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Wednesday, March 4, 1998.









    Mr. WOLF. Welcome, both of you, to the committee. Your full statements will appear in the record as if read. You can proceed in whatever way you think is appropriate, but it might be better to summarize, but whatever way you would rather go, that would be fine too.

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    I'd recognize the Ranking Member, Mr. Obey, for a statement or comment.

    Mr. OBEY. No.

FHWA Opening Remarks

    Mr. WYKLE. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of the Federal Highway Administration's fiscal year 1999 budget.

    Joining me this morning is Ms. Gloria Jeff, the Deputy Federal Highway Administrator and Mr. Anthony Kane, Executive Director.

    I'm also a strong proponent of empowerment, therefore I have other members of the Federal Highway Administration staff with me to elaborate on various aspects of our budget request as may be appropriate.

    Mr. WOLF. That's a good way of putting it. [Laughter.]


    Mr. WYKLE. As you have indicated, sir, I'll submit the full statement for the record and I will summarize my statement.

    Last month, the President submitted his fiscal year 1999 budget to the Congress, a budget that is in balance for the first time in 30 years and ends deficit spending three years ahead of the schedule envisioned in last year's budget agreement.
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    Within this context, the Department of Transportation's proposed budget for fiscal year 1999 invests in the Nation's future at a historic level, 42 percent higher than the average spending in the first four years of this decade.

    Secretary Slater appeared before this committee yesterday and provided an overview of that budget request. His testimony outlined five strategic goals for building an integrated transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life for the American people, today and into the 21st century.

    The Federal Highway Administration budget that we are proposing today is built solidly around those strategic goals and meets the challenge to maintain a safe, high quality, intermodal transportation network.


    Our budget proposes a Federal-aid highway obligation limitation of $21.5 billion, a continuation of fiscal year 1998's record level. In addition, a total of $250 million is proposed for State infrastructure banks and a new transportation infrastructure credit enhancement program. These funds will provide financing alternatives to help launch projects sooner by attracting private and non-federal public investment.


    Our budget request strongly supports transportation safety, which Secretary Slater has stated is the Department's highest priority. Working with Administrator Martinez and our other partners in highway safety, we have stated an aggressive goal of reducing the number of highway-related fatalities by 20 percent in 10 years and during the same period, also reducing the number of highway-related injuries by 20 percent.
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    Our reauthorization proposal highlights safety as a national priority. It provides new incentives and increases flexibility among other highway programs to address national and State priorities. Our reauthorization proposal includes a major research focus within the intelligent transportation system program for the development and testing of intelligent vehicle systems that promise dramatic improvements in safety.

    The Federal Highway budget request also includes $100 million for motor carrier safety. These funds will support a results-oriented commercial motor vehicle safety program. Over 80 percent of the funds will be used as grants to States for the implementation of comprehensive, nationwide, performance-based safety programs. The funds will also support national information systems and analysis and development of new systems to support critical safety initiatives such as the Commercial Vehicle Information System.


    We have also proposed increased funding for programs which support the advancement of technological innovation. Our fiscal year 1999 budget recognizes that a strong Federal transportation research and technology program is not a tradeoff with infrastructure funding but is a powerful tool to ensure that innovation is incorporated into the multibillion dollar infrastructure program.

    Technology advancement is essential to support the Nation's infrastructure needs and this budget includes funding to deploy innovative technology from which travelers will benefit on a daily basis.
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    And, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, underlying this Federal Highway Administration budget is a philosophy of common sense management that allows us to meet mission changes and develop the agency work force which will provide leadership for meeting the transportation challenges of the 21st century.

    Even as we significantly streamline our agency, in fiscal year 1999, we will make our final reduction and staffing levels to meet our national performance review target ceiling. This culminates an almost 12 percent reduction in staff since 1993. We will also take the first steps in the implementation of our field restructuring plan with the elimination of our nine regional offices and the establishment of four resource centers to be staffed by program and technical specialists.

    Since my appointment as Federal Highway Administrator in November, I have reviewed in depth the work of an agency task force appointed to evaluate our field structure and after consulting with the FHWA leadership team, we have selected a course of action.

    With the support of the Secretary and other modal administrators, we are moving forward with the implementation planning that will be necessary to get us to the desired end state. In completing this restructuring, we will make every effort to minimize the impacts on our Federal employees.

    During fiscal year 1999, we will begin operating with four resource centers on a virtual basis until all necessary restructuring actions have been completed. Even though we are slightly behind the schedule originally envisioned, you have my assurance, Mr. Chairman, that I am fully committed to completing this restructuring of the Federal Highway Administration.
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    Finally, while the Appropriations Committee completed their work for fiscal year 1998, reauthorization of Federal surface transportation programs is still pending before Congress. As the Secretary stated yesterday, early action on reauthorization is essential if we are to avoid severe impacts to the traveling public and the highway construction industry, as well as the operation of Federal agencies, including FHWA and NHTSA.

    States' ability to obligate Federal aid highway funds terminates at the end of April. And the extension act passed last year by Congress only allows States to obligate $9.7 billion of the $21.5 billion ceiling for fiscal year 1998. This means an estimated $11 billion could be left on the table.

    Perhaps the foremost impact of delayed reauthorization lies in the area of highway safety. By this summer, the Federal Motor Carrier Program will cease to operate. States will be forced to begin laying off safety investigators. The National Driver Register, which is critical to identification of problem drivers, will be shut down. This will create an immediate and significant impact on highway safety.


    In conclusion, as we look to the future, we have set high goals in our strategic plan that forms the basis for our fiscal year 1999 budget request. We look forward to working with the Congress to achieve these goals. We would be pleased to address any questions you may have following Administrator Martinez' statement.
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    Thank you, sir.

    [The prepared statement and biography of Kenneth Wykle and biographies of Gloria Jeff and Anthony Kane follow:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

NHTSA Opening Remarks

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Wykle.

    Dr. Martinez.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Mr. Wolf, I actually have a short statement but I will summarize that.

    Mr. WOLF. You're welcome to give the whole statement. That's fine.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you and the members of the Subcommittee today. I want to thank this Subcommittee for the bipartisan support we've received for our programs and our safety mission.

    With me today is Phillip Recht, Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Right behind me is my leadership team. It has been a strong reason for our success in the past few years.
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    As you know, transportation safety is Secretary Slater's number one priority. The Department's fiscal year budget proposes a record investment in safety as a direct reflection of Secretary Slater's commitment to improve transportation safety, an 11 percent increase over fiscal year 1998.


    NHTSA is requesting an investment of $406 million, an increase of 22 percent from fiscal year 1998 funding, to address the highway safety challenges which I will outline further.

    I do want to say that I'm pleased with the bipartisan support we've had working together under your chairmanship and we've made great strides in highway safety. When I first came here several years ago, you didn't know us as well as I wanted. We came up with a lot of ideas and a lot of new ways to do things, and I appreciate the fact that you all invested in us. I think we have made a lot of significant responses to that.

    The strategies are now realities. We launched a new presidential initiative on safety belt use with a broad coalition of public and private partners that is growing rapidly. We have held intermodal Moving Kids Safely conferences to improve the traveling safety of our Nation's children. We've moved them from Washington, D.C. to the regions. We've now held 22 conferences intermodally.

    We've distributed over 30,000 Protecting Your Newborn videos to organizations, including videos in Spanish. Ford Motor Company has distributed another 110,000 as part of our partnership efforts.
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    We've expanded the Safe Communities Injury Control Program which originally had a goal of 50 in 5 years. We now have over 350 sites, developed in the past 2 years. Our goal is 600 by the end of 1999.

