURBIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 748 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [The prepared statements of Messrs. Mascara and Durbin follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Our colleague, Mr. Matsui, has been very patient. We apologize for running a little behind schedule. Everyone is trying their best to emphasize the high points in their oral remarks so that we can cover as much ground as possible.
Mr. Matsui is accompanied by David Cox, supervisor from Sacramento County, and Mayor Joe Serna from Sacramento.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ROBERT T. MATSUI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY DAVID COX, SUPERVISOR, SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, AND HON. JOE SERNA, MAYOR, SACRAMENTO, CA
SOUTH SACRAMENTO CORRIDOR LIGHT RAIL PROJECT
ARDEN-GARDEN CONNECTOR, SACRAMENTO INTERMODAL CENTER
Mr. MATSUI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Rahall and other members of the subcommittee.
I first of all want to thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to testify before you today.
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We have three projects which we would like to very briefly speak on. One is the South Sacramento Corridor light rail project. The second is an intermodal station in Sacramento. The third and last is the Arden-Garden Connector.
I'd like to submit my written testimony for the record and be very brief in my oral testimony.
Mr. PETRI. Yes. It will be made a part of the record.
Mr. MATSUI. Thank you.
At this time I'd like to first of all introduce the other two individuals that are appearing with me.
First we have the Chair of the Regional Transit District and also a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Mr. David Cox; and the Mayor of the City of Sacramento, Joe Serna, whom you previously introduced.
I'm going to call on Mr. Serna, then Mr. Cox, after I complete my remarks.
In terms of the South Sacramento Corridor light rail project, Mr. Chairman, it is a 6.3-mile extension of Sacramento's 18-mile current light rail system. We are seeking $103 million for this project, with $3 million for the final design studies and $100 million representing 50 percent of the total cost of the project. In total, it is about a $222 million project, with the balance to be expended by the Regional Transit District and State of California.
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This is our number one priority in the City and County of Sacramento.
We expect within the month the Department of Transportation to sign a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Regional Transit District so it's moving right along.
In addition, Congressmen Doolittle, Pombo, and Fazio support this project, so we have strong bipartisan support.
The second project is the Sacramento Intermodal Station in the City of Sacramento, and basically this is our historic Southern Pacific Railroad station. We'd like to have AMTRAK, light rail, bus, and taxi service fully interconnected through this particular project.
We're seeking $5 million from the Federal Government of a total of $20 million for the entire project.
The last project is the Arden-Garden Connector, which is a 1-mile, four-lane roadway connecting the City of Sacramento communities of South Natomas and North Sacramento. This is vital because we've had tremendous traffic problems in this particular area.
I might just point out to the Chairman that with our flooding problems, this project has been designated as a possible evacuation route in the event we have flooding.
With that, I'd now like to call on Mayor Serna and then, after that, Supervisor Cox.
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Mr. PETRI. Welcome, Mr. Mayor.
Mr. SERNA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Congressman Matsui.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, it's my pleasure to be here with you today to speak briefly about the three projects just outlined by Congressman Matsui, and I'd also like to submit my written testimony for the record.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection.
Mr. SERNA. Thank you.
The south Sacramento line rail extension builds on the success of the first operating line that was built 10 years ago and that currently serves about seven million riders per year. The South Line will be built in three phases, the first is a 6.3 mile phase south of our downtown to serve the south Sacramento area. It will also serve the growing residential and employment centers to the south of our city.
The new South Line will also direct its services to the newly-planned 63 acre Union Pacific rail yard, which was abandoned some years ago and is currently being planned as a mixed-use residential transit-oriented project, and it will serve also the current junior college and Curtis Park and Southland Park neighborhoods, which are very much rider rich.
Page 752 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The south extension will also carry about 15,000 riders per day and is projected to be our most successful line, in addition to the two existing lines that occur now to the east and to the north.
This south rail line is our number one transportation priority for the City of Sacramento and for the region, and also for our regional government SACOG.
We are seeking authorization of a full funding agreement, for a total of $111 million for this project. We have already secured half of this money from non-Federal funds that include both State money and local contribution. The city of Sacramento and the county of Sacramento passed measure A some years ago in the 1980s where we taxed ourselves to pay for this line to create half of its funding.
We are convinced that this project is another important step towards effectively integrating our land use decision-making with transportation planning and local investment.
The number two project that Congressman Matsui talked about is the Sacramento Intermodal Station, which will combine rehabilitation and restoration with economic development.
We are seeking to acquire and renovate the city's once beautiful historic train station. This station is located, Mr. Chairman, in our downtown, close to our old Sacramento tourist area, and within walking distance of our business centers and government centers.
Page 753 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Also, immediately adjacent to this intermodal station or the old train station is the new 750,000 square foot Federal courthouse building, which will open in 1998.
The depot currently serves AMTRAK and is a terminus of the Capital Corridor rail service which links Sacramento with the bay area.
Our station is the third busiest station in the State of California.
We are extending light rail to the station and improving this facility to serve buses, taxes, pedestrians, and autos.
The existing project is supported by a broad collection of private businesses, public agencies, and advocates.
Finally, the third project, which is our number one roadway project, is the Arden-Garden Connector. It is a $22 million mile-long, four-lane roadway and viaduct spanning a drainage canal, a main line Union Pacific tracks, and a regional bike trail.
The project is important. It is economically important to the area. It's an emergency access, as Congressman Matsui talked about, and also a safety improvement along with congestion relief.
The Arden-Garden connector is our number one road project for the City of Sacramento and for the region.
Page 754 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 In fiscal year 1995 the project received $1 million in Federal demonstration funding, and we are seeking an additional $5 million in order to begin construction within the next year.
Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you about our three most important priorities for the City and County of Sacramento.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. COX. Mr. Chairman. Thank you. I see the red light is on so I will be brief.
I am pleased to be here today as chairman of the Sacramento Regional Transportation District, with Congressman Matsui and also Mayor Serna, to present to the committee the top-priority transportation projects in the Sacramento region. It's called the south line, a 6.3 mile extension of our existing light rail system. That will go into south Sacramento.
My detailed statement has been presented to you for the record, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. It will be made part of the record.
Mr. COX. Thank you, sir. I just have a couple more comments.
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Mr. PETRI. Sure.
Mr. COX. Thank you.
This line is the top priority of the Sacramento Regional Transit District and also the City of Sacramento, the County of Sacramento, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, along with other institutions and groups in our region.
This South Line is also included in our metropolitan transportation plan, the Sacramento general plan, and the State transportation improvement plan.
Today we respectfully request the authorization in the next surface transportation bill in the amount of $103 million, which is in conjunction with the $8 million that you've already appropriated, which will bring the total to $111 million.
I think it's important to note that this is only 50 percent of the total final design and construction. All of the local cost shares and necessary operating funds are on hand, and we obviously are anxious to begin as soon as our environmental documentation is completed, and we anticipate signing a full funding agreement with the FTA.
My testimony includes details on why the South Line ranks very high according to the FTA criteria. It will make a very strong addition to our light rail system, which is already performing well in advance of our projections, and because it will serve the regional area's strongest ridership potential.
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The area already includes economic development, a high school, community college, and major employers, and it certainly will go a long way in reducing our congestion in downtown on the major highways, State and Federal highways.
In addition to this Federal participation, I think it's important for you to know that our entire light rail system, which is in the millions of dollars, has required only 30 percent as it relates to Federal subsidy, and so we respectfully ask your consideration of this request. We believe the South Line is a very wise Federal investment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions of this panel?
Mr. PETRI. If not, we'll be working with Representative Matsui and the other Members of the House from your area on these requests.
Mr. MATSUI. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Page 757 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. COX. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SANDLIN. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Matsui, Cox, and Serna follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We have about 11 minutes until the vote, and I think maybe we could accommodate the next person, our colleague, Julia Carson.
A member of the committee would like to present her, Juanita Millender-McDonald.
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As Representative Julia Carson takes her seat, I would like to first welcome her to this Transportation Committee and also welcome her back from an extended illness leave that she had. She is one of our outstanding freshmen who have come to this House to do the people's business. She was from the Indiana State Legislature. I'm happy to see her back and in full bloom.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. PETRI. As you know, your full statement will be made a part of the record. We welcome you. We don't mean to rush you, but you and we all have to go over and vote in a couple minutes, so please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JULIA CARSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM INDIANA
INDIANAPOLIS BUS REPLACEMENT
Ms. CARSON. I'll be very brief.
I would like to recognize you, Mr. Chairman, you Mr. Ranking Member of the Committee, and certainly my esteemed colleague, Juanita McDonald, and to my esteemed colleague, Senator Pease from Indiana. I'm sure he supports this effort by the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Transit Corporation asking for a $12 million authorization in Federal Transit Administration funding over 2 years to partially offset some of the cost of replacing Indianapolis' aging bus fleet.
This proposal has also been endorsed by Representative Danny Burton, who represents a part of Indianapolis, as well as Senator Lugar and Senator Coats.
Indianapolis Public Transportation operates the bus system of Indianapolis. It has got to replace its aging fleet of transit buses within the next 2 years. The bus fleet includes 157 full-size coaches. It's going to require $44 million in expenditures to replace them, but the transit company has already identified most of that money and we're asking your consideration to grant us the remainder of it.
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You each have copies of my testimony. I do not want to wear myself out with the Transportation Committee, but I would simply encourage you to support funding for Indianapolis' bus fleet.
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. And are there any questions of our colleague? Yes, Mr. Pease?
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know we're in a time constraint, but I also want to welcome my colleague from Indiana. Congresswoman Carson and I served together in the Indiana Senate for a number of years, and she is a strong and effective advocate for the people of Indianapolis and all of Indiana.
I'm so glad to see you back here and in good health and presenting a proposal that is worthy of our support.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
It looks like you're well represented on the committee, and we will be working with you on this request.
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Thank you very much for coming over.
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, if I might just add to our colleague, you take care of your health, Julia, and we'll take care of your project.
Ms. CARSON. Well, you know, I was not happy but I was encouraged that there are other Members of Congress who belong to the Zipper Club or the Bypass Club.
Ms. CARSON. And so they've been very encouraging in terms of saying, ''I know you don't feel well today, but you'll feel better 3 months from now.''
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Carson follows:]
Mr. PETRI. Since we do have a vote on the floor, we will recess until 12:05 and resume.
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Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will come back to order.
The next panel is led by our colleague from Cajun Country, southern louisiana, The Honorable Billy Tauzin, and also by our colleague, Christopher John, and they're accompanied by Vic LaFont, South Louisiana Economic Council for the North/South; and Loulan Pitre, Jr., Highway One Coalition; and The Honorable Willie Mount, who is the mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
If you'd like to begin, Bill.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BILLY TAUZIN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM LOUISIANA; HON. CHRISTOPHER JOHN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM LOUISIANA, ACCOMPANIED BY VIC LAFONT, SOUTH LOUISIANA ECONOMIC COUNCIL FOR THE NORTH/SOUTH, LOULAN PITRE, JR., HIGHWAY ONE COALITION, AND HON. WILLIE MOUNT, MAYOR, LAKE CHARLES, LA
LOUISIANA AREA PROJECT REQUESTS
Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for giving us time in this extraordinarily busy session.
I wanted to first of all, Mr. Chairman, point out to you that my District is a coastal district in Louisiana, and projections are that right now, if nothing is done to the coastal district that I represent, that in about 50 to 60 years I'll be representing a lot of fish. We're losing about 35 square miles a year, and that district is becoming much more open to hurricanes and to natural disasters.
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Part of what I want to talk to you about today is a simple, basic need to be able to move people out of that area when the worst happens.
It's also the jumping-off place for much of the offshore oil an gas development that supports, in large measure, the royalty collections of this Federal Government. As you know, the Gulf of Mexico is where the real action is happening in oil revenues and offshore production for the country.
We've had 135 direct hits in this century from hurricanes. I'm going to shock you when I tell you this: the Red Cross has recently announced that when the next hurricane hits my District they will not open a single shelter below I10. I10 runs across the southern part of the State from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge. They will not open a single shelter below I10.
That announcement came as a shock to the million people who live in this area and who have barely an opportunity to survive those hurricanes if there were shelters available for them.
What it means, Mr. Chairman, is either we provide some method to evacuate a million people from an area the Red Cross will not even provide a single shelter for, or we will see some extraordinary consequences if we are hit by a severe storm. We've had 135 direct hits this century. That let's you know it's not a question of if, it's a question of when.
And so we are literally asking this committee and this Congress to work with our delegation to help us literally solve this problem.
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As I mentioned to you, we contribute a great deal to the national treasury in terms of being open and available for the production of OCS oil and gas for the country. We just had a record Federal lease sale of $820 million for offshore leases. We have the only offshore port, LOOP, the big oil port, and the only one in America is off our coast. It imports about 11 percent of the Nation's imported crude, likely to go to 30 percent, we're told.
I don't have to tell you the tireless effort we make in Louisiana in providing energy for the Nation.
We also provide about 80 percent of the shrimp and oyster crop of the country.
So it's an incredibly productive and important area for the State where people have to live, and it's where our culture is. It's where the Cajuns ended up when the British kicked us out of Canada 200 years ago, and we don't want to move. We don't want to leave. But we have to be able to evacuate when the worst happens.
So these submissions we're making to you, Mr. Chairman, are designed to improve the infrastructure in Louisiana and to hopefully protect not only the investments the Nation has made in our ports and harbors and in the great seafood industry, but also protect lives and perhaps save thousands of citizens when the next big storm hits and the Red Cross will not even provide us with a shelter in our community.
Let me tick them off real quickly for you.
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As a delegation, our number one priority in Louisiana is the upgrading of Highway 90. Highway 90 is the North/South Corridor between New Orleans and LaFayette. It's a main artery in my District. We're trying to four-lane it right now. We're trying to get it up to interstate character, eventually.
The importance of it as a hurricane evacuation route cannot be under-estimated.
What we want to do is literally eventually link it in to the I49 country, and when we do we will have a priority corridor that is NAFTA friendly stretching from Winnipeg, Canada, all the way to New Orleans.
That's how critical these upgrades are. It's our number one State priority.
We also present to you the request for North/South Corridor, which involves linking the metropolitan standard area of Houma, which is located well below 90, well into the area that is dramatically at risk with no Red Cross shelters. This would inter-connect some 400,000 citizens, 5 ports, 7 airports, 5 railroads to the four-lane highway access that would connect us to I10 and help get people out of harm's way when the worst happens.
The Department of Transportation estimates the corridor would average a daily volume of 238,000 vehicles in terms of its intermodal connectivity into the ports and to the activity there.
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Highway 1 and the Leesville Bridge upgrade refurbishment is a submission we make to you that's directly connected, again, to this evacuation route.
Port Fourchon has now become one of the, if not the, most principal jumping-off places for all the offshore activity. It's located right down by Lafourche in my home parish, and that corridor right now is an enormously important corridor not only for the offshore industry but, as I said, the only access route people have to get out of harm's way. It connects the only inhabited island, Grand Island, Louisiana, to the mainland coast, and the Leesville Bridge is the bottleneck. So replacing that bridge and upgrading the highway into a suitable hurricane evacuation route is going to be one of our main goals as we try to improve safety and intermodal interconnectivity.
Rehabilitation of the Shalmat Slip is a beautiful project for you, Mr. Chairman. Remember the President said the era of big government is over and we've got to do a lot more with less? I give you the Shalmat Slip. It's in its final stages. It is one of the most remarkable projects because here the State and the Port Authority is committing 70 percent into this project, the Federal commitment is 30 percentquite a reversal from the 80/20 or 70/30 percent matching that usually require the larger amount from the Federal Government.
We're in the final stage of construction, and the objective of the second phase is to improve the infrastructure connecting the new marine terminals at the Shalmat facility that serve manufacturers and utilize intermodal shipping as an integral part of their operations. This is a very beautiful project. It's nearing final completion, and we urge you to finish it up for us.
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The Florida Express project from Parish Road to Tupelo Street is another important project for St. Bernard and the east bank of Plaquemines.
When I tell people I represent communities 90 miles below New Orleans they always ask me if I speak Cuban. There is actually 90 miles of communities below New Orleans, and Plaquemines and St. Bernard, and connecting those communities below New Orleans with this project is, again, a very important part of providing access for not only all the requirements of transportation, but for uncongested routes for people to access in and out in terms of storms.
St. Bernard and Plaquemines generally suffer some of the worst of the storm damages when we're hit with hurricanes in coastal Louisiana.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the Port of South Louisiana to I10 connection is a project we would recommend to create that new 10- to 12-mile north/south connection from the Port of South Louisiana to Interstate 10.
Currently, traffic has to traverse towns like LaPlasse and Reserve to gain access to I10, and I can only tell you that when the worst comes we just are not going to be able to move people through these towns if we're going to get them to an interstate corridor to get them out.
That summarizes the submissions I wanted to make to you, Mr. Chairman, and I wanted to again commend you for the extraordinary job you have to do in trying to find priorities out of all of these many requests.
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I can only tell you, again, that you, in large measure, and this committee stand between what could be incredible disaster in south Louisiana and a method perhaps to save many thousands of lives if we begin working on these projects and others like them to get people out of harm's way.
When the Red Cross won't be there to help us, we simply have to find a way to get people out of there. When they say it's not a safe place to open up a shelter, the message is clear: it is time to leave town when the storm comes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Representative John, did you wish to make a statement?
Mr. JOHN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We appreciate the opportunity to say a few words in front of the subcommittee and I also want to thank the gentleman from Chackbay, Louisiana, for yielding a portion of his time to let me discuss a very important project to southwest Louisiana.
I would like to be on record as my submission of my comments, but I would like to yield the remainder of my time to The Honorable Willie Mount, who is the mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana, for the presentation of the project that I'd like to be on record testifying on today.
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Ms. MOUNT. Thank you, Congressman. Again, I want to thank Congressman Tauzin, as well, for this opportunity.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, guests, ladies, and gentlemen, good morning. It's a privilege to address you concerning a project of great significance to our community, the eastbound exit ramp from Interstate 10 onto Ryan Street.
This project includes the reconfiguration and addition of ramps to and from Interstate 10 and the improvement of frontage roads and other surface streets in order to reduce congestion and provide needed access to the lakefront downtown region from the interstate system.
The population of the Lake Charles MSA is approximately 180,000. This MSA is the core of the regional trade area, whose population exceeds 360,000. In the last 4 years, the area has experienced substantial economic growth, having led the State of Louisiana in job growth for the last 2 years, and is projected to do so again in the next 2 years.
This long-awaited growth has greatly exacerbated the pre-existing transportation problems created by the lack of an Interstate 10 eastbound exit ramp at the interchange with the major north-south corridor in the city.
Page 769 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This project is critical to not only facilitate current progressive traffic movement of the additional eight million tourists annually to our area since 1993, but also the anticipated arrival of substantial hotel development and a variety of support services that are already involved in siting and property acquisition.
Thus, it's evident that traffic management will be greatly improved as the project addresses the congestion mitigation needs of our community.
Concurrent to the economic growth of the area, the city of Lake Charles has undertaken aggressive downtown, lakefront, and historic district development to revitalize this area, which has suffered from the lack of development for decades.
We have undertaken substantial local efforts to enhance interior circulation and improve traffic management; however, the effectiveness of these efforts is impaired by the current interchange configuration.
At present, this section of interstate highway has discontinuous frontage roads both north and south of the interstate, causing large traffic volumes to use indirect routes to and from large areas of developed and undeveloped land in the area.
Because the new off ramp will provide the connectivity and direct access to the lakefront downtown area that is currently lacking, it will pave the way for robust entrepreneurial and developmental activity in the central core of our city, bringing jobs and further economic diversity to our region.
Page 770 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 It will also enhance intermodalism by improving access to other modes of transportation such as public transit and rail.
This project will also provide impetus to the economic development of areas to the north of the interstate, areas which have been historically economically disadvantaged.
This area's recovery will be further enhanced by opportunities for industrial expansion which have been targeted with the prospect of the interchange reconfiguration.
In addition, Calcasieu Parish is currently undergoing air quality redesignation status from a nonattainment area to an attainment area. The new off ramp will provide the means to move people and goods in an environmentally efficient manner.
The city's commitment to the project is witnessed by our funding of the engineering portion of the engineer/design phase. The engineering has been started and the preliminary plans are on schedule to be completed by January of 1998.
Of the $13 million total project cost, the project has received $1 million from the National Highway System Designation Act. The request for funding this authorization is $11 million, with a match of $2.2 million. If funding is procured, the construction of the off ramp could begin in the year 2001.
In summary, Mr. Chairman, this project fits the criteria for funding under the national highway system initiatives. The project will facilitate vehicular traffic, progressive movement in a unified, interconnected manner, which will promote a reduction of energy consumption and air pollution, while providing enhanced economic development opportunities.
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I ask for your support of the Lake Charles Interstate 10 eastbound exit ramp and interchange reconfiguration project in the next reauthorization for funding of national highway system projects under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Madam Mayor.
Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Chairman, let me first acknowledge that my good friend, Chris John, indeed is a dear friend and I, too, would have yielded to my mayor if she was as intelligent and as charming and as bright as the mayor of Lake Charles is. Ms. Mount, we appreciate your being here with us.
Ms. MOUNT. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. TAUZIN. As for Chris, you notice he wasn't even smart enough to think of a last name. He's got two first names. I don't know what's wrong with him.
I also want to introduce two gentlemen who accompany us today. Representing the executive director of the South Louisiana Economic Council, Mr. Vic LaFont, and also representing the Highway One Coalition, Mr. Loulan Pitre, Jr., who will give us a few more insights as to why you can help us guarantee that every citizen gets to try as many of those bubble gum shrimp recipes as you saw in that movie if we can just get some highways built in south Louisiana.
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Mr. LAFONT. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, again it is a pleasure to be here to discuss a vital need of people of south Louisiana to share with you a dilemma placed upon us by the needs of this Nation.
We are here to ask for funding for the North/South Corridor connecting the Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan statistical area, MSA, with that of Interstate 10.
The Houma-Thibodaux MSA is truly the only MSA in Louisiana without a direct link to an interstate highway system. Our need is three-fold: first is as a hurricane evacuation route; second, to support the booming offshore oil and gas industry critical to our national security and economy; and, third, to ease an overburdened, substandard local highway system ranked among the most dangerous in the State, region, and the Nation.
The Houma-Thibodaux MSA is comprised of 200,000 residents who literally are threatened each time a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico. We need only look back to 1992 for Hurricane Andrew.
After demolishing South Florida, Hurricane Andrew took direct aim at the Houma-Thibodaux MSA region. The uncertainty of the route of the hurricane required the evacuation of the New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux, and LaFayette MSAs.
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As a result, 200,000 residents of the Houma-Thibodaux area were forced, in the wake of all of this, to the LaFayette and New Orleans MSA regions, where they collided with thousands of residents fleeing in the wake of the storm.
With no direct access or no direct evacuation route to Interstate 10, the residents of Houma-Thibodaux MSAsin the case of Hurricane Andrew, tens of thousands of automobiles, people had to wait in their automobiles as the hurricane bore down on the Louisiana coast. The result was near chaos as the people scrambled for shelter. The North/South Corridor would eliminate that threat.
Mr. Chairman, the very location of the Houma-Thibodaux MSA makes it vital to the development of our Nation's offshore oil and gas reserves. The entire region is booming in economic activity and growth as a result of renewed interest in the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas reserves. Record sales of oil and gas leases suggest that this industry will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
These communities provide services, supplies, and people to meet the demands of our energy-starved Nation. Without the proper infrastructure to support our national demand for energy, we increase the cost of that energy and the cost of those communities who locally, in the substandard highways, are further challenged by this growth.
In addition, the boom, which is adding industry and people to this region, increases the threat to those individuals with each and every hurricane season that approaches us.
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Finally, Mr. Chairman, and probably more immediate, is the need to provide relief for the two-lane highway system presently supporting the boom that I'm discussing with you right now.
Each year dozens of people die on Louisiana Highway 1 and Highway 308, the two main arteries now connecting U.S. Highway 90 with Houma-Thibodaux. These small State highways are just not capable of supporting the demands of the region's sudden economic boom.
Our people, who are helping to fulfill the energy needs of America, deserve better.
Our school buses should not be required to compete on a small, narrow, two-lane highway with trucks loaded down with pipe and machinery heading for offshore energy facilities. Those small State roads are literally busting at the seams with the growing population needed to continue to develop this vital offshore industry, and there's no end in sight.
Our people deserve a safe transportation system capable of supporting not only our needs but the needs of this Nation.
What other choice do we have? The demand for energy will not go away. The need to supply that industry will not go away. The need for people to support the industry will not go away. The solution is the North/South Corridor.
The State of Louisiana recognized the need decades ago in their planning and more recent construction of the $109 million bridge across the Mississippi River at Gramercy. The State recognizes the need for connecting the Houma-Thibodaux MSA via this North/South Corridor to the bridge and I10 by placing its long-range transportation plan and placing it also in the Louisiana transportation improvement program.
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But, again, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the need for this North/South Corridor and the construction of this North/South Corridor should not merely rest on the shoulders of the State and the local communities. It is a need born of our Nation's demands for energy, and our people deserve the Nation to share with us in this development.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. LAFONT. Thank you. And I'll be happy to answer any questions. And if I do not have the answers to these questions I will provide them immediately.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. TAUZIN. I know I'm using an awful lot of time, but I would ask permission to yield to Mr. Loulan Pitre on behalf of the Highway One Coalition for a brief statement.
Mr. PETRI. Sir?
Mr. PITRE. Chairman, I want to apologize for the spelling of my name.
Mr. PETRI. I thought I was the one who had it wrong.
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Mr. PITRE. My name is Loulan Pitre from Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.
Seventeen years ago I left home and went to study at Harvard, and people used to say to me, ''There's something south of New Orleans?'' And I'm here today to tell you we do have something south of New Orleans. We have the largest oil and gas reserves in the Nation, which are sitting in Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
And so I come here today to speak on the project that we feel has national significance that is actually bigger than its significance to the State, and a project that really is especially appropriate for the purpose of ISTEA.
We're asking Congress to help us maintain and upgrade an intermodal link between the Federal highway system and the Federal oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
Few people know the role that one little two-lane highway is playing in meeting the Nation's energy needs, and I believe far fewer recognize the significance it is being asked to assume in the very near future.
This two-lane highway already provides the logistical support for LOOP, the offshore supertanker terminal which takes in 13 percent of the Nation's oil imports. It is connected by pipeline to 30 percent of the Nation's refining capacity.
Louisiana is the number one seafood producer, and this highway carries 20 percent of that value.
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This is the only highway for hurricane evacuation for tens of thousands of people.
Environmentally, this road is very important for oil spill response, and it's bordered by two nationally-recognized natural wonders, the Barataria Estuary and the Terrebonne Estuary.
These things we think are all very important.
But, in addition, this highway, this very same two-lane highway, is now being called upon to access what appears to be the largest domestic oil and gas discovery ever sitting in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Last year Congress recognized the importance of a little port in Louisiana called Port Fourchon by including it in the Water Resources Development Act.
And, as a result of the success, the overwhelming success of another Federal policy, the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, this highway is now facing its biggest challenge ever. This highway is being asked to carry hundreds of millions of tons of equipment to support the tremendous amount of new activity. This activity in the OCS is generating billions of dollars every year to the U.S. Treasury.
Last fall's Federal lease sale in the central Gulf of Mexico brought a record $521 million, and just last week the spring lease sale brought a new record, $824 million. And these are just the amounts paid to get the lease. These are not the royalties received when the production begins.
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The very sudden reinvigoration of this activity in the Gulf is causing a tremendous strain on infrastructure. This two-lane highway is carrying 50,000 large trucks every month, and it is projected to increase.
On page 12 of our testimony we have some photographs that will show you the condition that this road is in.
Port Fourchon is 50 miles from U.S. Highway 90, and Highway 90 provides a four-lane link to the interstate highway system. My colleagues have talked about improving that link, but what I'm here to talk about is completing a four-lane link from U.S. Highway 90 to Port Fourchon.
Unless Congress recognizes the urgency of this project, it won't be built fast enough. We're talking about a strategic and intermodal link from trucks to boats to oil platforms and back. We're talking about a huge part of the domestic energy supply, a large part of the imports. We're talking great importance to the Federal Government, both from the budgetary point of view in the revenues generated and from an energy policy point of view in securing the Nation's supply of oil and gas, and we're talking about a crumbling two-lane road.
We need your help.
Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Chairman, you thought Buddy Romer was the only Harvard graduate from Louisiana. See, there's more than one.
Page 779 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Thank you, Loulan.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Let's see. Are the questions of this panel? Mr. Pease?
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize that I may have missed something that I'm going to ask you about.
Mr. Pitre, in you representation on the actual requests, which are at the back of the document that you gave us, the estimated dollar cost of the projects are all included, but the source of the funds is not. Are you requesting a match from the Federal Government for a portion of these funds, for all of these funds to come from the Federal Government, or what is the proposal?
Mr. PITRE. We're requesting 80 percent match from the Federal Government.
Mr. PEASE. All right. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Yes?
Mr. RAHALL. I just want to express our appreciation to both of our colleagues for their bipartisan support shown here today. I'm sure from my good friend Billy Tauzin, even in his brighter days as a member of our party, probably supported this project.
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Mr. RAHALL. It's good to see. I enjoy working with both of you, Chris John a new Member who really has rolled up his sleeves and gotten to work here in a hurry.
Billy, we serve together on Resources Committee, as well, and I'm very happy to see you both here. You people can be proud. You are well represented here in Washington.
Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Rahall, I've seen things from both sides now, and from both sides you're always a gentleman and a scholar, and I thank you, sir.
Mr. PETRI. I haven't had a chance to get to know Representative John that well yet, but I can assure you gentlemen that in Billy you're in the hands of one of the most effective and adroit Members of the House of Representatives. He's always been in the majority, it seems.
Mr. TAUZIN. I'm coming back. Thank you, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr. JOHN. Thank you, sir.
Page 781 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [The prepared statements of Messrs. Tauzin, John, LaFont, Pitre, and Ms. Mount follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next scheduled witness is our colleague, The Honorable Bill McCollum from Florida. Bill is accompanied by Admiral F. Lee Tillotson, who is the senior director, planning and development, of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
I apologize for being a bit behind schedule. We look forward to your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BILL MCCOLLUM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY F. LEE TILLOTSON, SENIOR DIRECTOR, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT, GREATER ORLANDO AVIATION AUTHORITY
GREATER ORLANDO AVIATION AUTHORITY, LYNX PROJECT
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity to be here today, and I assure you we won't take a lot of your time, but I think we're here for a couple of important reasons.
First of all, Mr. Chairman, if I might, I have testimony that's written. I'd just like to summarize and introduce it for the record.
Mr. PETRI. Yes. Your full statements will be made a part of the record of this hearing. We appreciate your summaries.
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Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Earlier today I believe Congressman John Mica, who sits on this committee, presented a project from the Orlando city relative to light rail. I'm not here to talk about it today, but I do want to emphasize that I fully support that presentation and very much understand the need in my home town for that light rail project.
What I'm here today to do is to introduce Admiral Tillotson to you to talk about something that's very vital to our community, connected to our airport.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has an expectation of spending some $2 billion, or almost $2 billion, over the next 5 years on capital improvement to what has got to be one of the, if not the, fastest-growing airports in the United States.
As you well know, gentlemen, airports don't work if you don't have surface transportation connection.
In order to get this to work right over the next 5 years, there is a need for intermodal projects to connect the surface transportation and to make all of this flow, and the request for you today for ISTEA is for authorization for $175 million, and I think there are five projects that Admiral Tillotson will describe to you.
We very badly need this. I'm not going into the detail that was done on the Louisiana request here, but I can assure you that the importance of this to make all of this happen is very, very strong.
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Admiral Tillotson is, as you indicated, the senior director for planning and development for the Aviation Authority, and I'll turn over some of my time to you and let you explain it, please.
Mr. TILLOTSON. Thank you, Congressman, Mr. Chairman.
Of course, we benefitted greatly from representation with Congressman McCollum and his knowledge of our issues, and, of course, Congressman Mica and Congressman Brown.
To a great extent, we are the benefactors of some wonderful Federal programs that have resulted in this second fastest-growing airport in the world over the last year, second only to Atlanta with the Olympics, and it has truly become the port of entry for central Florida and a key linchpin of the central Florida economy.
As you're aware, central Florida and the greater Orlando area is the fastest-growing MSA area in the country right now, so our airport and our ability to stay up with demand is a key.
One of the keys to understanding our airport is that we are a destination and origination airport. We are not a hub. And over 95 percent of the people who come and go from our airport do so by ground transportation.
Over this last year we have now become the largest rental car market in the world, passing Los Angeles this past year, with over $360 million of gross receipts, which is how we sort of measure the rental car activity.
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We have over 400 private vehicle owned operators who run the ground transportation program, moving people on and off of our airport.
That's really sort of the problem. It's a good problem to have when we have that kind of growth.
We're utilizing the various funding mechanisms to deal with the aviation-related programsAIP, PFC, airlines-backed revenue bondsbut our problem really is at the interface between our airport aviation-related systems and the intermodal system that supports us. And we see the need in central Florida, certainly planning, as we've testified, or a light rail system, and the State of Florida supporting a high-speed rail system, recognizing the issues of moving people in an intermodal way, in a seamless way between the air transportation system and the ground transportation system.
Our projects are directly targeted to interface with this intermodal need. We have had 100 percent funding from the State for an intermodal train station concept design this year, and we are asking for support to design and construct the train stations to support those intermodal projects.
We have a need to put the road connections that will interface into the national highway system and improve access on and off the airport and to further develop other parts of that 15,000 acres of airport that is really a national asset and is going to be needed more and more for our transportation system.
Page 785 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 With that, the key issues to the projects are, of course, contained in our testimony.
We thank you very much for your time today and look forward to discussing these issues with you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. If not, we will be working with you on this major undertaking.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. TILLOTSON. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McCollum follows:]
Page 786 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Next is our colleague from Missouri, Kenny Hulshof, who is accompanied by: Mrs. Carolyn Winkler, Randolph County, Missouri; Mrs. Chrissy Winkler from Randolph County, as well as Mr. Ron Kitchens, who is the director of the Randolph County/Moberly Economic Development Corporation.
I'd like to welcome you all here today. As you know, your full submissions will be made a part of the record, and we'd invite you to summarize your remarks orally.
We'll start with Representative Hulshof.
TESTIMONY OF HON. KENNY C. HULSHOF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MISSOURI, ACCOMPANIED BY CAROLYN WINKLER, RANDOLPH COUNTY, MISSOURI, CHRISSY WINKLER, RANDOLPH COUNTY, MISSOURI, AND RON KITCHENS, DIRECTOR, RANDOLPH COUNTY/MOBERLY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
HIGHWAY 63, HIGHWAY 36
Mr. HULSHOF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thanks for the opportunity to be here. Members of the committee, thanks for allowing me and constituents from my District to join you and speak in favor of some critical transportation needs and projects that we've requested funding for.