    We created a Crash, Injury, Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) that brought together seven trauma centers and linked those to create not only detailed hospital-based data on car crashes, but creates a strong link between the medical engineers and researchers. We're sharing that information with researchers and engineers in Detroit and around the world.

    We initiated a multiyear project to field test the prototype of the Automatic Collision Notification System and we've proven that concept. We brought new partners into that, including EMS, police and fire services and medical services around the country.

    We've issued several key air bag rulemakings to deal with the most significant safety problems associated with air bag deployment while preserving the overall safety benefits.

    We've issued rulemakings improving protection for head injury. I'll just mention that some of the underride for trucks also comes on line this year.

    We continue research on key vehicle safety initiatives such as light duty vehicle compatibility, advanced air bags and rollover. We've redesigned our programs with the States to focus on performance partnerships, which has really energized some of the participants in those programs. We think this has led to significant changes in how we do business with the States.
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    We have developed new incentive programs through our NEXTEA legislation to focus on national priorities such as seat belt use and impaired driving. The seat belt use initiative, as you can see, has become a departmental priority.

    Through our strategic planning, we have modernized the agency in terms of improved communications and information technology; we've streamlined our processes; we've improved the skills of staff through training and education; and we have strengthened our staff to create a well-trained, diverse staff to meet the needs of tomorrow.

    As you know, we are in a challenging safety environment. We have an aging population and a growth of second baby boomers. By increasing diversity in these groups, we have to reach hard. We've had a flattening of some of our successes over the years which is one reason we wanted to change our approach.

    We believe that we are in an opportune position now by having reached out to new partners and creating new programs to move the ball even further. Our budget request reflects that, and also reflects the fact that highway crashes constitute 94 percent of all transportation-related fatalities, and 99 percent of all the injuries, as well as $150 billion in societal costs. We think it is a modest investment in our Nation's effort to provide safe transportation and reduce health care costs.

    Our request includes the following: increased funding for the recently launched President's Initiative for Increasing seatbelt use; funding for the President's Initiative on Drugs, Driving and Youth; expanding the number of safe community sites to 600 in 1999, and with that, significant training for individuals who are in those programs so that they can continue to energize and mobilize resources in their own communities. We will train the people to keep the program going.
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    Funding is also requested to implement successful partnership strategies in Partners for Progress, which is geared toward alcohol-related injuries, funding to investigate car crash compatibility between light trucks, vans and passenger cars; to study advanced airbag systems; to conduct special crash investigations into the second generation air bags; and to expand the number of CIREN sites to seven, to increase our knowledge of injuries, biomechanics and the kinematics, of car crashes.

    We are requesting a substantial increase in the Section 402 Program—64 percent of the funding we're requesting actually goes to our partners in the States to help others participate, not only at the State level but at the local level, in these national initiatives.

    I do want to share that it is a real pleasure and opportunity to appear with Kenneth Wykle, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, and Gloria Jeff, his deputy. We continue to maintain a close relationship with the Federal Highway Administration which continues to get better, not only at the national level, but also at the regional level.

    Today we've introduced programs and initiatives to effectively address the Department's number one priority of safety. A lot of work at the local level such as the red light running campaigns, speed enforcement programs, and aggressive driving programs, as well as initiatives dealing with children's issues.


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    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your support, and Mr. Sabo, for your support. We're very optimistic about our progress so far. I know we have more interest in our programs, but we look forward to working with you and your wonderful staff throughout the year.

    [The prepared statement and biography of Ricardo Martinez and biography of Philip Recht follow:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Thank you very much, Dr. Martinez.

    I know Mr. Obey, the Ranking Member of the full committee, has another hearing which I wish I could also attend but I can't so I will recognize him and then we will go back and forth.

    Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I didn't expect that.

    I don't have any questions. I would simply like to make a comment to both these gentlemen. I wish I could have made it yesterday when Mr. Slater was here, but I was otherwise occupied.

    I simply would like to most strongly disassociate myself from one initiative that this Administration is undertaking. Wisconsin has been for many years a donor State when it comes to highway money. When I was first elected to Congress, we got about 67 cents back for every dollar we sent to Washington. Through the years, we've been able to change that to the point this year where we were almost at $1. Now the Administration budget would set our State back significantly with respect to that issue.
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    The Administration's announcement yesterday with respect to blood alcohol level would also, in my view, threaten to set back my State even further.

    As you know, the President announced an initiative which would suggest that if a State does not reduce its blood alcohol level to .8 percent, it would experience a withholding of 5 percent of certain highway programs, rising to about 10 percent withholding, I believe, down the line.

    I have no problem with the Administration going after drunk drivers. My grandfather was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver, but I want to say that I most strenuously object to the narrow nature of the Administration's attack on drunk drivers.

    I would simply draw to your attention a few facts. There are a lot of ways that you can attack the drunk driving problem. One is to lower the blood alcohol level. If you want to determine which States are tough on drunk drivers and which aren't, another way is to take a look at the amount of fines, the dollar level of fines that are levied on someone who is a drunk driver. Another is to examine the amount of jail time that is required if you're convicted of drunk driving.

    We had two legislators in the Wisconsin legislature last week introduce legislation which would provide for a ten-year jail period for a repeat offender. I'd say that's pretty tough.

    Another way to examine whether or not a State is tough or lenient on drunk driving is to examine the quality of required counseling and the toughness of probation activities associated with our treatment of drunk drivers.
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    I simply want to say, I, for one, very strongly disagree with the Administration picking out one specific target as deserving of reductions in State highway aid. I would say its decision to do so only strengthens my view that the proper way to get out of the entire silliness which is accompanying the way Congress is dealing with highways in general is to support the Kasich bill which would simply turn the revenues back to the States and let them run their own highway programs, with the exception of a tiny set aside to meet a few Federal responsibilities.

    I guess I'm distressed when I see a public relations effort such as we saw yesterday aimed at the right target but I think very quaint in terms of the weapons it selects to go after that target.

    I'm also disturbed by the fact that the Congress apparently is going to put concrete ahead of kids by deciding that despite the budget caps last year, we're going to bust those caps in order to pass the Authorization Committee's highway bill or at least you're going to see them take a good many billions of dollars away from education and other high priorities to fund additional highways.

    I don't think the Congress or the Administration has exactly covered itself in glory in terms of the thoughtfulness of its approach to transportation issues. I simply wanted to get that off my chest. My real argument is with the White House, although I'm sure that you fully support their proposals.

    For what it's worth, which is probably not much, I simply wanted to make that statement and I thank the Chairman for his time.
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    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Obey.

    Little more than three weeks remain before the expiration of the temporary extension, of the short-term highway and transit reauthorization. What will be the major impact on ongoing and planned highway construction after May 1 should the Act not be reauthorized by that time?

    Mr. WYKLE. From the standpoint of highway construction, the impact on the States, it's certainly varies by State because of the way they have managed or accumulated the money. We have done some surveys to try to get a feel of the general impact across all of the States if this happens.

    Some of the initial information we have received shows that if there is a delay until the end of June, as an example, there will be approximately 1,400 projects valued at about $2.5 billion that will be deferred or delayed.

    If it goes as far as July 31, then we will have another 1,450 projects delayed at about $2.6 billion. For each billion dollars in highway construction funds, that equates to about 42,000 jobs, about 10,000 of which are directly related to on-site construction work. Approximately 20,000 of those are indirect, off-site type jobs.

    So you can see a delay will have a significant impact on the construction programs and projects in each of the States, as well as on the economy and the jobs aspect. If you go beyond the construction, as I mentioned in my statement, there is a significant impact on safety also.
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    Mr. WOLF. What will be the impact on the highway safety program should the reauthorization not be enacted by May 1?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, first of all, the programs are already being scaled back.

    Mr. WOLF. How are they being scaled back?

    Mr. WYKLE. In terms of FHWA travel, the extent to which safety personnel we can go out into the field and some locations.

    Mr. WOLF. Actual programs have been canceled or trips have been canceled?

    Mr. WYKLE. Right. Trips have been canceled or delayed to try to consolidate with other trips to make maximum efficiency of the funds that are available. States primarily fund their own motor carrier safety inspectors through this program, so that program will cease about the end of June.

    The reason I say that is we have made management decisions to stretch our funds to some extent. There will be a lapse in term of inspectors available to the States to actually conduct inspections and a significant impact in terms of the National Driver Register shutdown, which is the automated system that provides the States information on who the problem drivers are based upon accident incidence and those types of things, so you know who to target through your safety inspection. It will potentially have a devastating impact on the safety program if we go past the early summer.
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    Mr. WOLF. Dr. Martinez.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We have a very similar situation. We just met with the governors' representatives to discuss this issue on Monday. What happens is two things. One, the States are not creating new programs and projects that are major initiatives because of the fact they do not have funding for the entire year. Two, within the region in their States, they are also decreasing their travel monies and other activities in order to maintain maximum money for programs. Once the money is gone, they will begin to cut programs.

    We believe they will begin to shut down their operations somewhere around the beginning of June, and our field operations will have to be shut down as well.

    Mr. WOLF. What options do States have to avoid project disruptions in their highway construction program? Can they advance State funds on Federal projects or use their own money?

    Mr. WYKLE. They can. That's why my initial comment indicated it varies State by State. Some States are advancing construction in terms of providing funds to do that. Others are taking some money from their State allocation, if you will, kind of ''betting on the come'' that later in the summer at the latest, there will be a reauthorization and they will get the Federal funds to reimburse the State funds.

    Mr. WOLF. Do they have that option with highway safety?

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I don't know of them having the ability to do anything other than postpone the beginning of some projects or programs. Again, I'm finding that since they don't have enough funding for the whole year, those State programs would be much smaller.

    Mr. WYKLE. It's my understanding that the States do not have much flexibility in terms of transferring their own funds to safety.

    Mr. WOLF. Would you say a lengthy delay could actually be a safety issue then?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes, it would be a safety issue.


    Mr. WOLF. What would be the impact on salaries and expenses for the Highway Administration and NHTSA should there be no reauthorization?

    Mr. WYKLE. In terms of the Federal Highway Administration itself, when we got our six-month allocation, the FHWA leadership team made some management decisions in terms of trying to project when we might have reauthorization. It was our feeling that we would not have it by March 31 and therefore, we made decisions to really cut back on travel, to not fill vacancies as they occur through people retiring, to keep movement of personnel in terms of reassignments to an absolute minimum and only fill critical positions.

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    As an example, we've talked to GSA about getting our rent on credit to extend our capability to pay the salaries a little bit longer. We have the same thing with our information systems running on credit until the early summer time period to be able to pay our salaries longer. We've delayed research and development type work, no new starts, continuing at a minimum level in terms of what we're doing, made some delays in the intelligent transportation system earmarks in terms of actually allocating funds for those.

    We made those types of management decisions to be able to extend our salaries and to keep our operations up and running until about the end of June or soon after. If we don't have something at the end of June, then we face furlough of our employees.

    Mr. WOLF. What happens at the end of June?

    Mr. WYKLE. At the end of June or soon after, we basically shut down.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you elaborate a little bit on what that means?

    Mr. WYKLE. Sure.

    Mr. WOLF. I know what it means, but just for the record.

    Mr. WYKLE. It means, in essence, that we furlough our employees on or about the end of June. The reason I'm giving it that way is because we're running on credit in some areas, so we'll just have to see.
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    Mr. WOLF. You're already running now on credit because you've asked GSA?

    Mr. WYKLE. No. We will be for the third quarter. We are not actually running on credit yet, but to extend to the 30th of June with our salaries, we will be running on credit soon.

    Mr. WOLF. So if the Congress were to go home for the July 4th recess without dealing with this, what would we see at the Federal Highway Administration?

    Mr. WYKLE. We would do our best to actually stop travel, to delay absolutely all movements, take any of those critical type steps to perhaps squeeze out another couple weeks or another pay period. Beyond that, we go into the furlough mode which means we shut down our division offices, our region offices, as well as headquarters. It means we do not reimburse the States for funds they have obligated on projects. All those accounting type functions would stop.

    So in the June–July time period is when this will occur. I can't give you an absolute date because we're doing everything we can from a credit standpoint to stretch it, but in that mid-summer time point is the critical point at which we will start to furlough and shut down operations. All the safety inspectors come off, as I mentioned before.

    Mr. WOLF. Do all the State highway departments know that this?

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    Mr. WYKLE. They do, yes, sir. We have talked to them and we've also talked to the AASHTO State organization. They are very concerned about that. I think they've been making visits on the Hill to make sure their members know the potential impact of delay in reauthorization.

    Mr. WOLF. Dr. Martinez.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It's very, very similar at NHTSA. We think by the end of June we will need to have layoffs for not only our headquarters staff that oversees the regional offices, but also the regional offices themselves. It greatly undermines our effectiveness, because a lot of our programs have been national leadership as well as local activities. It would stop the momentum of the great critical mass we've just recently achieved in implementing these initiatives.

    I do think it has a very strong effect on safety and our ability to continue to implement these programs into the local environment.


    Mr. WOLF. In the past, the August redistribution has ensured that 100 percent of the Federal aid obligation limitation was obligated. Could we find ourselves in a position this year that because of the delay in enacting a final bill, some of the fiscal year 1998 obligational authority could lapse?

    Mr. WYKLE. It certainly depends upon how late we get the reauthorization. I think if we get reauthorization by the end of July or early part of August, then it will have a minimum impact. Certainly if it occurs after the first or second week in September, we're in new territory; we haven't been in this situation before, but I think it's reasonable to assume yes, we might be unable to obligate all of the money.
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    We're doing as many things as we can in terms of being prepared, in terms of statements of work, preparing the contracts, getting ready to go out with the requests for proposal in the States and so forth, so they'll be leaning forward, but certainly the later you get in the year, the more difficult it becomes.

    Let me ask Tony if he wants to elaborate on that?

    Mr. KANE. You mentioned advanced construction earlier, Mr. Chairman, and a number of States have real significant amounts of advance construction which can be converted very easily and be able to make use of obligation ceilings.

    We would closely work with each of the State DOTs on their programs so that at whatever date we do get reauthorization, we would be forecasting through the end of the fiscal year work in terms of redistribution and really make it a goal to utilize all those funds.

    Advance construction will help a lot of the conversions and using the obligation ceiling, even if it's late in the year.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.


    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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    I'm not sure how we get out of this dilemma but it clearly is Congress' fault if we don't get the ISTEA currently extended in some form. We're way beyond expiration of the original law and we should have acted, and what happens, I don't know.

    Let me ask this question. Clearly as we look to the future in increasing road demands, we are not likely to significantly expand size of roads in this country. Rather, we have to focus on greater efficiency of existing infrastructure to move people.

    One of the ways we're trying to do that is intelligent vehicle systems. How are they working? What progress are we making in terms of expanding capacity and hopefully make the road safer at the same time?

    Mr. WYKLE. As you're aware, sir, we have some model programs with intelligent transportation systems.

    Mr. SABO. I guess I called it the vehicle systems. It should be transportation systems.