Mr. Chairman, I recognize that several Members have been before us and talked about a laundry list, if you will, of certain projects, and certainly I know the committee has received the various projects that we have asked for assistance on as part of the highway system, but we want to focus this committee's attention today on a project that I have personally placed a very high priority on in my District. That is specifically Highway 63, which is part of the national highway system.
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As one of my staff members is indicating for the committee, the stretch of road is a two-lane road that essentially goes from Boone County, Missouri, north to Moberly, Missouri, a 23-mile stretch that desperately needs to be widened to four lanes in order to improve safety, as well as to increase traffic capacity.
Mr. Chairman, due to 15 years of neglect, traveling on Highway 63 has become a daily nightmare for my constituents that are forced to travel this dangerous stretch of two-lane road. In fact, from the day that I was elected to serve the people of the Ninth Congressional District, my attention has been captured by the compelling response of an outstanding central Missouri family, the Winkler family. Some members of that family are here today to testify about what has been a riveting personal tragedy for not only their family and friends but for the community of Moberly Missouri, Randolph County, and central Missouri.
Tracy Winkler, Mr. Chairman, was one of 30 individuals that have been killed in the last 6 years on this short piece of Highway 63. His family very courageously is using that tragedy in a positive way to emphasize the urgent need for improvement of this very important highway. In fact, the Winkler family's efforts have raised the profile of this issue to a white hot intensity for the people of central Missouri, and I hope their testimony today will help show the committee the same degree of vitalness to you, as well.
You know, Mr. Chairman, it's interesting, as we have been listening to some of those testifying, I appreciate very much the burden that you have and the members of the committee. You hear about infrastructure and you hear about right-of-ways and you hear about concrete and you hear about exit ramps and bridge abutments, but I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, what we're trying to do today is to put a very real human face on the very important work that this committee does.
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It was barely over 3 weeks ago, Mr. Chairman, that I had my first town hall meeting back home in the Ninth District to talk about Federal funding for Highway 63. Over 400 constituents from the central Missouri area attended this forum. The Winkler family was there. They presented to me at that time 3,700 signatures, petitions that they had personally collected, which I have included with my request to the committee.
Also, Mr. Chairman, you'll hear briefly from Mr. Ron kitchens, executive director of the Randolph County/Moberly Economic Development Corporation. That night and today he will provide important testimony supporting the significant economic reasons why a four-lane highway makes good common sense for the economic well-being of this community.
With that, I will surrender the remainder of my time first of all to Mrs. Chrissy Winkler.
Mrs. CHRISSY WINKLER. Thank you, Congressman Hulshof, for the invitation to come to Washington to speak.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak in favor of making Highway 63 a four-lane.
My name is Chrissy Winkler, and I am here today to represent all the families who have lost their loved ones on this dangerous two-lane highway.
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I lost my husband, Tracy, on October 25, 1996, on this highway. Not only did I lose my husband, but the father of my three children.
He was on his way home from Columbia and was hit head on by an out-of-State driver.
I feel that Tracy would still be here today if this would have been a four-lane road. There were guardrails on both sides of the road, so he had nowhere to go.
Since my husband's death, my children and I have had to make many changes. We are learning to do things that Tracy would have done for us. It is a tremendous responsibility to raise our children without the love and support of Tracy.
Tracy and I had been married only 16 years on October the 10th of 1996. He was my best friend and his loss means that I can no longer look forward to many things we shared.
For example, we shared the same birth date, and this year I had to celebrate that day without him. Needless to say, my birthday is no longer a joyous day.
My children and I have our own special guardian angel, and his name is Tracy. But it is still very painful and very difficult.
Now I am teaching our oldest daughter, Leslie, who is 16, to drive, and I know that one day she, too, will want to drive on Highway 63.
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Our 14-year-old son, Lance, used to spend his weekends with his father hunting and working at our car wash. Now he no longer has the privilege to learn from and enjoy this time with his father.
Our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, is just 7 years old and will not have the opportunity to do the things with her father or share with him the special things that she does.
Elizabeth made this picture for me on Monday and she chose this picture. She asked that I bring it to Washington with me. This picture is of an earlier Christmas, and it's Tracy, myself, and our youngest daughter, Elizabeth.
Tracy will miss our children's graduations, birthdays, holidays, weddings, and the grandchildren that they will some day have.
Safety is a goal all of us must work together to achieve through better highway improvements such as making Highway 63 four lanes.
I want to see something good come out of the tragic loss of my husband and the father of my children. No one should have to go through what I am going through.
So won't you please help us make Highway 63 four-laned before the year of 20003?
Page 791 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Thank you.
Mr. HULSHOF. Next, Mr. Chairman, is Mrs. Carolyn Winkler.
Mrs. CAROLYN WINKLER. Thank you, Congressman Hulshof. I appreciate the invitation to come to Washington so much.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I'm very grateful for the opportunity you've given us to speak to you about Highway 63 in Missouri.
My name is Carolyn Winkler. My husband, Art, is here with us. He's over there. The force that compels us to be here is that on October 25, 1996, my husband and I experienced a parent's nightmareour son, Tracy, was killed on Highway 63 in a head-on collision. He was not quite 35 years old.
This tragedy occurred on a 23-mile stretch of two-laned Highway 63 between Columbia and Moberly when an out-of-State driver pulled into his path, hitting him head on.
This two-lane road carries between 8,000 and 9,000 vehicles daily. The four-laning of Highway 63 is far overdue and may possibly have been passed over for construction of less life-threatening roads in the past.
The petitions we brought with us have increased over 100 since we gave the copies to Congressman Hulshof in Moberly. Everyone in our area wants and needs this road four-laned.
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Tracy made this trip to Columbia once or twice a month. What are the odds for people that drive it every day?
The lives of the citizens in our community, our sons, our daughters, and even our own lives depend on the completion of this four-lane project.
More than 16 years ago, Tracy and Chrissy moved into their home across the road from us. Now each day my husband and I watch Chrissy and the three children struggle with their grief and the frustrations they encounter without their husband and their Dad.
In memory of Tracy, I'm pleading with you to obtain Federal funding assigned exclusively for this area of Highway 63, four-laning between Columbia and Moberly, and help us get it started now.
It is my prayer that none of you or anyone else has to experience the nightmare of losing a child or loved one before this project can be completed.
Thank you very much.
Mr. HULSHOF. Finally, Mr. Chairman, I will yield to Mr. Ron Kitchens.
Mr. KITCHENS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for allowing us to be here with you today. Thank you, Congressman Hulshof, for making this invitation available.
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I will address you today not on the emotional side of losing a family member but on the pure economics of it.
It's our belief that opportunity through a four-lane highway will bring prosperity to a community that so desperately has worked for it and needs it.
As the director of economic development for this area, it's my job to track what other communities are doing in economic development and how we, too, can benefit from economic development throughout the entire State.
You have the details of that, the statistics. I'll briefly cover why we think it's important.
Recently, in talking with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, they've indicated that of the total prospects that they bring to the State of Missouri that Moberly would otherwise qualify to meet with, 42 percent of them never consider our community because we don't have a four-lane highway, because of a 23-mile stretch that we don't have.
Currently, we have two Moberly industries that are considering whether to expand or possibly even relocate because of that 23-mile stretch of two-lane roads.
Now, when we think of 23 miles we think it can't be that substantial. At times we see delays of up to an hour or an hour and a half because of the congestion on that road. It's at 90 percent of design capacity right now. It has three different speed limits on it because of the nature of the road going from four-to two-lane. We have grade crossings that cause accidents on a regular basis. We have emergency equipment that can't get to the accidents because of this congestion and because of no shoulders.
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As Mrs. Winkler said, oftentimes guardrails completely block the road from passing.
Of the Moberly industries we surveyed, those involved heavily in trucking and transportation of product, those industries have indicated that they spend over a million miles a year on that 23-mile stretch of road, costing them loss of productivity, loss of time in transportation, and in several cases increases in their insurance costs because of accidents that have taken place on that 23-mile stretch of road.
To put this all in context, when considering Moberly versus seven other communities in the State which have similar economic profiles as our community, Moberly ranks at or near the bottom in seven key economic indicators.
For instance, of that we're the only community who has lost population in the last decade of that group. That, sirs, I'm telling you is driven by the lack of opportunity to the community. If you can't bring in new jobs for our children, they've got no place to come after college. We need to bring those industries back into the community.
We've got an increase in our unemployment rate. We're nearly three points higher than the rest of those communities. And we're talking about communities that we compete with on a daily basis, if you will, for economic development projects, so we know them intimately. We've talked with them about this. They indicate to us that when companies talk to them about why they chose a community, that four-lane highway is a critical issue.
Page 795 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Again, I'm attempting to be very brief, and I do want to thank you once again for inviting us here.
I'd leave you with one last thought: for our children, for those that have to drive that road, and for those who need the economic opportunity to choose to live in their own home town, please, sirs, consider this funding and consider Congressman Hulshof's request.
Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Chairman, thanks for your attention. As indicated, and as we've submitted for the committee's consideration, this highway is a main artery. It is part of the national highway system going from essentially Iowa all the way down to Arkansas. That's the reason for the national significance.
Mr. Joe Mickus is the chief engineer from our State Highway Department Commission, who would make himself available for any technical questions if you have any.
We, again, appreciate the opportunity to present our case to the committee.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you all for your testimony. We will be working with you on this.
Mr. HULSHOF. Thank you.
Page 796 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Mr. Pease?
Mr. PEASE. Just an observation, more for the folks that are with you, Congressman, of how diligently Congressman Hulshof has been working on this project, not just with the presentation here but in the time he's spending with those of us who are on the committee privately.
He is working very hard on this project, and you should know that his advocacy means a great deal to us as well as to you, I'm sure.
Mrs. CAROLYN WINKLER. And he's been great to us and had a town hall meeting down in Moberly. It means a great deal to us.
Mr. HULSHOF. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Hulshof, Mrs. Carolyn Winkler, Mrs. Chrissy Winkler, and Mr. Kitchens follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Next is Representative Jay Dickey.
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TESTIMONY OF HON. JAY DICKEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARKANSAS
Mr. DICKEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Good afternoon. I thank you for the time that you've given us to make our case.
At this time I'd like to submit my extended remarks for the record and reserve the rest of my time to talk on Interstate 69 and Interstate 49.
Interstate 69 is the route from Port Huron, Michigan, to Brownsville, Texas. It's called ''The NAFTA Highway.'' It's shown on this map as the black line.
The black line, as it comes into Arkansas, is generally connecting Memphis with Shreveport, which is in the law. Those two cities are in the law. A straight line, a direct route is the most economical under all circumstances. It also, of course, gives more miles to Arkansas and to an area that is not served by an interstate highway.
The point that I'd like to make is that we'reeconomically the studies have shown that this is a 1.39 return for every dollar expended in this corridor. It is an area that is terribly underprivileged. In Arkansas it's the greatest number of welfare recipients. The southeast part of Arkansas is the greatest number of welfare recipients in our State. It is a part of the delta. As I said, it's not covered by an interstate service at all at this time.
We have some environmental problems that we think we can overcome, but even some of those environmental problems will put us closer to those people who are on welfare and who are unemployed.
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So what we're going to be able to do is convert those people from tax takers to tax payers. We're going to give them an opportunity, which I think is what is the main thrust of what we're trying to do when we have people come off of welfare and work in that respect.
I'd like for you all to consider that on those bases.
There's also a point in this route that crosses the Arkansas River, and we have an enormous resource there for transportation for joining with transportation. It's right about in here that the highway will cross the Arkansas River, and we have a port at Pine Bluff that is going to be accessible, and also one called Yellow Bend Port near McGehee. That will give added reason for the development.
My next comments will be on what is called U.S. Highway 71, but it's the Interstate 49 project. It is in the red coming down from Kansas City to Shreveport. It's a highway that is going to connect theyou might say the bread basket of America with the NAFTA Highway.
Now we've got it pretty much completed or going in the part of the Third District of Arkansas. The project we're asking for you to fund is coming into the Fourth District so that we can have the straight line between that area that's already developed and Shreveport, Louisiana.
We're asking in fiscal year 1998 for $50 million; fiscal year 1999, $50 million; fiscal year 2000, $100 million; fiscal year 2001, $100 million; and fiscal year 2002, $200 million.
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Again, we are only accentuating these two. There are other fine projects that we have filed for the record. I appreciate the time that you have given to listening to my comments.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. Is it basically 79 being upgraded in your area there?
Mr. DICKEY. It's going to parallel 79. We are told, Mr. Chairman, that that would not be feasible, but the location is that way. Yes. With 79, if I could show you here, it runs right along this spot right here. It could be that 79 would be the route, but we are told from the consultants that it would be better for us to make it separate from that and have 79 be a relief for I69.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. DICKEY. Thank you for the question. Thank you for the time.
Page 800 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [The prepared statement of Mr. Dickey follows:]
Mr. PETRI. Now we have The Honorable Robert Ehrlich from Maryland, accompanied by Pat Loftus, President, High Steel Structures.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ROBERT L. EHRLICH, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND, ACCOMPANIED BY PAT LOFTUS, PRESIDENT, HIGH STEEL STRUCTURES
Mr. EHRLICH. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for your time today. I need to be a couple other places, and I'm going to turn it over to Mr. Loftus.
I have a statement for the record I'd like to submit.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity. I am here in my capacity as a member of the Congressional Steel Caucus, and I brought with me Mr. Pat Loftus, who is the president of High Steel Structures. We are here and he is here specifically to talk about the innovative highway steel bridge research and construction program.
With that, I will turn it over to the expert. I sincerely appreciate the committee's time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
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Mr. LOFTUS. Thank you, Congressman. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate very much the opportunity to speak with you today.
As Congressman Ehrlich mentioned, the Congressional Steel Caucus has submitted a program for research that would be overriding on many of the projects that have already been specifically talked about today.
This program is for $12.5 million per year for research in the area of steel bridge innovative and construction. As you're all aware, the condition of this country's bridges is in desperate need of repair, with approximately 30 percent of our 574,000 bridges currently listed by the Department of Transportation as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, so there is much to be done.
The group which I represent, more than my own company, is the National Steel Bridge Alliance, which is an alliance of steel fabricators; steel mill producers such as Bethlehem Steel, Lukens, U.S. Steel, Hukor Yamato, and mini mills; design engineering professionals; labor affiliations; and also, as the owners of the bridges, State departments of transportation. Collectively we represent well over 60,000 employees.
We feel very strongly that the proposal that has been submitted by the Congressional Steel Caucus is one that deserves serious consideration.
Page 802 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Bridge fabrication is a complex science. We take steel plate in shapes, cut it, fit it, weld it, make it into the girders that support the bridges that we ride on in this country and our bridge structure.
Steel is a magnificent material. It is very good in seismic conditions. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is extremely flexible. You can use it for a variety of designs. And we think that what really is needed now is to move this forward and take the United States into a leadership role in both design technology and construction of bridges.
Most of you probably saw the article in USA Today last week highlighting the technical innovations that are coming in bridge structure. We believe that steel can be used in concert with other materials such as high-strength concretes, such as composites, carbon fibers, aluminum, and stainless steel to bring innovative designs that will give us bridge structures that will both be stronger but also last longer, with significantly less maintenance than the bridges that exist today.
This program will fund that type of research and the practical application of that in the construction site.
To give you a quick example of how cooperative efforts can work, the Federal Highway, through AISI, funded research with the Department of the Navy to develop high-strength steel. That has begun to be used in bridge construction. It can eliminate as much as 20 percent of the weight of the steel in the bridge, and therefore can make it much more cost-competitive.
Page 803 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Other areas that we think deserve significant research are in short-span bridges, bridges that are less than 100 feet in length, where standardization of design could bring great reductions in cost.
Likewise, we think more work is needed in the areas of stainless steel, where stainless could be used in the decking structure, re-bars, and attachments to prolong the life span of our bridges.
I see that the orange light is on. Let me summarize this before we get to red.
This is not a specific proposal for a specific project; it is a program proposal overriding the entire geography of the United States.
The technology would be used where it is best applicable to a given structure. We have no targeted State for this.
This is a full industry support program, and we believe that if it can be funded to the levels that we have requested we can again take the lead in providing the United States as the world's leader in technology, both in design and construction in bridge structure.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for your time today.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. It is amazing the innovations that seem to be accelerating, and opportunities for better value, longer life seem to be improving at an ever-increasing rate.
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We thank you for your leadership in this area and for bringing the Caucus' proposal to the committee. We'll be working with your groups on that.
Mr. LOFTUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Ehrlich and Loftus follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Next we have our colleague, Mr. Pease. He will be presented the mayor of Lafayette, Dave Heath, as well as Liz Solberg, the project manager for the Lafayette Railroad relocation project.
TESTIMONY OF HON. EDWARD A. PEASE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM INDIANA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. DAVE HEATH, MAYOR, LAFAYETTE, IN, AND LIZ SOLBERG, PROJECT MANAGER, LAFAYETTE RAILROAD RELOCATION PROJECT
LAFAYETTE RAILROAD RELOCATION PROJECT
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
Page 805 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 As one who has sat through almost as many days of these as you have, I'm painfully aware of the time constraints on us, but I'm also grateful for the opportunity to make our presentation.
Everyone who comes here says his or her project is unique. I can tell you, having been here at least for today, that this one certainly is in two regards: one, it's the first project which will be presented today which actually asks the Federal Government to help complete a project that is near completion rather than starting a new one; and, second, it is the only project that I'm aware of submitted so far, and certainly the only one today, where we are asking you for less money than we asked you for initially.
We are able to reportand we're glad that we're able to reportthat the State of Indiana about 10 days ago augmented its already significant participation in this project with an additional $5.5 million of the approximate $35 million that remained to complete the project, so we are amending our request and will ask permission to submit the necessary paperwork at a later time to actually ask the committee for less money than we asked for initially.
The Lafayette Railroad relocation project is a classic example of the work that has been done prior to but certainly in concert with ISTEA and its philosophies. It is an intermodal project that has been highly successful, that has enjoyed bipartisan, local, and State support, and which is now at a stage that will bring to fruition all of the hard work that has been put into it for approximately 20 years.
As you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the mayor of Lafayette, Indiana, Dave Heath, who was newly elected about a year ago, and Elizabeth Solberg, who has been the executive director of the railroad relocation project for a number of years and is really one of the major reasons that this is such a success story, are with me today.
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Rather than read my remarks, I ask that they be included in the record and I'll yield my time to Mayor Heath for his presentation.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. It will be made a part of the record.
Mr. HEATH. Thank you. Thank you, Congressman Pease, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I would like to express my thanks to the members of the subcommittee for the past funding, which has facilitated construction of four-and-a-half of the five segments comprising the Lafayette Railroad relocation project.
I also want to recognize former Congressman John Myers in helping to achieve these milestones and thank our new Congressman, Ed Pease, for his commitment to the project and for his help being here today.
This vital infrastructure initiative was initially authorized under section 163 of the Federal Highway Act of 1973 and was reauthorized both in 1987 and in ISTEA.
I come before you today to request reauthorization and Federal contract authority of $29.4 million to finish the project. All of these funds could be obligated next year.
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Exhibit A contains a financial summary and a record of previous Federal funding. The most recent entry came on March 3rd when the State of Indiana made $5.5 million in additional Federal funds available to the project.
Let me mention that I am a republican and became mayor last year when the city council majority also changed to republican. My democratic predecessor has appeared before you in the past. Railroad relocation has been and continues to be a strong bipartisan effort at all three levels of government.
If you'll open the brochure, which is the last item bound in the testimony, the project becomes more clear.
The city is consolidating the Norfolk Southern and CSX tracks shown in gold into a single new corridor, shown in red. With 35,000 students attending Purdue University across the Wabash River in West Lafayette and significant industrial expansion occurring east and south of Lafayette, the conflict between highway traffic and trains is rapidly increasing.
The historic track location also depressed the economic potential of large portions of the central city and impeded the flow of interstate rail commerce.
In 1994, thanks to your past support, CSX tracks were relocated from 14 blocks of a central city thoroughfare after 141 years.
Highlights of our construction progress are shown in Exhibit B and on this first display board.
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The city has aggressively obligated the funds you have made available for a national highway system bridge over the Wabash River, for rail bridges, for relocating CSX into the new rail corridor along the river, for bridge and embankment construction toward Norfolk Southern relocation, and for the depot plaza Main Street Bridge restoration, which was cited in 1995 by the Federal Highway Administration for best use of transportation enhancement funds in the country.
With CSX relocation, 18 crossings have been eliminated, but our goal is 42.
As you can see from the second display board, the 24 most dangerous at-grade crossings will be eliminated only when the final contract is done.
A man was killed last year just hours after we rode an Operation Lifesaver inspection train through the city.
Your support for the last contract is what I'm requesting today. Two-thirds of the benefits of this project are realized only when the final 24 at-grade crossings are eliminated in the last contract; therefore, two-thirds of the benefits come from the last 16 percent of funding. To stop just short of completion would waste the large investment already made and would deal a severe blow to public confidence in government, generally.
The city's current efforts to solve this crippling situation began in the early 1970s. Extensive public participation over two and a half decades has created a successful project, as well as national acclaim from the Department of Transportation in 1981 and 1995, and again in 1995 when Lafayette was named an All American City.
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Broad public support comes from all quarters.
I respectfully request your support for the last 16 percent of the fundingspecifically, $29.4 million in contract authority fundsto proceed with the final contract and complete this project.
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Mr. PEASE. Mr. Chairman, I know this subcommittee and the full committee are faced with some very difficult choices. I have sat through much of the hearings here. I believed it was my responsibility to make some of those difficult choices even before coming to this committee, and though there are 13 counties in the Seventh Congressional District of Indiana, this is the only project which I will be requesting of this nature of this committee. It is clearly the highest-priority project in western Indiana. We have made some difficult decisions about not coming forward with other projects in order to emphasize the importance of this one.
We appreciate the time and attention that you and Mr. Rahall have both given to me publicly and privately on this matter, and will appreciate the positive consideration of the committee, as well.
Mr. PETRI. Well, we're enjoying your active participation in these hearings and on the subcommittee, and we look forward to trying to complete the work that John Myers and others began.
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Thank you very much for the update on it.
Mr. PEASE. Thank you.
Mr. HEATH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. RAHALL. I might just say to Ed, judging from the tenacity with which you have scrubbed and scrutinized all the other requests that have come before us, this must really be a good one.
Mr. PEASE. Thank you, Mr. Rahall.
Mr. RAHALL. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Pease and Heath and Ms. Solberg follow:]
Mr. PETRI. I see our colleague, Mike Bilirakis, is here, and I think there may be some others. The next panel is led by Mike Bilirakis, Charles Canady, Jim Davis, and Bill Young from Florida, and they are accompanying Ed Turanchik, a commissioner from Hillsborough County, Florida, and David Clark from Pasco County, as well as Steve Seibert, commissioner of Pinellas County.
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Welcome. Mike, would you like to begin the proceedings?
TESTIMONY OF HON. MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. CHARLES T. CANADY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. JIM DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. BILL YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY ED TURANCHIK, COMMISSIONER, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA, DAVID CLARK, COMMISSIONER, PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA, AND STEVE SEIBERT, COMMISSIONER, PINELLAS COUNTY
TAMPA BAY REGIONAL RAIL PROJECT
PINELLAS MOBILITY INITIATIVE
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. I'd like to inform everyone that your full statement will be made part of the record.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Young is not here yet, sir, and a couple of other local people are, because of the delays and
Mr. PETRI. I apologize.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. I apologize that they don't happen to be right in the room, but they're on the way.
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Mr. PETRI. As they come, we'll add them to the witness table.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you.
Well, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Rahall and distinguished committee members, this is, believe it or not, my 15th year in the House and this is the first time that I've appeared before this committee to request funding consideration, so it's not something that I make a habit of, and I really appreciate this opportunity.
I represent large parts of three counties that are adjacent to one another in the Tampa Bay area, and I'm really here to testify, mostly through these others, on behalf of three distinct proposals because each county has its own distinct proposal.
I have a more-detailed statement, and, of course, I would ask unanimous consent at this point to submit it for the record.
Mr. PETRI. It will be made a part of the record.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. The first project is what we call the Pinellas mobility initiative. It is also supported by my colleague, Congressman Bill Young, who is a member of your full committee.
In addition, Pinellas County Commissioner Steve Seibert, chairman of the metropolitan planning organization, will be testifying in support of this project. Mr. Seibert is here to my left.
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The second project, sir, is submitted by Pascal County Commissioner David Clark, and you have that submittal. He's not here today, but I would like to say a few brief remarks in support of this important project.
Pasco County is the more rural of the three counties, and, to their credit, they're basically asking for just a very, very few dollars, $10.8 million I think it is, because they feel it is really necessary to relieve increase congestion along a highly-traveled segment of Interstate 75, so it's not really a local project that they're talking about. They just want to widen Interstate 75, which is really a bottleneck. Automobiles come down from eight lanes and converge down into, I think, four lanes. Expansion of Interstate 75 will have significant effect on the safety, movement of goods and services, and air quality of southwest Florida.
Finally, joining me to testify in support of the Tampa Bay regional rail project are our colleagues, Congressman Charles Canady and Congressman Jim Davis, as well as Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik.
With that said, I think I was planning to introduce Mr. Young at this point, but I think maybe I'll just shift right on over and introduce Congressman Davis to you, who represents the biggest portion of the rail project in Hillsborough County. I represent a good portion of that county, as does Mr. Canady, but he represents the city of Tampa, so I would introduce Jim Davis to you at this time, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Welcome.
Page 814 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to briefly speak in support of the Hillsborough County project, which is a Tampa Bay regional project and includes Polk County, Congressman Canady's District, to give him the chance to speak, and Commissioner Ed Turanchik is here from Hillsborough County.
I'd just briefly make three points in support of this request.
It is a request for $243 million to fund the cost of acquisition of existing railroad right-of-way, and it would be used for a light passenger rail service that would serve Hillsborough County, parts of Pinellas County represented by Congressman Bilirakis, and parts of Polk County represented by Congressman Canady. It is truly a regional project.
The cost is approximately $5 million per mile, which we believe to be perhaps one of the more less-expensive projects that you will review.
The Federal Government's share of the project represents about 50 percent of the cost. There will be a significant commitment from our local community to fund this.
The authorization would be contingent upon a feasibility study, which is in program, to make it perfectly clear that this community is now ready for the project.
The other thing I wanted to mention is that in Florida we have a growth management law that mandates that transportation infrastructure be in place before building permits can be issued for new development.
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Many of the areas that would be serviced by this rail will need the benefit of this transportation capacity so that new development can proceed, and there are many others areas that will be facing that situation in the years ahead, so this is very important to our positive economic development.
I'd like to yield my time to Representative Canady.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Canady, sir.
Mr. CANADY. Thank you, Representative Bilirakis.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today. I'm just going to endorse what Representative Davis has said on behalf of this project. He's made the salient points that need to be made.
I believe that this is a very good project. One of the things that I think commends this project especially is that the right-of-way for this project is basically available. It's there. The track is there. It obviously needs some upgrading for this project, but I think this is something that can move forward in a very cost-effective way, and it is critical to the transportation needs along the I4 corridor.
I earnestly request your consideration and support for this.
I'd also like to endorse and support Mr. Bilirakis' request with respect to I75 improvements in Pasco County. I represent a portion of Pasco County, and those improvements would benefit my constituents, as well.
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Mr. BILIRAKIS. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Turanchik is county commissioner, and his commuter rail system there has been a dream of his for quite some time.
Mr. PETRI. We've heard about it on several occasions.
Mr. TURANCHIK. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Rahall, it is always good to see you. Thank you.
We just wanted to say thatto show you that this is very easy to do, and a picture is worth a thousand words.
Back home in Tampa we have the trains running on portions of these lines right now. In fact, Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Davis have already visited the train, and Mr. Canady I believe will this weekend, and commissioner Steve Seibert.
The response has been enthusiastic. Papers have said, ''Well, this technology actually works. This light rail/diesel technology has a high degree of neighborhood compatibility.''
This is an article from ''The Times.'' Mr. Chairman, this was not purposefully arranged, but on this is Joan and Bob Steel of Wisconsin.
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Mr. TURANCHIK. Congressman Rahall, we looked for someone from West Virginia, but we just couldn't find them.
The point of this is that this is, as we have said to you before, a very low-cost project, with $2.5 million per mile Federal share. I would imagine it's one of the lowest-cost projects this committee will see. The Federal share is under 50 percent. Of the 83 miles, 67 already exist.
CSX, by the way, is in support and at the end today we'd like to submit some letters, but I'd like to just read two sentences, if I may. This is from Paul Sandler, who is head of the Florida Business Unit, ''We would like to advise the committee that we are in full support of the Tampa Bay regional rail initiative.''
As Congressman Canady and Bilirakis alluded to, we're trying to tie together land use and transportation planning. We have a special relationship with CSX because we understand their needs and, frankly, the rail lines are under-utilized. Except for one of them, they have one train a day on them.
Mr. Sandler concludes, ''From the cooperative working relationship between CSX and local governments, the integrated transportation and land use planning being pursued by local governments to the low cost of this system, we believe that the Tampa Bay's regional rail project may be a model for the country and deserving of the committee's enthusiastic support.''
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We have letters of support from none other than Tampa Bay section of the American Society of Highway Engineers. We have the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and a lot of other letters of support which we'd like to submit today.
We are also looking at the issue of creating tax increment financed districts around the stations, which, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Rahall, we had talked to you before about, which would be an innovative way of capturing the value rail transit community and bringing it back into the transportation system.
We know that your needs are many, and that's why we have tried to put forward a very competitive proposal that is of low Federal cost and in a low Federal share. We, of course, thank you for your past and hopefully your future keen interest in this project.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you, Ed.
Mr. Chairman, you know, our area is one of the fastest-growing in the entire country, as you know. Mr. Rahall visits often. I'm not sure how often you get down there. But we're just choking with traffic problems and we have our senior citizen population and what no, so we have big problems down there, and we would hope that with your help we're going to be able to surmount them.
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Mr. Young advises me, sir, that he can't be here because he's stuck inI'm not sure whether it's the Intelligence Committee or which.
But, in any case, I would like to introduce to you The Honorable Steve Seibert, who is a member of our Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and chairman of our local metropolitan planning organization.
Mr. SEIBERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Congressman.
I look at my magic watch and see I have about a minute or two to talk, so let me cut to the chase.
We are a community, as the Congressman noted, of nearly 900,000 residents. A third of those that live in Pinellas County are 65 or older, and we have four million visitors that come and visit us every year, so we have unique transportation problems we are all trying to serve, both on our side of the bay and on Commissioner Turanchik's side of the bay.
In 1972 and in 1988 the Pinellas MPO looked at long-term transportation problems and actually came up with engineering designs for monorail or fixed guideway systems. Both of those failed for lack of funding.
We are starting an MISit's about 6 months old right nowwhere we will be looking at all kinds of options.
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Consistent with what we have done in the past, we know the logical corridor alignments and the technology options, and have proposed for your consideration early conceptual phases of a project which would move people through the city of Clearwater and on to Clearwater Beach and back, and would serve St. Petersburg and our new major league baseball franchise at Tropicana Field.
Our MIS focuses from its very beginning on two very important conceptual concepts. The first is cost containmentcost containment from the very beginning. The second is private sector involvement in building and operating the entire system.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Let me close with three brief points, and they're general.
The first is: please give special consideration to those communities that have fast growing and densely-populated areas.
Second, please return to those States and communities a fair share of those transportation dollars that we have sent to Washington.
Third, ladies and gentlemen, please reauthorize ISTEA and give local governments all over the country the tools to solve our transportation problems.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you. And thank you for so effectively summarizing your testimony.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I just want to comment Mr. Bilirakis and Mr. Canady for their leadership, and they've been joined now by Mr. Davis, because I know they've been fighting this problem.
We have the same problem in the Orlando/central Florida area, and our areas are growing and really need assistance.
This is absolutely critical to the future and economic development of these areas.
I just want to also commend for a second Mr. Turanchik from the local level. They have taken a proposaland he spearheaded itto demonstrate transit alternativesclean, economical, cost-effective. And he is doing it right now in his community, so heand they've taken a good share of the responsibility for this.
I want to congratulate them on their local efforts in trying to improve transportation in central Florida and Florida.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you, John.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Any questions, Mr. Sandlin?
Mr. SANDLIN. No.
Mr. PETRI. Okay. Thank you all for coming.
Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for the time.
Mr. TURANCHIK. Mr. Chairman, can we somehow submit these extra letters for the record?
Mr. PETRI. Yes. They will be made a part of the record.
Mr. TURANCHIK. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Bilirakis, Canady, Davis, Turanchik, Clark, and Seibert follow:]
Page 823 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Our colleague from across the not-so-wide Mississippi in the northern part, The Honorable Bruce Vento.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BRUCE F. VENTO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MINNESOTA, ACCOMPANIED BY CRAIG JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, PHALEN CORRIDOR INITIATIVE, AND ALLEN LOVEJOY, PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, ST. PAUL, MN
PHALEN BOULEVARD PROJECT, SHEPARD ROAD UPPER INTERCEPTER PROJECT
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me some time today, and especially last week, to join with my colleagues on the Wakota Bridge project.
Today I have two projects that are within my District and are significant projects in terms of dealing with the infrastructure and type of traffic problems that we have and development projects we have in St. Paul. It's the Shepard Road Upper Landing interceptor project and the Phalen Boulevard project.
I'm pleased to have with me two witnesses from St. Paul who I'll introduce momentarily.
In any case, the first project that I want to talk about is the Shepard Road project. I would like consideration for both of these projects, of course, in the reauthorization of the ISTEA legislation which I'll strongly support. But I want and would like consideration of this project, the Shepard Road project, which is associated with the world-renowned Science Museum of Minnesota. They are planning nearly a $100 million project on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Paul. They are doing that in association and have received State funding for that. They're going to receive city funding. They've received millions of dollars already in private funding.
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Incidentally, they are in a partnership with the National Park Service to locate one of the visitor contact areas within the Science Museum right on the cusp of the river for the MNRRA (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area) legislation which we passed some 10 years ago.
In any event, this project is a project that provides for a multi-modal transportation intercept project. Included within this project would be a facility to accommodate public and private transit service. It would connect up with pedestrian pathways in downtown St. Paul. That's fairly important. We're getting six to ten inches of snow today, I understand, back there.
It would have a staging and dispatching area for buses, serving visitors to St. Paul. We receive record crowds at this Science Museum in Minnesota from areas all over our State and into Wisconsin, Mr. Chairman.
And so they need a means to deal with that traffic, to integrate it, and to provide the opportunity to visit this planned-for facility in this wonderful setting.
So I appreciate very much your consideration on this.