    Mr. WYKLE. A variety of areas there, but first to address intelligent vehicle initiatives. We're working on such things as intelligent cruise control to avoid rear end collisions as an example, and other types of technology to prevent those collisions. We're working on such things as view enhancers to help older drivers be able to see better, also to be able to see better in terms of reduced vision type conditions—fog, rain, those types of things; looking at sensors for heavy vehicles so they can identify other vehicles that are in their blind spots alongside their trailers.
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    All of these technologies are available today. The challenge is bringing those to market and where they are cost effective from the standpoint of the industry itself and putting them on their vehicles. I think technology and the intelligent vehicle initiative has great potential to reduce the number of crashes.

    In the past, we've certainly put a lot of emphasis on protecting the passenger with seatbelts, air bags, rollover protection, those types of things. We've done a great job of that.

    Now we're focusing on avoiding the crash to prevent vehicles from running off the road, to prevent them from running into the vehicles in front of them, to identify things in the blind spots. All these types of initiatives hold great potential for reducing the number of crashes and then improving the safety and reducing the number of fatalities.

    Intelligent transportation systems go far beyond that. I'd be happy to elaborate if you'd like.


    Mr. SABO. How much progress do you think we're making in increasing the capacity of the existing roadways?

    Mr. WYKLE. We have some initial data where we have put in intelligent transportation systems to include traffic operations centers as an example, where we have video out around the highways to quickly identify incidents when they occur, also trying to integrate that with law enforcement activities and agencies—the police, the emergency response vehicles.
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    So it improves response to incidents and clearing those out of the roadway as much as 30 percent.

    In terms of commuting time, naturally there are lots of variables, but from 8 to 15 percent improvements in commute time can be made through better traffic management, better management of the highways, so we're getting those types of improvements and additional capacity out of the existing system through intelligent transportation systems.

    Mr. SABO. Mr. Martinez, are you following what's going on with technology?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We're very involved. I have just a couple of things to add to this.

    We're making cars and we're making people travel a lot faster than we are making roads. In the last 10 years, for example, we've seen about a 1 percent increase in roads; we've seen about a 35 percent increase in the number of miles traveled. So the question of how to use the roads more efficiently is really part of the old ITS program.

    There are things such as electronic tolls—paying tolls automatically—which decreases the amount of time you have to stop. Also traffic management, looking at intersections for intermodal transportation, so that you can control the traffic a lot better globally, with some of the systems in place.

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    Our greatest focus has been really on precrash—avoiding the crash to begin with and then also after the crash—which is an area we've added to the ITS program, and is now integrated into the ITS structure.

    Before the crash occurs, things such as hazard identification, gives people early warnings. If you get an extra second warning, for example, of a hazard ahead of you, you may be able to take avoidance maneuvers and avoid a crash. Crashes increase congestion flow and decrease the consequences of driving.

    Mapping services and information services are also being installed in cars faster and faster. We're looking for ways to make sure that these devices enhance driving and don't distract from driving ability, but provide faster routes.

    For example, when I was in Atlanta during the summer Olympics, I rented a car that allowed me to punch into the computer by global positioning where I needed to go. I was new to Atlanta for driving. I could get the information two ways, the most direct route or the fastest route. The system then looked at what the traffic was on the highways and rerouted me so that I avoided congestion by driving alternate routes.

    We have the ability to get that information to people and use our roads more efficiently, so that congestion is mitigated.

    Things that have been mentioned by Mr. Wykle such as automatic cruise control and other devices that enhance the driving experience are, I think, going to occur from the vehicle side first. It is easier to put devices in vehicles than to build the road infrastructure, this takes a little bit longer. So we're working very strongly to look at devices that can create collision avoidance.
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    After the crash is an area we've really focused on the last few years. That is, when a crash occurs, trying to get automatic collision notification. We started the program several years ago that when a crash occurs, it sends a signal to the local emergency medical services system.

    We've now done proof of concept of that program in Buffalo, New York. As we've been testing, we've created a large coalition to help build the infrastructure to make this a reality. That is currently an area that we put into ITS several years ago, but is growing because the coalition of individuals views it as another opportunity.

    I think there is a lot of promise. You'll also see in addition to the infrastructure we're developing, the ability to implement tracking systems to help with fleet management and delivery of products and services in a more efficient way, given the roads and conditions of existing roads.

    I think there is a lot to be gained from this initiative.

    Mr. SABO. Thank you.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Cramer.

    Mr. CRAMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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    I listened with interest to your information. What is the rural initiative?

    Mr. WYKLE. Some of the things we're doing in the rural areas is traveler information type systems so that travelers can call in and get weather information, for example. We are also using GPS system (global positioning satellite) so that if there is an accident, then that vehicle can be located more quickly in terms of response from an emergency standpoint or law enforcement. Those are some of the types of things that are being done in the rural areas—tourist information type systems so tourists can call in and find locations and get information.


    Mr. CRAMER. Is that the plan or are you actually deploying that and using those or getting ready to because in your written statement you indicate that over the next 10 years, these initiatives will be deployed across the country. Are you using demonstration projects?

    Mr. WYKLE. They are actually being done now and I have some data here in terms of freeway management—47 metropolitan areas are deploying ITS technologies. In terms of traffic signal control, 70 percent more smart signals that stay green as long as there is not a vehicle coming to the cross street to keep traffic flowing better; electronic toll collection in 11 areas; electronic fare payment in 25; transit management in 38; emergency management in 63. So they are being deployed as we speak.
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    I have personally visited the center down in San Antonio. I was with Senator Chafee about a week ago opening a traffic operation center in Providence, Rhode Island. There is one in Anaheim, California that I have personally visited, one in Colorado Springs that Deputy Administrator Jeff helped open just last week. So they are being opened as we speak, being deployed and being used.

    Mr. CRAMER. Great.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, that's all I have.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Cramer.

    Before we go onto another subject, there was the case of the woman on the Dulles Toll Road or the Greenway, who was lost for a week. As I recall the accident, she went down into a ravine and the body and car were not found for a week. Is there something under ITS with regard to notification?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes. That is a system we're actually looking at, automatic collision notification.


    Mr. WOLF. How would that work? Do you recall the case? It was out in my congressional district. She was missing for a week. The car had gone off the road down into a ravine where you wouldn't see it as you were driving by.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. We actually have a lot of technologies that have come to the marketplace, that would give us an opportunity to address that issue.

    When a crash occurs, we look at a series of events that need to occur in order to get the right medical response. First, is the crash, then discovery. We're talking now about a long time lapse to discovery, then from discovery to notification.

    Mr. WOLF. That discovery would not only be important in a case like that but also in a heavy congested area on the Beltway for the response vehicle to get there.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Let me map it out because there are different time frames. Discovery from the time the crash occurs—in a rural environment or even in areas that aren't that rural—but if you go off the road, you will not be seen late at night. Then there is discovery of the crash, so the clock starts ticking when the crash occurs.

    From discovery to notification, right now we're in a change between a mobile system of communication from a fixed base. It used to be when someone was discovered, you had to go find a phone. Now, we're finding the phones can come to the crash site.

    There is discovery, then notification, then access to care. The 911 system makes the process from notification, to access, to care fairly simple, because it directs the calls immediately to the right center, and then to dispatch, and sends it back to you.

    In that particular case, what we're looking at is, when a crash occurs, the vehicle itself would send a signal that a crash occurred. The question is where does that signal go, while getting that signal to a 911 system so that resources can be sent out to shorten that loop.
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    We started that system several years ago. We have a program going on in Buffalo that has shown proof of concept.


    Mr. WOLF. Are they in any cars now? You mentioned the one you rented in Atlanta. Is that part of the GPS system and ITS?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Actually, you can buy them now. In most General Motors cars they are available with the On-Star System and Ford has a Rescue system.

    Mr. WOLF. Is that packaged with regards to the crash?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Right. It has a GPS locator and it follows the signal. I've actually been in cars with them. I suggest you do it and listen to it. It's fascinating.

    The threshold at this point in time is air bag deployment. Air bag deployment is the threshold for the system to know that there is a crash. We have a project looking at other mechanisms in order to look at side impacts, rollovers, and other crash modes.

    That technology is coming into the marketplace pretty quickly. One of the wireless carriers is going to create the same system that will be put into your rearview mirror, and it will be hooked into the vehicle. You can buy the system separately and have it installed in your car.
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    Basically, those calls all go to an 800 number right now, and then operators call back. We're looking at ways to build the infrastructure locally. I think the system is already underway. What we're trying to do is create the system to make it fuse more rapidly into technology. We think that's going to happen.

    Mr. WYKLE. Could I comment on this?

    Mr. WOLF. Certainly.


    Mr. WYKLE. I certainly agree with Rick in terms of the technology being there. I think you put your finger on the right technology in terms of the global positioning system, and some of the luxury vehicles that are on the market today have those systems in them in terms of being able to identify specifically where the car breaks down or where it's involved in an accident or incident.

    The real key, as Rick mentioned, is where does that information come back to. It is my belief that this intelligent transportation infrastructure we're putting in, the local system here in D.C. that you're familiar with in terms of information, the one I mentioned in San Antonio, and the others, that you need to have these GPS systems integrated where they report back to these operations centers. The key is the operations center not only for the management of the traffic, but also the incidents, and you have law enforcement agencies now being co-located in these traffic operations centers, traffic management centers—the name varies in the city as to what you call them.
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    As we start to get this jointly manned center, then we integrate the technology——


    Mr. WOLF. Where are there any that are jointly manned?

    Mr. WYKLE. At San Antonio, as an example. There is a law enforcement individual sitting right there.

    Mr. WOLF. Because the one here is not.

    Mr. WYKLE. The one here is primarily information, so they need to bring the law enforcement in there. Detroit has one, and Anaheim, California.

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe you can give us a letter to that effect? I'd like to send that out to our people, Dave Gehr, the Virginia State Police, Fairfax County Police, to see if they may want to do that here.

    Mr. WYKLE. In terms of the integration? Sure, we'll do that, sir.


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    Mr. WOLF. On another issue that Mr. Sabo 's questions triggered, congestion pricing on roads. There's been some discussion, and I think Mr. Packard probably has one in his district, in which they sell the right-of-way on HOV lanes, not for people who are HOV.

    Mr. WYKLE. Right. I'm familiar with it.

    Mr. WOLF. How many are there in effect today; how successful has it been insofar as how many people have utilized it; how has it impacted on those who are on the HOV lanes because they had two or three in the car; and what is the cost?


    Mr. WYKLE. Sure. I'll call on my staff and ask for the specifics because I cannot give you the exact number that are in existence today but I know more and more States are looking at that—California, as an example, Orange County and down in the San Diego area, they are right now putting in some congestion pricing capability.

    Mr. WOLF. Are they in HOV lanes?

    Mr. WYKLE. They are in HOV lanes, yes.

    Mr. WOLF. And not everyone pays?

    Mr. WYKLE. Right now, three-person car pools on the Orange County facility, as an example, pay a reduced toll. Two-person carpools, or an individual, one-person car, if they want to use the lanes during high traffic volume time, then they pay the full toll. In San Diego, they're looking to change the price as often as once every six minutes, depending upon the density and capacity of that lane. So the jury is still out as to how effective that is going to be.
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    Mr. WOLF. What is the cost during the peak point?

    Mr. WYKLE. They're looking at up to $2.00 to $2.25 for about 10 miles.

    Mr. MARING. Currently, $2.95 on the SR91 in California, the LA area operated that for about two years. The San Diego one, I think they're looking to go higher than that but haven't yet.

    Mr. WOLF. Is the San Diego one in operation?

    Mr. MARING. It's currently in operation with a sticker system. They're going into operation similar to the SR91 with automated technology.

    Mr. WOLF. Have they been successful?

    Mr. MARING. The SR91 has been very successful. The one in San Diego modeling itself after the experience with SR91. They're going to have very dynamic pricing as the Administrator mentioned essentially every six minutes and the price will vary more widely.

    Mr. WOLF. And that will end at the end of the peak hour, say from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.?

    Mr. MARING. That's operating during the peak period.
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    Mr. WYKLE. And they will notify the driver far enough in advance through variable message signs that they can make a decision based on the price as to whether or not they want to pay 25 cents more.

    Mr. WOLF. Are there others in the country? Are they the only two?

    Mr. MARING. In Houston or, the Katy Freeway, they have allowed only car pools of three or more persons. They now allow two-person car pools to enter for a price.

    Mr. WYKLE. Let us see if we can do a survey.

    Mr. WOLF. If you could, I would appreciate it because the idea has been discussed around here.

    Let me recognize Mr. Sabo.


    Mr. SABO. I'm just curious. Do you have any studies on HOVs on three versus two?

    Mr. WOLF. We favor two, don't we?

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    Mr. SABO. We sure do. [Laughter.]

    Mr. WOLF. The State of Virginia, for I–66, had HOV-four. Then we got it dropped to three. They would not drop it to two and Mr. Sabo was helpful and we adopted legislation which dropped it to two.

    Mr. SABO. I'm just curious because my observation has been that HOVs make sense in theory but if you make them three people and just practicality, not many people seem to use it. Two seems more achievable, getting two people in a car rather than one has a major impact on congestion and on fuel efficiency.

    Ms. JEFF. Mr. Sabo, we will provide you with the requested information in terms of studies that we have done. Some of the preliminary results have indicated that where there is a requirement in place by the State for two occupancy, in essence, they don't really reduce or increase the amount of car pool utilization because normally what happens is you end up with two occupants from the same household.

    It is when you begin to get at the level of three or higher that you really begin to see any difference.

    Mr. SABO. What's the problem if it's two from the same household rather than two using two separate cars?

    Ms. JEFF. The difficulty is that in many cases where that's been seen, there hasn't been a substantive change in their already existing travel pattern. In other words, they were utilizing the same vehicle to start with, it hasn't changed anything. It hasn't significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the roadway.
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    Mr. SABO. My observation is three doesn't do much either.

    Ms. JEFF. As I indicated, we've gotten mixed results depending on the volume and we'll provide that information to you. There have been mixed results on two and three.

    Mr. WOLF. I agree with Mr. Sabo, I think that three is very difficult. You find people going to the dentist, going to the doctor's office, leaving early, leaving late, on vacation, particularly in an area like this with the travel that different people who work do and the HOV 2 has been, I thought, very, very successful on I–66 versus the three.

    I would like to see that for the record. If you can just get it individually to Mr. Sabo and myself, so we can take a look at it, and also Mr. Cramer.


    What about the safety impact of the built in car telephone versus the hand-held one?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. You're asking about wireless communications?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes. People picking up a telephone and talking on the telephone as they're driving versus having a phone up on the dash or a speaker whereby the driver has both hands to drive?
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. We just released a wireless communications report looking at the overall issue of wireless communications, not just cellular phones, but also in-vehicle communications systems.

    In the study, that received a lot of attention in the New England Journal about a year ago, they did not find any difference between hand-held or hands-free communication systems. We look at three types of distraction that occurs in these wireless communications—physical distraction which really has to do with trying to put in the number, or play with the phone while you're driving along; visual distraction, which is where you're looking, this raises the issue of where the information is, above or below the dash; and the third is mental communication. Interestingly enough, we find that mental distraction is different when you're speaking on a phone than it is for other things like radios, CD players and that sort of thing. We can't quantify these things because of the lack of data collected in the States. That's an issue we have to deal with somewhat separately.