The second initiative is the Phalen Boulevard project. It is about six blocks from Casa Vento where I live, my home. As a matter of fact, it grew up pretty much and it's really a pleasant surprise to me to see the types of grassroots growth that has occurred.
Page 825 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This puts together all the different features of wetland reclamation, using a rail right-of-way, building around infrastructure in terms of corporations, big corporations like 3M that are located in my District and others that have now left, and many other smaller ones.
So we have bicycle paths, other types of activities there. In saying that it came as a very pleasant surprise to me obviously indicates that I didn't do a lot of the work on it, but people like Craig Johnson, who is sitting to my right, from Norwest Bank, have led the Phalen Boulevard project. With him is a city staff person, Allen Lovejoy, who has tried to guide this process. They have done a wonderful job of bringing together the type of support locally that will really spell success for the revitalization of this area.
It is my pleasure to introduce Craig and thank him for his work.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee today.
My name is Craig Johnson, and I am community bank manager for Norwest Banks in Minnesota, and I also chair a local redevelopment known as the Phalen Corridor Initiative. Joining me, as Bruce had said, is Allen Lovejoy from the Planning and Economic Development Department of the city of State Paul.
Before I begin I certainly want to express my appreciation to Congressman Jim Oberstar for his continued work and valued expertise on your committee, and, in addition, would like to thank Congressman Bruce Vento for his continued support of our community reinvestment activities in the city of St. Paul.
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Today I'd like to discuss the Phalen Boulevard project. What might appear to be only a roadway project is, in fact, the key to one of the most comprehensive community reinvestment efforts in the country.
The city of St. Paul can best be described as a big small town. Once boasting an abundance of living wage job opportunities, it has now witnessed a significant loss in living wage job and industry.
St. Paul's remaining land for redevelopment is located along polluted rail corridors. Not coincidentally, our most impoverished neighborhoods are adjacent to these rail corridors.
One such area is the Phalen Corridor, which contains over 100 acres of polluted and under-used industrial lands.
In the past 15 years, over 2,000 industrial jobs have been lost. As well, over 40 percent of all public assistance families in Ramsey County, where the city of St. Paul is located, reside on the east side of St. Paul, and the Phalen Corridor includes the most economically depressed neighborhoods on the east side.
In 1994, the east side of St. Paul initiated a community-based, comprehensive urban development program to revitalize the Phalen Corridor area. A coal of business, industry, elected officials, neighborhood interests, and labor formed with a focus on industrial redevelopment, work force development, transportation and infrastructure improvements, and building community partnerships. Its focus has since expanded to include housing and family support initiatives.
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Phalen Boulevard would run approximately 2 miles through St. Paul's east side, opening up access to over 100 acres of polluted industrial lands.
Currently, this land is being used as junk yards or dumps, or simply abandoned property. The adjacent residential areas contain some of the worst housing and poverty in the metropolitan area.
We believe this corridor to be of enormous potential for revitalizing the area.
The essence of the Phalen Boulevard project is that it will open up under-utilized industrial land for redevelopment and give direct regional access for new and existing businesses.
We already know that there is a strong market for industrial businesses in St. Paul. Our two most recent industrial projects had four times the number of solid offers to locate than we could accommodate.
Because of our industrial land access needs, the Phalen Boulevard project is the key for redevelopment on St. Paul's east side. Construction of the boulevard will lead directly to the creation of 2,000 industrial jobs, as well as 1,000 to 2,000 spin-off jobs.
As mentioned before, 40 percent of all public assistance families in Ramsey County reside in the Phalen Corridor area. The success of this initiative is essential in our local response to meeting the challenges of welfare reform.
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We estimate public and private investment in this initiative over the next 10 years to exceed $200 million. We have already committed $21 million through various sources. of the $48 million projected cost of Phalen Boulevard, our ISTEA request is for $38.4 million.
The Phalen Corridor Initiative has widespread support. Local business, big and small; local government, State, county, and city; Congressman Vento; neighborhoods; and organized labor have all committed their support toward the success of this initiative.
In closing, I would like to thank the members of the subcommittee, Congressman Vento, and Congressman Oberstar, and the many volunteers of the Phalen Corridor Initiative for their past and future support.
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We'd be happy to respond to any questions.
I wanted Allen to especially pay attention to the fact he's been working very hard on this, and they have really done a masterful job of putting this together. We'd like your consideration.
Mr. PETRI. We appreciate your bringing it to the subcommittee.
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Are there any questions? Mr. Oberstar, did you have a comment?
Mr. OBERSTAR. I'm sorry. I missed the early part of your presentation. I had a large delegation in my office, as we all do endlessly these days, it seems. But I wanted to be here to hear your presentation.
Mr. Chairman, St. Paul was sort of my second home. I went to St. Thomas College there. It's a town very much like northern Minnesotalots of ethnic mix, good folks, good people, Italians, Slovenes, Serbs, Croatians, a few Swedes and Norwegians, Irish. English is spoken.
But Mr. Vento ably represents the area.
I know Phalen Boulevard and Shepard Road. I know that's a real bottleneck. I get lost every time I try to take that road. You really need help with that project, and we'll do our best to move that along.
You made a very good case, very strong case for it.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you for being here.
Mr. PETRI. I have a vague feeling that things affecting Minnesota won't sort of slip between the cracks through lack of attention on our committee, because you do have a very active senior member, our dean, looking after, I think, all of the States' interest.
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Thank you very much.
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, If I could just second that, because on this committee I have a Minnesotan sitting on one side of me, and on my other committee, Resources Committee, I have a Minnesotan sitting on the other side of me.
Mr. RAHALL. And Mr. Vento and I are in the same class, and every member of that class is a very effective and capable leader. Thank you.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Congressman Rahall.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Vento and Coleman follows:]
Mr. PETRI. And now I apologize for the delay, but we have a very patient Member from Maryland, Roscoe Bartlett.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MARYLAND
Page 831 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 ROUTE 220, 270/70 INTERCHANGE, MARC, ROUTE 219
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
First of all I'd like to say that I am here representing all of western Maryland, from Baltimore clear out to almost Morgantown, West Virginia.
I would also ask unanimous consent to insert two brief letters in the record, one from the Allegheny County Chamber of Commerce and the other from the fact group, the first one in the support of 220 and the second in support of the needed interchanges in Frederick.
Mr. PETRI. Yes. Without objection they will be made a part of the record.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to testify today. I know how busy you are and how many witnesses like this you have to sit through. Thank you very much.
I have four projects I would like to discuss with you. The first is phase 1A of the I70/270/340 interchange.
A number of our Members drive through our District in getting on up to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and places north and west. When you do that, you don't have the opportunity to drive through the real problem areas.
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If you're coming from Baltimore and try to go south, you have to go through a commercial area with enormous congestion.
In 1994, the average daily traffic on I70 was up to 60,000 and I270 was up to 76,000, yet these roads to not have a seamless interchange.
Three major interstates come together there270, 70, and 340, and about half of the interchange links were left out in the original design because apparently the designers couldn't imagine that someone driving west from Baltimore would want to come to Frederick and then go south to Washington. To do that, you now have to go through a major congested area.
The same is true of traffic which must go through our golden mile in going from one of those interstates to another.
For those drivers who wish to switch from 70 to 270 or vice versa, they have to travel through a concentrated commercial area that is populated with 12 fast food restaurants, 3 hotels, 2 warehouse shopping centers, Frederick's largest shopping mall, numerous other businesses, and many traffic lights.
Almost 60,000 of Frederick County's work force lives in Montgomery County or the Northern Virginia/D.C. area. With this many people living south of Frederick County and almost 90 percent of the commuters using automobiles, it seems only logical that there should be a seamless interchange between the area's two primary highways.
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This is really a different project from most of them you look at because what we need to do here is to remedy a deficiency in the original design. These essential links were never designed and built originally, and we need to do it now.
Apart from the frustration that results in having to travel through this heavily-developed area, there are congestion concerns. The roads that have to be used to connect 70 and 270 and 340 were just not designed to handle the large volume of interstate traffic.
The congestion is enormous, as anyone who has to travel 70 and 270 at rush hour will tell you.
There are also economic and environmental concerns. The constant stopping and starting that results from travel through these commercial areas is both unclean and inefficient. Cars being forced to stop and start burn more gas, thereby wasting the drivers' money and polluting our air.
Federal funding of this project will provide the necessary catalyst to make the completion of the I70/I270 interchange a reality.
With its completion, the commuters in Frederick County will no longer have to deal with the hours of frustration, extra fuel cost, and deteriorated air quality that would otherwise only get worse.
The second issue I want to address is the MARC train. We really need the extension of this to Frederick. There is enormous congestion on 270. We need an alternative way of getting down to the Washington area, and this is very, very much needed.
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Now I move to western Maryland for two brief concerns.
We have three counties in Appalachia in western MarylandWashington County, Allegheny County, and Garrett County. We have no major north/south road between 81 and 79. We desperately need a north/south road there. There are two possibilities hereone is 220, the other is 219.
We believe that the depressed economy in western Maryland is in large measure a direct result of the fact that we do not have a major north/south road. These were omitted in the original interstate design. We now have 220, a part of the national highway system, and 219, which is an international trade route.
All four of these projects are very essential to our District. Maryland lags behind the rest of the country in economic development, and we hope that you will give high priority to these systems.
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there any questions?
Page 835 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Well, obviously I think all of us areit's right near here. It's on the way from Wisconsin to Washington, so I drive 70 fairly often. There has been a lot of construction there and therefore a lot of delays, but the growth is obviously tremendous and that's putting a lot of pressure on moving people through your area.
We recognize you are speaking for a legitimate concern.
Mr. BARTLETT. We are, indeed.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you very much for being here.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Jim McCrery has been patiently waiting. We apologize to you and to your guests for being a little behind schedule. I think there are going to be three votes coming up in a while and we'll probably slip even further behind schedule, so the later panelists will probably have to adjust or we can figure out something else.
Welcome. I know you're accompanied by Arlene Acree, chairman of the board, Shreveport Chamber of Commerce; Wendell Collins, chief administrative officer of Shreveport; and Kent Rogers of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, who is their executive director.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JIM MCCRERY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM LOUISIANA, ACCOMPANIED BY ARLENE ACREE, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, SHREVEPORT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, WENDELL COLLINS, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, SHREVEPORT, LA, AND KENT ROGERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTHWEST LOUISIANA COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
Page 836 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 EXTENSION OF I49
EXTENSION OF LA3132
Mr. MCCRERY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank the members of the committee. We appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today about some projects that are very important to economic development and future prosperity in northwest Louisiana and, in fact, all over the region of east Texas, northwest Louisiana, southern Arkansas.
I'm going to let the three folks who came all the way from Louisiana today to testify to you do most of the talking. We have submitted to the committee extensive documentation for all of our requests, and we urge you to look over all of that at your leisure.
First, Ms. Acree will talk to you about a project you're familiar with, I'm sure, Interstate 49.
Ms. ACREE. Greetings from Shreveport, Louisiana, the host city of the 1997 Miss USA Pageant and the third largest gaming market in the United States, only to follow Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to testify on behalf of the business and community leaders in northwest Louisiana, many of whom are with us today.
Page 837 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 We would like to encourage your support of the extension of Interstate 49. This extension is included in the current ISTEA legislation and is referred to as the ''North/South Expressway,'' or High-Priority Corridor 1.
This is a multi-State effort to extend I49 from Shreveport, Louisiana, through western Arkansas, to Kansas City where it would then connect to Interstate 29 and Interstate 35.
Upon completion, this mid-America connection would like the central United States and Canada, contributing to the trade efforts espoused in the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.
This project has regional, national, and international significance in that it will connect Canada and the midwestern United States with Arkansas, Louisiana, and eventually the south Louisiana coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
It is regional in significance because of the increased trade opportunities between Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and the other States connected by this extension.
It is of national importance because of its significance to NAFTA and its ability to enhance defense mobility to military installations such as Barksdale Air Force Base in northwest Louisiana and Fort Polk in central Louisiana.
It is of international importance because it would tie the transportation of goods by truck to and from Canada and the midwest with barge traffic through the Caddo-Bossier Port and the international ports of south Louisiana.
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I would like to focus my remarks on the northwest Louisiana portion of the I49 extension.
Within northwest Louisiana, there are two separate projects related to this extension: number one, the northern segment, which is a four-lane new construction approximately 35 miles in length connecting I220 in Shreveport, Louisiana, to the Arkansas border at the connecting point projected by the Arkansas Highway Department; number two, the inner city or urban segment of Interstate 49 is a 3.5 mile segment from Interstate 20 to Interstate 220 in Shreveport, Louisiana, for which we are seeking a major investment, environmental impact assessment study.
The inner city or urban segment of the Louisiana I49 extension was included in original plans to connect Interstate 49 from Interstate 20 to the northern segment at I220.
In the 1987 Federal Highway Act, Congress appropriated $6 million to Louisiana in equal portions to the Shreveport area and to the Lafayette area for studies. The Shreveport area study has yet to be authorized by the State, much less completed. For one reason or another, this urban segment was removed from the original plans because of the need for an environmental impact study, which continues to be stalled.
There has been some local opposition to this segment in the past, although now we have increasing support from the businesses in the propose study area, with a desire to rehabilitate this area for our community.
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We hope to complete an environmental impact study to discover what the true environmental and social concerns are, if any. Only with this study can the environmental and social information be gathered and analyzed in order to provide a recommendation.
Several area highways are projected to experience congestion and unacceptable levels of service by the year 2020 without the completion of this project.
The urban segment will eliminate or alleviate many of the anticipated deficiencies that will result without this construction of this segment. Compared to the no-build condition, the project will significantly improve levels of service, travel time, and total vehicle delays on related highways.
We believe that the study will lead to a recommendation that the 3.5 mile segment be completed and that it will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the economy of the entire northwest Louisiana region, the State, and the overall extension of Interstate 49.
It will increase the efficient movement of people and goods to and from the metropolitan areas, Shreveport-Bossier, and many other urbanized areas north and south.
There is no significant opposition to the northern section of Interstate 49 extension. As a matter of fact, the citizens' comments received on the corridor study favored the project and merely expressed a preference for one of the alignments.
The total project cost for the northern Louisiana section is approximately $210 million. It is proposed that 80 percent Federal funding at $168 million be used, with a 20 percent State funding match at $42 million.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. ACREE. It is important that Louisiana complete this segment as quickly as possible, as Arkansas has made significant progress in constructing their segments of I49 and Missouri is well on its way to completion, as well.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to have this opportunity. I'm sorry I'm a little over, but I appreciate your considering our project.
Mr. PETRI. We appreciate your summary, and I want you to know your full statement will be part of the record.
Ms. ACREE. Thank you so much.
Mr. PETRI. And we'll be reviewing it and staff will be reviewing it, so nothing will be missed.
Ms. ACREE. Thank you so much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MCCRERY. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Wendell Collins is next. He retired from the private sector and then was brought out of retirement by our current mayor to become the chief administrative officer of the city of Shreveport. He's going to talk about a very important project inside the city that will link the major beltway around the city with our new port facility.
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Mr. COLLINS. Thank you, Congressman McCrery.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I want to thank you on behalf of the city of Shreveport for allowing me to testify before you today.
We would encourage you to support a 2-mile extension of Louisiana Highway 31/32, which is a limited access highway to Interstate 20 and Interstate 49 which will serve the Port of Shreveport-Bossier.
The inner loop of Louisiana Highway 31/32 currently links Interstate 20 with the Bert Kouns Expressway, or Louisiana Highway 526, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The city of Shreveport has proposed to extend this inner loop approximately 2 miles to connect it with Louisiana Highway 1 just north of the Caddo-Bossier Port at a projected cost of about $35 million.
This is part of a larger project which would, at some point, cross the Red River and rejoin Interstate 20 east of Bossier City, Louisiana.
The port is located on the Red River and was made commercially navigable to Shreveport in 1995 with the completion of the Federally-funded Lock and Dam 5.
Page 842 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Extensive development of the port site has been completed. Products shipped through the port, primarily petrochemicals, are now being routed across congested local roads.
The city of Shreveport anticipated the need for the roadway extension. It was included in the Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Area transportation plan in 1989. In 1991, the city of Shreveport funded the preliminary corridor study, which identified the most likely routes.
Seven public meetings were held during the course of that study, and in 1996 our voters approved a local streets and bond issue which included $3.5 million for the environmental work, design, and right-of-way acquisition of the extension to the port.
The environmental assessment will be completed later this year. Based on the findings of the original corridor study, we expect that no environmental problems will be encountered.
We've already begun the process of talking to the affected property owners, and none of the land acquisitions for the preferred alignment for this project involves occupied properties.
The inner loop extension to the port has been included in Louisiana's segment of the national highway system. It is included in the fiscally-constrained transportation plan approved by our local metropolitan planning commission.
Page 843 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 We need this project. It will help the Caddo-Bossier Port by giving it access to interstate quality roadway. It will remove port traffic from already overloaded local streets and allow for related development in the area. It will provide the logical tie-in to the extension of Interstate 69 through our area.
Based on the current cost estimate of $35 million, we are asking for Federal funding of approximately $27 million within the next 5 years, and an additional $5.4 million in funding will be requested from the State of Louisiana.
As stated previously, the citizens of Shreveport have already approved $3.5 million in bond funds for the project's design and right-of-way.
So, Mr. Chairman and committee members, thank you again for allowing me to testify before you today. I ask your support on this important project, which will allow products to move to and from the port, reducing safety risks, and also allow the port to develop to its fullest.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MCCRERY. Mr. Chairman, since there is going to be a delegation talking later about Interstate 69, our third speaker, Mr. Rogers, is going to be very brief in just pointing out the importance to the Shreveport area of Interstate 69.
Page 844 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Kent Rogers is the executive director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Congressman McCrery.
I'm speaking to you today on behalf of not only of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and the city of Shreveport and Bossier City, but also on behalf of the 40 municipalities and six parishes in northwest Louisiana which will be affected not only by Interstate 69, but also by the I49 extension north to the Arkansas border, and also by the inner loop extension, Louisiana 31/32 to our port facility.
Each of these projects have major impacts on the area and provide not only for intermodalism, intermodal connections the ports, rail yards, and major interstate highways, but also to our defense systems through Barksdale Air Force Base.
You've heard comments today from many other groups speaking on I49 and connections to I49. Those groups represented Arkansas and southern parts of Louisiana. These portions of I49 they speak of also connect to the portion of I49 in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is vital that this segment in Shreveport, Louisiana, be completed in order for the success of these other projects to happen.
Each of these projects work in cooperation and coordination with each other. They complement and satisfy all 15 planning factors of ISTEA. They provide intermodal connections, and, in keeping with the spirit of our interstate systems and the national highway system, provide for defense mobility.
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Again, I'd like to thank you for your time. We have submitted other testimony on behalf of I69, and you will hear from other groups later on I69.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. SANDLIN. I'd just like to say to Congressman McCrery and to Ms. Acree and Mr. Rogers and Mr. Collins thank you for coming and for your preparation and for coming by my office yesterday.
For those of you that don't know or are not familiar with the area, I almost live in Shreveport. I live about 20 minutes from there. So what's good for that area is good for east Texas.
I have a lot of contacts there. My family lives in Shreveport, most of them. My 90-year-old grandmother lives in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. You know where that is. No one else does. And my grandfather was on the police jury there. In fact, my grandmother told me recently that as he was running for the police jurythis was back in the early 1900sshe asked on the campaign rail, while he was campaigning, she said, ''Well, don't you want me to go with you on the campaign trail?'' And he said, ''Well, really I'd just rather win.''
Page 846 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 You'd have to know my grandmother.
Mr. SANDLIN. But I appreciate what you're doing for me and with your needs there, and certain Congressman McCrery doesn't need any help. He's a great advocate. But I hope you'll look at my office as an additional resource here in Washington when you need help.
Ms. ACREE. Thank you.
Mr. MCCRERY. We appreciate the offer, Congressman Sandlin. i'll be calling on you for sure and hope you'll do the same with me.
Mr. SANDLIN. Thanks.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MCCRERY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. ACREE. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you all for coming.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Collins, Rogers, Hubbard, and Ms. Acree follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. The next paneland we apologize for the delayis led by two of our distinguished colleagues, Owen Pickett and Bobby Scott from Virginia, accompanied by: Mr. Greg Stillman, chairman, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; Kim Kimball, executive director, Tidewater Regional Transit; Jane Whitney, program manager of the Tidewater Regional Transit; Louisa Strayhorn, who is on the council of Virginia Beach; and former Member Jim Bilbray.
Welcome. Owen, do you want to begin?
TESTIMONY OF HON. OWEN B. PICKETT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM VIRGINIA; HON. ROBERT C. SCOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM VIRGINIA, ACCOMPANIED BY GREG STILLMAN, CHAIRMAN, HAMPTON ROADS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, L.A. ''KIM'' KIMBALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TIDEWATER REGIONAL TRANSIT, JAYNE B. WHITNEY, PROGRAM MANAGER, TIDEWATER REGIONAL TRANSIT, LOUISA STRAYHORN, COUNCILWOMAN, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, AND HON. JIM BILBRAY, FORMER MEMBER
NORFOLK-VIRGINIA BEACH TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
Mr. PICKETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Congressman Scott and I are here both because we have one of the projects that we are both here on. He's going to start off and give his remarks, and then I'm going to introduce Mr. Stillman, who is going to speak on behalf of the city of Norfolk. Then we have another project involving the city of Virginia Beach, where Councilwoman Louisa Strayhorn will speak.
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Mr. PETRI. Very good.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know you're behind already. I'll just make a couple of brief comments first about the Greater Richmond Transit Company.
Information has already been submitted on this. It's requesting assistance for the renovation of the maintenance facility, which serves the only public transit operation in the city of Richmond and surrounding areas. The facility is rapidly deteriorating and cannot respond adequately to the work load and safety requirements necessary for transit operation.
The other project in Richmond is the completion of the historic Main Street Station. This is a multi-modal transportation center that will combine inner-city rail, local and tour bus services, airport shuttles and taxis.
The Main Street Station has already received Federal appropriations in the past and we ask for continued appropriations so we can complete the project.
The other project in my District, Mr. Chairman, is one that our colleague from Virginia Beach, Mr. Pickett, and I share. It's the construction of the proposed light rail project. One end of it will be in my District. It will serve the downtown area and Norfolk State University and will be a very important element in our economic development and will provide alternatives to transit-dependent citizens of the community.
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I would appreciate your careful consideration of all three of the projects.
Mr. PETRI. thank you. And thank you for summarizing. Obviously, your full submission will be a part of the record.
Mr. Pickett. Thank you.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In my case, Greg Stillman is the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for the Hampton Roads area that includes both Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where this light rail system will be located.
We're seeking some $225 million for the new starts program for this very vital project.
If I may, I'd like to introduce Greg Stillman, who is next to me, and then Jayne Whitney, who is the program manager for the Tidewater Transit, and then Mr. Kimball, who is the executive director and is here in support of the project.
Mr. STILLMAN. Mr. Chairman, I am Greg Stillman, chairman of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, representing the business interests of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach in south Hampton Roads.
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I wish to thank you for the opportunity to present the business community's endorsement of the request of Congressmen Pickett and Scott for an authorization of $225 million from the new starts program in the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act for the Virginia Beach/Norfolk light rail project.
The project is expected to be substantially complete by the end of the next authorization period, since there are few environmental issues to address and the project will be constructed on existing railroad right-of-way, which will accelerate the construction time.
The business community enthusiastically supports the development of a light rail transit system complemented by an enhanced integrated bus system and congestion management strategies.
In addition to relief of traffic congestion and improvement of air quality, the light rail system will provide direct economic benefits to the residents and businesses of the area. Specifically, it will improve the permanent tax support base by increasing retail sales, business receipts, and property values in the area; add 3,900 new jobs and permanent increase in the area's annual payroll of more than $88 million; and improve the competitive business climate of the area; and provide a unifying force to support a regional approach to decision-making.
An expanded road system, alone, cannot meet the capacity and environmental concerns of the future. The concept of a balanced transportation system is essential to create a system which supports economic growth and provides significantly-increased capacity.
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A light rail system provides the only cost-effective service means to service this transportation corridor. It is the number one transportation priority of our region.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to present our position in support of this light rail project in the Hampton Roads area and ask that my full remarks and resolutions be entered into the resource.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection they will be made a part of the record.
Mr. PICKETT. Mr. Chairman, thank you again. The next project is one that connects the city of Virginia Beach with the city of Chesapeake.
We talk about our light rail that connects Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and this one is a road project. It's a new corridor that would connect Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.
Councilwoman Louisa Strayhorn is here in support of this, and I would ask that she make her remarks in support of this project, which is a request for $10 million to assist in the progress of this project.
Ms. STRAYHORN. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. I understand that you have a record of the testimony, and I will do my best to just summarize my remarks so that you can get on with your business.
Page 852 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. STRAYHORN. I am here today to ask Congress' assistance with a very important highway project. It's the Southeastern Parkway and Greenbelt. It is one of those projects that the City has been working on for over a decade and truly is a national security interest. It effects our jobs, our ability to be able to have jobs in our area, and it also effects the environment for our area.
I would like to just say to you that it is 21 miles in length. Unfortunately, I don't have the map here to tell you, but it is one of those vital pieces that runs between two neighboring cities that, unfortunately for us, without it we are going to be land-bound.
We are sitting in a situation right now where one of our major routes and all the arterial routesand I will name Route 44is right now over capacity of 300,000 cars daily. Capacity right now is 175. We're doing 300,000. We're expecting by 2010 that the number of cars that it will have on the road is over 500,000. That is something that we really cannot bear.
All of our arterial routes are the same.
When we talk about the national security interests, I know that you know our area. It houses Oceana. Captain Benson, who is the commander of Oceana, has remarks about that that I would like to just give you a small quote on.
Page 853 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Captain Benson states, ''The proposed Southeastern Parkway and Greenbelt will benefit Oceana. It will relieve traffic on local roads by providing a controlled access route connecting central Virginia Beach and the city of Chesapeake. This will assist our sailors commuting from Chesapeake and other outlying areas, while providing a safe hurricane evacuation route for the region.''
Now, one of the major points for Virginia Beach is that we are like a cul de sac, and without some kind of a hurricane evacuation route we're talking about on the average of 2.5 million tourists that come into our city every year, and several million tourists who are daily visitors. They come from all over the world, and we are talking about a situation where they need some route out of there.
The other part, in terms of the economic, is that half a billion dollars worth of our revenue comes from our tourist trade, and that represents, if we do not get this highway, a possibility of losing 20 percent of our tax revenue base.
Finally, on the environment part of it, which is really important for us, we have just finally achieved attainment after many, many years of being without it, and we are very fearful that in the next couple of years, if we are not in the process of dealing with this road, that we will lose it again.
Environmentally we have tried, over the last 10 years, to work with a number of organizations, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, environmental agencies, the Federal Administration, and others. We all sat down at the table to make sure that we could come up with a plan that would be environmentally sound.
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Our major issue on this one, which we're very proud of, is that originally we had a negative impact for our road for 500 acres, and we have reduced that to 150 acres, and over 100 civic leagues have been involved in the process of getting information.
This is truly vital to us, and we're asking for $10 million from you.
I want you to know that usually people ask you for money; we're here to tell you that the city of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake is willing to put up a commitment and have already done that for $140 million that we know will be needed for this road. We're asking you for the $10 million for your support.
Thank you so much for allowing me to speak.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions of this panel?
Mr. PETRI. If not, we appreciate your summarizing your presentation here today. We'll be working with your Representatives on your projects.
Ms. STRAYHORN. Thank you very much.
Page 855 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Pickett, Scott, Stillman, and Ms. Strayhorn follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We are happy to be able to accommodate our colleague, Loretta Sanchez, and actually you're appearing exactly when scheduled. We are running an hour late.
She is accompanied by Miguel Pulido, mayor of Santa AnaI apologize for any pronunciation errorand The Honorable Tom Daly, mayor of Anaheim.
Your full statements will be made a part of the record, and we invite you to summarize them this afternoon.
TESTIMONY OF HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. MIGUEL PULIDO, MAYOR, SANTA ANA, CA, AND HON. TOM DALY, MAYOR, ANAHEIM, CA
BRISTOL STREET PROJECT
INTERSTATE 5/GENE AUTRY WAY PROJECT
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the committee, for the opportunity to testify before you today with my support for the city of Anaheim's Interstate 5/Gene Autry Way project.
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As you've said, I have with me today Mayor Tom Daly from the city of Anaheim, who will also speak on behalf of the project.
Interstate 5 is Orange County's main street, and more than 300,000 vehicles per day use this freeway. Over the past 10 years, a significant Federal, State, and local investment has been made in long-range improvements to the 40-year-old interstate segment. Included in these improvements is the construction of an HOV transitway, with its northern terminus at the Gene Autry Way in the city of Anaheim.
Let me just say here that we have been working very hard in the city of Anaheimit happens to be my home townin providing economic revitalization to that particular area. The Gene Autry Way interchange is a very important interchange for the amount of traffic that will generate from our main area of town, where Disneyland is located.
The project objective is to create the critical access to the Anaheim resort area and to improve travel time incentives for clean air commuting patterns by providing access for the HOV and the transit users.
The Gene Autry Way/I5 westbound access will provide the necessary final link to facilitate economic growth in Anaheim. In fact, this expansion that will be occurring will create up to 37,000 jobs for the surrounding area. That is about a 50 percent increase in the city of Anaheim.
It is an important project. It is important to Anaheim. It is important to all of Orange County. It has also been included in the California State Transportation Improvement Plan, or the STIP, as we call it.
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The city of Anaheim is seeking $45 million to construct the western interchange and the I5 access in the ISTEA contract authority.
I'd also like to, at the same time, Mr. Chairman, testify before you today in support of the city of Santa Ana's Bristol Street widening project. As you've said earlier, I have our mayor, Miguel Pulido, from the city of Santa Ana, who will also speak to the project.
The city of Santa Ana is located in the heart of Orange County and is bound by four major freeways. Bristol Street runs through the center of Santa Ana, and it is a vital north-south transportation link for motorists traveling through the city from different portions of the county. In fact, it in some ways has become a very strong thoroughfare for our residents to commute back and forth between major places of employment and residential areas.
Bristol Street is strategically positioned. It's connecting to the 5/22/57 interchange at the north end, and it has Interstate 405 at the south end. As you'll recall, that 5/22/57 interchange is, I believe, the fifth busiest interchange in the State of California. It is what we call ''the bottleneck.'' So this is a very important area of our county that has plenty of traffic traveled through there.
To avoid the extreme congestion at the ''Orange Crush,'' as we call it, a growing number of motorists use Bristol Street, and because of this we have found a need to widen that particular road.
The widening of Bristol Street will effectively alleviate the conditions and will help with the 5/57/22 interchange problem.
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In addition, the project will help eliminate a severely blighted area of the city and provide economic benefits such as jobs, new revenues from redevelopment, etc.
At this time I would like to say that the city of Santa Ana is seeking $10.8 million. Total project cost is $31.8 million. This is a continuing project that we have been working on.
Lastly, I would like to thank the chairman and the committee members for hearing our testimony, and I will now turn it over to our mayor, Tom Daly, from the city of Anaheim.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. DALY. Thank you, Congresswoman Sanchez. Members of the subcommittee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify on a project critical to an industry that is vitally important not only to the city of Anaheim but the State of California. That industry is tourism, now the number one industry in California and the most important industry in the Orange County area.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank publicly Mr. Jay Kim for his interest and support of our request.
Page 859 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The city of Anaheim will see an investment totaling more than $4 billion in public and private money over the next 4 years in the geographic area I'm referring to, which is the heart of Anaheim and the heart of Orange County.
This region in southern California attracts more than 35 million visitors per year to destinations such as Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim Stadium, the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim Arena, which is the home of the National Hockey League's Mighty Ducks team, and, of course, our original attraction, Disneyland.
The major thoroughfare or main street that services this area is Interstate 5, which was one of the first interstate segments built in our country.
Although improvements are underway on Interstate 5, it will still not have sufficient access and egress to serve the needs and demands of a growing economic engine.
Our proposed project involves the completion of an interstate interchange at Gene Autry Way, which would be a major access point to the Anaheim tourism area.
The national significance of this new entranceway is compelling. If completed, the I5/Gene Autry Way interchange will contribute $3 billion to our regional economic output over the next 10 years. It's expected to generate an additional $10 billion in additional investment and local spending in the area over the next 20 years.
Tourism industry experts are predicting that more than 60,000 new jobs will be added to this neighborhood over the coming few years because of the already-committed Anaheim tourism developments.
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The Gene Autry Way/I5 project will provide crucial support, ensuring that Anaheim's and southern California's economic success story continues.
As mayor of Anaheim, it is my responsibility to seek Federal support for interstate transportation projects, especially those with national significance and tremendous economic development benefits.
Although the State of California has contributed to the Gene Autry/I5 project, budget shortfalls caused by the recession have left the project half completed.
I'm here today to respectfully request your consideration for Federal assistance to finish the interchange project.
The city of Anaheim has proven our capability in the appropriate and efficient use of Federal funds through prior authorizations of this committee.
In ISTEA I Anaheim received funds to improve the capacity of Interstate 5 just north of the interchange I'm referring to.
The I5/Gene Autry Way interchange would be the final segment in a critical interstate access need that needs to be finished.
I want to acknowledge the Congress' and this committee's responsibility to maintain and upgrade the operational viability of the Federal interstate system.
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With national economic expansion as one of the underpinnings of the ISTEA II mission, I believe the Gene Autry Way proposed interchange project represents a strong example of the Authorizing Committee's definition.
I'd also like to thank Congresswoman Sanchez for her leadership and support of the Orange County Transportation Authority's Central County Corridor project, which was mentioned earlier today.
Thank you again for the opportunity to address you, and I'll be happy to answer any questions that exist.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. PULIDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First I want to thank Congresswoman Sanchez for her support of this project. It is a very, very important project for our city.
The fact is that we're the 52nd largest city in the country and, in particular, around the central part of the city we have tremendous density. I can't stress public safety enough.
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The current condition of Bristol Street is such that a lot of people are negatively impacted in their daily lives.
We are seeking $10.8 million of funding, and I must note that we, as a city, already have contributed $20 million towards this project. The $10.8 million is ready to go. We have acquired land. We have drawings. We have environmental impact reports. With this money we'll actually be able to start construction and have it completed in a very timely fashion.
We will relieve the Orange Crush which, again, is that interchange between 57, the 5 Freeway, the 22 very close to the 55, as well. By doing so, we not only relieve the entire central county, but we connect a very vital link that currently does not exist.
This $10.8 million enables us to begin that in a very significant way because we take the core of this corridor and we bring it into reality.
We are ready and have the support of our local agencies, including Orange County Transportation Authority, other transportation entities. And, as I said, if you find the ability to help consider our request, we are ready to start construction immediately.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Sanchez, and thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you for your testimony.
Page 863 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Are there any questions?
Mr. PETRI. If not, we appreciate your coming here today. We know that there has been tremendous growth.
Yes, Mr. Mayor?
Mr. PULIDO. I just want to, if I may take a moment, thank your staff. They have taken the time to come out. They've walked the site. It just is tremendous the amount of time and energy they put into the job they're doing for you, and I know they're well aware of the project, and I wanted to formally thank them.
Mr. PETRI. And they' probably didn't go to Disneyland, either. Maybe they did.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Chairman, I would also like to thank you for letting us to go at the same time that we had been scheduled to go. It's important to the mayors. They have to get back to California, and I appreciate your graciousness and indulgence in allowing us to testify at this time.
Mr. PETRI. We're happy it worked out. As you know, it's a little bit like the funding. One person gets benefit and then three others are delayed, and so we try to stay on schedule, and we apologize for slipping off schedule.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. That's why I really appreciate the favor that you have done for us.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Ms. Sanchez and Messrs. Pulido and Daly follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next group is our colleagues who have been patiently waiting, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bob Clement from Tennessee, and they may be joined by Steve Largent from Oklahoma.
Gentlemen, welcome. We apologize for holding you up a bit, but we look forward to your testimony.
Obviously, your full remarks will be included in the record of this hearing, and we'd like you to proceed as you wish.
Bob, would you like to start?
TESTIMONY OF HON. MARK SANFORD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA; AND HON. BOB CLEMENT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TENNESSEE
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Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Chairman, I'll yield for a moment. I do have a statement, but I'd like for Congressman Sanford to go first, with your permission.
Mr. PETRI. Yes, please.
Mr. SANFORD. I would simply make the observation that we're here to talk about overall funding in terms of the funding formula, itself, and I would make the observation that this bill is about something that we all agree on, and that is that our Nation's infrastructure problems are so significant that they ought to continue to be addressed at the national level.
So, unlike some of the more radical approaches that are being talked about in terms of redoing the funding formula, this is not a bill that moves funding for our Nation's priorities out of Washington.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: how is it that we go about addressing these national infrastructure needs? And I think that we would all agree that ideally we ought to do it in a way that anticipates future problems, not simply a mechanical formula that looks back, but one that looks forward, as well, so that local towns, local communities might be able to prepare for demographic change that's coming their way and repair, improve, or create infrastructure where it is needed.
I think we want to do so in a way that's fair. The most basic of all American precepts is the simple concept called ''fairness.'' Whether we're the Little Red Hen that I read to my infant boys at night or it's the Revolutionary War, the Boston Tea Party, or the civil rights movement, much of our history has been built around this simple theme called ''fairness.''
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And yet, our current funding formula is not an equitable process right now.
As you can see on this chart to my right, Massachusetts last yearthese are 1995 numberscontributed $335 million, while they got back $788. New York contributed $823 million and got back our $1.1 billion. South Carolina contributed $353 million and got back $198 million, while Virginia contributed $523 and got back out about $420. And similar numbers would exist with Tennessee or a variety of other donor States.
So I think we would agree that we want to do something about the funding formula so it is more fair. The question is: what do you do?
One, I think we need to act on fairness. What our bill does is simply ties what you get to what you give. It's tied to gas tax receipts.
Two, by tying it to gas tax receipts, we also handle the issue of being proactive. Jack Fawcetts and Associates did a study as part of a GAO report that said what is mostly correlated with future needs. What they found was most closely correlated was vehicle miles traveled, but second to that was gas tax contributions.
It does a number of other technical things that I will not go into, but most of all what it addresses is this issue of fairness that I know is important to all of us.
Thank you. I yield back the balance.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Bob?
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure and an honor to speak before and testify before the largest standing committee in the history of the United States Congress.
Mr. CLEMENT. Congressman Sanford, Congressman Largent, and I appreciate the opportunity to testify today regarding the Highway Trust Fund Fairness Act, H.R. 907. We already have over 45 co-sponsors of this bill. And this subcommittee surely needs to take into consideration about ISTEA, the transportation bill, and once and for all bring about fairness and more of an accurate highway formula.
Since the passage of the transportation bill in 1991, Tennessee has received a mere 79 cents on the dollar for every dollar contributed to the Federal highway trust fund by State motor fuel users. Just like Congressman Sanford says, it's not just happening in Tennessee, but many other States, as well, are being impacted by this antiquated formula.
This formula, based on outdated historic percentages, perpetuates the strength of northeastern States and does not follow the growth trends of the sun belt States like Tennessee.
A new ISTEA bill must guarantee a fair minimum allocation to these States, preferably 100 percent.
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Tennessee is the Volunteer State, but we will no longer volunteer unjustly our funds to States with less growth and more roads and rail.
STEP 21 would guarantee that States receive a 95 percent return on all payments they make to the trust fund. STEP 21 would repeal CMAQ, the transportation enhancement program, and bridge rehabilitation set-asides. The bill gives States maximum discretion as to how funds will be spent, with no guarantees that Federal funds will be spent on public transit or badly-needed alternative modes of transportation such as commuter rail or greenways and bike paths.
The Highway Trust Fund Fairness Act that we introduced leaves the transportation bill intact while repealing the hold harmless allocations based on prior year apportionments.
It also changes the minimum allocation to 100 percent of the percentage that a State donates to the trust fund and updates the 90 percent of payments guarantee to 100 percent payment guarantee.
This legislation ends the donor status, while guaranteeing the programs and flexibility in the ISTEA transportation bill.
We are introducing this bill today because we believe America needs a strong Federal role for transportation, with maximum flexibility for State and local governments.
Page 869 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 These programs and projects are necessary if growing States and cities are to comply with environmental regulations, particularly if EPA imposes their proposed ruling later this year.
Programs guaranteed by ISTEA are necessary to better our quality of life across the country, and the Highway Trust Fund Fairness Act does not turn back the clock on our commitments to the ISTEA core programs, but it does provide a fair funding mechanism for all 50 States.
Mr. Chairman, I encourage you to give serious consideration of this proposal as your subcommittee develops its ISTEA bill. I look forward to working with the sponsors, and I mentioned we already have over 45 co-sponsors. I know this subcommittee is going to take it very seriously in the 105th Congress, and I'm looking forward to working with you very closely.
Since I've been a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ever since I've been in the United States Congress, I know what great work we've done in the past and I know we can do the same in the future for the 21st century.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. I think, if you'd like, we will put a statement from our colleague, Mr. Largent, in the record if he would like.
Have you had a chance to form any opinion of the Administration'sthey call it ''NEXTEA,'' I think. It just came out yesterday. We haven't really looked at it in detail yet, either. But have you had a chance to form an opinion?
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Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Chairman, I have. I haven't been able to go into it in great numbers, but I do know, for example, in Tennessee we come out worse, even with where we are now, where now, under the highway programs we're getting 2.08 percent, we're down to 2 percent under the formula that has been proposed by the Administration, and that disturbs us greatly in the State of Tennessee.
Mr. SANFORD. South Carolina's situation would be slightly different in that South Carolina gains a little bit as a result of the President's proposals. It does not address the core issue, which is that there is still an inequitable funding formula that leaves winners and losers, and I think we want to get away from that and, in essence, level the playing field.
His proposal does not in any serious way address the donor/donee situation.
Mr. PETRI. Well, we thank you.
Mr. RAHALL. Well, not to prolong thisand it's certainly not the time to get into a big debate over the donor/donee or the Administration's proposal, but I think, Bob, you've judged the Administration's proposaland I'm not here to defend it by any stretch of the imaginationon one aspect of it, the apportionment formulas. There are certainly many other aspects that you have to look at, especially when you're judging the bottom line for your own State. There are many other categories.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Rahall, you've said it well, and I agree with you. A lot of what has been proposed by the Clinton/Gore Administration I like very much and I'll surely support. I was referring simply to the highway allocation, and we would be penalized there. Hopefully that will be corrected.
But the vast majority of the bill looks very good.
Mr. SANFORD. But I think we need to keep our eye on what I believe to be the core problem with the current process, and that is the funding formula, itself, because it's a funding formula that has left, for instance, Florida several billion dollars in the hole over the last 30 years, and North Carolina in a similar spot in terms of overall gas tax revenues.
Mr. CLEMENT. And I agree with Congressman Sanford, too, that this is a window of opportunity for us to correct an outdated, antiquated formula that needs to be looked upon very, very seriously to correct these irregularities.
Mr. RAHALL. Again, I do not discount the fact or say anything against what you're saying about the formula. It needs to be looked ataround the edges, I might add. Perhaps there are some outdated data in there, such as population figures, etc. But, again, if you're going to have a truly interstate system of financing roads in this country, which has built our interstate system to what it is since its inception in 1956, you're not going to get away completely from a donor/donee State basis, unless you want to have 50 separate States.
Page 872 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. CLEMENT. I might say, Mr. Rahall, you'd sure like our bill a lot better than STEP 21 I would say, wouldn't you?
Mr. RAHALL. Well
Mr. CLEMENT. Maybe a little bit?
Mr. PETRI. As you gentlemen both know, it will be easier to make progress on this problem if we can get a little more robust stream of revenue for transportation, because it's very hard to take something away from one State and give it to another. It might be a little easier to increase some of the donor States more while holding some of the recipient States with smaller increases if we hadwe can only do it with more revenue.
In that connection, we got very good news in that the leader of the minority in the Senate, Tom Daschle, has come out now, I think publicly, strongly in favor of taking the highway trust funds off budget and putting the 4.3 cents that now goes to general budget into the highway trust fund.
As you know, the last session co-sponsored similar efforts, so that's a major breakthrough. Maybe we're seeing a dam that we've been trying to get rid of starting to crack.
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Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chairman, I would agree with your overall thoughts, but I want to make very clear this is not a bill about taking anything away from somebody. What we're talking about is returning to States, in essence, that which they send to Washington.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you both.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Sanford, Largent, and Clement follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Ed Pastor has been very patient, and we welcome you. He is accompanied by Matt Salmon, I hope, and alsoyes, Matt. Welcome. Also they are accompanied by Valerie Manning, the president of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and Peggy Bilsten, who is the vice-mayor of Phoenix.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ED PASTOR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARIZONA; HON. MATT SALMON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ARIZONA, ACCOMPANIED BY VALERIE MANNING, PRESIDENT, PHOENIX CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND HON. PEGGY BILSTEN, VICE-MAYOR, PHOENIX, AZ
FIXED GUIDEWAY PROPOSAL
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Mr. PASTOR. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for allowing us to testify before the committee. It's not our purpose or objective to talk about heady issues of formulas or pieces of legislation that you have before you. We're only here to talk about projects that are important to Arizona, central Arizona, and I will talk about a couple projects that are important to the Tucson area.
Before I talk about the projects in southern Arizona, let me have my colleague, who also supports the request for the central area, the Arizona central area, Matt Salmon, to make his statement, and we'll follow through with the other testimony.
Mr. SALMON. Thanks a lot.
You know, you kind of hesitate coming before a committee that has been in session since about 9:00 this morning and you're going until 6:00. We just hope that we
Mr. PETRI. We hope 6:00.
Mr. SALMON. We would just hope and pray we weren't the ones who were right at 6:00 because I know the attention span kind of wanes at the end of the day. But I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the committee for all the hard work that you've done.
I know this year it really presents the need for a yeoman's task in the reauthorization for ISTEA.
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You know, a few years ago I thought of ''ISTEA'' as a wonderful drink, and now I've got a whole different idea of what it's all about.
I have been working out in the gym, and I see that the chairman takes his transportation requirements very, very seriously. He jogs on the treadmill every morning. That's right. He's probably healthier than all of us put together.
I appreciate the opportunity to be with you this afternoon in support of the metropolitan area fixed guideway project.
Before I describe the proposed rail system, let me explain at the outset that my policy preference is that we enact the Transportation Empowerment Act, which would actually lower the Federal gas tax, eliminate most Federal highway trust fund programs, and relieve States of a multitude of Federal regulations and remove Federal roadblocks to privatization. Failing that, I would support the streamlined transportation efficiency program for the 21st century or the STEP 21, which would assure all States that they get at least 95 percent return on their contributions.
Having said that, I apologize, Representative Pastor, for talking about those boring formulas.
But I believe that transportation funding alternatives would best prepare our Nation's infrastructure for the 21st century. It will be more fair to Arizona taxpayers, who are ill-served by the current system. We are one of those donor States.
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However, under a reauthorized ISTEA, a portion of my District is a fine candidate for ISTEA support. Maricopa County is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States and is now home to 2.5 million residents. This explosive growth has posed challenges to officials seeking to accommodate citizens' transportation needs. Resulting traffic congestion presents mobility and air quality issues that adversely impact the quality of life in the region.
Currently, Maricopa County is in the unlucky category of being not in attainment with the Federal 1990 Clean Air standards.
Having served in the State Legislature, when we tried to come up with a whole host of measures that would bring us into compliance, we quickly found that really short a clear mass transit approach and looking at light rail, additional busing, that it would be nigh to impossible for us to ever really come into compliance.
An investment in an improved regional transit system would address these issues and would improve the environment.
This rail project that I'm here to advocate for will provide a key to better mobility by funding a base fixed guideway of 10 miles between downtown Phoenix and Tempe, improve the access to downtown areasSky Harbor International Airport, our alma mater, ASUmost importantly, rightand other high-access areas.
This segment has been identified as the beginning of a system which will be expanded to beneficially affect the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
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I hope you're going to give strong consideration to funding the Phoenix metro's ISTEA reauthorization rail project request, and I thank you for your time and your consideration, and I thank Congressman Pastor for his willingness to lead this cause with me. I hope that we're ultimately successful.
He's a fine gentleman. Do whatever he says.
Mr. PASTOR. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. In this instance, anyway.
Mr. PASTOR. I just want to talk about a project that I have an interest in. It's the I10/I19 traffic interchange in Tucson, Arizona. This is a critical link in the east-west/north-south corridor.
As NAFTA becomes more successful and we have traffic coming north and then heading either west or east, this link is very important, so I would ask your consideration.
But, Mr. Chairman, I'm also here in support, with my colleague, Matt Salmon, for two projects that are very important, and we're asking your serious consideration and support.
Before I turn it over to the vice mayor of the city of phoenix and Ms. Manning, the CEO, this project has the unanimous support of the local elected officials in the Phoenix metro area, so it's not one city pitting another city in terms of what they want, but this is a collective decision of the elected officials from the Phoenix metro area.
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So, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, let me turn it over to the vice mayor and allow her to make some comments.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Please Proceed.
Ms. BILSTEN. Thank you.
First I'd like to tell you what a pleasure it is to be before you today. As someone who teaches government to young people, I can't wait to get back there and tell them about this process.
I also would like to thank our Congressmen for showing such great leadership on this and for listening to their constituents. We certainly do appreciate it.
Being that you have so much time, I thought I'd read my 19 pages
Mr. PETRI. Your full statement will be made a part of the record. We wish we could.
Ms. BILSTEN. One thing I want you to remember about this project is we were short and to the point. Just two or three points I'd like to leave you with.
Page 879 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. BILSTEN. The city of Phoenix is the seventh-largest city in the United States. Our transportation, we rank 38th. We really need your help.
We have air quality problems, we have congestion problems. We open up our freeways and they are already at capacity at the date we open them up.
I would just leave you with this: our citizens have asked us or they have told us to do something. We have had meetings for the past year. We have a committee of 600. Six hundred people get together, and they have told us what they want, and that's why we're here today.
I received 1,200 letters on this, and that's a lot for a city official. It's not too often that you'll receive 1,200 letters on one part of policy or what it is you're doing.
What the people have told us is this is very, very important to their quality of life.
The exciting thing is that not only do we have the committee of 600, we have all these wonderful people who give up of their days and their nights to work with us.
We also have our Business League, and Valerie Manning, who is the president of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. I'd like to introduce Valerie to you because she's a very important partner in what we're trying to do.
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Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. MANNING. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you once again for having me here. I was here in June before this committee and am now back again after more than a year of further work on this issue.
As a representative of the business community, over 100,000 businesses in metropolitan Phoenix, we have made transit a business decision. For a community that has been car dependent and that has been focused on freeways over the last 20 years, we have now determined that, in order for us to have the kind of mobility and the kind of economic growth that we desire in our valley, that we need to have a public transit system to balance that system of mobility.
This is our first request for matching dollars from ISTEA for public transit.
So, in respect of your time, I'd like to just reinforce that this is a very important project for our future and that we, the city of Phoenix and the business community and the rest of the valley cities, are here together to provide a 50 percent match to Federal dollars to help us build just the first 10-mile segment of rail in metropolitan Phoenix.
We thank you very much for your consideration.
Page 881 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you all.
Mr. PASTOR. Mr. Chairman, that was a point that we all want to reinforce. The different communities are assessing themselves a sales tax so that they can meet the matching requirements and will match at a higher rate than presently is recommended or required, so we are very serious about getting this thing done, and we ask for your consideration of the Phoenix metropolitan area fixed guideway project and the regional bus purchase program for the Phoenix metropolitan area.
And I ask unanimous consent to submit written information for the record.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection, it will be made a part of the record.
Mr. SALMON. I would just further concur with Congressman Pastor's comments. I think, on the average, for these kinds of projects in the past, the Federal Government has kicked in 80 percent, whereas the local communities have averaged around 20 percent. I think that this kind of a 50/50 partnership, which is something that we've talked a lot about here in Congressthis partnership between Federal and local governments is really important
Virtually every one of the cities that is impacted has bellied up to the bar on this one and really supports it.
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Mr. PETRI. Mr. Rahall?
Mr. RAHALL. That's true, Matt, but you started out testifying in favor of devolution.
Mr. SALMON. Yes.
Mr. RAHALL. Under devolution you're going to cut out all the Federal gas tax, you're going to turn the program over to the States. You're not going to be able to get a penny of matching money under your devolution proposal. You're going to have to come up with 100 percent.
Mr. SALMON. If Arizona had been receiving 100 percent of the money that it has been assessed through the gas taxes over the last couple of decades, we would have paid for this light rail three times by now. We've been a donor State, getting back anywhere from 70 cents to 85 cents on the dollar that we give back to Washington, D.C., for years and years and years.
Mr. PETRI. We're not
Mr. RAHALL. Let me just commend Mr. Pastor for his testimony here today.
Mr. PETRI. We're not going to solve this either easily or today.
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Mr. PASTOR. Well, thank you very much for the opportunity to be before you. We appreciate it.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Ms. Manning and Ms. Bilsten follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We have a vote on the floor, but we have two of our colleagues here, Cal Dooley, accompanied by Councilman Daniel Ronquiello. And we're also hoping to accommodate Cynthia McKinney, who has been waiting.
Cal, please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF HON. CALVIN M. DOOLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY DANIEL RONQUILLO, COUNCILMAN, FRESNO, CA
HIGHWAY 180 WEST
Mr. DOOLEY. We'll be brief.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Rahall and Mr. Sandlin and Mr. Metcalf. It gives me great pleasure to be joined here by the president of the City Council, Dan Ronquillo, advocating for a project which will have significant benefits to my District and also a significant portion of central California.
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I think there is great merit for this project in that my District had the distinction at one time of being the number one District in the Nation in terms of unemployment, and this project would certainly provide a needed infrastructure that would enhance our opportunities for economic development, would be a project to be associated with Highway 99, which is the main arterial through central California that connects Bakersfield with Sacramento.
So without further ado let me turn this over to our president of the City Council, Dan Ronquillo.
Mr. RONQUILLO. Thank you. Honorable chairman and members of the subcommittee, I'm here as a member of the City Council of Fresno to offer my testimony regarding Freeway 180 West, an urban project, and the importance to the city of Fresno, Fresno County, and central California to accelerate the start date of this project.
We appreciate the opportunity to give this brief testimony, and I want to thank, of course, Congressman Cal Dooley for his strong support for this project.
I want to just bring to your attention Fresno County and where it's located is strategically in the middle of the State of California, right between the large urban centers of the bay area and the Los Angeles area, something close to 500 miles within 35 million people.
We're an hour commute away from the Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park.
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The city of Fresno has been ranked as the Nation's fifth most favored site for manufacturing and seventh most favored site for distribution. Affordability is a major factor in both rankings. We're the sixth-largest city in the State of California.
Fresno has lease rates, average wages, and construction costs that are lower than the national average. Additionally, Fresno is centrally located, as I explained earlier. Consequently, there is a large demand for both manufacturing and distribution sites within Fresno.
However, there are very few quality industrial spaces available in the Fresno area. As a result, due to lack of quality facilities, these rankings have now translated into actual location and relocation of both these manufacturing and distribution centers.
The completion of 180 West, which is west of 99 between Corridor 99 and Interstate 5, would provide a freeway connection for the industrial and commercial areas immediately west of this Freeway 99. That would tie us in with the agricultural center of the State.
It would facilitate construction of a major regional employment center, as well, which will bring millions of dollars in tax revenue.
We have a project that is called the Roding Industrial Park. It has 1,000 acres an would bring 20,000 jobs in the next 15 years to the area, with 13,000 construction jobs created during this process. These new jobs will benefit the families of Fresno County, many of whom are dependent on public assistance, and promote economic development in the central State.
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The State of California, with theI was going to note that there have been $10 million that has been advanced through the efforts of the Fresno County measure C funds for this project.
Fresno County, for your information, is the first and foremost agriculturally productive county in the Nation. There is a desperate need for this freeway, which would provide a much-needed link between the food processing and food support industries in the west Fresno County area.
The link between the two will translate into a better level of efficiency for both industries.
Fresno County's unemployment rate is at 13 percent, ranking 47th of 57 counties in California, and in some places it's as high as 45 percent during the agricultural off season.
As the agricultural capital of the world, the harvest of Central Valley is bountiful; however, the majority of the jobs associated with harvest are seasonal in nature. There is a desperate need for quality year-round jobs for the families of Fresno County.
As a result of high unemployment, we have a lot of social ills. This project is of the utmost importance to the economic and social well-being of the region.
The bottom line is that in the entire Central Valley there does not exist a project which is more vital to Central Valley's economy and quality of life.
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This committee is looking for the biggest bang for the buck for those type of problems. This is it.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you this afternoon and give you my testimony.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there any questions?
Mr. DOOLEY. Mr. Rahall, I'm not in favor of devolution, and
Mr. DOOLEY. And this is a good project where we have a half cent sales tax that has been imposed by the voters in Fresno County and they've already put up $10 million to support this, and the Federal contribution would certainly have that local/Federal partnership that could really do some good.
Mr. PETRI. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Your full submission will be part of the record, and we appreciate your coming all the way from the other coast to address us.
Page 888 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. RONQUILLO. Thank you very much.
Mr. DOOLEY. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Dooley and Ronquillo follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We have two votes on the floor, and so we'll recess and try to resume at 3:25. It should work out.
The subcommittee is recessed.
Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will resume.
I'd like to welcome The Honorable Brian Bilbray, a Representative from California, who is accompanied by Harry Mathis, a councilman from San Diego.
I know your Representative has been active in local government for many years and now is continuing to be active, but from a different angle. We'd like to welcome you both.
Your full statements will be included in the record of this hearing. We'd appreciate your orally abbreviating them for the subcommittee.
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Brian, you want to begin?
TESTIMONY OF HON. BRIAN P. BILBRAY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY HARRY MATHIS, COUNCILMAN, SAN DIEGO, CA
SAN DIEGO LIGHT RAIL
Mr. BILBRAY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to just talk about a few projects shortly and would ask for unanimous consent that my written testimony be made part of the record.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection.
Mr. BILBRAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I want to strongly indicate our support for Representative Kim's border infrastructure program and endorse two projects that are included in that area.
It is not in my District, though it is in the San Diego region. I bring this up because there are those projects that are identified by Mr. Kim that are not just District-wide, not just city-wide, but actually the entire State of California and the western region is essential.
Page 890 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 One of them is the 905 connection with the commercial port of Otimesa and with the interstate system. I think that any of us would agree that when a Federal facility is built for trans-border communication, that trans-border communication should include a linkage to the road systems of the United States. Right now it doesn't exist and there is this gaping hole of a four-lane, undivided road to where any time there's an accident there is major shutdown of the entire border crossing infrastructure because of the substandard road.
You include that with the uncontrolled immigration issue we have there and you have a lot of innocent people killed and a whole lot of commerce and the facility actually stopping.
The other issue is the issue of the San Diego Eastern Railroad, which has been placed as a critical link between the east and the west, and I would ask you seriously to look at the fact that I think that this project is a good example of where we can coordinate border security and border commerce and show that the two are not exclusive but absolutely compatible.
I think that we have a real opportunity to show that we can control our frontier and gain the prosperity by that project.
There are those who are going to try to scare you away from it and say there are excuses to turn away from the good things we have at the border. I think we need to address the problems and the opportunities.
I'd like to point out that we are looking at a serious issue, and I would ask you, as a member of the Health and Environmental Committee of the Commerce Committee, and someone who comes from a background of mass transit and clean air at the Air Resources Board, that you consider and support the development and utilization of natural gas vehicles in a cheap utilization.
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We're talking about todaywe have a vehicle that is one-tenth of the emissions for California's ultra-low emissions. I think that I would ask you that, when we talk about infrastructure, the Federal Government not only has a right, it has a responsibility to coordinate our infrastructure strategies with the mandates of the Clean Air Act. The Government needs to be a participant in this, which we really haven't been a full participant in the past.
I would also ask that we take a look at the alternative modes of transportation.
Let me just introduce Councilman Mathis here, because, Mr. Chairman, I was very proud to be part of the system with Governor Wilson to build the most cost-effective mass transit system in the free world. I want to stress that.
As republicans, we talk about we want to reward people for doing the right thing. Here is a system that has the highest fare box recovery in this country, and it's one that is not a Cadillac. It gets the job done and does it cost-effectively.
I would ask that we take a leadership role of recognizing that the councilman is a representative of the most successful experiment in truly entrepreneurial government.
Mr. Mathis is here today to testify.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, sir. Welcome.
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Mr. MATHIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's really a pleasure to be here. I know that it's a long day, so I'll proceed quickly.
As you know, we are here seeking an authorization of $323 million and a full funding agreement which would allow us to complete critical elements in the San Diego metropolitan light rail transit program.
This light rail project consists of two elements: a 3.4 mile stretch that starts the system northward so that it can reach into the employment areas in the northern part of the city and also residential areas, and also the east line is a connector which will close an important gap in our system. That's another 6 miles.
With the building of these two systems, that would increase our trolley system to a total of 64 miles.
As you know, the San Diego Trolley brings to mind the image of the little trolley car going down, but it's really not only a metropolitan system, an inner-city system which supports communities all the way to the border and as far east as Santee, a number of miles to the east.
So it's a true system of today and tomorrow which serves the needs of the population very well.
Congressman Bilbray has told you a little about the background. He was my predecessor as Chair of San Diego Trolley, so he and I have worked together on this and I appreciate his background and support on this.
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But since introducing the light rail system in 1981, we really have developed a seamless transportation system with our bus lines, as well, and to that we have recently added a commuter rail system, which serves the northern coastal cities in San Diego County, which meshes well with our system.
So it's a truly integrated system. We have an integrated and unified fare structure which allows easy interchange between modes, and the bus services have been fully tied in with the light rail network through strategically-located transit centers that serve as hubs.
By doing that, we can save substantial funds in the operation by basically not doubling or overlapping the bus system with the rail system but feeding into the rail system and then letting the rail system take it from there.
In receiving our request, please noteand I think this is an important note for this committeethat we have largely built the light rail system that is in place or under construction today with local and State funds. Of the $813 million investment in the light rail system to date, only 8.5 percent of that has been paid out of Federal funds to date. It has been handled almost completely with State and local funds. I think that's an important point.
So we are only coming to you now, having exhausted so many of these other sources that we've needed at this point, to ask you for the funding for these critical elements.
Even with this addition of these funds that we are requesting, the total Federal share of the cost of this system would be less than one-third.
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One of the things that we tried to do is design this system so that it offers access to the major employment areas in the city, and, in addition, parallels the freeways, so it provides an alternate to the congestion on our freeways.
We have two major freeway systems, the east-west Interstate 8 system, which basically will carry up to 302,000 vehicles a day, and the north-south Interstate 5 system, which will carry up to 280,000 trips a day. They are, as you can see, extremely congested corridors. The rail system is designed to parallel those corridors so that we can offer important alternatives.
In fact, into the downtown area each day we carry 20 percent of the people who work in the downtown area who actually use the mass transit system to get there.
The system, as we have designed it, is also designed to make sure that it reaches not only the employment centers and the residential areas where people live so that they can get to work, but it also includes the major activity centers, as well.
This Mission Valley East line will include on its route the San Diego State University, with 35,000 people during the day, and also our stadiumnewly-christened Quolcom Stadium with more than 70,000 seats. It's the home of the Chargers and the Padres.
So these are important assets. You can see the savings of energy and the air quality issues, as well, which are very important.
Page 895 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I want to wrap this up, but I just want to say that we're very proud of the system. In looking at such things as welfare reform coming up and the need to be able to get people to work, to realize some of those important issues associated with that, we think the system will perform very well and it's a very vital part of our economy in San Diego.
Mr. BILBRAY. In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that we're trying to work this issue from many different angles, rather than trying to just have one golden bullet that ends up doing it all.
One of the items I think we're all talking about is tax structure. One of the things we'd ask you to consider supporting, as we are strongly supporting, is a voluntary cash-out program so that employers, rather than giving free parking, can give tax-free incentives for employees to use other means of transportation.
The cost effectiveness of not putting land aside for parking can be of great benefit, not just to the businessman but to the overall environment.
And so I think it's one of those win/win situations from the tax structure that we don't see enough of, and we'd like to try to encourage that, too.
We appreciate it. I know you have a tough time. We've got to live within the limits of the budget. But I think here you've got a situation of a community that is doing all the things that we'd like to see more of, and we want to make sure that we reward those who are doing the right things and not continue to do what Washington has done in the pastreward those for the inefficiencies.
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San Diego has proven its efficiencies.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MATHIS. Thank you for your time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. I sensed from your opening remarks that you probably knew something about this system, and it's clear that you do.
Let me just ask one question. We're all under a little time pressure, but I would be interested if either one of your or both could briefly give us any clue as to the reason for the success of the system. I suppose it may be a combination of things. But all over the country people are tryingI mean, it has great attraction to industry and to civic leaders who are wrestling with this to try to have light rail or mass transit, and yet so many of them they are great public works but they don't cash flow or even come close to it.
Mr. BILBRAY. You hit it on the head. I personally was opposed to rail, fixed rail in California. Remember back in the 1970s everybody said it was crazy.
What we did is we kept the politics and the political pressure to a minimum and we went to the market for the cash flow, and we said, ''Where are the places where the bus servicenot the politics, but the market. Let's move to the market.''
There was great pressure to move up into the wealthier neighborhoods with the high-tech, expensive monorail concept. You can imagine what southern California would have wanted.
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What we did, though, was say, ''What is the lowest technology that could get the job done? And where is the place our buses can't handle the resources?''
What we did is we found, as our foundation, was a route between downtown San Diego and downtown Tijuana, and utilized where the market was.
As we did that, we enhanced and built the market while we were moving out, and other communities then started saying, ''Wait a minute. We would like to have this.''
You're going to have to coordinate the development of market with the siting, and that means land development.
The city of San Diego then went down into the area of Mission Bay that has made possible the new line going out to the stadium because they increased and intensified their development, put it on the rail line, had dedicated rail sites, and made it part of their development plan.
So they coordinated public effort with the private sector development, and that is always going to be a central part of it, and I think that's why you've seen a success.
Transit cannot be approached from an isolated point of view and only by government. The private sector has to be involved, but the market has to be a determining factor.
Mr. MATHIS. I would just simply add that we have worked very hard as a board to ensure that the line operates with efficiencies. We run a very tight budget, and we have a very excellent work force that's very dedicated to the work that we do.
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Mr. PETRI. Well, gentlemen. Thank you both. We appreciate your patience and we apologize for being a little behind schedule, but that's the way it is around here.
Thank you again.
Mr. BILBRAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MATHIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Bilbray and Mathis follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Our colleague, Cynthia McKinney, has returned, and we are finally going to be able to hear her presentation, along with Jack Stephens, executive vice president of MARTA.
TESTIMONY OF HON. CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM GEORGIA, ACCOMPANIED BY JACK STEPHENS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MARTA
DEKALB COUNTY TRANSIT NEEDS
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Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your patience and your indulgence.
We really are here this afternoon presenting 13 projects that have been the result of a thorough public input process, but I would like to talk about 3 projects in particular that we really need your support on.
The first project is the I285 transit corridor study, which will examine alternative transportation concepts to provide congestion relief to I285 and its major interchanges.
The study will explore the feasibility of light rail, heavy rail, interchange connections, park/ride lots, dedicated busways, interconnecting shuttles, and express bus lanes.
Currently, 260,000 vehicles pass along this piece of I285 every day. By the year 2020, it's predicted that 350,000 vehicles will experience gridlock on the same 6-mile stretch.
To relieve current congestion and the predicted increase, the Georgia Department of Transportation has a preliminary proposal to build up to 10 additional lanes in a collective distributor system.
So what the Georgia DOT proposes is that we go on our interstate from 12 lanes to a phenomenal 22 lanes.
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If we don't get support from ISTEA, then that is the fate that our good residents of DeKalb County will suffer.
Most alarming to the proposal is that Georgia DOT never even considered using light rail or any other alternative transportation methods.
It exacerbates the environmental problems. Their solution exacerbates the environmental problems that Atlanta already is experiencing. Atlanta is already a nonattainment area for ground-level ozone and it has not been able to meet 1996 deadlines for air quality goals.
As the widening would pave over at least 22 houses and bring an advancing metal wall even closer to surrounding communities, local groups and homeowner associations steadfastly oppose it.
Unfortunately, Georgia never even considered any other solution.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, ISTEA represents the only hope for transportation other than more and wider roads.
I ask the committee to help advance Georgia into the 21st century. Atlanta, a metropolis of three million people and two million cars, began as a railroad town. I believe the future well-being of Atlanta can be found in its past. The I285 transit corridor study would be a positive step to do just this.
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Now, the second proposal that I'd like to talk about is the Candler Road Memorial Drive and Buford Highway arterial improvements.
This project consists of studying, design, and construction of pedestrian and landscape enhancements. This includes pedestrian crossings, safe landscape pedestrian islands, sidewalk needs, landscape enhancements, bus stops, bus turnouts, and canopy platforms at modal connections.
One goal is safety. Our goal is to create three safe transportation corridors for pedestrians. All three roads have limited pedestrian facilities when trying to cross these roads, which are from five to eight lanes wide, and long blocks with inaccessible intersection crossings.
These roads are served by numerous MARTAMetropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authoritybus routes as they are fronted with strip commercial and multi-family development.