    For visual and physical distractions, we certainly have seen in many studies that placing the information up higher keeps you from having to look down and off the roadway. Interesting enough—I realized this as I moved to bifocals—the size of that information is getting smaller. They're making more options available, and are now talking about telematics, which is hooking up your car to the Internet and getting information.

    This to us, was a very important issue to look into—how to get information to people. We actually have videotape of people trying to program their navigation systems and going from the right lane to the left lane and back without even noticing. So we're looking at that. One reason we're building a driving simulator is to help understand human vehicle interface much better.
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    The last issue is the physical distraction. Again, we think there may be more to hands-free versus hand-held. It only affects the physical aspect as opposed to the mental communications, which seems to be across the board.

    In all three areas, we are working with not just the wireless communications systems, but with others to create the knowledge so that we can address these issues as this information is placed in the vehicles.


    Mr. WOLF. I think that is important to do, not so much from a regulatory point of view, but just to allow people to have that information. There are a large number of people on the GW Parkway that read the Washington Post on the way down.

    It could be very dangerous to put the Internet in your car.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It's very interesting. Remember, cellular phones are not communications devices for conversation only, but you can also have paging communications systems, Internet and other access.

    It's not just wireless that concerns us. The whole issue of distraction, these videos really—I should send you a copy. For example, we have a gentleman eating a doughnut as he's driving along. When he raises that doughnut with his hand, the whole wheel turns and he goes off the road and comes back. These are people who become acclimated to the fact that there are built-in cameras in their cars. We learned a lot about that human-vehicle interface and quite frankly, we seem to know more about the vehicle than we do about that interface. We're going to try to build the tools we need to address that human-vehicle interface.
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    Mr. WOLF. In a review of five discretionary highway programs, GAO found that the Office of the Administrator uses a two-phase process for selecting projects to be funded under the discretionary highway programs.

    In the first phase, Federal Highway Program staff compile and evaluate the applications that States submit for discretionary funding. In the second phase, the Office of the Administrator uses the information submitted by the program staff as well as others to evaluate the projects and to make the final decisions.

    What criteria does the Secretary of Transportation or the Office of the Administrator in the Federal Highway Administration use to decide which projects will receive discretionary funding?

    Mr. WYKLE. We've certainly taken a look at the GAO findings and their report and having looked at that, we believe certainly the Secretary was within his authority in terms of the decisions he made. It is a discretionary program.

    I've held sessions with my staff talking about that report and the discretionary program, and what we can do to improve the process. We haven't decided on specific actions to take, but we are looking at such things as how far behind particular States are in terms of the fair share of previous money that's been passed out. We're looking at the percent of Federal land. For example, if it's a Federal lands type discretionary program in that particular State, we're looking at various objective type factors that we can use in giving us a start in terms of how to make the decisions.
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    We also want to look at all of the discretionary programs as closely together as possible, so we can ensure an equitable distribution between regions and between programs. So while a State may not get one program they ask for, i.e., Federal lands, they may get a project in the bridge area. We're looking to ensure that there is equitable distribution across the programs, not necessarily within the individual programs.

    Mr. WOLF. Geographic factors could actually work to a disadvantage. If you steer a grant to an area that has not gotten a grant before, you may give a lower value or cost-effective project funding over a more cost-effective project just to make sure there is geographic equity. So geographic considerations could have some problems.

    Mr. WYKLE. Sure, and we have not decided yet. We're looking at those types of factors to try to determine that.

    Mr. WOLF. I think you need fairness and integrity in the process that everyone can rely on.

    Mr. WYKLE. Absolutely.


    Mr. WOLF. How much weight does staff input carry in making the final determination?

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    Mr. WYKLE. I cannot speak for previous individuals, but from my standpoint, considerable.

    Mr. WOLF. I should make it clear that this did not happen on your watch.

    Mr. WYKLE. Right. That's why I said I can't comment on previous decisions.

    Mr. WOLF. Why doesn't the Office of the Administrator document its criteria and methodology for selecting the projects?

    Mr. WYKLE. Again, I can't comment on past practices, but that is one of the things we discussed in these sessions we have had, not only the criteria but then some type of a notation as to why a decision was made if it varies from the staff recommendations. There could be legitimate needs and reasons to do that.

    Mr. WOLF. The next question was, how can the Office of the Administrator be held accountable for its selections if it does not document the basis and justification for the process of selection?

    Mr. WYKLE. Right. We're looking at the entire process to review that and come up with a way to perhaps tighten it up.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you know why the Office of the Administrator required staff to change the process they use to evaluate and rank candidate projects?
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    Mr. WYKLE. I don't know why they did, but again, I've looked at it from the standpoint, you can become very quantitative in terms of how you make the selection and that can really reduce the discretionary aspect of it.

    Or you can group them into say best qualified, qualified and unqualified and then from those major groupings make selections based on criteria that the Administrator uses. So we're looking at reassessing the program in terms of making it more objective.


    Mr. WOLF. In the report, GAO reported under the current selection process as compared with the prior selection process, the Office of the Administrator selected a declining proportion of projects from the highest priority categories. There is a table here which you've seen in the GAO report.

    What are the reasons for selecting the smaller proportion of staff priority projects and why has a change in the selection process been necessary at all? Why was it necessary to change it?

    Mr. WYKLE. I can't comment in terms of why the process was changed.

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe you can, without putting you on the spot, but ask somebody who is currently around in your office why. You can submit that for the record.
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    Mr. WYKLE. Sure.

    [The information follows:]

    The earlier process only provided the Office of the Administrator with staff views on a relatively small subset of projects which staff recommended for available funding. It was the desire of the Office of the Administrator to have staff views on all submitted candidates, unconstrained by the amount of available funds. This then allowed the Office of the Administrator to select projects from a broad perspective with staff views on each project. Because of the concerns expressed, the selection process is being reviewed to ensure that it is working well.

    Mr. WOLF. In particular, do you know what the reasons are that half of the public lands projects selected for fiscal year 1997 funding came from the qualified category when there were so many other projects in the higher categories of most promising and promising?

    Ms. JEFF. There are a couple of factors that had to do with it. One had to do with the fact that those programs have seen a substantial decline in the available dollars as well at the same time having significant amounts of increased demand. The size of the projects has also been significantly larger.

    In an attempt to stretch the dollars as far as possible to increase the number of recipients associated with those particular programs, there were some changes requested of staff.
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    Those are some of the reasons there were changes in the process.

    Looking at the projects you specifically asked about, an effort was made in that program area to stretch the number of recipients and stretch those dollars to more effectively impact on a national program as opposed to projects in one or two States that would benefit from what is intended to be a national program.

    Mr. WOLF. I'm going to recognize Mr. Olver, but I think it's important that you do something to assure the committee that the selection process does not result in the funding of poor or less cost effective projects and that the process has fairness and integrity. Everyone must look at it and feel very comfortable.

    Mr. WYKLE. I'll assure you we will do that. As I mentioned, I'm currently reviewing that program right now and have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the criteria currently used versus what was used in the past versus the various breakouts, the different types of programs, trying to get a handle on that so we can make it as fair and objective as we can.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Olver.

    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    My apologies for arriving rather late from another conflicting hearing.

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    Have we taken testimony from both?

    Mr. WOLF. We have.

    Mr. OLVER. May I speak to NHTSA then? Thank you.

    Dr. Martinez, I can't remember, were you here last year?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir.

    Mr. OLVER. Was I here last year? [Laughter.]

    Mr. WOLF. I once heard someone say that just about when your face clears up, your mind gets fuzzy. [Laughter.]


    Mr. OLVER. Is there any request for funding in this budget for research on the updating of the CAFE standard, particularly in relation to light trucks and the sport utility vehicles?