There are high rates of foot traffic on each of these roads, and, in particular, Buford Highway has the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the State of Georgia.
Maintaining economic stability along with these routes is a secondary goal. In the 1940s, these urban roads were rural State highways which developed into strip commercial corridors. With enormous infrastructure investment in place, these dated commercial corridors, without the amenities of competing regional and local malls, are a gateway to an exploding population that, unfortunately, is teetering on economic decline.
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Curb appeal is a key factor in attracting real estate investors and their customers. A well-designed enhancement program of trees, shrubbery, sidewalks, street furniture, and landscape medians is important to the continued economic viability of all three roads.
I have with me the executive vice president of MARTA, our Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and he is going to talk about the third project that we would like to discuss with you today.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Sir?
Mr. STEPHENS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is a pleasure to appear before the committee today. I would like to testify regarding the South DeKalb Lindberg project.
Last year Congresswoman McKinney approached this committee to obtain permission to seek funds for that particular study. The study is currently underway and we expect the results early next year.
With transportation reauthorization this year, we must seek authorization to continue with this project when that effort moves forward.
This is a schematic of the project here on the board. The red area is the corridor study. The green is the currently-existing MARTA area. And the little piece of yellow on top is a part that we've got a MARTA now under construction.
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As currently envisioned, the terminus would be MARTA's Lindberg Center Station area, located on the periphery of Buckhead, a major business and entertainment district within the city of Atlanta, and the DeKalb College south campus located in the southern portion of DeKalb County.
DeKalb County is our second most populous county in Georgia, with nearly 600,000 residents.
This corridor contains the heavily-congest areas of Emory University and its hospital complexes, the Centers for Disease Control, Agnes Scott College, South DeKalb Commercial Center, and the DeKalb College south campus.
These areas have experienced unforeseen growth and development that has generated severe traffic congestion and air pollution hot spots.
MARTA has solved these problems by successfully encouraging the employment centers to participate in the MARTA partnership, a transit subsidy program that the employers willingly and voluntarily enter into, as well as developing express service along this corridor route.
There is also a priority bus signal program that we currently have underway on the Candler Road Corridor trying to address these needs.
To date, the growth and traffic activities in this corridor have outstripped our efforts to rectify the problem, hence the critical need for this project.
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As Congresswoman McKinney has said, further complicating our challenge in this region is the fact that the metropolitan Atlanta area is in serious nonattainment for air quality, resulting from ground-level ozone.
The region ranks number one in the Nation for total daily vehicle miles traveled per capita, number one. It outstrips Los Angeles and all the rest.
If not the first, then we are one of the first metropolitan areas in the Nation to face a freeze in our transportation funding for roads and transit as a result of our present inability to come into conformity with the Clean Air guidelines.
It is clear that our region must provide viable options to the single occupant vehicle if our region is to continue to grow and develop in a healthy manner.
This project and MARTA's current construction on our north line are critical components to meeting our clean air challenge.
While the details of the project will grow out of the corridor study with a great deal of public participation, there is a definite need for a major transportation improvement in this corridor, no question.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and the committee for your time and attention to this project. The Committee's unwavering support over the years has placed us in a position here in the Atlanta region to have the tools to meet the transportation and Clean Air challenges that we face. Your investments in MARTA and the Atlanta region allowed us to successfully host the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, and by moving 25 million people during that event we were able to prove transit's worth and the possibilities of transit to our people in our region, the Nation, and the world.
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Again, my thanks to you and the committee.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you both.
I know, with redistricting and all that, Representative McKinney has become familiar with a good bit of the area.
Ms. MCKINNEY. That's right.
Mr. PETRI. And we are happy to have your submissions on the projects that you're talking about here today. We'll be working with you.
You have Representatives from Georgia on the committee, and I'm sure they will take an interest in the area, as well.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Yes.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you both.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. STEPHENS. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statements of Ms. McKinney and Mr. Stephens follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. I see we are joined by our colleague, Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey, accompanying Dan Beyel, Freeholder, Cape May County, New Jersey.
I'd like to welcome you both. Frank?
TESTIMONY OF HON. FRANK A. LOBIONDO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY, ACCOMPANIED BY DAN BEYEL, FREEHOLDER, CAPE MAY COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, DALE FOSTER, COUNTY ENGINEER, AND STEVE O'CONNOR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAPE MAY COUNTY BRIDGE COMMISSION
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing us the opportunity, and thank you, Congressman Franks, for participating. We really appreciate the chance to talk about several very important projects to us: the Ocean City-Longport Bridge replacement project and the grade separation project on the Garden State Parkway in Cape May County.
On the Ocean City-Longport Bridge replacement project, in my District that bridge serves the shore communities of two counties, both Atlantic and Cape May Counties. The bridge is critically important in that, in this almost totally tourism-based economy, this is one of the three viable routes for egress and ingress into Ocean City. There are only three for the whole community.
Page 907 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This becomes particularly important during periods of tidal flooding which result from the low-lying nature of a shore locality.
In additionand, Mr. Chairman, this is an important pointemergency vehicles cannot access this route because presently the bridge only has the capacity to hold vehicles under three tons, which is a serious safety concern.
Reconstruction of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge has been endorsed by the State of New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Cape May County Board of Freeholders.
I'm requesting continued protection for the unused portion of the original Federal funding for this project under ISTEA in 1991, and an additional $26 million for the construction of a replacement bridge.
On the second project, the Cape May grade separations on the Garden State parkway, this project will have significant regional impact and will provide critical safety benefits to the community in two ways.
First, these three at-grade signalized intersections are the only at-grade intersections along the entire 173-mile length of the Garden State Parkway. They are inconsistent with the major freeway conditions of the parkway and also pose a significant safety concern.
These roadways provide an evacuation route for communities east of the parkway in the event of a major hurricane or storm or other calamity.
Page 908 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Additionally, school buses on their way to and from schools to drop off students and emergency vehicles use these intersections frequently, as well.
I am requesting Federal funds for this project under ISTEA II in the amount of $52 million, which includes final design and construction of all three locations.
Because this is a new project, this would be a first authorization.
In summary, Mr. Chairman, I respectfully request that you strongly consider both the Ocean City-Longport Bridge replacement project and the Cape May grade separations on the Garden State Parkway project favorably.
Mr. Chairman, also with me today is Freeholder Director Dan Beyel from the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Dale Foster, who is the county engineer; and Steve O'Connor, who is the executive director of the Cape May County Bridge Commission.
Mr. Beyel would like to make a few brief remarks.
Mr. PETRI. Great. Your full statement will be included as part of the record from both of you. Mr. Beyel, you are invited to summarize it as you wish.
Mr. BEYEL. Yes. Thank you. Good afternoon. I'd like to thank everyone for this opportunity to present two critically important projects to the residents and visitors of Cape May County, New Jersey.
Page 909 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The first project is the replacement of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, which connects Cape May County with Atlantic County. Engineering studies have documented the inability of the county to continue maintaining the structural integrity of the 70-year-old bridge and have recommended its immediate replacement.
The most significant need for this project is to provide public safety. The bridge is a designated evacuation route off the barrier island of Ocean City. All the other routes flood in high tidal conditions, leaving the Ocean City-Longport Bridge as the only available route to the mainland.
This small island community swells to over 130,000 people in the summer season. The other two routes cannot accommodate the exodus of people searching for safe ground in an emergency situation.
The safety concern is exacerbated with the three-ton weight limit of the current structure. This low-weight restriction prevents emergency vehicles from crossing the bridge, adding over 6 miles of traveling and critically delayed response times to the northern end of Ocean City.
The delays are dramatically prolonged during congested periods and when the major alternate route is experiencing bridge openings for marine traffic.
The problem is even more intensified when the alternate routes off the island are flooded. When this happens, there is absolutely no route on or off the island that emergency vehicles can use.
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The replacement project will correct these problems and stop a potential disaster from occurring.
First, the new bridge will carry the maximum weight of all emergency vehicles.
Second, being a fixed span instead of a draw bridge, there will no longer be delays of bridge openings for marine traffic.
Third, the roadway exiting Ocean City's evacuation route to the mainland would be raised 3 1/2 feet. Even in the worst flooding conditions, this elevation will allow vehicles trouble-free access off the island, virtually eliminating any risk to public safety during dangerous weather conditions.
The second most-salient need for this project is the economic impact to the region. Without this bridge, the traffic congestion accessing Ocean City would reach gridlock conditions, discouraging tourists from visiting the area and naturally threatening the region's number one industry.
Close to two million vehicles per year depend on this bridge to travel from Cape May County to Atlantic County. With the second wave of development in Atlantic City, traffic can be expected to significantly increase, with additional tourists seeking entertainment and residents pursuing employment.
Page 911 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The bridge plays a critical role in securing the economic vitality of Cape May County, providing safe and convenient transportation to Atlantic County.
There are a host of other reasons, including energy efficiency, clean air quality, and congestion mitigation I could speak to about this project, but, in short, let me again emphasize that completing this project is absolutely essential to the southern New Jersey region.
Total project costs are estimated to be $46.5 million. Of that amount, $20.5 million in Federal, county, and Bridge Commission funds have been earmarked for the project. Construction of the new high-level structure can begin by the spring of 1998 if the additional $26 million becomes available.
The second project is construction of three overpasses on the Garden State Parkway operated by the New Jersey Highway Authority. These overpasses are to replace existing traffic signals which cause traffic congestion and compromise public safety.
The Garden State Parkway is part of the national highway system and is the only superhighway in Cape May County.
This project would realize safety benefits in two areas. First, the existing traffic signals are the only ones along the entire length of the parkway, which extends over 170 miles.
Because the signals do not conform to the standard freeway design, they contribute to an increased number of accidents at the intersections.
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Cape May County is identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the sixth-most-difficult area in the United States to handle a hurricane because of the large summertime population and insufficient roadways.
Being the only limited access roadway in Cape May County, the parkway serves as a major evacuation route out of the county.
Based on FEMA documents, the county requires seven to thirty-one hours to evacuate for a category one or two hurricane.
The parkway is also the primary access route to the only hospital in the county.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Mr. Chairman, I know the red light is on. I was under the assumption we had a total of 10 minutes. Was I incorrect?
Mr. PETRI. No. But we actually earlier, bywe probably should have informed people we're trying towe asked people if they could do it in four minutes instead of five, but if you want to takethat's why I haven't been banging the gavel. Go ahead.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Okay. I just wanted to honor your intention.
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Go ahead, Dan.
Mr. BEYEL. The additional benefit of the proposed project is the relief of traffic congestion for the region, especially during peak commuter and seasonal periods.
The overpasses will allow traffic to flow unimpeded more safely through the intersections.
As stated in the previous project, these improvements will also significantly impact the economic well-being of the region by providing reliable and convenient transportation needed to promote and accommodate the tourism industry.
The overall project construction cost is $52 million. Construction is expected to begin in the year 2000 if funding is available.
On behalf of the people of Cape May County, I would like to thank everyone, including our Congressman, for the opportunity to present these vitally important projects for the safety and economic well-being for the residents and visitors of our area.
I hope that we have successfully demonstrated the merits of these projects.
I hope you will look favorably upon them.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions? Mr. Franks?
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, just one observation.
As we talk about the Garden State Parkway, we're talking about the second most heavily traveled roadway in the world, second only to the New Jersey Turnpike.
It is inconceivable to me that there are traffic lights on this roadway.
I just want to confirm with Chairman Beyel that there is a hospital and a high school at one of the intersections where these traffic lights are currently located?
Mr. BEYEL. Yes. The only hospital in our county is at this intersection. It provides county-wide services and access to it, and periods of congestion it's basically remote, at best.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Well, you are ably represented by a member of this committee, and so I'm sure that these will not slip between the cracks. We'll do the best we can to work with Frank and the others from New Jersey.
Page 915 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This committee is, as you can tell, a New Jersey tradition in that two of our recent chairman, whose portraits are here, were leading political figures from your State.
Thank you very much for coming.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BEYEL. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Now we will hear from Representative Bob Riley, who is accompanied by Rob Richardson, director of the Fort McClellan Redevelopment and Reuse Authority.
Gentlemen, welcome. Your full statements will be made a part of the record. We encourage you to summarize them. We are hoping you could do it in four minutes or less, but, in any event, please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BOB RILEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM ALABAMA, ACCOMPANIED BY ROB RICHARDSON, DIRECTOR, FORT MCCLELLAN REDEVELOPMENT AND REUSE AUTHORITY
Mr. RILEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today.
Page 916 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. Chairman, before I begin I would like to recognize an impressive young man who has traveled from Madison, Alabama, to be with us today. Rob Richardson is the director of the Fort McClellan Reuse and Redevelopment Authority.
Mr. Richardson has played an essential role in the planning and Redevelopment of Fort McClellan since it was slated for closure in 1995 by the BRAC Commission.
I want to welcome Rob to Washington and would like to thank him for his tireless efforts on behalf of the people of Calhoun County.
For over 100 years, from the First World War to the Cold War, Calhoun County has been the Federal Government's steadfast partner in ensuring the strength and readiness of our armed forces.
Unfortunately, the Federal winds of change are now blowing in this community and are jeopardizing the continued economic vitality and its safety.
For this reason, I am testifying before you today in support of the completion of phase two of the Anniston Eastern Bypass, which will ensure Calhoun County's economic vitality and safety.
The Anniston Eastern Bypass project began nearly one decade ago. Phase one of the project was recognized as a demonstration project in the 1991 ISTEA Act. The $13 million phase one of the eastern bypass represents a significant portion of the project.
Page 917 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The State has contributed significant matching funds to this project.
I'm asking for the subcommittee's help in completing phase two of this very important project. I believe that there are several compelling factors that warrant your assistance. These factors include the impending closure of Fort McClellan, the imposition of chemical demilitarization, and the absolute need for unfettered circulation through and around the county.
At its completion, the Anniston Eastern Bypass will connect Interstate 20, the main east-west highway between Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, directly to Fort McClellan.
With more than 45,000 acres of land, 6.5 million square feet of facility floor space, and 1,000 miles of paved road, Fort McClellan represents one of the largest base closures in the history of the United States.
Barring mitigating circumstances such as the completion of the Anniston East Bypass, Calhoun County will suffer a 17 to 20 percent unemployment rate by 1999.
Furthermore, the community will lose over three-quarters of a billion in regional business volume, along with the withdrawal of $422 million from local bank deposits.
This bypass, if completed, will ease the impact of 17 percent unemployment and would, over the next 20 years, create in excess of 14,000 new jobs for the community.
Page 918 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 There is, however, a more-compelling reason for the completion of this bypass.
Anniston will be the first community east of the Mississippi River to host an Army chemical demilitarization facility. Almost 8 percent of the country's chemical weapons stockpiled are currently stored in Anniston and are scheduled to be destroyed over the next 10 to 15 years.
Furthermore, the Anniston storage site is the most densely-populated of any of the proposed chemical weapons demilitarization sites in the country. In fact, over 192,000 people live within a 35-mile radius of this facility.
The Army's most dangerous chemical weapons, including mustard gas, GB, VX agents, will be destroyed. In total, more than two tons of agents will be disposed of in Calhoun County.
Calhoun County must have an effective evacuation route during the destruction of these weapons. At present there is no effective north-south route available.
Finally, there is the issue of traffic congestion and circulation in Anniston. Currently there is no north-south route through the heart of Calhoun County. A large section of this route, which is commonly referred to, as you see behind us, as ''Killer Quinter,'' has been a problem for the past several years. Last year, alone, Quinter Avenue was the site of 7 traffic fatalities and 452 injuries.
Page 919 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 In the first 2 months of 1997, there have already been 77 accidents on this highway, an increase of 5 percent over last year's figure.
The Anniston Eastern Bypass will ease this congestion and thereby save our citizens' lives.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, it is for these reasonsbecause of the Federal Government's closure of Fort McClellan, because of the Federal Government's imposition of chemical demilitarization, and because of the already overburdened and saturated network of roadways in Calhoun Countythat I request your assistance in the authorization of $44 million for the completion of phase two of the Anniston Eastern Bypass.
Finally, before I conclude I would like to briefly mention my support for a project equally as important to the western part of Alabama and the Third Congressional District.
State Road 5 in Bibb County is essential to provide incentives for the economic development of the western part of our State. This project will provide a safer and more efficient north-south transportation corridor, which is lacking in Alabama, by connecting the existing four-lane route to I59.
My colleague, Congressman Hilliard, has submitted a request for $10.4 million for the completion of this project. I'm supportive of Congressman Hilliard's request and urge your assistance in obtaining funding for these important necessary improvements.
Page 920 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 In closing, Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for allowing me to testify before you today and hope that you favorably consider my request for these extremely important projects.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there any questions?
Mr. RILEY. Could we let Mr. Richardson for the record make his statement, sir?
Mr. PETRI. Sure.
Mr. RILEY. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Go ahead.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I also want to thank Congressman Riley, the Third Congressional District's new Congressman, for his leadership in Calhoun County, Alabama, and for inviting me before you today.
Congressman Riley has just described the economic and safety challenges imposed by the Federal Government due to the closure of Fort McClellan and to the initiation of chemical demilitarization in Calhoun County.
Page 921 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 You have heard the facts. We are losing our local military installation in one of the largest military base closures in the history of the United States concurrent with the Department of the Army's destruction of tons of dangerous chemical and gas weapons.
Calhoun County is a community casualty of the Cold War. Our economic defeat is a result of America's military and strategic victory. We are an economic victim of America's military success.
My job, as executive director of the Fort McClellan Reuse and Redevelopment Authority of Alabama, is to ensure that Calhoun County survives and prospers from defense downsizing. My charge is formidable.
The United States Government has decided to close one of its largest military bases in my rural home town. Barring mitigation today, the closure of Fort McClellan will serve as the proximate cause to a 17 percent unemployment rate in 1999.
Exacerbating my challenge is the Government's plan to incinerate two tons of chemical and gas munitions during the same period of time that Calhoun County is attempting to entice new business and industry to the former Fort McClellanas you can imagine, a formidable task.
These are the two issuesmilitary base closure and chemical demilitarizationthat make Calhoun County so unique and that make completion of the eastern bypass so critical.
Page 922 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 As the Congressman has testified, completion of this essential highway project into Fort McClellan will provide for unfettered access from the post to the only east-west corridor between Atlanta and Birmingham, and will provide additional safety routes for the 114,000 citizens of Calhoun County in the event of a chemical contingency stemming from chemical incineration.
I know that all of the community representatives who have testified before you today have provided compelling reasons for your support of their respective highway projects. I also know that none of them are faced with the transportation challenges that Calhoun County faces due to the Federal Government's imposition of base closure and chemical demilitarization.
The eastern bypass is not just another highway project; it is an integral component to a comprehensive strategy to address the concurrent impacts of the largest military base closure in the United States and the impacts of the imposition of chemical demilitarization.
Without your help, without the completion of the eastern bypass, Fort McClellan's reuse is in jeopardy and the community's aggressive development vision will never be fully realized.
Similarly, without your help, without the completion of the eastern bypass, the citizens of Calhoun County will be denied the unfettered circulation required of chemical demilitarization of communities.
We need your help. There's a real and palpable face behind this need. I want you to know that the 2,500 dedicated civilian employees, my neighbors, who will lose their jobs when Fort McClellan closes are desperately concerned about their own futures.
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I also want you to know how desperately concerned the men and women in my community are for their children, who will grow up under the next 20 years of the specter of chemical demilitarization. The imposition of chemical incineration has strained the binds that secure the very fabric of our community, pitting neighbors against each other and against their own government, as my community struggles with the health and safety issues uniquely inherent to incineration.
The men and women of Calhoun County have done their part. We have supported the United States military since before the First World War. No burden has proven too great in support of our brave men and women in uniform, and we will continue to do our part, continuing to support the Army as it closes Fort McClellan and in facing the challenge of disposing of the United States' stockpile of chemical weapons, but the United States Government also has a responsibility.
Your approval of funds to complete the eastern bypass will create an integrated and meaningful Federal approach to local problems created by the Federal Government.
The completion of the eastern bypass is the single greatest key to developing the closed Fort McClellan and to ensuring safe and unfettered circulation in the event of a chemical contingency.
We have been partners in defending our country for nearly 100 years. As the Army abandons Calhoun County under a cloud of incineration, I ask that you ensure our partnership until the very last missile is destroyed and until the post's gates are locked.
Page 924 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5
Completion of the eastern bypass represents a monument to this partnership and will pave the way to a brighter future for Calhoun County.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you both.
Are there questions? Yes, Mr. Pickering?
Mr. PICKERING. Mr. Chairman, I just want to commend Congressman Riley for his leadership in my class, the new class, and for his effective voice for his District as they go through this very difficult time both on the National Security Committee and appearing here today.
I just want to let him know that I will do my best to work with him to help him address those needs.
Mr. RILEY. Thank you, Mr. Pickering. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you both.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Riley and Richardson follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. And now we have a contingent from south Florida comprised of our colleagues Clay Shaw, Carrie Meek, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Alcee Hastings, Peter Deutsch, Mark Foley, and Robert Wexler. And they are accompanied by: Mayor Alexander Penelas from Dade County; The Honorable Miquel Diaz de la Portilla, Dade County Commissioner; Ed Colby, executive director; Terry McKinley, chief, special projects, Metro-Dade Transit Authority; Gil Robert, Executive Director, Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority; and our former colleague, The Honorable Bill Lehman of Alabamawelcome. And also Servando Parapar, executive director of Dade County Expressway; Nelson Kasdin, city commissioner, city of Miami Beach; Jose Garcia-Pedrosa, city manager, city of Miami Beach; and Jule Littman, councilman, city of North Miami.
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PETRI. Yes, sir?
Mr. RAHALL. While they're getting set up may I make a suggestion that we save a lot of time and a lot of effortI mean, this is a long setupin recognizing our former colleague and esteemed chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, Mr. Bill Lehman. Let's just fund it.
[Laughter and applause.]
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Mr. PETRI. They're going to quit while they're ahead. I don't think so.
TESTIMONY OF HON. CLAY E. SHAW, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. CARRIE P. MEEK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. ALCEE HASTINGS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. PETER DEUTSCH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. MARK FOLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. ROBERT WEXLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. ALEXANDER PENELAS, MAYOR, DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, MIQUEL DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA, DADE COUNTY COMMISSIONER, ED COLBY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TERRY MCKINLEY, CHIEF, SPECIAL PROJECTS, METRO-DADE TRANSIT AUTHORITY, GIL ROBERT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRI-COUNTY COMMUTER RAIL AUTHORITY, WILLIAM LEHMAN, SERVANDO PARAPAR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DADE COUNTY EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY, NEISEN KASDIN, CITY COMMISSIONER, CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, JOSE GARCIA-PEDROSA, CITY MANAGER, CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, JULE LITTMAN, COUNCILMAN, CITY OF NORTH MIAMI BEACH BIKE PATH EXTENSION, AND ED KENNEDY, FORMER CHAIR AND BOARD MEMBER OF TRI-COUNTY COMMUTER RAIL AUTHORITY
Mr. SHAW. Mr. Rahall, I think you remember all those good projects you got in West Virginia from Mr. Lehman. Now it's payoff time.
Mr. PETRI. Clay, please proceed.
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Mr. SHAW. It's an honor for me to be back in front of the committee that I enjoyed serving on for a number of years. I very much appreciate the time I spent here.
All of our witnesses are aware of the fact that their full statements can be put in the record, and I would certainly say that I know, having sat through many hearings, that brevity can be appreciated.
I would just like to say that these are all very important projects. South Florida has tremendous problems with growth, and this requires an infrastructure that needs some very special, special attention.
We very much appreciate the time that you're going to give us today and I'd like to ask Ileana to have whatever remarks she might have.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, as always, for your generous use of your time. As you can see, we have quite an extensive array of guests today, all distinguished community leaders. We, of course, are very honored to have our mayor, Metro-Dade Mayor Alex Penalas, with us, and many other individuals from the Commission, including Commissioner Diaz De La Portilla.
But I'm especially honored and my humble job is to say a welcome especially to our former colleague, Bill Lehman. As you know, Bill has represented our community for so many years, handled all of these issues for us. We felt like we had an easy job as long as Bill held that position for us. Now it's a little rougher for us, but I know that we have a lot of individuals who have been helping us along the way.
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So we hope that as you hear the many projects that you have, that you remember the wonderful years of service that Congressman Lehman has given to this subcommittee, and the future is in the hands of the young leaders of tomorrow such as Alex Penalas, so our community is in very good hands.
We have some ambitious projects, but projects that are well supported in our community, as well. We're not asking for you to carry all the buckets of water for us. We're willing to do our fair share, and all we ask is fairness from this committee's part, as well.
Thank you, Clay.
And now Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, distinguished ranking member, members of the committee, we'll be very brief because we are very proud of this panel.
As Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen pointed out, we have the wisdom and experience represented so marvelously by Congressman Lehman, and of course the youth and dynamism of our new leadership in Dade County, and so we are here privileged to be able to present them to you, and they, of course, are the experts. They are working hands-on on these projects, but we're here to support them, support the projects, and, of course, introduce them to youMayor Penalas and Commissioner Diaz De La Portilla, and, of course, our other distinguished panels that will follow.
Page 929 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 But thank you, distinguished Members, for this opportunity.
Mr. DEUTSCH. Thank you, and let me also add me words of thanks for having us here.
I think this has to be unique in terms of your hearings. We have a totally united delegation. I know Congresswoman Meek and Congressman Hastings and Congressman Wexler are at other meetings, but this is a united delegation and we come with one proposal in front of you, and I think it's kind of interesting. Dade County, alone, is larger than 16 States in the country. If you add Broward and Palm Beach, it would probably be maybe the tenth-largest State in the country. It's an incredible megalopolis that we live in.
With the resources we have, the strength we have internally, we still need the helping hand of the Federal Government on these issues.
As has been said, we've been led before with some great leadership, obviously, with Congressman Lehman and the others that served with him before us. And the present leadership, as wellour former county commissioner from Broward County, a county north, because at least one of the projects affect the two counties north, the Tri-Rail project. So it really is an entire south Florida effort.
And let me specifically introduce our good friend and the first county-wide elected mayor in Dade County history, Alex Penalas.
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Mr. PENALAS. Thank you very much, Peter.
Mr. Chairman, good afternoon. The last time I saw you, I believe in your office, you had a piece of cheese in your head, if you remember.
Mr. PETRI. We'd just won the Super Bowl.
Mr. PENALAS. But it's a pleasure to be back here. I thank the other members of the committee and, of course, I thank all the members of the panel, especially the members of our south Florida delegation, for being here.
I'm here on behalf of the 2.2 million people who call Dade County home. As you all know, Dade County is a thriving, dynamic, and very diverse community known as the business capital of Americas.
Our international airport and our seaport and strategic geographic location places us really at the crossroads of goods and services for the entire hemisphere.
We, in fact, are Florida's most populous and most urban metropolitan area, so we do, in fact, face many, many unique challenges.
I'm here, of course, to urge you to reauthorize ISTEA. We believe that legislation is just as critical today as we all strive to continue to fund Federal highway and transit programs that are essential to our specific communities and, of course, essential to promoting economic growth and employment in large metropolitan areas like Dade County.
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Over the past 6 years, ISTEA programs have benefitted our community immensely. We, of course, fully endorse the retention of the current programmatic structure of ISTEA and we strongly encourage Congress to increase the presently-authorized funding levels.
Dade County also supports, Mr. Chairman, the truth in budgeting bill, and we also, of course, support the transfer of the 4.3 cents deficit reduction gas tax into the highway trust fund, hoping that a half a penny would be dedicated to inter-city rail service and the balance distributed 80/20 to highway and mass transit accounts respectively.
I'm also requesting the authorization of comprehensive packages of service transportation projects for our community. These projects will not only benefit Dade County, but I think they will also positively impact our national interestsin particular, international trade and tourism in our community.
When ISTEA was originally drafted in 1991, we weren't quite ready then because we were just completing our long-range transportation plan, which strategically identified critical transportation projects. Since then, we are ready now with some real exciting programs like, for example the Metro Rail extension to the Palmetto Expressway on the western side of Dade County is in final design. The east-west undertaking and the north corridor are also in preliminary engineering, and final environmental impact statements are scheduled.
Similarly, the Kendall and northeast corridors are scheduled to begin major investment studies within the next 2 years. All of these projects are now ready for authorization.
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Under this program of inter-related projects, I think what is interesting is that we are only requesting transit funds amounting to 23 percent of the $4.4 billion price tag to fund the entire program. State and local funds will make up another 40 percent of these projects, or up to $1.8 billion.
So we have updated our program and we are presenting it to you here for your consideration.
Also, I'd like to note this afternoon that, submitted in the requisite format of the responses to the 14 questions that were required by the chairman, Dade County's program of inter-related projects truly encompasses the spirit of ISTEA. Not only does this program include compatibly-linked transit projects, which expand our existing Metro Line, but the program also includes companion highway programs.
The specific descriptions and benefits, of course, have been already presented to this committee, and you've heard testimony from our delegation leaders in the past.
The program is an integrated package of multi-modal projects that are critical to our community if we are to continue to succeed as a hub for international commerce and tourism. Therefore, we urge you to seriously consider them during your deliberations.
In addition to asking for authorization of our program, we are also requesting special consideration of one of the key components of our program, and that's the east-west multi-modal corridor, with its component centerpiece, the Miami Intermodal Center, which I have had an opportunity really to share with both of you recently.
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The scope, the benefits, the innovativeness, and the multi-agent cooperation associated with this undertaking I think underscore its status as a premier intermodal surface transportation project, and we also believe that it fully qualifies with all of the criteria that the legislation sets forth.
So again, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I thank all of you for this opportunity to present our program to you this afternoon.
Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are therethis is it? Well, we thank you all very much.
Are there questions of this panel?
Mr. PETRI. I think I do have maybe one or two, if it'sif you have the time.
I did have the opportunityI think maybe it was last year now or a year and a half ago, to visit the area and see some of thedrove around with Mr. Colby and some others who are involved. It's clear that you have done an awful lot of work.
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Where does the projectthe people mover project stand now between where thethe cruise line business? Is that still part of the plan?
Mr. COLBY. The east-west corridor, of course, provides more than one function, and that's why it has all of the agencies involved.
Besides being a transit line, it provides the movement for cruise passengers between the airport and seaport on the same tracks, and it's truly a multi-modal corridor.
Into the mix, of course, comes AMTRAK, Tri-Rail, as well as, we think, in the near future, high-speed rail, as well as Greyhound, all the rental car agencies. It's probably the premier intermodal center in the world, not just in the United States but in the world.
Mr. PETRI. Well, we think that maybe when he was on the Appropriations Committee Bill might have squirreled away a little money.
Mr. PETRI. And if he'll tell us where it is we'll make it available for south Florida.
Mr. SHAW. Mr. Chairman, we did have a couple other speakers.
Page 935 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Sure, please. Yes.
Mr. SHAW. Perhaps we should go through them.
Mr. PETRI. Yes.
Mr. SHAW. Commissioner?
Mr. DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA. Thank you, Congressman Shaw.
Mr. Chairman and Member Rahall, it is my pleasure to be here today.
I've testified for 3 years in a row on behalf of Dade County. It's my pleasure today to be here with our mayor, Mayor Alex Penalas.
You will note that one thing we can say about our program is that it has been consistent and consistently moving forward. We have been good stewards of public funds. We've advanced our programs, despite the fact that we haven't been authorized in ISTEA. We made a go at it in the middle of the NHS when there was the possibility of authorization or new projects being authorized.
But our program has been moving forward. The good State of West Virginia and Wisconsin have been very supportive of us and our program because we have been good stewards of public dollars, and we look forward to continuing our program, to advancing it to the next stages.
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Clearly, it's vital to an area that is the gateway to Latin America that is one of the fastest-growing areas in our country and the fourth most congested region in our country.
Our programs, the east-west corridor, Mr. Chairman, is the corridor that we are asking special consideration as what is known as demonstration project in the informal lexicon of ISTEA, but that's the corridor that will provide us the hookup between the airport and the seaport that you, Mr. Chairman, referred to in the questions.
Again, it is my pleasure to be here, and thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
We have, as you've heard, a vote that started. We probably have about seven minutes. We'll be happy to proceed if you wish. If you'd like to try to testify within that time and then conclude, or if you'd like us to come back and
Mr. LEHMAN. Mr. Chairman, I'd just say a sentence of thank you for letting us be here today. I'm a member of the Board of the Dade County Expressway Authority, and whatever time I have I'll yield to our executive director who is here with us today, Servando Parapar.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Page 937 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PARAPAR. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, thank you so much, and distinguished members of the committee.
We are here on behalf of the Dade County Expressway Authority. The Dade County Expressway Authority is a fairly new organization. We have been in existence basically over the last 2 years, and what we are trying to do is a companion to ease the congestion in Dade County. We're trying to implement electronic toll collection in our toll facilities as soon as possible.
For that we are here basically to ask for $5 million in seed money of IPS funds from your committee to help us for the earliest possible complete implementation of electronic toll collection in Florida.
As you see in the region's testimony, we have contracted with the Florida Department of Transportation to implement a Statewide electronic toll collection system in Dade County, and we would like to see express lanes in place within 5 years.
Thank you so much, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. We have our city manager, Mr. Garcia-Pedros, and, of course, our Commissioner Kasdin. I don't knowwho wants to say a few words?
Mr. KASDIN. Thank you, Congresswoman. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I'm Neisen Kasdin, commissioner of the city of Miami Beach, here with our city manager, Jose Garcia-Pedrosa.
We are here submitting two transportation-related programs for authorization within the next version of ISTEA. The projects are the Miami Beach electric shuttle park and ride demonstration program, phases one and two, and the bridge and waterway restoration rehabilitation program.
On September 16, 1996, the Transportation Appropriations Committee approved $1 million in Federal Transit Act section three funds toward the purchase of a fleet of 22 passenger electric shuttle vehicles, the first 7 of which have already been acquired.
This electric shuttle program, these park and ride vehicles, will serve Miami Beach's South Beach, which is the east end of the east-west corridor that you have been hearing about.
South Beach serves the greater Miami region, which is one of the major gateways of this country, as the entertainment center, the cultural center, and the center of the tourism industry for all of south Florida.
In fact, South Beach is so well known that a lot of people nowadays don't even refer to Miami Beach, they talk about South Beach.
I know you have to go and vote at this time, but I would just like to ask for your assistance in funding our phase two of this electric shuttle program in the amount of $21 million.
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The second program, which we have come to ask for your support on, is the waterway restoration and bridge restoration program.
Our city, the city of Miami Beach, is a city of bridges. There are over 44 bridges which link the island communities that make Miami Beach together. Most of them are old. Many of them are about to be taken out of service due to their condition.
We are seeking funding for the restoration of these bridges, some of which, if they are cut off, the island communities will have no link for daily services or emergency services.
So our remarks are more fully set forth, which we ask, sir, for inclusion in the record.
Thank you for your time today.
Mr. SHAW. Mr. Chairman, we can finish this panel with Commissioner Littman, who has a project that is near and dear to my heart, and I'll tell you why. This is part of my District that was once part of Mr. Lehman's District. Upon Mr. Lehman's retirement, the middle section of this particular bicycle path somehow disappeared. We want it to again be authorized so we can get the funding to complete it.
The two ends are completed and the middle is the part that I'm concerned about, and this is what the commissioner would like to speak to you about.
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Mr. PETRI. Sir?
Mr. LITTMAN. Thank you very much.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
I've been a councilman for the city of North Miami Beach for the last 18 years. Today we're seeking authorization of funds for the construction of the central segment of the Northeast Dade Bike Path Extension project.
The northernmost segment, in the city of Aventura has been completed and has enjoyed so much success that an extension has been designed and constructed.
The southernmost segment of the bike path in the city of North Miami is currently under construction, but the city that provided the genesisI was the one that appeared now a third timeour city devised the plans for both other cities. We came before you, not them. They have now been funded and they're mostly completed.
Each of the three segments of the bike path were appropriated in Congress in Department of Transportation fiscal year 1992 and in fiscal year 1993 for the total of $1,365,000 for the design and construction segment of this project.
Due to an administrative error at the county level caused the appropriation for the city of North Miami Beach's critical middle segment to be rescinded in the public law 103-211, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.
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The House Surface Transportation Committee was advised of this error and, realizing the importance of this missing link, authorized the bike path in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1994, which, unfortunately, did not pass Congress this year.
Our city's 6.5 mile segment of this project is the central and critical missing link. Without this link, the other two segments will not be connected and the entire regional bike path system will not function.
If you look at that map, the top section shows Aventura and the bottom section shows the city of North Miami. There's nothing to connect them.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your fine consideration. On behalf of all of us, good afternoon.
Mr. PETRI. We really appreciate that.
Mr. SHAW. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Kennedy tells me he needs about two minutes to talk about Tri-Rail, which is
Mr. PETRI. That will be great when we come back.
Mr. SHAW. Okay.
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Mr. PETRI. We'll have two votes. It will be about another 20 minutes, unfortunately.
As soon as the second vote occurs, we'll be back in about five minutes and we'll be happy towe apologize, but we only have five minutes to get to this vote.
The committee will recess until five minutes after the second vote.
Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will reconvene.
We broke off in the middle of a panel from south Florida, and we're happy to be able to come back a little quicker than we expected. One vote occurred, not two. The second is being voice voted, hopefully as we speak.
So, Mr. Kennedy, please proceed.
Mr. KENNEDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the time.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I'm Ed Kennedy, former chairman and current member of the Board of Florida Tri-County Commuter Rail, known as Tri-Rail.
Tri-Rail has provided commuter rail service since 1989, servicing Broward, Dade, and West Palm Beach Counties. Tri-Rail was established as a temporary traffic mitigation measure parallel to the heavily-traveled I95 corridor.
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South Florida's I95 cannot be further widened, so commuter rail is an essential part of the solution to the increasing highway congestion in our fast-growing region.
Tri-Rail is also the only mass transit service in Florida that links three international airportsFt. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami.
Our project request involves top priority to add a second track to our single-track corridor. Our present single-track corridor, which is also used by AMTRAK, poses a greater challenge for us than in a typical commuter rail situation. Unlike the typical commuter pattern with morning inbound and evening outbound trains, south Florida and our rail corridor have constant two-way flows of people. That constant two-way flow of trains makes adding a second track an absolutely necessity to increase train frequency, to increase schedule reliability, and to increase ridership.
Tri-Rail now runs only one train per hour, and with a double-track system we can rain a train every 20 minutes.
Our project is underway and on track, but with 80 percent of the funding still needed there's a long way to go.
We have received about 20 percent of the total Federal and State funds needed to complete it, including $49 million in FTA new start funds from the Congressional Appropriation Committees. The Federal funds have been obligated on schedule, and Tri-Rail has never had any prior year unobligated balances of FDA funds.
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Tri-Rail's project request of $157 million of Federal new start funds over the period of the ISTEA reauthorization bill assumes a Federal share of only 44 percent.
This project request is supported by the Florida DOT. It is also supported by all eight Members of the South Florida House delegation, with Representative Clay Shaw as the primary sponsor.
Our project was not in the 1991 ISTEA bill because our service was still transitioning from a temporary to permanent service, and our double tracking corridor improvement plan was not finalized until 1992.
Since the 1991 ISTEA bill, this committee and the full House passed authorizations for our project funding in 1994 and 1995. However, on both occasions the entire bill or title of the bill failed to become law for unrelated reasons.
Mr. Chairman, Tri-Rail and south Florida greatly appreciate the support shown by this committee to get the initial funds flowing and get our project started, and we need your help to finish it.
We ask this committee to approve our request for $157 million in FTA new start funds, with a full funding grant agreement.
Also, as a possible extra tool to help speed completion of our project, we ask that Tri-Rail be eligible for any new credit programs for projects of national significance such as we understand will be proposed by the Administration.
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Thank you for your time and consideration, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Well, thank you. We apologize for the
Mr. KENNEDY. That's quite all right. We appreciate your prompt return.
Mr. PETRI. And your colleaguehave you anything to add, or do you subscribe to
Mr. KENNEDY. This is Mr. Gil Robert. He's executive director of Tri-Rail.
Mr. PETRI. All right. Thank you both. We appreciate your coming and staying over a bit to complete this portion.
Mr. KENNEDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Shaw, Penelas, Robert, Parapar, Kasdin, Garcia-Pedrosa, and Littman follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. Richard Neal is next. Thank you very much for coming. Your full submission will be made a part of the record, without objection, and we look forward to your discussion of the Springfield Union Station Revitalization.
TESTIMONY OF HON. RICHARD E. NEAL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MASSACHUSETTS
SPRINGFIELD UNION STATION REVITALIZATION
Mr. NEAL. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for your patience, as well. I know that it has been a trying day for all of you as members of the committee and subcommittee.
Mr. PETRI. We apologize. We're a little behind schedule, but that's because of votes mainly.
Mr. NEAL. Thank you. Well, your side has more influence on that than we do these days, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Rahall used to have some influence in that area. I don't know. It's diminished.
This is a pleasure for me to come before the members of the committee and to acknowledge what we all know to be the case, and that is that during the next 6 months we are going to determine public works spending for the next 6 years in many regards.
I guess I'm here in my role today as chairman of the New England Congressional Caucus for the 105th Congress, but I also would put on the hat of having been a former mayor of a major city. I know precisely how important these projects are to the vitality of life in a region in terms of promoting productivity and efficiency, not only at a critical time in American history, but, just as importantly, as we proceed to the next century.
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Well, I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. I also would like to point out that, since the opening of this session of the 105th, a number of proposals have surfaced which would radically alter the manner in which ISTEA has been implemented over the past 5 years.
I certainly wish to register my personal opposition to these proposals and, at least at the outset, offer complete support for the current ISTEA formula and program.
ISTEA has been extremely successful in providing State and local governments with the flexibility to direct resources where they are needed most, while still maintaining our important national policy objectives. In short, ISTEA works, and the proposed adjustments I don't believe are really necessary.
In my District in Massachusetts I represent a diverse array of both urban and rural communities, and a sound transportation infrastructure has been a key to the economic viability of our region.
ISTEA has been an essential component in maintaining this infrastructure, and any major alteration to the current program would have disastrous effects on our area.
I also have several major interstate highways in my District that accommodate an extremely high volume of traffic from outside the State of Massachusetts.
Page 948 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 In the past, ISTEA funds have helped ease the financial burden of the maintenance cost of these highways, and a major alteration to the ISTEA formula could jeopardize this funding and place the burden on State and local communities.
This is an area that is slowly recovering from what had been a harsh recession. Any shift in cost could potentially thwart any progress that has been made to date.
In conclusion, I simply would like to recognize that reasonable alterations to ISTEA's formula after sufficient debate are necessary to account for the growing populations of any of the newer communities in our Nation.
I must add, however, that this should not be the sole criteria for the distribution of funds. Instead, distribution of highway funds must continue to be based upon need.
I believe that this is essential so that existing infrastructures will not suffer at the expense of creating new ones.
In order to move our Nation into the 21st century, we have to focus on the fundamental need for a strong and integrated national transportation system, which will serve the needs of our States, cities, and counties. I believe that ISTEA in its current formula best addresses these issues, and I would encourage that, as we reauthorize this bill, that we do so without major changes, and certainly not some of the harsher proposals that have been offered so far.
Page 949 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I think the President's proposal, as offered yesterday, certainly is part of igniting the debate, but it ought not to be the final word on what is a very important component to the efficiency and productivity of this Nation.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your gracious manner in which you welcomed me.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there any questions of our colleague?
Mr. PETRI. The Union Station revitalization, which pot of money would that come out of?
Mr. NEAL. Well, we hope that future funding would come from the ISTEA allocation. There are competing projects, as you know, in the State of Massachusetts.
We would hope that once the money was put in place that the State would look kindly upon this proposal. I'm optimistic that they will.
But I think that we make a mistake as legislators if we simply come in to make the case for our own projects. I think at this time we should be making the case for a terrific project that has worked extraordinarily well by any objective measurement.
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Again, as a former mayor I think one of the best signs of an economy that is thriving is those fellows and women in the road waving the red flags. If they're working, the economy is doing very well. Certainly one of the great testaments to public works spending in this Nation is what has occurred since World War II. It is astounding, the success ratio that we've had. And I only arrive here today, while certainly favoring that project, I nonetheless arrive here today in support of the ISTEA formula as it currently exists.
Mr. PETRI. Great. Well, we thank you very much.
Mr. NEAL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, you and Mr. Rahall, for your time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Neal follows:]
Mr. PETRI. All right. We have the next panel, which is going to be talking about the I35 project. The Members are on their way, but I think Jeff Moseley, the chairman of the coalition is here, if you'd plan to come forward, and The Honorable Mercurio Martinez, vice chairman.
If you don't mind, if you would be willing to proceed, then we'll have you introduced as the Members arrive or at the end of your statement.
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TESTIMONY OF HON. KAY GRANGER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. MARTIN FROST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. LAMAR SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. NEIL MCCALEB, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, OKLAHOMA, JEFF MOSELEY, CHAIRMAN, I35 COALITION, AND MERCURIO MARTINEZ, VICE-CHAIR, I35 COALITION
Mr. MOSELEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Moseley, as you know, your full submissionthis is a major project, and we know that, and we've had a number of meetings on it. Your submission today will be made part of the record of this hearing, and we invite you to summarize it orally.
Mr. MOSELEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We appreciate so much your time and interest in this project.
As you've stated earlier, my name is Jeff Moseley. I serve as chairman of North America's Superhighway Coalition and also as county judge of Denton County.
It is a privilege to have this opportunity to share with you the many activities of our unified coalition.
Page 952 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 With U.S. and Mexican officials predicting a doubling of trade between now and the year 2000 and another doubling by 2010, capacity improvements are vital to keep I35 current with demands placed on it as one of the only north-south arteries that link the three trading partners: Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
North America's Superhighway Coalition is an organized membership of State, local authorities, and private entities. All are interested in improvements, both physical and technological, along the I35 and Interstate 29 Corridor.
These improvements allow for the safe, smooth, and efficient transportation of people and goods interstate, as well as promoting easy access to markets in Mexico and Canada.
I35 traverses the States of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. The I29 corridor runs through North Dakota and South Dakota and is a natural connect of I35 and links directly with Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada.
We're here today to express our support for the international trade corridor concept. We also want to back the idea of a separate funding mechanism to make these international trade corridors a reality.
Our delegation represents many Americans facing similar challenges along this river of trade.
As you know, I35 has many connectors to viable trade and commerce markets throughout our Nation.
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Joining me today is the vice chairman of the coalition, Judge Mercurio Martinez, Junior, who is vice chair of the coalition and is from Webb County, the city of Laredo. I'd like to recognize him in just a moment to share with you some of the trade statistics and information related to the most heavily-trafficked southern port of entry, Laredo.
If I may just very quickly talk a little bit about some of the technical challenges, we do have a Technical Committee that is studying the existing functions of the transportation systems connecting the U.S. markets with those of our trading partners, Mexico and Canada. From these studies, we're forecasting short-term and long-term demands among the most probable high-density highway corridors.
We're forecasting the growth in the number of frequency of trucks utilizing these high-density corridors, resulting from increasing commerce, stimulated by the reduction of restrictions on these international transactions.
In 1994, the trade between the U.S. and Mexico exceeded $100 billion for the first time, making Mexico the third-largest trading partner with the U.S. after Canada and Japan.
Economic experts predict that Mexico will overtake Japan in business and trade relations by the beginning of the 21st century.
Of all U.S.-Mexico trans-border trade, 75 percent occurs across the international borders within the State of Texas. Of that amount, over half crosses the international border at the southern terminus of I35 at Laredo.
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We have basically three existing problems facing the highway corridor between trading partners.
I understand that the red light is on, Mr. Chairman. Let me yield the balance of my time, I guess, to Judge Martinez.
Mr. PETRI. All right. If it's all right, we could have the Representatives formally introduce you, and then Mr. Martinez could play relief or cleanup hitter for the panel.
Mr. MOSELEY. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Frost?
Mr. FROST. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you. My remarks will be brief.
Thank you for allowing me to testify here today concerning the critical value of Interstate Highway 35 to the State of Texas and to our Nation.
I support the request for authorization of $3.4 billion in Federal funds for improvements to the I35 corridor over the next 5 years for inclusion in the reauthorization of ISTEA.
Page 955 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 As you know, with passage of the National Highway System Designation Act last November, Interstate 35 was classified as a high-priority corridor and moved a step closer to enhance trade partnership with Mexico and Canada. This designation signifies the acknowledgement by Congress that I35 is a key north-south trade corridor of national strategic interest to the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
The trade corridor has already experienced a tremendous increase in traffic and trade since the passage of NAFTA.
The North American Superhighway Coalition has identified and produced justifications for $7 billion in corridor projects over 10 years. I35 remains uniquely endowed to fulfill the spirit of ISTEA, because the goal no longer is to increase capacity simply through laying of more concrete, but rather to increase capacity through more coordinated, integrated systems.
I respectfully request your consideration of this proposal and appreciate the chance to appear today.
Of course, with me are our colleagues, members of your committee, Kay Granger and Eddie Bernice Johnson, as well as our local experts in the area.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Page 956 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Ms. GRANGER. Mr. Chairman, thank you for granting me and the Interstate 35 Congressional Caucus the opportunity to explain the economic importance of Interstate 35 and the international significance of high-priority trade corridors to our Nation's transportation system and future economic growth.
I know, as a member of this subcommittee, that highway infrastructure is often linked to economic growth and job creation. In the case of I35 this is particularly true.
I35 spans 1,585 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border at Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota, near the Canadian border.
Along the way it runs through San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. It connects with Interstates 29, 30, 40, 70, 80, and 94, as well as Mexico's PanAmerican Highway.
I35 also connects with the Trans-Canada Highway by way of Interstate 29, which completes the Trans-Continental North/South Trade Corridor and truly makes I35 one of North America's premier superhighways.
Unlike many members of the Transportation Committee, Mr. Chairman, my Congressional District, the 12th District of Texas, doesn't have an ocean, a gulf, or a river port. The ports in my District are our highways, our railroads, and our airports.
I35 West runs through the heart of my District, and its economic impact is substantial. It's the key link connecting all the modes of transportation, both locally and internationally.
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As full implementation of NAFTA continues over the next several years, U.S. trade with Mexico is expected to reach $225 billion by 2010, more than double the current level, Mexico will surpass Japan as our number two trading partner, and much of the traffic will flow south to the border on I35.
This provides substantial economic opportunities in each State along the I35 corridorMinnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texasand in States along I29Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota.
Congress has already recognized the importance of I35 by designating it as a high-priority corridor in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995.
In accordance with the act, a comprehensive feasibility study of I35 is in progress and nearing completion. The good news is that each refinement has lowered the overall cost of the anticipated improvements along the corridor.
The latest projections show a total project cost of $4.5 billion over 5 years.
Under the recommended 80/20 Federal matching formula, the total Federal cost would be $3.4 billion over 5 years. The recommended improvements are designed to upgrade the highway's infrastructure, improve traffic flow, increase capacity, and enhance safety.
The North America Superhighway Coalition's plan will achieve these goals by employing appropriate advanced technology and information systems, implementing intelligent transportation systems that streamline compliance with local, State, Federal, and international administration and safety regulations, and consolidating services related to trade, licensing, loading, storage, maintenance, light assembly, and bonding for promotion of local development. Each of these improvements will speed the safety and flow of commerce throughout the corridor.
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My light is on. Sorry.
Mr. PETRI. We won't cut you off rudely, if you have a minute or two more, or whatever you want to do. That's fine.
Ms. GRANGER. The fourth area provides a very good model for the kind of local economic growth international trade corridors like 35 can generate.
Located northeast of Fort Worth along I35 is the Alliance Airport and its related development. It has produced 29,000 jobs and $13 million in tax revenue since 1988, and this number will be spurred by the opening of the Texas Motor Speedway in less than a month.
This particular corridor and the growth makes this an excellent project, and I hope we will support it. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. We candidates get used to these lights during debates and things.
Bernice, did you have a
Ms. JOHNSON OF TEXAS. Very briefly, Mr. Chairman. I simply want to say I support I35, as you know, very well, and appreciate the time. I won't take any more. I'll simply submit my statement and allow Judge Martinez to make his.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Sir?
Mr. MARTINEZ. Thank you, Chairman Petri.
Good afternoon. My name is Mercurio Martinez, Junior, county judge of Webb County, home of the leading inland port of the United States in Laredo, Texas.
I serve as the vice chair of North America's Superhighway System.
Chairman Petri and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony today.
Because Laredo is the crucial point of I35, I will focus on the tremendous movement of commerce taking place in our community.
The port of Laredo is expected to surpass 1.3 million heavy cargo vehicles moving in and out of Mexico this year. These are figures that we certainly attest to, as verified by the sometimes 5-mile-long length of cargo in both Mexico and the United States waiting to cross our international bridges.
By the year 2000, 7,000 trucks a day will be utilizing our already saturated port.
Although a fourth bridge is on the verge of being constructed, these export figures certainly highlight what is to come.
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The I35 corridor will have a tremendous impact on the future of our country. Infrastructure needs will be more evident when U.S. trade with Mexico skyrockets from the $125 billion in 1996 to the anticipated $225 billion by the year 2000.
These elements will continue to positively affect all of the States and Districts you represent because of the 1986 GATT accord, Mexico's economic reforms, the Maquiladoras, as well as NAFTA. After GATT, 25 States tripled exports to Mexico and 39 States more than doubled exports to Mexico.
In 1996, U.S. exports to Mexico increased by 21 percent. Because more than 60 percent of these exports reached the port of Laredo by I35, an international trade corridor designation for the I35 corridor is vital to North America and to the future we must prepare to serve with adequate infrastructure.
Exports to Mexico from 1987 increased in Wisconsin by 444 percent, Mississippi by 154 percent, Virginia by 603 percent, Ohio by 301 percent, Illinois by 502 percent, Florida by 285 percent, New York by 114 percent, and North Carolina by 675 percent.
Almost every State represented in this subcommittee has experienced a three-digit percentage increase.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, we respectfully request your assistance in funding these highly-valuable transportation links that not only culminate at the port of Laredo, but also affect the States you represent, as well as the rest of our country.
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Please ensure everyone's future by appropriating the funding to keep North America moving.
We certainly want to thank you very much, Chairman Petri.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you. It's good to have you testifying before the committee again up here in Washington, as I think you were in Laredo.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. If not, thank you very much. Yes, sir?
Mr. MOSELEY. Mr. Chairman, if there is no objection, we have comments by Secretary Neal McCaleb of Oklahoma Department of Transportation who could not be here. Is there any objection to us submitting those?
Mr. PETRI. Absolutely not. That will be made a part of the record.
Mr. MOSELEY. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Ms. Granger, Ms. Johnson of Texas, and Messrs. Frost, Smith, McCaleb, Moseley, Edwards and Martinez follow:]
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Mr. PETRI. The next panel is also led by our colleague Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas. I think Mr. Frost had a word he wanted to say, too, and Billy Ratcliff, chairman of the board, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, is coming up. I think you'd like to introduce him.
Ms. JOHNSON OF TEXAS. Yes.
TESTIMONY OF HON. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. MARTIN FROST, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS, ACCOMPANIED BY BILLY J. RATCLIFF, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT
DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT EXTENSION
Ms. JOHNSON OF TEXAS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Again, it is my pleasure to appear before this subcommittee, and I am here to present the Dallas Area Rapid Transit's program of rail projects for the inclusion in the reauthorization of ISTEA.
Here to speak today is the chairman of that board, Mr. Billy Ratcliff, and my remarks will be submitted for the record.
Page 963 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 But I do want to say, before I close, that the program of rail projects total $892 million. This new authorization is for $312 million of Federal funds, and the remaining $580 million generated locally from a 1 percent sales tax dedicated to DART.
I think we have one of the best ratios in the country, one-in-seven.
DART's program of projects shall be included in the new authorization bill because of these projects. Extend the starter system now operating in Dallas, continue significant local over-match of Federal funds, and have support from the private sector, will be constructed and operated by DART, which has a strong record of annual obligation of appropriated funds, and will be constructed on time and within the established budget. That is the record of DART.
We would extend the starter system now operating in Dallas, and there will be a map that I will submit. The 12 miles of north-central line through Dallas and Richardson, the Federal and local funds; 12 mile north-east line through Dallas to Garland, which is 100 percent DART funds; and 10 miles Pleasant Grove line in Dallas, Federal and local funds; and 19 miles Stemmons line through Dallas, with a branch to Irvine, which is Federal and local funds.
So we want to continue significant local over-match of Federal funds65 percent local match against 35 percent Federal funds.
We do have support from the private sector. Local developers are seeing that DART works. New jobs have opened and new development is going now that they are investing all along the corridors.
Page 964 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 There are many articles, which I will submit with my testimony, that give support for what I'm saying here about how popular this rail line has become with business development.
It will be constructed and operated by DART, which has a long record of annual obligations of appropriate funds and will be constructed on time and within the established budget.
I'm now going to ask my colleague, Mr. Frost, to speak, followed by Mr. Ratcliff.
Mr. FROST. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I will submit my statement for the record. I just wanted to say that Congress has a long history of funding this particular light rail project that started during the 1980s. At that time the project was in my District. Now the project is primarily in the District of my colleague, Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has picked up the ball and carried this very ably since here election to Congress.
This is an extremely important project. It is an example for cities in our part of the country in the southwest that rapid transit, light rail transit, can be successful, and I think Congress can be proud of the role that it has played in funding this particular program.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. Ratcliff, please proceed.
Mr. RATCLIFF. Chairman Petri and members of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, I will submit also a written testimony for your review and I would like to summarize that testimony in my comments this afternoon.
Mr. PETRI. We appreciate that. The bells mean we're going to be having to run over in two or three minutes.
Mr. RATCLIFF. My thanks to the local Congresspersons here who have carried this ball, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Congressman Frost.
As has been stated, we are very proud that DART has displayed an over-match of 65 percent local versus 35 percent Federal funds that Congresswoman Johnson talked about, but there are many things that we have been able to do, including, within the last year, opening the first part of our rail system back on June 14th and continuing to open the second leg of our rail system, light rail system, in January of this year. Also, we opened our commuter rail segments in December of 1996.
As you can see, we are making significant progress towards completing those things that we have been charged with doing.
Page 966 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Also, as a result of those activities, we have introduced economic development opportunities, and one that I would like to mention, the Adams Mark Hotel, which is scheduled for renovation to add approximately 1,300 rooms, moved onto the rail line just particularly because of the availability of what we provided, and that economic development is not just there but there are other opportunities that are demonstrated.
An additional demonstration of that is an announcement on last Thursday from the city of Richardson, which is in our metro area, that they also will be doing some public and commercial additions to their city, and that a lot of this as a result of the fact that the DART rail line is coming into that particular area.
We talked about our financial plans, and in my report it demonstrates that we are, over the next 20 years, looking at $11.7 billion, and of that $11.7 billion, $10.7 billion of that will come from local funding sources, and we are asking for approximately $1 billion in Federal funds throughout those 20 years.
What that really says is that 91 percent of our funding for our capital and operating budget will come out of local funds and 9 percent will be Federal.
There are many other things that I could say, but, in summary and conclusion, I would like to emphasize that we are significantly committed to our continued over-match of the funding, as we have in the past, and will continue to do that.
We are also committed to continuing to meet our budget, meet our schedule, and provide those things in our community that are also very essential to people getting to the jobs that they need to get to and being able to traverse throughout the metroplex.
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Again, I thank you for this opportunity and look forward to positive results from our request.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there questions?
Mr. PETRI. If not, we appreciate your testifying. I've had the opportunity to have some briefings with you.
Representative Johnson, did you have a comment?
Ms. JOHNSON OF TEXAS. I just want to make a final comment, Mr. ChairmanI didn't mean to interrupt youby saying that if there is any money left over, the Houston Metro would like to have a little bit.
Mr. PETRI. Yes, ma'am.
Page 968 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [The prepared statements of Ms. Johnson of Texas, Mr. Frost, and Mr. Ratcliff follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We've made arrangements for Representative Bass tohe went over to vote early. He should be back within a minute or two.
If there are people in the room who have scheduling problems and who would like to testify, he will be happy to take the testimony before other scheduled people return from voting on the floor.
We'll stand informal until Representative Bass arrives. If you could communicate with the staff if you are here and would like to submit a statement, he will be happy to try to accommodate you while others are over voting.
The subcommittee is in recess pending Mr. Bass' arrival.
Mr. THUNE [assuming Chair]. The subcommittee will resume.
Congressman John Sununu, are you here?
Mr. SUNUNU. Yes.
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Mr. THUNE. Good. All right. I'd like to welcome the gentleman from New Hampshire to the committee.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JOHN SUNUNU, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. RAY WIECZOREK, MAYOR, MANCHESTER, NH, AND HON. BILL ZELIFF, FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Mr. SUNUNU. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. THUNE. Mr. Sununu, I understand you're accompanied today by Mr. Wieczorek and another former Member of this Body, Bill Zeliff from your State. It's good to have you with us today.
Mr. SUNUNU. Thank you very much.
Mr. THUNE. Feel free to proceed.
Mr. SUNUNU. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I very much appreciate your inviting us here today, and certainly appreciate the importance of the work this subcommittee is doing.
The environmental impact of the infrastructure development in this country and the economic impact of the improvement of our Nation's highway and transportation infrastructure can't be under-estimated.
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I would appreciate the opportunity to make a few brief remarks and to have my formal testimony inserted in the record in full, if that is appropriate for the committee.
Mr. THUNE. Without objection.
Mr. SUNUNU. I can think of few things that have as great an impact on the environment through congestion mitigation, the economic impact through growth opportunity, reducing the cost of doing business, and improving our quality of life than improving our Nation's transportation infrastructure.
I'm privileged today to have two distinguished guests to talk a little bit about the specific impact that improvement on that infrastructure can have in the State of New Hampshire and regionally and nationwide.
They are experts on the impact by virtue of their personal experience, their involvement in their community, the fact that they are business owners and involved intimately in the success of their communities and the success of their local economies.
I will introduce them briefly, and then I'd like to speak about the three important demonstration projects that we've come to talk a little bit about today and to advocate the support of this committee's important work.
On my right is Mayor Raymond Wieczorek. He has been a resident of Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, for 40 years. He has served his community as mayor for three terms. But perhaps his most significant contributions have come in his understanding of the city's economic infrastructure as a small business owner, the owner of RJW Associates in Manchester, and the extensive work that he's done with community groups, the Chamber of Commerce, environmental groups, and activists in Manchester for quite a number of years.
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I'm pleased to have him here today to testify and to speak about the significant impact that the Manchester Access Road will have on the surrounding community and the region.
I'm equally pleased, if not more so, to also have with me Congressman Bill Zeliff, who I think is well known to many of the Members here in Congress, and people all across Washington, and certainly in New Hampshire.
Bill Zeliff moved to Jackson, New Hampshire, about 20 years ago and has made a lasting impression there, not just for his service to New Hampshire here in Congress, but also for his involvement in the community that would be significantly impacted by the development of the Conway Bypass. He has been involved in the Chamber of Commerce and the hospitality industry there to a great degree.
The three projects we're going to talk a little bit about today are the Manchester Access Road, which will have an enormous impact connecting the busiest airport, fastest-growing airport in New England, with the State of New Hampshire's busiest highway corridor. It has significant impact on the environmental impact due to its mitigation of congestion, and certainly in improvement in the infrastructure we use for cargo, for travel, and for support of not just the State's economy, but the families that live there.
The Conway Bypass will have an enormous impact in improving the infrastructure and the transportation between Boston and the entire northern New England region. It has an enormous environmental impact, given the scenic beauty in Conway, and the important center of the mountain region in New Hampshire to the State's travel and tourism industry, which is the largest employer in the State.
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Finally, the Piscataway Bridge projects connect not just New Hampshire with Maine, but connect the southern New England and the entire country with the northern New England seacoast. These three bridges span the Piscataway River. They are of enormous regional importance, and obviously, given the concern of our bridge infrastructure in this country, their maintenance, refurbishing, and repainting are of great economic impact and have great safety considerations for the State, as well.
I want to conclude by thanking the committee again for your time and the work that is being done here and thank the Members for their attendance. I certainly thank my delegation, compatriot Congressman Charles Bass, for his participation, and turn this presentation over to Mayor Wieczorek for discussion of the Airport Access Road project.
Mr. WIECZOREK. Thank you very much, Congressman Sununu.
Mr. Chairman and members of the honorable committee, I appear before you today to speak in general support of the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. In particular, I ask you to support the inclusion of funding for the Manchester Airport Access Road as a demonstration project.
The Manchester Airport Access Road project truly embraces the ideals of this legislation and satisfies the purpose of its creation.
Manchester Airport is the fastest-growing airport in New England. During the last decade, it became the air transportation hub of both New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, providing much-needed relief for Logan Airport in Boston.
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Its growth has been so substantial that it is now the third-largest cargo airport in New England and one of the larger ones in the United States.
In fact, only Logan Airport and Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, handle more cargo traffic than Manchester Airport in New England.
Our growth in cargo, coupled with exceptional passenger growthnearly one million passengers used our airport last yearhas truly made Manchester Airport the gateway to northern New England.
The growth and prosperity of this region is directly tied to the growth of Manchester Airport. An example of the airport's impact can be seen at Manchester Air Park. The majority of this industrial park's 81 acres of land is now developed after a mere 2 years of marketing. Hundreds of good-paying jobs and millions in property valuation have been added to Manchester's industrial base.
The only obstacle to this growth is the access to the airport, itself. There is no bridge crossing the Merrimac River between Nashua and Manchester, and that is a distance of 20 miles.
The roadways servicing the airport are woefully inadequate. Access from the interstate expressway is on Brown Avenue, a one-, two-, and three-lane road which also serves the Brown Avenue Industrial Park and a significant residential population along its length.
Page 974 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The city has done what capacity improvements it can, but they are insufficient, given the need.
We are now very concerned about the safety of the motorists using this very, very heavily-traveled road.
The only remedy which will permit continued growth is the construction of a seamless and efficient access road from the interstate system servicing the city.
Construction of this connector will accomplish two goals. First, it will relieve the tremendous traffic burden from Brown Avenue, which will improve access for its industrial and residential traffic. Second, it will allow for efficient vehicle access to the airport, which will facilitate future growth of both the airport and commercial and industrial areas that rely on it.
In suburban rural areas such as New Hampshire and northern New England, the need for efficient road and air transportation services is critical to continued job growth and development.
The efficient transfer of goods, services, and passengers is paramount to sustaining the region's economic health and vitality.
Manchester Airport's economic impact on the region is well over $200 million per year. The jobs of approximately 1,500 people are dependent on our airport. This number will continue to grow so long as our airport continues to grow.
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This growth cannot be facilitated without the connector nor provide the needed relief for the residential and industrial areas along Brown Avenue.
This access road is the number one economic development priority of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It has also been unanimously endorsed by the State representative delegations from the cities of Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire's two largest cities.
The development of Manchester Airport has proven itself to be one of the most significant projects in the State's history.
Facilitating this growth with the access road will ensure that it continues to do exactly what ISTEA is designed to dofoster economic growth, development, and prosperity.
May I express my thanks to the committee for inviting us and allowing us a period of time to testify on what we consider a very, very important project.
Mr. PETRI [resuming Chair]. Mr. Zeliff?
Mr. ZELIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Sununu, other distinguished colleagues and members of this great subcommittee. It's great to be back here and to appear before you.
Page 976 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I'm especially pleased to be traveling with a good friend, the very respected mayor of our State's largest city, the city of Manchester, Ray Wieczorek. He has earlier talked to you about the access road project for the Manchester Airport, which in my judgment is easily one of the best economic development projects that we could possibly entertain and take part in in this country.
It's also good to see my former colleague, Charlie Bass. We certainly appreciate your hard work and your commitment to the people of New Hampshire.
My outstanding Congressman, John Sununu, has invited me to appear in full support of the North Conway bypass project.
I live in Jackson, New Hampshire, and I have owned one of the major businesses in the area for the past 21 years, the Christmas Farm Inn. Prior to my joining the United States Congress, I was president of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, and my battle for the bypass project goes back to 1977.
I served on several study committees and have held and been involved with many hearings, have studied all of the alternatives, making sure that in all cases our concern for the environment has always been a major goal.
In trying to solve our region's number one problem, we have felt the pressure of watching the region be negatively affected by the major traffic congestion in that area.
Page 977 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 It's time now to deal with this issue, because time is running out.
For example, travel guides, including AAA, advise people to avoid the area due to traffic congestion. Being in the resort business, I hear customer comments all day long as they come to visit the areathat they can't stand the traffic and won't be back.
The Concord Coach Bus Line has reduced bus service due to not being able to get the buses through at certain times of the day. They reduced it from four trips to one. Businesses to the north feel the effect, as they must deal with the devastating effect on their economy because the traffic flow can't get through.
Our community hospital, like the bus situation, is impossible to get to at certain times of the day. This obviously is similar to the bus situation.
This project is in northern New Hampshire and in the heart of the White Mountains. It is a beautiful rural area which is dependent on tourism, and we must have access in order to be successful.
The only access we have in and out of the valley is the Route 16 corridor, which is part of our Nation's national highway system. This is one of the major routes between Boston and Montreal, and from Portland, Maine, to New Hampshire and Vermont and north to Canada.
The Conway bypass project holds the key to increasing prosperity and economic growth, which obviously is our key to good, high-paying jobs for our citizens.