    Mr. RECHT. Sir, there's just, if I recall, about $30,000 to maintain the basic recordkeeping functions. As you know, the Congress in the last two perhaps three years, has essentially prohibited us from changing that standard.

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. We maintain a database, I think it's about $60,000, but in order to look at the long-term effects, we've asked for funding to do environmental impact studies and it has been denied over the past three years.

    Mr. OLVER. We may have prohibited the standard so let's ask the question. We should never be afraid of the research, should we, the research that would be necessary for decisionmaking somewhere along the way? So the question of whether or not research is being done on whether we can create vehicles that are more efficient and what the safety aspects of the present circumstances, are we prohibited from even asking for money to do research?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. No, we do have a fairly large program, PNGV, which looks at alternative forms of better fuel economy.


    Mr. OLVER. What is PNGV?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Partnership for A New Generation of Vehicles. Right now being discussed in the marketplace are some of these new types of vehicles. Instead of focusing just on the fuel economy with numbers, we're looking at alternative ways in which to dramatically increase fuel economy, but using different types of power supplies as it were, whether it be electric or fuel cells.

    As those vehicles are being developed and actually come to market, you can buy some of these vehicles through lease programs. We are charged with the issue of safety for using alternative types of materials, which is different than the types of materials we've used in the past to look at crash simulations. Using lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber vehicles are examples. We're putting several million dollars into this program.
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    In addition, we are continuing to look at the issues of size and safety, as well as compatibility and aggressivity issues. All of these issues factor into the different disparity in the fleet. We looked at that issue last year and released some information at last year's hearing about the issues of size and safety.

    Mr. OLVER. So this would be research into the efficacy, feasibility of new power trains but without any reference to the CAFE standard itself?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Correct. The Partnership for A New Generation of Vehicles actually has some goals for fuel efficiency and fuel economy that are done through the partnership. These issues are not necessarily directly related to the legislative approach on CAFE.

    I think it's worth noting that two years ago, the idea of a new generation of vehicles that got greater fuel efficiency was under discussion. Now I think you're seeing these vehicles being seriously considered for the marketplace.


    Mr. OLVER. One of the real controversies on safety in relation to the sport utility vehicles and light trucks is the position at which bumpers in many of these vehicles come. They are closer to the windows of passenger vehicles in some instances or with the rear windshield than they are with the bumpers of passenger vehicles, which is leading to some serious kinds of consequences from a safety point of view.
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    Tell me what you're doing in those areas?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We are, I think, moving very quickly and very far ahead on that issue. As you know, we studied the database analysis, which looked at these issues, and there was a lot of conjecture about what were the exact issues causing this compatibility problem. We will move it into full scale crash testing and share that research with an international dialogue which will occur this summer in June, in conjunction with the Enhanced Safety Vehicle (ESV) Conference.

    Mr. OLVER. An international dialogue?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Basically do the research, by doing the crash tests, and then share that information and begin to better look at the issues of compatibility and structural issues, that can be addressed through design changes. For example, you talk about the issue of bumper height differences and how you change that, and what are the consequences of that.

    We're finding there are some design issues and design solutions already in the marketplace that begin to look at those compatibility issues.

    When you look at the aggressivity of one vehicle versus another based on how they're designed, we're finding if you take the issue of weight, some of those vehicles have the same weight, but how much damage they inflict varies considerably. We think there is a design issue there that needs to be better investigated.

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    As we did the crash tests, we wanted to go into the mode of sharing the information with researchers from around the world to see if we can look at solutions that can be implemented in the marketplace rather quickly.


    Mr. OLVER. The sharing of information is related to all of the manufacturers of the type of vehicles, some of the manufacturers coming from a number of different countries?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Correct, and around the world. If you look at it, the marketplace for the sport utility vehicles and the vans and light trucks, really has expanded to most all manufacturers. So we want this be a broad-based invitation.

    In addition, the ESV conference occurs every two years. It is the enhanced safety of vehicles, which is the biggest draw of engineering researchers on these issues that occurs in the world globally.

    The last meeting was two years ago in Australia. At that point, we brought the researchers together to look at what the international research priorities should be. One of those priorities was the compatibility issue you mentioned. We're now two years down the road and we're looking at the research aspects of it with full scale crash testing.

    We will meet again in June and bring the manufacturers to look at some of the design solutions that are being discovered.
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    Mr. OLVER. In the past, it has been NHTSA that has put forward some of the standards in regard to seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We do it.

    Mr. OLVER. Well, in the past—so there's no question, or is there a question, that it's within your purview to deal with this and get expeditiously to the point of voluntary or regulatory consistency—to develop consistency in the construction so that we can avoid the kinds of troubles that we are hearing so much about recently?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Absolutely. That is actually within our purview. Our approach is to create the knowledge first to see what the possible solutions are, and then begin to implement those solutions through different methods including research programs and regulatory aspects, whatever it takes. Right now, we are at the point of creating knowledge. Most of the discussion has been about data bases, major studies, looking at large data bases. We can now move into the crash testing aspect of it. But I think we're making considerable progress. As a matter of fact, as you know, two of the manufacturers in America, have come out and talked about how they are going to work with their parts suppliers and their designers to begin to address these issues.

    Several years ago, there was considerable debate as to whether or not there were design solutions that could be brought into the vehicles. We are finding that we're better off aligning all those resources and research the solutions rather than waiting for the regulatory process to play itself out. I think we are seeing considerable movement right now, to address the issues you've raised.
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    Mr. OLVER. To go back to the CAFE standards, there is sort of an interweave here, in part. Is the achievement of a lower fuel efficiency standard—does that require a lighter vehicle, in your view?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Weight certainly plays a part in that. Some of the discussion has been the difference between weight and mass. And that's one of the reasons why the focus has been on new and different types of materials coming into the marketplace. One of our areas of research has been, to focus on how those new materials would play out in a crash scenario; in other words, can you keep the same size but change the weight by using different materials? And then, what are the safety implications. So we're looking at that as an approach to the PNGV program.

    Mr. RECHT. If I could add to that also, Mr. Olver, there have been a number of car companies recently that have stated that they're going to introduce these hybrid vehicles that combine both gas and the General Electric engine, which will effectively increase gasoline mileage quite significantly. They are coming into the market in the next couple of years. Among the items that this PNGV program is looking at are those kinds of engines, as well as new technologies that might not simply involve reduction in weight, but all with the goal of achieving about 80 miles per gallon in these engines in the next five to ten years.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Let me give you an example of the current status of hybrid fuel cells. They are fairly heavy, but it may be that you end up with the same goal of decreased emissions. You are using a different power plant altogether, and over a period of time that efficiency may even get better as they make those cells smaller and smaller.
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    I think the paradigm that we're looking at is a little bit different than just the pure focus on the target number for CAFE. It's gotten a little bit more complex now, because the power cells and the power plant that were in the discussion stage are actually now coming into being, so we actually have a different situation to deal with.


    Mr. OLVER. I guess you partly found where I was going to go next. Clearly, if you have a particular design of engine, weight will be a key factor, it will be a proportionate factor, although aerodynamic design of the overall vehicle may help you somewhat along the way in a relatively more minor way, I think. But I do remember on this point not so very long ago, we had prohibited you from dealing with CAFE standards, and then one of the Japanese companies came out with a different design, a totally different kind of engine, and instantly the American Big 3 said they would be in there competing within a year or two with their own design. So clearly they are capable of doing it, and I'm sort of wondering, here, whether we are on this issue of the sport utility vehicles and the misalignment and so forth, whether with your research—hey are going to end up responding to that more quickly than standards get set.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I would say that I am actually quite happy to see what you said about that—looking at environmental issues as being a challenge versus an opportunity. We've now seen a mindset where there is more focus on the opportunity as a competitive edge.