Page 978 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 All the towns in the region are affected by the traffic congestion, and the State obviously is affected by the congestion because the revenue from rooms and meals tax will be lost as travelers make their choices and select other less-congested areas.
As part of our national highway system, this project affects the entire northern tierthe States of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as Massachusetts.
Mr. Chairman, we have studied this project over the past 20 years. We've done our homework and completed the final environmental impact statements. We have a broad base of support, and I recommend strongly that the Conway bypass project receive one of the highest priorities that you, as the chairman, and your distinguished colleagues can give it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your consideration.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you.
I apologize for missing part of your panel discussion. We thank you very much for coming.
I'd like to recognize briefly Mr. Bass and Mr. Coble.
Mr. BASS. Could I yield to Congressman Coble?
Mr. COBLE. I appreciate that.
Page 979 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. Chairman, as you know, it's good to have the Z-man back with us. I know he's very close to you and the gentleman from West Virginia, and even though I'm a southern boy I know the northern tier pretty wellthe White Mountains, Jackson Village, Conway. I've been up there.
Mr. Mayor, good to have you back here. Z, good to have you back down here.
Mr. ZELIFF. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you all very much.
Mr. BASS. Reclaiming my time, if I could?
Mr. PETRI. Yes, sir.
Mr. BASS. I just want to thank the chairman for recognizing me and I want to welcome my dear friend and former colleague, Bill Zeliff, who has worked tirelessly for 6 years for the interests of the First Congressional District in New Hampshire, and obviously my new colleague, John Sununu, and Mayor Ray Wieczorek, who has exercised, as mayor of the city of Manchester, extraordinary courage in dealing with the very difficult issues, not the least of which is the problem of access to the Manchester Airport, which has changed, metamorphosed like a caterpillar to a butterfly in the last 10 years.
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There is one achilles heel in this operation, and that's the fact that you can't get to the airport. I can tell you that because I fly back and forth through this airport twice a week and it's not easy.
When we evaluate projects in this committee, I think that part of the process in determining priorities is how much interest there is on the part of local folks who will be affected.
I think the fact that Congressman Zeliff has come back here to talk about the Conway bypass, which is such a high priority, and Mayor Wieczorek traveling down here and taking the time that's necessary and waiting to present his case certainly is an indication of the interest on the part of New Hampshire people and New Hampshire elected officials in seeing these two important projects go forward.
I have one real quick question. How much money are you looking for for each of these three projects, and is there any State or local match in any of the three?
Mr. WIECZOREK. For the access road project, the total cost of the project would be approximately $130 million. They have already used $4 million or will be using $4 million in the demonstration grant. There are two phases to this project. One would be $76 million, the first phase, and the second phase would be the difference between that and the $130 million.
And then the State match, by the way, is 20 percent.
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And on the Conway bypass project, the total cost of the project is $88 million and we would be looking for $70, and basicallyand the match would be an 80/20 match.
Mr. BASS. Thank you very much. And I thank you all for appearing here today. It was very impressive.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. BASS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Sununu and Wieczorek follow:]
Mr. PETRI. We apologize for running over schedule. We have, in an effort to accommodate people, several people who have to leave and have agreed to make a brief appearance for a minute or less.
First we have Frank Pallone, who is going to briefly introduceMr. Thune, would you like to
Mr. THUNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know the schedule is long and a lot of lengthy testimony, a number of projects to be heard from yet.
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I would just like very briefly to insert for the record, if I might, a statement as if read in its entirety regarding the projects that we would like to see moved forward in South Dakota.
Our State, obviously, being 77,000 square miles and only 700,000 people, these projects are very important.
I have testimony today which I would like to submit for the record, as well, from mayors in the communities of Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Yankton, Pierre, Custer, and Vermillion.
If I could do that, I'd appreciate it very much.
Mr. PETRI. That will be made a part of the record and we thank you for your consideration.
Frank, if you'd like to proceed, and you will be followed by Mark Foley, who also has another person, and then we'll go back to the regular schedule.
TESTIMONY OF HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. JOHN O'LEARY, MAYOR, SOUTH AMBOY, NJ
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Rahall and members of the subcommittee. I just want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to testify.
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I have a statement that I would like to submit for the record.
Mr. PETRI. It will be made a part of the record.
Mr. PALLONE. I just want to take this opportunity, though, to introduce Mayor Jack O'Leary, who is the mayor of South Amboy, New Jersey. He is testifying in support of a project that I submitted to the committee as part of my written testimony on behalf of the city of South Amboy.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. I believe perhaps your predecessor may have once been mayor of South Amboy, as well.
Mr. O'LEARY. You're thinking of Ed Patton?
Mr. PETRI. Yes.
Mr. O'LEARY. He was the mayor of Perth Amboy.
Mr. PETRI. All right.
Mr. O'LEARY. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I want to thank you for the opportunity this afternoon to testify in support of the South Amboy regional intermodal transportation initiative.
Page 984 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I would also like to thank my very good friend, Congressman Frank Pallone, for his efforts on behalf of the city of South Amboy and the entire Sixth Congressional District in the State of New Jersey.
Mr. Chairman, our city has a distinguished place in transportation history. The first ferry ran from South Amboy to New York City in 1716.
Mr. PETRI. We'd appreciate your summarizing the remarks, if possible, just because we are trying to accommodate. A lot of other Members have exactly the same problem that you do, so if you could restrict it. The whole thing will be made a part of the record. I apologize, but I've got to be rude to everyone or to no one, and then you won't be able to testify at all.
Mr. O'LEARY. Then I'll put it in a nutshell for you.
The city of South Amboy has been a major transportation hub in central New Jersey since thewell, it has been the first one in the State of New Jersey, and the impacts which we see in South Amboy are growing consistently over the last 20 years. We've done a study from the New Jersey Transit from ISTEA I that shows us that we're going to have another 40 percent increase in commuter traffic.
We're here to ask today that our project be considered under ISTEA II for funding. We have approximately $1 billion worth of waterfront development that's taking place, but we have an inadequate transportation facility to support the region.
Page 985 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I think Congressman Pallone's comments will reflect that.
I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to be here.
Mr. PETRI. We apologize for the pressure that we're under, but your statement will be made part of the record. And he is a persistent and active advocate, and we'll be talking about this and working on it.
We thank you very much.
Mr. O'LEARY. Thank you.
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Now let's see. We have two panels that are ready. Representative Foley, if you wanted to pop in very briefly we could do that, or you could speak longer a bit later. It's up to you.
Do it very quickly and we'll
TESTIMONY OF HON. MARK FOLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA; HON. CLAY F. SHAW, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM FLORIDA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. NANCY GRAHAM, MAYOR, WEST PALM BEACH, FL
Mr. FOLEY. My first bill as a freshman I was told if I made it in a minute or less I'd be assured of success, so if that's the criteria here I'll be very, very brief.
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Mr. PETRI. Well, we apologize, but that's how it is today.
Mr. FOLEY. I'd like to introduce first my senior colleague, Mr. Shaw, for opening remarks.
Mr. SHAW. I know the time. I've been here before. I'm not here out of greed. I have a very long District that goes from central Dade County all the way up to Jupiter.
We have, I think, one of the leading mayors of the country. She's done a wonderful job with West Palm Beach, and I hope that you give her project favorable consideration.
Mr. FOLEY. I'd like to thank the chairman and, of course, Congressman Wexler, who have joined us in support of the project.
Very briefly, with the advent of the interstate highway system, many of our roads that go through our cities have been basically neglected. In this particular instance, the mayor has a phenomenal new plan to help bring both the needs for transportation back to the city and the rejuvenation of the cities into a conceptual plan.
It not only has an impact for West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, but I think significantly for the Nation.
I will yield to the mayor with her very, very good idea to bring this much-needed reform and revitalization to our inner cities.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Ma'am?
Ms. GRAHAM. Thank you, Congressman. And thank you, Mr. Chairman and the members of the subcommittee, for allowing us to testify before you ever so briefly.
As the mayor, I know that toward the end of the day you get a little tired of this, so I will be brief.
Mr. PETRI. We're willing to stay all night, but we've got other people who are out there.
Ms. GRAHAM. Thank you. I appreciate that.
With me is Zeon Lockwood, who is my traffic planner, who I stole from Canada not too long ago.
I just want to briefly point out, I guess, what our project is about, and it deals with the transportation theory called ''traffic calming.'' If you're not familiar with that phrase, you will be in the next couple of years because it's kind of like the hottest thing on the forefront out there.
This project is really geared toward showing what can be done throughout not only West Palm Beach, but through the State of Florida and through other cities and States that have the old U.S. highway system, and that system runs the entire north-south length of our city.
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So we have developed and put our money where our mouth was first in doing this concept to prove it can be done. We're here to get a partnership with the Federal Government. We got a unanimous letter of support from the State of Florida and a letter of support from our Florida DOT. This project has tremendous transportation implications by reducing automobile accidents, saving lives, reducing environmental impact, and many other things.
I just want to say to you it's very exciting and innovative. It can be replicated. We would love to do a partnership with you on it.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you and we appreciate your calming influence.
Mr. FOLEY. Could I ask unanimous consent to allow my testimony to appear as a part of the record, as well as that of Mr. Shaw?
Mr. PETRI. We'll make it a part of the record, and so will the testimony those with you.
Ms. GRAHAM. Thank you for taking the time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Foley and Ms. Graham follow:]
Page 989 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [Insert here.]
Mr. PETRI. The I69 project is next, and I know Representative DeLay wanted to be here, as well as Solomon Ortiz, Kevin Brady, our colleague Ed Bryant, Max Sandlin, a member of the committee, Bennie Thompson, John Hostettler, who has been very patient, and they're accompanied by Mr. John Caruthers, the chairman of the I69/Midcontinent Highway Coalition.
John, if you'd like to introduce your guests, we'd appreciate it.
Thank you for your patience. We apologize for the delay.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. That's all right.
TESTIMONY OF HON. KEVIN BRADY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS; HON. BENNIE G. THOMPSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MISSISSIPPI; HON. JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM INDIANA, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN CARUTHERS, CHAIRMAN, I69/MIDCONTINENT HIGHWAY COALITION
HOUSTON METRO PROJECT
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for your patience and your indulgence.
I would like to ask unanimous consent that my full statement be put into the record.
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I69, the completion of I69 between Indiana and Texas is vitally important to the economic developmentfuture economic development of the midwest and the midsouth.
We cannot afford not to build I69. The benefits far outweigh any obstacles to build this project.
In my District, alone, there is a sense of urgency of building this highway with regard to economic development.
Recently the Toyota Motor Corporation decided to locate a plant, which will initially employ 1,300 workers, and they decided to position their plant within eight minutes of an interstate highway, Interstate 64.
So it is vitally important not only for southwest Indiana but for the midwest and the midsouth, as I said.
I would also like to ask unanimous consent that the list of membership in the I69 Caucus, which I founded 2 years ago and Majority Whip DeLay is a co-chair with me. It is a bipartisan, bicameral caucus that indicates the tremendous support for I69 in the House and in the Senate.
With me today are two members of that caucus.
Page 991 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Now I would like to hand it over to the chairman of the I69/Midcontinent Highway Coalition, Mr. John Caruthers.
Mr. CARUTHERS. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, on behalf of the I69/Midcontinent Highway Coalition I thank you for the opportunity to ask your support for international trade corridor category with
Mr. PETRI. Excuse me one second. Mr. Brady, did you want to
Mr. BRADY. No. Go right ahead.
Mr. PETRI. Excuse me, please.
Mr. CARUTHERS. I'm asking for your support for an international trade corridor category with dedicated funding, in general, and for I69, in particular.
I69 is a multi-State trade corridor of national and international significance, extending from Port Huron, Michigan, where it joins with the Canadian highway system, to Indianapolis, Indiana, where, as a combination of Congressionally-designated high-priority Corridors 18 and 20, it continues through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, to Texas, where it connects with the Mexican highway system at Laredo and the lower Rio Grande Valley.
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The I69/Midcontinent Highway Coalition is a group of elected officials, city, business, and industry leaders from all of the corridor States who actively and enthusiastically support the completion of the I69 corridor because of the benefit it brings to trade and economic development.
The feasibility studies of Corridors 18 and 20 have been completed, and location and environment studies are currently underway. The $903.1 million requested in this reauthorization will complete the location and environment studies, complete the design, and begin the right-of-way acquisition and the construction.
The emergence of the United States, Canada, and Mexico as the world's largest trade zone has represented phenomenal growth and opportunity for all three countries, and it promises to continue doing so in the years ahead.
For example, the future projections estimate a 93 percent increase in trade between the United States and Mexico in the next 3 years. Similarly, they expect trade to climb 21 percent between the United States and Canada during the same 3-year period.
This increased trade will undoubtedly put more pressure on the United States' already stressed transportation system.
In the United States, trade flows have now shifted from east-west to north-south. The growing trade with Mexico and Canada depends heavily on the United States' infrastructure.
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In 1993, 80 percent of the total U.S. trade with Mexico was land-borne. Increasing the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively transport goods through the U.S. will enable this country to realize the full potential of all of our trade agreements, such as NAFTA.
I would like to emphasize that the United States and Canada and Mexico comprise 360 million consumers and a combined annual output of $6 trillion.
The growing trade with Canada and Mexico depends heavily on our infrastructure in the United States. Interstate 69, slicing diagonally from the Canadian border with Michigan to the Texas-Mexico border, most directly serves the international trade interests of the United States and the trade allies of North America by enhancing the flow of trade among our three nations.
I69 States account for over 38 percent of the dollar value in truck-borne trade with Canada and Mexico. These 69 corridor states account for 52 percent of the U.S. truck-borne trade with Mexico and 33 percent of U.S. truck-borne trade with Canada.
Furthermore, they account for 55 percent of the transportation equipment exports to Canada and Mexico.
Completing I69 is, therefore, truly of national and international significance, and the resulting reduction in travel time fuel consumption and costs over the existing circuitous route will be of benefit to the entire eastern half of the United States.
Page 994 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I69 will have positive economic development impacts, as well. For example, I69 corridor States have over 4.2 million people below the poverty level. Two of the Nation's three rural empowerment zones are on I69, the mid-Delta of the Mississippi and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. There are six enterprise communities located along I69 route in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
The interstate will be a catalyst for businesses to locate in these regions adjacent to and along I69, bringing new jobs and opportunity to these disadvantaged areas.
The Corridor 18 feasibility study estimated that in this segment between Houston and Indianapolis, alone, I69 would create 27,000 jobs, add $11 billion in wages, and $19 billion in value-added through the year 2025.
The Corridor 20 feasibility study, basically from Houston to the Mexican border, estimated the creation of an additional 9,200 to 12,200 jobs, $1.4 to $1.8 billion in additional wages, and $3.8 to $5 billion in value-added.
These feasibility studies for Corridors 18 and 20 showed a very impressive return of $1.39 for every dollar spent in Corridor 18 and $1.49 to $1.72 for every dollar spent in Corridor 20.
Furthermore, I69 will provide multiple intermodal connections. Twenty of our Nation's top 25 seaports are directly connected to I69, and 16 of the Nation's top 25 air cargo airports are readily accessible to I69.
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It also serves a number of key military installations.
Mr. Chairman, I see the red light is on. I would just like to say, on behalf of the members of our entire I69 Coalition, we look forward to your positive consideration of our request.
Thank you for your interest.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you.
Are there going the otherMr. Brady, did you have a comment?
Mr. BRADY. Yes, just briefly, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Kevin Brady, a freshman representing the Eighth District of Texas.
You've heard the strong arguments for the I69 corridor. Our District lies along the I69/I69 corridor. We had strongvery stronggrowth prior to the passage of NAFTA. We've seen explosive growth in traffic flow along this region since then.
There are a lot of reasons to build a road. The most important one is that along the I69 corridor this is where the customers are with the trade to Mexico. This is where 20 of the top 25 of our Nation's seaports lie, including the Port of Houston; the majority of the top 25 air cargo airports, including Houston Air Continental Airport. This is where the manufacturing, the distribution capacity, and the truck-borne traffic lies, and I would add my strong support to this project.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a prepared testimony for the record, but I'd like to say, as part of the I69 Coalition, I represent the Mississippi Delta, which is the sixth poorest District in America and one that would be significantly enhanced if I69 did come through the District.
In the interest of time, I would at this point offer my written testimony for the record.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. We thank you all for coming and testifying.
We've had other meetings on this subject, and I suspect there will be a continuing subject of discussion, so we'll probably save the questions for another day, but we thank you very much for being here.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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[The prepared statements of Messrs. DeLay, Ortiz, Bryant, Thompson, Hostettler, and Caruthers follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next group consists of our colleagues, The Honorable Tom Campbell from northern California, and two of his California colleagues, Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo. They are accompanied by Patricia Figueroa, who is a member of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Board.
I apologize for mispronouncing your name, but I welcome you all. Proceed.
Tom, do you want to start, or Representative Eshoo?
Ms. ESHOO. I'd be delighted to, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Please.
TESTIMONY OF HON. TOM CAMPBELL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. ZOE LOFGREN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA; HON. ANNA ESHOO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY L. PATRICIA FIGUEROA, MEMBER, SANTA CLARA VALLEY TRANSPORTATION BOARD, AND DAN RICHARD, DIRECTOR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM
BART, TASMAN LIGHT RAIL
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Ms. ESHOO. I'm very pleased to join with my colleagues here in expressing our unanimous support for San Francisco Bay area's priority transportation projects.
Our request includes $746 million for the BART SFO and Tasman West rail extensions, as well as $89.4 million for critical capital improvements to the I880 corridor.
I understand, Mr. Chairman, that we are here to ask, and in order to get one must give, and so in the interest of brevity I am going to turn in my entire statement for the record and let the record show that the place that is known as Silicon Valley, the home to 4,000 high technology companies, which is now enjoying phenomenal growth, that the growth and investment in its infrastructure will be the undergirding of a booming economy.
So I'd like to submit this for the record and thank you for hearing our case. We're proud in the bay area to support, regardless of what is in one Congressional District or another. We come together, republicans and democrats, to support what is best for our region and we believe that it's a good investment for our country.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Representative Lofgren, did you have a statement?
Page 999 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am also here in support of the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission request.
In Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, we have led the way in public/private partnerships and in local and regional decision-making. We have, unfortunately, the second-worst traffic congestion in the Nation; however, we've been vigorous in applying local solutions.
Our voters in Santa Clara County have voted four separate times to tax themselves to raise money for transportation problems.
Interestingly enough, the last time that happened our manufacturing group led the effort, even though 40 percent of the sales tax that will be raised will be paid by those same companies.
Our Tasman West project is one that has been held together because of our local efforts.
Our efforts have never been marred by partisan bickering or political posturing. We've always come together on a bipartisan basis to support these projects. We have leveraged our funding successfully and, in fact, only 33 percent of the project starts in the Bay Area would be covered by Federal funds if our request is approved. The rest will be coming from other sources.
Page 1000 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I also would urge your support for $89.5 million to complete the unfunded portions of the I880 widening project along with the 237 and I880 interchanges, which deal with commuters coming in from outside of Santa Clara County to the job-rich valley.
With that I will stop, taking my colleague, Ms. Eshoo's advice, but I would like to note that Mr. Lantos is on a plane flying west to 80-degree weather. I would like to submit his testimony for the record.
Mr. PETRI. It will be made part of the record.
Ms. LOFGREN. And I'd note that Mr. Richard, the BART director is here, to testify. Mr. Lantos had wanted to introduce him.
I would now like to introduce my friend, Pat Figueroa, who is chairman of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and also a member of the Mountain View City Council.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Ma'am, please proceed. Your full statement will be made a part of the record and we invite you to summarize your statement orally.
Ms. FIGUEROA. Thank you.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommitteeor maybe I should be saying good evening.
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I wish I did not have to appear this afternoon before you
Mr. PETRI. It's good afternoon in California.
Ms. FIGUEROA. That is a very good point.
Mr. PETRI. It's always a good afternoon in California.
Ms. FIGUEROA. Anyway, I wish I did not have to appear before you today with funding remaining in our ISTEA authorization, and yet, while the original Tasman Corridor light rail alignment was ready to go several years ago, our 1992 voter-approved dedicated sales tax, which underpinned our local match, was tied up in protracted litigation and ultimately was overturned by the State Supreme Court in October 1995.
Needless to say, this forced us back to the drawing board. We challenged ourselves to define the Tasman Corridor project in a way that still met most of our area's most pressing community needs, but recognizing the new fiscal realities.
The result is an incremental approach to project construction that contemplates completion at this time of a 7.5 mile Tasman West extension from northern terminus of our existing 21-mile Guadalupe light rail line in the city of Santa Clara, through the city of Sunnyvale, to the city of Mountain View.
A transfer platform in downtown Mountain View will provide access to the CALTRANS commuter rail system.
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This intermodal connection will allow direct transit passage to major Silicon Valley employers for people who commute to these job sites from their residence in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
Santa Clara County voters passed this November, adopted a new dedicated sales tax that will raise $1.2 billion over the next 9 years for an array of highway, transit, and commuter rail improvements.
Although this tax also faces legal challenge, we believe it will be validated by the courts.
The remaining portion of the original Tasman alignment, or the Tasman East extension, will be constructed with these local funds.
In July 1996, we entered into a full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for the Tasman West extension. The full funding grant agreement designates Tasman West's share of new start's funds at $122 million.
VTA has received a total of $42 million of these funds to date, and $80 million is required over the next 3 fiscal years to complete construction.
The total project cost is $325 million.
Fully one-half of the cost of the Tasman West will be derived from available and approved Federal and State flexible funds, State rail funds, and local funds.
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My own city of Mountain View feels so strongly about this project that we committed $50 million to build it.
It is important to emphasize that the Tasman West extension is now under construction, and I'm pleased to report that the project is tending 6 months ahead of schedule.
I realize that my time is short, and I did want to take just a moment to mention our highway needs, which is the Interstate 880 corridor, which is an area that we can best describe as an hourglass where we have a lot of lanes going into a very narrow area.
Thank you for the time this afternoon.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you.
Mr. Richard, Mr. Lantos has arranged, as you know, for you to be part of this panel, and you are effectively represented by him. He's one of the senior Members of the House.
Mr. RICHARD. We appreciate that, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate the courtesy of the committee.
Mr. Chairman and members, my name is Dan Richard. I am a member of the board of directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System.
Page 1004 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 In light of the hour, what I'd like to dounderstanding that my testimony will be submitted for the record, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to make four very brief points.
The BART to San Francisco Airport extension project is, along with the Tasman rail project, one of the two highest regional priorities in the bay area.
Our project would connect the entire bay area region with the San Francisco International Airport.
My four points are these:
First, the San Francisco International Airport, which is one of the Nation's busiest, is currently undergoing a 70 percent expansion. It expects a 70 percent increase in passenger travel by the year 2006, so our airport is undergoing this major expansion to serve markets in Asia.
There is no way presently to get to the San Francisco Airport through the clogged arteries that we have, and the airport extension is estimated to add 60,000 to 70,000 new vehicle trips per day, so we have a dire need to relieve that congestion.
Second, the project that connects BART to the San Francisco Airport is one leg of a $2.9 billion BART expansion project.
As Congressman Bass said before, this committee is very concerned with local match. If you look at that entire $3 billion effort, 70 percent of it is locally funded. So the BART to San Francisco Airport project is the only piece of the regional BART expansion that requires Federal funding, and we have come to the table with 70 percent local match for our system expansion, and we hope that the committee views that favorably.
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The third point is the BART system has no Federal operating subsidies. For the authorization to build with Federal dollars, you are not going to see us every year for Federal operating subsidies on the BART system. We think that should be important to the members of the committee, as well.
Fourth, I just want to indicate that, although BART and Tasman did have authorization in ISTEA, we are hoping that the committee will look favorably on carrying that over, and our request, as part of the regional request, is for $449 million in section three new rail starts for this authorization.
I want to thank the committee for its past support of the BART system and this particular project, and I also want to thank the members of the bay area delegation who have been united in their support for us.
Thank you very much for the committee's courtesy, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Here's my testimony. The experts have spoken, I'd like it to be part of the record.
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Greatest match possible, local match. Ellen Tauscher is an outstanding Representative. She's a freshman. She's on your committee. Give her a break.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Lastly, I also have the privilege to represent Santa Cruz County. You'll hear from Sam Farr about them. I love their project, too.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
As you know, our colleague, Norm Mineta, was very active on many of these things over the years. So some of the rest of us have to be brought up to speed on what has been going on in your area, and we appreciate your coming here.
Mr. CAMPBELL. And I've got tons more detail. I just think the wiser course is to let you ask me at some other time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Campbell and Ms. Lofgren, Ms. Eshoo, Ms. Figueroa, and Mr. Richard follow:]
Page 1007 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 [Insert here.]
Mr. PETRI. Now, Tom DeLay could not be here, but he had a witness whoMr. Brady, please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF HON. KEVIN BRADY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM TEXAS, ACCOMPANIED BY O. HOLCOMBE CROSSWELL, CHAIRMAN, HOUSTON METRO BOARD
Mr. CROSSWELL. I appreciate it. Having sat here since 2:00, I have a great admiration for your longevity. I felt a little naked here after the Dade County group. I felt like that guy that showed up at a gunfight with a knife.
Mr. CROSSWELL. But at least I've got Mr. Brady here with me today and I'd like thank you all. The last flight out is at 7:20.
I think you all are familiar with our Houston program. It has been very successful. It's bus-based, transitway-based. By all measures, it's probably the most economical system in the country, both to operate and on capital costs. The HOVs cost $4 to $10 million a mile, compared to other fixed guideway programs.
We're here for two reasons, and we'll make it quick.
Page 1008 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Our first request, we have a $500 million full funding agreement, $173 million of which needs to be reauthorized to take us to 2001, and also to carry us to 2020, the first 6 years in ISTEA II, assuming it's a 6-year program, we're requesting $303 million of a $606 million program.
Since 1988 we've had a 50/50 partnership with you all. We'd like to continue it. I think you all have gotten a lot for your money, and we plan on making you all proud of us.
I appreciate your time.
Mr. Brady, would you like to add to that?
Mr. BRADY. I would. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members.
I'm a poor substitute for Mr. DeLay, but he continues to be in a meeting with the Speaker at this time. He is the leaders in this budget request for Metro, and I would like permission to enter and submit his testimony for the record, as well, if I may.
I've got a District that's served by Metro. We are always looking to leverage Federal dollars here from Washington. Metro has been a pioneer, one of the first Metro transit systems to come forward with a 50/50 match, which today is a common practice but at the time was not.
They seek no direct operating subsidies, and they run a very cost-effective transit system that is tailored to the unique needs of the Houston region.
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I strongly support and add my support to Mr. DeLay's for the reauthorization of the balance of the regional bus plan and authorization for the new advanced regional bus system.
Thank you, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. CROSSWELL. We appreciate your time.
Mr. PETRI. We apologize, because we know you were scheduled.
Mr. CROSSWELL. It's not your fault. It's not Mr. DeLay's fault. Everything was running late, and you can't leave a meeting with the Speaker.
I appreciate it.
Mr. PETRI. Have a safe flight.
Mr. CROSSWELL. I'll make it. Thank you all. We appreciate it.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you.
Mr. CROSSWELL. Once again, I've got great admiration for you.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. DeLay and Crosswell follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Now, Ellen Tauscher, I know you have a panel that you'd like to present, so you have the floor.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY BOB MCCLEARY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONTRA COSTA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, BILL GRAY, VICE PRESIDENT, CONTRA COSTA COUNCIL, HON. CATHIE BROWN, MAYOR, LIVERMORE, CA, AND THOM GAMBLE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SHAY HOMES
ROUTE 84/I580 INTERCHANGE
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I'd like to add my strong support to the previous panel to the folks from Texas for the projects requested by my distinguished colleagues.
I am the technical sponsor of the BART SFO and Tasman new start rail projects, and I look forward to working with the subcommittee on these important initiatives.
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I especially appreciate the opportunity to spend a few minutes to describe to the subcommittee the importance of the ISTEA projects I have requested for my District.
I will turn in a moment to four distinguished constituents of mine to elaborate on the details of the request. They are: The Honorable Cathie Brown, the mayor of Livermore; Thom Gamble, Senior Vice President of Shay Homes; Bob McCleary, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority; and Bill Gray, vice president of the Contra Costa Council.
I would like to mention our $2 million request to develop a service efficiency improvement system by the Livermore/Anamore Valley Transit Agency.
Using technological innovations, this project would improve the overall performance and convenience of the transportation services offered by that agency.
Again, I look forward to working with the subcommittee on this request.
Now let me introduce to you The Honorable Mayor of Livermore, Cathy Brown.
Ms. BROWN. Thank you, Congresswoman Tauscher.
Mr. PETRI. Please proceed, Madam Mayor.
Page 1012 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Ms. BROWN. Thank you.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of this subcommittee. I am Cathie Brown, mayor of the city of Livermore, which is located about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco.
Livermore is the home, as you probably know, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is a Department of Energy research facility operated by the University of California, Berkeley.
Livermore lies in the east bay area between Silicone Valley and Santa Clara County, a major job center in the bay area, and the eastern counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Joaquin.
Commuters travel to the Silicon Valley directly through the city of Livermore on Route 84, causing severe traffic congestion, further length in travel time, and certainly creating safety hazards in downtown Livermore.
To improve regional commuting between the Silicon Valley and the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Joaquin, a half cent sales tax measure, called ''measure B,'' was approved and dedicated to provide financing for rerouting 84.
This project has a total cost of $79 million, and measure B funds will be used for construction of a two-lane expressway, six lanes of right-of-way, along the Isabelle Route 84 corridor.
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Through local measure B funds, $28 million have been allocated toward the Isabelle Route 84 project. An additional $3.5 million will be allocated from city of Livermore funds, and $7.5 million from developer funds.
An essential part of this project is unfunded. It is the interchange where State Route 84 intercepts Interstate 580 in Alameda County. It has a total cost of $40 million.
The project involves constructing a partial clover leaf interchange out 580, with four-lane approach roadways and a four-lane bridge over 580.
The city of Livermore is requesting the committee's support for 80 percent of this interchange project, which is $32 million.
The local match for the entire project is an impressive 60 percent.
This project is supported by the Alameda County Transportation Authority, Alameda Congestion Management Agency, as well as all the cities in the Tri-Valley area of Alameda County, including Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore.
Route 84 has strong regional support and, by consensus, is the top priority project in the east bay area.
Construction for the Route 84 corridor will be completed in early 2000. As for the status of the interchange, California Department of Transportation has approved a complete project study report which describes the future development of the interchange, including design features, cost, environmental impacts, and alternatives that have been investigated.
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The interchange project will be eligible for STIP in 1998. It's currently listed on regional transportation plan prepared by the metropolitan transportation committee of the metropolitan planning organization for the bay area.
Isabelle Route 84 is representative of the financing approach that needs to be taken with transportation projects. The percentage of Federal assistance is low, since the project has a number of funding sources, both public and private.
The interchange is essential to connect 84 and 580, thus providing a direct route for regional traffic commuting to the Silicon Valley.
It will improve this shorter route, reducing the number of commuters forced to use the overloaded interchange.
Route 84/580 interchange has received Congressional support in the past. The 1994 national highway system bill passed by the House included $4 million in contract authority for the project, but since Congress did not pass a final bill, funds were not approved.
I am hopeful that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will support the project as part of the ISTEA reauthorization bill and help break the bottleneck in the San Francisco/east bay transportation system.
Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to discuss this with you.
Page 1015 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Now who would like to proceed next?
Mr. GAMBLE. My name is Tom Gamble. I'm just making a few very short comments.
Mr. PETRI. Yes, sir.
Mr. GAMBLE. I'm Senior Vice President of Shay Homes, but I'm representing the private sector support for Mayor Brown's request here.
We presently own the property to the north of Interstate 580, and we're willing to cooperate in whatever is needed to have this project happen.
I think it's also important that the property to the south of 580 is owned by BART. This will be the next easterly station on the BART line when it ultimately becomes developed, which is an important intermodal connection.
Lastly, I'd just like to state that the regional commute issues, as Mayor Brown stated, are a real drain on business productivity and quality of life issues in the valley.
I am also representing the Tri-Valley Business Council, who strongly supports this as the number one for our valley, too.
Page 1016 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 With that I'll let the others finish.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MCLEARY. Thank you, honorable chairman and Members. It's a pleasure to be here today to testify on behalf of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority under the sponsorship of Congresswoman Tauscher, and we greatly appreciate your interest in our projects.
Recognizing that the time is late, I'll try to be brief.
We do have a map. I'd like to show you our projects. We have our testimony for the record, so I'd like to just highlight both our projects and the projects mentioned earlier that Congresswoman Tauscher is also interested in for her District.
As you can see, Congresswoman Tauscher's District is in the east bay area on the other side of the hills from the heavily urbanized east bay area of Oakland and it's to the east of that that her District lies.
This area is rapidly developing and it's providing much of the affordable housing for the people who work in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, as well as developing very quickly its own economic base.
Page 1017 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 We have three projects in Contra Costa that we're interested in asking you for funding. We have the Route 4 East project, which would extend projects that we have already funded into the heart of Ellen's District and provide the opportunity to open 7 miles of HOV lanes, as well as better serving a very congested area in her east county District.
Route 4 West, on the other portion of Route 4which is, I might add, on the national highway systemis in Congressman Miller's District, and we wanted to highlight for you that he has requested $10 million for that project. We're requesting $5 million for the Route 4 East project adjacent to Congresswoman Tauscher's District.
We're also asking for $375,000 for a study of the east county corridor to inter-link the two portions of Congresswoman Tauscher's District and provide better access from our growing east county area home base potentially to the Tri-Valley area, where we see further expansion and jobs.
There are a number of issues there, and we want to begin exploring those issues with the help of some study funds.
Also on the map is the 580/84 interchange that Mayor Brown has spoken to and the 680 HOV lanes which link the Tri-Valley area, which has some affordable housing, to the Silicon Valley area, which, as you know, has a dramatically-expanding economic base.
Our Authority represents both the cities and the county of Contra Costa and, like many counties in the bay area, we have implemented sales tax measures to raise funding for transportation on our own.
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We've invested about $300 million so far and leveraged another $500 million in major improvements to expand BART, expand the State highway system, and for transit and para-transit services, as well, and added a major parkway paralleling Interstate 80 in the west bay.
But, in addition to that, we have also increased the fees on residential and commercial development in our growing areas, primarily in Congresswoman Tauscher's area, to try and contribute towards improved transportation, but that's not sufficient. We need additional funding and we're here before you today to request your assistance with what we think are modest contributions towards projects that are partially or fully funded on balance by our sales tax revenues.
In the interest of time I'll conclude my testimony and if you have any questions I'll certainly be happy to answer them.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. GRAY. Thank you. We appreciate the opportunity to be here today.
I'll make my remarks very brief.
Page 1019 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I am vice president of the Contra Costa Council, and I'm here todayit's a business group in the county of Contra Costa. We've been very active in working in a partnership with the public sector, Bob McCleary and his Authority. We very much support the projects on Highway 4, in particular the East County Corridor, which is a project that would link the two counties. That's really a study effort to basically pull together a number of issues in this corridor.
I think a point that I'd like to make in terms of the projects is this issue of local match. I hear a lot of that, and I would just note that both of the Contra Costa projects on Highway 4, the request represents only 15 percent of the total amount of the projects, so it's very highly leveraged and will make these projects possible to go to construction much earlier.
With that, my testimony has been submitted and I'll let it stand.
Thank you very much.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Are there any questions?
Mr. PETRI. I understand from your Representative that the basic underlying problem is that there are just a few bridges and they end up being bottlenecks, and to move people from affordable housing to where the jobs are, mass transit seems to be about the only practical solution. That's why the whole area is working on this.
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Is that about it in a nutshell?
Ms. TAUSCHER. And these highway linkages.
Mr. PETRI. Yes. Great. Well, thank you very much.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Gray, and Ms. Brown follow:]
Mr. PETRI. And next we have a very patient, diligent Member from Pennsylvania, our colleague, Jim Greenwood, accompanied by Senator Robert M. Tomlinson from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JAMES C. GREENWOOD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM PENNSYLVANIA, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. ROBERT M. TOMLINSON, SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
I95 LINK PROJECT, STREET INTERCHANGE, DELAWARE AND LEHIGH NATIONAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR
Mr. GREENWOOD. Thank you, Chairman Petri, for the opportunity to testify here today, and I thank the other Members for their attendance.
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We will be very brief. I think that the chances of success in these projects are in inverse proportion to the length of one's testimony.
Mr. PETRI. You can go as long as you want now.
Mr. GREENWOOD. And we are also trying to catch a train.
Mr. PETRI. The planes have almost all left.
Mr. GREENWOOD. Well, we're going to try to catch a 7:00 train.
My friend and colleague, State Senator Tomlinson, will make some remarks, as well.
When we go to the train station and get off in Philadelphia in AMTRAK, we'll get on Route 95, because I'm going to dropoff Senator Tomlinson.
When we're going north on Route 95 and we get to his District, we can get off 95 there. When I come back the next day going south, we can't.
We're here to ask for $31.3 million of funding for a project which is the southbound exit from Route 95 at Route 413. For some reason, when 95 was built they forgot to add the southbound exit ramps. So if you want to go to lower Bucks County, you have to find another exit, get off and try to find your way back, or get off, make a U-turn, and get back on 95. It's a dangerous situation.
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That part of our District has been very hard hit by the fact that we've lost a steel plantthere used to be 10,000 jobs thereand that's all gone now. We have created enterprise zones right in this neck of the woods, and it's important for the local industry that we get these ramps built, and also that Route 413 there be widened to handle the traffic.
For what it's worth, this is the first time in 4 years I've ever come before this committee and asked for a project, and I hope that's taken into consideration.
I'd like to yield the balance of my time, if I could, to Senator Tomlinson.
Mr. PETRI. Senator, welcome.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
I would first just like to echo Congressman Greenwood's words on the southbound lane 95 and 413 project. The I95 corridor that stretches in that area connects Philadelphia with Trenton and New York and is a very, very busy corridor.
As Congressman Greenwood stated, we had a steel mill in that town at one time. We're talking about Levittown. The area where this happens is called Bristol Township.
Page 1023 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The problem economically we have in Bristol Township is that the commercial industrial base in Bristol Township is only about 17 percent of the tax base, so the tax base commercially and industrially is extremely small compared to the residential tax base, so the critical link to that is the southbound lane.
In essence, what we've done is we've kind of isolated that one area of Levittown.
Now, the other townships in that area are growing very well. They have good economic bases, they have good commercial bases. But the Bristol Township area is suffering from a lack of economic growth.
As Congressman Greenwood said, that's one reason we included that into an enterprise zone that extends from Falls Township down into Bensalem.
In direct connection with that project, I'm also here to ask you to consider the Pennsylvania interchange with I95. I know that that has very significant, very national, obvious national significance.
Again I want to point out this happens in Bristol township, also.
The thing that I would like you to please pay attention to is that we don't want to further isolate Bristol Township with this interchange. We are working very closely with the local officials there. They are very encouraged that we can work this out and it will help further with the economic development of this community.
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If the interchange goes through certain portions of this township, it will further wipe out other industrial and commercial bases.
We know how important this is for the Nation. We also feel it's very important for our local area. But we feel that it has to be done with a lot of sensitivity to the local needs in that District.
So I am here to ask your support for the I95/Turnpike interconnect, but also to emphasize that it has to be done in accordance with a sensitivity for the economic development in that local area, given what I've just explained to you as the industrial base.
A little bit further down I95 in Bensalem Township we have a road that intersects with 95 called Street Road. That interconnect with 95 has not been changed since 1964 when 95 was originally put in there.
It is an extremely heavy intersection. It takes almost all of Bucks Countynorthern, middle, and lower Buck's Countyand funnels it into 95 so that for the commuters in the morning who either go into the city of Philadelphia or they go north to Trenton or they go north to New York it is grossly inadequate. It does not have left-hand turn lanes. It doesn't even really have the proper traffic signals.
We are asking for the $16 million to create there what we call an ''urban diamond.''
Page 1025 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 My District is in Bucks County, and it is outside the city, but we are a second-class township and we have 65,000 people in that little second-class township, so it is a very congested area.
This Street Road/I95 interconnect is extremely important to relieve congestion and upgrade that intersection, and I'd further like to state that the last large piece of property left in that area, which is right next to it, 250 acres, was just sold for a project that we estimate will be about a $100 million project to create a mall.
There is no question that that intersection has to be upgraded with the urban diamond.
I thank you for listening to our pleas for the I95 corridor, the 413 southbound lane, the Turnpike interconnect, and the Street Road interconnect.
Just briefly, I'd like to tell you just a little bit about the Delaware-Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor.
The canal is the old Delaware Canal. In spots on the canal you can see where the railroad, I95, and actually the planes all interconnect, and we're trying to preserve that canal. It has a great heritage and a great history. It's responsible for much of the growth of Pennsylvania in years past, and we are turning it not only into a historical site but we want to make it a recreational site. We want to upgrade the tow paths and we want to make those tow paths for biking, hiking and jogging.
Page 1026 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 We're working on sections of the canal for more water so that we can have canoeing and fishing and recreational use.
So as part of your ISTEA money, we are asking for more capital projects to complete that because my Senate Districtof course, I represent 250,000 peoplecovers less than one-third of the county. The population of that area is very dense, and this recreational and historical area is extremely important to us, and we would ask for your consideration for that project, too.
I want to thank you very much for your time. I know how pressured it isI just came through 2 weeks of appropriations hearings.
Thank you. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Are there any questions of this panel?
Mr. PETRI. Well, we thank you very much.
We know in our part of the world, as well, how much people appreciate and are interested in trying to upgrade recreational facilities and use some of these combination heritage/bike trail things. They work real well here in the Nation's capital. We have some in Wisconsin. And I'm sure you have some others in Pennsylvania you want to add to it. It's something we're trying to include in this part of it.
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It's obviously not the heart of this bill. Transportation is the heart of it. But it helps build support for it and also to do well as a country we have to do well by the whole person who is a citizen of our country.
Thank you very much.
Mr. GREENWOOD. Let me just conclude on the 95 ramps. All of the engineering is done, the right-of-ways have been acquired, and this is widely supported in the community.
I met with Chairman Shuster, and he feels very fondly toward this project, as well, he told me.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Pease, did you have any questions?
Mr. PEASE. No. I know they're in a hurry, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GREENWOOD. Thank you.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Greenwood and Tomlinson follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next panel is led by our colleague, Jo Ann Emersonour very patient colleague. It's not 5:00, as she thought it would be. It's more like supper time.
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She's accompanied by Joe Mickes, who is the chief engineer of the Missouri Department of Transportation; Darrel Gross, president of Gross & Associates; and Paul Brockman, director of General Services of the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
We welcome you. We apologize for being a bit late, but we're happy to have you make your presentation.
TESTIMONY OF HON. JO ANN EMERSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MISSOURI, ACCOMPANIED BY JOE MICKES, CHIEF ENGINEER, MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, DARRELL GROSS, PRESIDENT, GROSS & ASSOCIATES, HON. BOB KNIGHT, MAYOR, WAYNESVILLE, AND PAUL BROCKMAN, DIRECTOR OF GENERAL SERVICES, MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDENS
BILL EMERSON MEMORIAL BRIDGE AND BRIDGE DISCRETIONARY PROGRAM
FORT LEONARD WOOD INTERMODAL FREIGHT/TRANSIT CENTER, NORTH/SOUTH CORRIDOR I70 TO ROUTE 60
BOTANICAL GARDENS INTERMODAL CENTER
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My daughter is very happy, too, because she doesn't have to start her homework yet.
I will echo the comments of everyone else and say that I will be very quick here because it is late in the day and you all have a lot of testimony still to hear.
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I just want to take this opportunity to introduce three of the witnesses on this panel who are here to talk about some of the priorities that are important to the area I represent and to our home State of Missouri.
First let me introduce to the subcommittee Mr. Joe Mickes, our distinguished chief engineer from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
One of my first meetings after getting settled into my new job was to stop off in Jefferson City and talk highways and bridges with Joe. He has been extremely helpful to me, and we'll share with you a top priority of mine, the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, as well as legislation that I'm preparing to introduce to provide adequate funding to the bridge discretionary program.
Joe has always been very helpful in identifying critical segments of highways in our District for consideration by this subcommittee and full committee as we look at various projects to be identified in the new ISTEA.
You know, we hear a lot about certain groups condemning these demonstration projects as pork, and they like to say that the States should be the one deciding what the needs are, not Congress. Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm proud to say that I've worked very closely with our State folks to identify the critical transportation needs of southern Missouri. In fact, I think Mr. Mickes can confirm that everything we've submitted for your consideration fits nicely with the State's ongoing work in our area.
Page 1030 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 I also want to introduce two other folks who will speak to the subcommittee about their work in Missouri.
Darrell Gross is working with the city of Waynesville, just next door to my District and located in Ike Skelton's District. They're working to establish an intermodal freight and transit center for Fort Leonard Wood, and hopefully one day help us to get a good four-lane road from I70 to Route 60 in my District.
Ike and I are working closely on this endeavor, and he is certainly supportive of these efforts.
Mr. Paul Brockman is director of general services for the prestigious Missouri Botanical Garden located in St. Louis. The Botanical Garden is the premier research and storage facility for the world's flora and has invested a lot over the years to meet future demands of that garden.
Mr. Brockman will speak about those ongoing efforts and their work to establish an intermodal transit center to serve the increasing visitation.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for letting me introduce them.
Go ahead, Joe.
Page 1031 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. MICKES. Good evening. My name is Joe Mickes. I'm the chief engineer of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
I am pleased, Mr. Chairman, that the committee has given us this opportunity to speak and that the Members have shown interest in learning more about transportation needs of the State.
I would like to speak to you about a situation that many of you I know can identify with in your home States and that is that there is a tremendous need to replace aging and seriously substandard bridges. I'm speaking specifically today about major river bridges that are extremely expensive and are virtually impossible to pay for from a State's annual allotment of funds.
We strongly urge the committee to include a sizeable discretionary bridge fund in the ISTEA reauthorization legislation. This will help the State meet some very urgent safety needs.
This discretionary program would allow States to secure bridge funds to quickly replace high-cost structures with a minimum of traffic disruption.
Since 1986, more than 40 States and the District of Columbia have received bridge discretionary funds. In the fiscal years 1994 through 1996, the States have requested $1.28 billion for 65 bridges nationally.
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One of theit's an amazing statistic, and it even surprised me, who have spent a lifetime in HighwaysMissouri has some 44 bridges on the State highway system that cross the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, alone. Many of these need to be replaced.
The Emerson Memorial Bridge at Cape Girardeau is a perfect example. This bridge is obsolete, with two narrow lanes and a severe weight restriction that prevents its safe and efficient use for motorists and commercial traffic. It also aligns directly within the New Madrid seismic fault zone. And this bridge, by the way, has never been designed to withstand an earthquake of any magnitude.
We're grateful for the $2 million in the discretionary funds that we have received so far, but this is a very expensive project costing over $100 million, and there is a dire need for additional funding.
States and local communities need a program in place that would provide a dependable and substantial source of funds over several years to replace these obsolete bridges.
The Route 13 Bridge across the Missouri River in Congresswoman Danner's District is another example. The bridge is 75 years old, it is narrow and obsolete. The bridge serves a heavily-traveled north-south corridor through the State.
Kansas City's Shodo Bridge, also in Congresswoman Danner's District, is on another list. It was part of a three-bridge package, along with Cape Girardeau and the Hannibal Bridge, for which additional funds have been obtained in the last 2 years.
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The bridge discretionary fund, however, is insufficient to help those States with these crucial bridges. For example, there are only $60 million in the fund.
The Great Flood of '93 in our State focused the public's attention on the need for bridge structures that will remain open and useable during significant floods. We need to limit the various impacts to the flood plain areas adjacent to the bridges.
Maintaining the traffic and economic viability of the communities via transportation facilities during flood events requires more substantial structures above flood waters which would limit backwater flooding upstream.
The end result will be longer bridges with higher roadway approaches costing more money. These more substantial structures have a greater environmental impact, which must be evaluated in the context of benefits received.
We in Missouri believe there is a need for an expanded bridge program of $800 million annually. It is vitally important that the Federal Government have the flexibility to fund a State's extraordinary emergency bridge needs in any given year.
We believe that a large discretionary program maintains a strong Federal presence that we need in the national transportation system.
We also see a tremendous need for highway discretionary funds to reconstruct our interstate system, which is also vital to our Nation's economy.
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In the Kansas City area, alone, we have a great number of interstate highways that were built some 40 years ago that have a failing roadbed, and simple resourcing is no longer going to take care of these needs.
We feel that a discretionary program which is strictly a needs-based program should be a very viable part of the reauthorization of ISTEA.
I would be glad to take any questions anyone might have.
Mr. PETRI. Let's go to the rest of the panel and then we'll see if there are any questions.
Mr. Brockman, did you have a statement, or Mr. Gross?
Mr. BROCKMAN. Yes. Good evening, Mr. Chairman and representatives of the subcommittee.
I would like to thank Congressman Clay for sponsoring this project and Congresswoman Emerson for sponsoring the testimony time. She and her husband have been long-time friends and supporters of the Garden.
This testimony is to request specific dedicated authorization, appropriation, and funding for an intermodal transit center associated with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Bi-State Development Agency in St. Louis.
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Due to increasing visitation that's estimated to reach two million persons annually by the year 2000, the Garden has put forth efforts in the neighborhood to improve access to the Garden. We are privatizing the design of some ramps off of I44 to complete a diamond interchange, and we are presently constructing an 80,000-square-foot research facility immediately adjacent to this interchange.
Looking at all of the other planning that should go on in this area, it has been noted that we should also look to build an intermodal transit facility immediately adjacent to this ramp set into the research facility.
Looking at this intermodal center, which I'll describe in a moment, the total cost of this package, exclusive of the transit rail station, is estimated at $6 million.
The Garden will put in private real estate procurement and design services for this project, Bi-State Development will provide some local transit matching operations in the form of consolidated routing to the transit center and local match commitment involving repurchase of components of the bus fleet involved with local routings which would use this center.
The total of the Garden and Bi-State Development Corporation matching components is estimated at $2.3 million, or 38 percent of the total project.
We herewith request specific authorization and dedication of $3.7 million as the Federal funding component for this intermodal center.
Page 1036 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 The objectives of this center are as follows:
To provide a central point for bus service interchange and schedule transfers. And in this context it allows for operations to occur.
To develop a point of common origin to any other destination in the region.
It's a point of location for express bus to interact after that diamond interchange is complete so that express and local change can occur with a properly-designed geometric bus parking operation.
It includes development of appropriate park-and-ride facilities and then in this regard the Garden has excessive parking demands on some 80 days a year, primarily on weekends. This occurs when daily transit commuting does not occur. The Garden could make use of 300 proposed parking spaces during the weekend off-peak period and satisfy its overloaded parking concerns, while participating in the intermodal commuting process to the benefit of the region during the weekday period, as described.
The other objective is it's a possible long-term integration with rail transit. This site is adjacent to Union Pacific Rail trackage, and it currently has AMTRAK service on its trackage down to Texas.
We plan to study the review of the potential of this line as a rail and AMTRAK server from out-State Missouri, Jefferson County, and Southwest St. Louis County in relation to potential long-run travel demand and efficient train operations.
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The Garden has procured four acres of land immediately west of this site which would allow development of retail office facility focused on the transit center, with bridge and elevator linkage to the bus park-and-ride lots.
The private income-producing real estate development, rental income, and regional business multiplier result in $19 million in annual added value generated for the St. Louis region by virtue of the result of such a transit center planned with long-term transportation and land use interface.
This is a highly cost-effective project, and we respectfully request your assistance in dedicating $3.7 million in Federal funding and inclusion of the above activities in specific project initiative and forthcoming ISTEA authorization and appropriations.
Once again, thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on this vital intermodal transit center benefitting the entire St. Louis metropolitan region.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. Gross, did you have a statement?
Mr. GROSS. Thank you. Thank you, Congressman, distinguished members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you this evening. Special thanks to Congresswoman Emerson for introducing us. Our distinguished Congressman happens to be back home in the District today.
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With me I'd like to introduce The Honorable Bob Knight, mayor of Waynesville, who has traveled all this way to demonstrate the importance of the project, and city administrator Tom Tinsley.
The unique story I would like to tell you this evening, very quickly, rather than departing from my testimony, is the story that I feel about the area of Fort Leonard Wood.
As you all are aware, at Fort Leonard Wood area we are going to be receiving the Fort McClellan movement under the BRAC '95. But prior to that ever occurring, the city of Waynesville undertook a dramatic economic development project that, prior to that even, has generated over 300 jobs and approximately $600,000 in annual local taxes being generated. It has been very successful.
This has been done through the Industrial Development Authority of the city of Waynesville, who is requesting the development of this intermodal project.
We feel that the unique creative financing opportunities which the IDA has demonstrated in the pastwe have financed the entire redevelopment of this area without any grants, without any subsidies in any way, not even tax-exempt financing. As a result, we feel the IDA is a typical proper authority to guide through this privatization project.
The problem we have in the Fort Leonard Wood region, the highway system, we have an excellent east-west with I44. We have an interstate to the north of Interstate 70, U.S. 60 to the south. Nothing really ties them together but some older State highway systems.
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We have the Lake of the Ozarks, which is a prime recreational area, to the north of the region, and not very accessible. We have our National Guard having to travel over obsolete road systems. And Whiteman Air Force Base is the deployment center for Fort Leonard Wood, which again must be traveled in some very delirious road systems.
We anticipate we'd like to study a development of a creative financing approach to solve our transportation need. This is in respect to the chief engineer of the highway department. The problem that has come up in the last years with the development of Fort Leonard Wood wasn't in the long-term plan, and we feel we need to come up with a creative solution to solving it. We feel we're situated where we can do that.
In addition to that, we are looking at an intermodal center, which was inspired by a speech that was given to the National Transportation Board this past January talking about the need of intermodal freight centers for over-the-road truck traffic.
The problem with truck drivers today, if you have a load going over the cross-country, for every stop they make that's time lost, productivity, also additional wear and tear on the road systems where they may get off.
We need some sort of intermodal system center where trucking can be coordinated and consolidated and distributed more efficiently.
We feel that the Fort Leonard Wood region is a prime candidate for this because of the concentrated customer, if you may, being Fort Leonard Wood, generating over 56 million pounds of freight per year.
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We think it would be an ideal case for the demonstration project.
We are requesting about $3 million in funding at ISTEA. We are bringing to the table a match of approximately $2 million to the project. We feel that it would be great for not only the region but for the State in developing our freight system and our interstate corridor.
We intend to work in compatibility with the Missouri State Highway Department and the military to bring this project to fruition.
Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. Mayor, we appreciate your being here, as well.
Are there questions of this panel?
Mr. PETRI. I had just one. We appreciate all of your testimony. I recognize the projects are each separate and they'll all be taken into consideration.
We had testimony from some other States' experts, highway department people, on the bridge formula, arguing that there should be some changes to a more objective way of distributing the money based on use and size and so on, rather than based on the state of the bridges, because there was a sense that some people were maybe neglecting the bridges to increase their money and then they were reprogramming it to other purposes.
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Is that a problem in your view, or is that not the case? Have you reviewed any of those proposals? We can at least get your input as long as you're here.
Mr. MICKES. I have not reviewed their proposal to change the formula. I personally believe that the program is really established to upgrade deficient bridges, either functionally or structurally, and I think that should remain.
I believe that there are some protections that prevent States from not repairing their bridges. For example, while bridge money can be transferred, if you do transfer then you are not allowed to participate in a discretionary bridge fund. I think that's a very good deterrent.
Now, I really believe that maybe modifying that provision to be a little more restrictive on the transferring of bridge monies, I think it would be appropriate.
We just have so many bridges in our State, both county, city, and State bridges, I think we rank something like sixth nationally.
I disagree. I think that condition of the bridge really ought to be the main factor.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. EMERSON. Mr. Chairman, I have aif you'll yield for a second, I have several questions for each of the gentlemen that I'd like to just, in the interest of time, give to them, and then we'll submit it for the record later.
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Mr. PETRI. That's fine. We would appreciate it. Your responses will be made a part of the record.
And your full statements today will be made a part of the record, as well as your oral statements.
Thank you all for coming.
Ms. EMERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. We appreciate your patience.
Ms. EMERSON. Thanks.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Mickes, Gross, and Brockman follow:]
Mr. PETRI. The next panel is led by our colleague, Sam Farr from California. He's accompanied by: Mark Dorfman, acting general manager, Santa Cruz Metro Transit District; Linda Wilshusen, executive director, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission; Frank Lichtanski, general manager, Monterey-Salinas Transit; and John Fair, director of public works in Salinas.
Page 1043 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Gentlemen, you've been very patient. We appreciate it. We hope you were planning on staying over, because that's probably what you're going to be doing today.
TESTIMONY OF HON. SAM FARR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY MARK DORFMAN, ACTING GENERAL MANAGER, SANTA CRUZ METRO TRANSIT DISTRICT, LINDA WILSHUSEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, FRANK LICHTANSKI, GENERAL MANAGER, MONTEREY-SALINAS TRANSIT, JOHN FAIR, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, SALINAS, CA, AND DICK NUTTER, MONTEREY COUNTY AGRICULTURAL COMMISSIONER
SANTACRUZ COUNTY TRANSIT PROJECTS, MONTEREY COUNTY TRANSIT PROJECTS
Mr. FARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate you for still being here. This is a long day and a late night, and I appreciate it.
I'll try to be very rapid. I know you've been listening to allot of these presentations.
I want to just have you for a moment envision my District. I live in an area that's surrounded by mountains to the east, and we live in the alluvial plain of those mountains on the coastal zone, central part of California. So we have mountains in the east, ocean to the west, surrounded. It's an isolated community.
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In fact, it is a community that is dependent on getting in and out through transportation corridors, and I'm here to speak to you on some issues, four issues that I think have national significance and therefore should be funded with Federal dollars.
The area is most noted for its agriculture$2.2 billion of specialty crops. This is all the produce, if you go to any store here in Washington or anywhere in the United States and pick up strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, artichokes, cauliflowerI could go on and onthey were grownyou'll see by the labelsin the Salinas Valley. And that valley is totally dependent on surface transportation to get that produce to our grocery stores.
What I'd like to talk to you about are four district projects.
The first one is a fixed guideway rail project. It's a $20 million request with a $20 million local match. It piggybacks on an existing strong transit system. It's in the county of Santa Cruz, which is in the coastal alluvial plain.
Santa Cruz' transit system is in the top 25 percent of per capita boardings per year throughout the country. This is a small community that ranks in the top 25 percent of boardings.
It provides a service to a Federally-designated rural enterprise community, so it's got a Federal connection there with Federal dollars going into Watsonville, which is one of the areas with the highest unemployment in California. It is an area that was the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake and floods, and also an area that has been affected by the base closure in the area.
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It also links the Monterey County sites like the California State University of Monterey Bay and the University of California Research Facility at Fort Ord, the largest closed military base in the United States. And it creates a rail link with the San Francisco Bay region. It is a project that provides cutting-edge technology, because it will be a self-propelled diesel multiple-unit, a DMU passenger rail vehicle. That's the first project, the Santa Cruz County fixed guideway rail project.
The second project is an Airport Road/Highway 101, U.S. Highway 101 interchange in Salinas, California. Highway 101 runs right through the District. The interchange is a $17.6 million project. Salinas is the salad bowl capital of the world, the heart of the agricultural industry. We have 3,000 trucks a daycan you imagine? We have 3,000 trucks a day that leave that town or are in the town, and they need to make three stops in order to get filled with produce and get out of town, and that doesn't include the thousands of field trucks that are bringing the produce in.
We move produce faster from the field to the store than any other place in the United States.
The interchange there is 40 years old. We lose now between 500 and 1,000 hours of trucker delays each day. The communityit's a corridor that serves between 25,000 and 30,000 daily commuters that go into Smuckers, McCormick-Shilling, Household Credit Corporation, and it's a primary vehicular access to the Salinas Airport, which is a general aviation airport which serves about 100,000 flight operations a year.
Page 1046 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 So I ask, Mr. Chairman, unanimous consent to submit my testimony with a letter signed by a coalition of local officials stressing the significance of this critical transportation project.
I have with me our county ag commissioner, Dick Nutter, at the end of the table down here to answer any technical questions you might have.
The third project is the Fort Ord multi-modal transit center. It's a $17.1 million request, that willbe supplemented with State transit money and local transit money. As I said, Fort Ord is the largest closed military base in the United States. when it closed in 1993 it brought a loss of about 21,000 jobs.
We want to develop Fort Ord into a multi-modal transit center to spur base reuse and because we have a new California State University which currently has 2,000 student with an enrollment expected to grow to 13,000 students in the near future. These students are dependent on mass transit.
A portion of this request will help replace the old buses that are still in use in this transit district. The buses that Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) has in inventory are 20 years old. They are 1977 flexible coaches. Many of those buses have over a million miles on them, and must be replaced in accordance with FTA regulations.
Essentially, the national interest is not only base reuse and the multi-modal transit center, but also the demonstration of the high tech buses. MST wants to replace it's aging fleet with 27 state-of-the-art CNG buses, which will reduce air pollution by 23 tons per year and translate into a savings of more than $5 daily in public congestion costs for each passenger in Monterey County that shifts from automobiles to the new CNG buses.
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The last request is for the Santa Cruz transit buses and para-transit vehicles. It's a $12.6 million request with a $3.1 million local match. It will replace 63 buses. It will purchase 29 para-transit vehicles. The current inventory has an average service life of 14 years. They have high failure rates. They have mechanical difficulties and they're not in compliance with current air quality standards.
This request from Santa Cruz is unique as compared to other small operators. The Federal transit formula is based on population and population density. Santa Cruz receives formula funding for only two urbanized areas in the country, although its population is only 238,000.
The significant ridership in Santa Cruz is one of the highest in the country. It's 28.6 per capita. It's higher than many large cities like Birmingham, Albany, Columbus, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and Houston. And Santa Cruz is next to the bottom on the list of receiving only $5.80 in formula funds per capita.
So it's a small district that's doing a heck of a job, and we respectfully request funds for this bus replacement.
I have with me Linda Wilshusen, who is executive director of Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission, and others that are here to speak to you and answer any questions you might have.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. FARR. And thank you for your patience.
Mr. PETRI. No, thank you.
Would anyone else like to make a statement, or are you here just to answer questions?
Mr. PETRI. Are there any questions?
Mr. RAHALL. I think Mr. Farr pretty well described the projects, Mr. Chairman. I commend him on the leadership he's taken on these projects and we look forward to working with him.
Mr. PETRI. Are they part ofcould I ask if the California Transportation Authority has beenare they included in their plans?
Mr. FARR. In our STIP, State transportation improvement plans?
Mr. PETRI. Yes.
Page 1049 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 Mr. FARR. To my knowledge they are.
What we tried to dowe have about $430 million in transportation needs in this district, but I tried to bring to you four projects, prioritized within the limits you gave us, that I think are projects that are of national significance. The fact that you have a fixed guideway rail project, you have a truckers' interchange that's absolutely essential, you have a multi-modal transportation center at a closed military base, and you have one of the most remarkable and successful small transit districts.
Santa Cruz went out and levied a half cent sales tax to pay for their transit district, and that has been in operation since 1978. They've been very successful. But they need the buses and the para-transit vehicles.
So there's a rail, multi-modal, highway interchange and bus request that I think make an appropriate mix, and, as I said, each of them have a Federal nexus.
Mr. PETRI. Great. I guess as the base closing thing has gone forward and we've had more experience with it, we've discovered it's not always an unmitigated disaster. Sometimes, in fact, after a few years it has turned out to be a big plus.
Mr. FARR. We think it will be in the long run. The trouble is, as you know, you have 21,000 people that got up and left, and you leave a community behind, and you don't get a 21,000 replacement for many, many years, so you have a lag.
We all are convinced that when it's up and runningwhen those buildings are actually converted and utilized, we are all positive that base closures will be, in the end run, positive. But we think it's going to take about a 10-year effort. And where we are weak, Congress and the United States, is in really helping the communities through that transition period.
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We do a lot with the process of base closureand I'm probably more familiar with that than anybody in Congressbut I don't think we have really designed the system yet where we can expedite it fast enough to recapture that lag as fast as we ought to be able to.
This multi-modal transportation center will certainly help.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Thank you all for coming. We appreciate your patience and we apologize for the late hour.
Mr. FARR. Thank you very much for your patience.
[The prepared statements of Messrs. Farr, Dorfman, Nutter and Ms. Wilshusen follow:]
Mr. PETRI. Now let's see. We have George Radanovich, also from California, accompanied by Dr. J.D. Northway, president and CEO of Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno.
We welcome you and appreciate your sticking with us until this late hour.
Thank you very much. Please proceed, George.
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TESTIMONY OF HON. GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. J.D. NORTHWAY, PRESIDENT, CEO, VALLEY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, FRESNO, CA
HIGHWAY 41 EXTENSION
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'll read from my notes, although they did say ''good afternoon,'' so I'll change that to ''good evening.''
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, for allowing me to testify with my constituent, Dr. J.D. Northway, to support a funding request in the ISTEA authorization bill for an extension project of Highway 41, a project that is crucial to California's Central Valley.
This project modernizes approximately 4 miles of Highway 41 that is currently two-laned, and reconstructs an old two-lane bridge that crosses the San Joaquin River between Madera and Fresno Counties.
The project is crucial to commuters traveling between the counties for work, visitors traveling to Yosemite National Park, and the economic development of the area, and, most importantly, to patients traveling to Valley Children's Hospital, which is relocating in Madera County just across the river.
Page 1052 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 5 Of 5 This project is the number one priority for the California State Department of Transportation in Central Valley. The project also has been in the pipeline for about 8 years.
The State has prioritized over $26 million for the construction costs. An additional $10.3 million is needed to pay for the total cost.
Yesterday, the department announced that it is working on a phased-in construction plan for the project, using the money it has on hand. However, in order to complete the project, the additional $10.3 million must be produced.
I ask that you give this funding request timely and thorough consideration. It is crucial to the safety and transportation infrastructure of the Central Valley.
Now I would like to introduce Dr. J.D. Northway, president and CEO of Valley Children's Hospital, who has been actively involved in the community and in the development of this Highway 41 extension project.
I also want to thank Dr. Northway for taking time out of his busy schedule to travel to Washington, D.C., and to testify in support of this very important project.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Doctor?
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Dr. NORTHWAY. Thank you, Congressman Radanovich.
Good evening, Chairman Petri. Thank you very much for allowing me to take time from your schedule to speak to you about this project.
As stated, I am Dr. J.D. Northway, the president and chief executive officer of Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno, California. We are a regional pediatric center serving over one million children in central California. We are the only children's hospital between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and over 70 percent of our patients are Medicaid recipients.
Our ''Just for Children'' facility now operates beyond its capacity. In 1990 we realized we could no longer make do with our original nine-acre site. Simply put, we outgrew our facility and had no room left to expand.
In 1991 we were fortunate to receive a generous donation of 50 acres of open land just across the San Joaquin River in southern Madera County. The new hospital site at Freeway 41 and Avenue 10 is nearly half completed and is on schedule to open in the summer of 1998.
When completed, the 615,000-square-foot facility will provide the children of our valley with a state-of-the-art regional medical center.
This medical center will ensure that our children can remain in their home communities when faced with complicated or rare medical problems rather than travel hundreds of miles to San Francisco or Los Angeles for treatment or consultation.
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In addition, this new hospital will continue to play a key role in promoting the economic development of the central San Joaquin Valley of California.
Since the donation of the land, the sale of the bonds for financing the facility, and the availability of special State funds for hospitals that ensure access for all patients, regardless of their financial circumstances or medical illnesses, we have worked diligently with Madera County and the State of California to upgrade Highway 41 and its antiquated bridges over the San Joaquin River.
Presently, this is a very, very unsafe section of highway and, interestingly enough, is the only highway open at this time to one of our Nation's crown jewels, Yosemite National Park.
We hope that you will approve $10.3 million to allow the State to widen approximately 4 miles of this highway over the river, as well as build an interchange at Avenue 10 to guarantee safe access to the hospital.
The State Transportation Department has allocated approximately $27 million for this project. It is on the STIP and is ready to be spent.
With the funds requested in our proposal, the State will be able to complete the project, as designated.
As a father, as a grandfather, and as a pediatrician, as well as the president of the hospital, I hope that you will give our request serious consideration. We need this highway expansion to provide access for sick children and their families.
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On behalf of the children of central California, I thank you and your committee, Mr. Chairman, for your consideration.
Mr. PETRI. We thank you.
Is that down the south side of Fresno near Easton?
Dr. NORTHWAY. The hospital will be just north of Fresno County on the northern border of the San Joaquin River in southern Madera County.
Mr. PETRI. I see. Yes. All right. That's great.
And this has been cleared with the California Transportation?
Dr. NORTHWAY. Right. As a matter of fact, as Congressman Radanovich mentioned today, they announced that they are willing to phase the project and will go ahead and start the first part of the project, and hopefully we could arrange for funding for the second part.
Mr. PETRI. Well, we appreciate your coming here to draw attention to it. We know you're a busy person and providing a vital service, and we thank you for helping underline its importance to the children and citizens of your area of California, Fresno.
Dr. NORTHWAY. Thank you. Thank you for keeping it open and allowing us to testify here. We really appreciate it.
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Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Rahall.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Radanovich follows:]
Mr. PETRI. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 7:27 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]