    We are also seeing the same thing with the LTV issues. Now that we've raised that issue—the compatibility issue has been thoroughly discussed in the press—we are seeing some of the car companies already begin to move forward on this. As a matter of fact, the ESV conference, the international dialogue, is a joint project based on the desire to work cooperatively.
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    If you look back a few years ago, everybody said, ''Well, it just doesn't make sense; there's nothing you can do.'' I think we're in a very different situation because we have continued to move forward on this issue to explore it as the honest broker. We are finding that there are things that can be done. We are gratified to see the industry saying, ''We're going to move ahead of you on that.'' We'd like to see more of that.


    Mr. OLVER. Well, but the research has to be done in either of these cases, whether it be the compatibility issue or whether it be the CAFE standard, which goes to the question of whether or not it has to be a lighter vehicle in order to get a more efficient vehicle, which I don't think is by any means true, not necessarily true. There are a bunch of different factors.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We are very blessed in having a lot more options now with these different power plants. I think the goal remains the same, to increase fuel efficiency.

    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for allowing me to go on.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Cramer.

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    Mr. CRAMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    If you would, please, Mr. Wykle, indulge me and give me some summary information about the FHWA research and technology programs, the funding level—we're holding the same funding level this year as last year.

    How are those competitions—from the summary information I have in front of me, they are merit-based competitions. Can you tell me how many of those programs exist, how flexible that competition is, and what you think you're mainly accomplishing by those programs?

    Mr. WYKLE. Let me ask Tony to comment.

    Mr. CRAMER. Sure.

    Mr. KANE. Our overall budget request in R&D is a combination of both contract authority in reauthorization, as well as the General Operating Expense (GOE) request, and it totals some $496 million in research and development and technology applications, of which about $250 million is ITS, a combination of both contract authority in reauthorization, as well as GOE and the appropriations process.

    There is tremendous competition in the deployment areas. There will be competition, certainly, amongst geographic areas, the States, the municipalities, etc.

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    Most of our program is put out in a competitive way. We utilize a variety of contracting mechanisms, some using global procurement techniques where you have a variety of firms that come in, and then we are able to assign tasks on projects. But the entire program is really one of competition. Even in terms of deployment, we have competition among the geographic areas, the metropolitan areas and the States as well. But it's a wide program, covering the physical side of the program in asphalt, steel, and concrete; the operational tests; the environmental and planning areas, as well as policy research areas.

    Mr. CRAMER. How many of the programs exist? Or can you supply me with that information?

    Mr. KANE. Oh, absolutely.

    Mr. CRAMER. I'd like to see that.

    [The information follows:]

    The FHWA R&T Program consists of a number of individual R&T programs. The following is a list of the larger individual programs.

    Highway Research and Development: Safety, pavements, structures, environment, real estate services, policy, planning, motor carriers;

    Intelligent Transportation Systems;

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    Technology Assessment and Development;

    Long Term Pavement Performance;

    Technology Implementation Partnerships;

    National Highway Institute;

    Local Technical Assistance; and

    Eisenhower Fellowships.


    Mr. CRAMER. And how long does a typical program last?

    Mr. KANE. It depends on the nature of the research work. Some are multi-year, particularly when we're looking at new materials and new concepts. Others are very much application-oriented; it may be contract work, where you're just synthesizing existing work, or packaging up some technology that is already developed.

    So again, a big range. And if you have an interest in knowing more depth than that, we can certainly go into that, as well.

    Mr. CRAMER. I'd like to know more on that, including how they are peer-reviewed.
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    Mr. KANE. Sure.

    [The information follows:]

    The length of research and technology ''programs'' varies considerably, depending on how one defines ''program'' and on the nature of the work done. At the aggregate level, the programs are ongoing: we are continually doing work in pavements, safety, etc. At the next level down, the sub-items in the budget justifications such as pedestrian/bicycle work, etc., the programs are typically 3–6 years long. Within these programs, individual research, demonstration, training, or other efforts may be one or two years in duration. These efforts are oriented toward producing particular outcomes: a research question answered, demonstrations performed in a certain number of states, training developed and delivered by technical people, etc.

    Regarding peer review, there are several means used. At the highest level, there are committees composed of customer representation (included technical people who can be considered peers) which provide a continuing, independent assessment on the overall direction and strategy of the FHWA research and technology program. The Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC), administered for FHWA by the Transportation Research Board, is the prime example of such a committee. Most recently, this committee visited FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to review the overall direction and specific research efforts at the Center. The RTCC will begin a similar review of the technology transfer activities of FHWA this month (March 1998). The Long Term Pavement Performance Program has its own committee and AASHTO has a Task Force on SHRP (Strategic Highway Research Program) Implementation.
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    At the level of major portions of the R&T program (pavements, structures, safety, etc.) there are Research and Technology Coordinating Groups which develop the programs and elicit review from technical peers within FHWA (but not in the research or technology applications offices) and from outside of the agency.

    Particular R&T initiatives arrange for peer input and review in various ways. The work FHWA is doing in high performance concert is led by a team of technical experts, including FHWA, academic, and industry experts who give input to the research and implementation. Technical Working Groups (TWGs) are another mechanism for getting technical peers involved in reviewing R&T work.

    When particular research efforts give rise to published papers, these are peer reviewed in the same fashion that comparable papers are handled if they are published in peer reviewed journals.


    Mr. CRAMER. In your opinion, what kind of accomplishments have come out of those programs?

    Mr. KANE. A wide variety. If you take a look on the physical side, for example, tremendous success in new materials, composite materials, particularly in bridgework; tremendous success on high-strength concrete, high-strength steels that are going to be much more effective in terms of life cycle costs. In terms of the ITS area, a wide variety of accomplishments, as we heard earlier in the day, everything from the vehicle to traffic control systems themselves.
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    In the environmental area, tremendous success in terms of being able to model air quality, in wetland mitigation efforts; tremendous success in the economic analysis area, where we now know and are able to really pinpoint the relationships between highway investment and economic growth and productivity in this country.

    Tremendous success in being able to simulate traffic flows in different cities, a project called TRANSIMS, will really allow us in the future to be able to do much better microsimulation of traffic and be able to answer policy questions, like, what if you raised the toll? What if air quality standards changed?

    We have a report highlighting, in all of these areas, the kind of real benefits we've gotten out of this program, significant benefit costs on all of them.

    Mr. CRAMER. How long has the program existed?

    Mr. KANE. Really, since we have existed.

    Mr. CRAMER. And there seems to be, as I can see it, a mix of industry, universities, State partners participating in the program?

    Mr. KANE. Correct.

    Mr. CRAMER. All right. Thank you. Any additional information you can give me, I would like to have.
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    Mr. KANE. We have a report that highlights and summarizes it, both for the past as well as a forecast. We'll get that to you.

    Mr. CRAMER. Thank you.

    [The information follows:]

    A copy of the 1997 ''Research and Technology Program Highlights'' report which covers the entire FHWA Research and Technolgoy Program has been submitted to the Subcommittee.

    Mr. CRAMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. WOLF. Moving on to the Big Dig issue, GAO has reported that Massachusetts is not meeting the cost containment goals for construction on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, and that further cost increases seem likely. GAO also noted that these goals form the basis for the project's $10.8 billion cost estimate, and recommended that the State decouple the goals from the project's estimate and revise the estimate to be more realistic. Federal Highway has opposed this recommendation made by the GAO, but when the cost estimate was developed in 1995, Federal Highway issued a report that characterized the goals as overly optimistic and suggested to the State that they be set at a more conservative level.

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    Since what Federal Highway predicted in 1995 regarding an overly optimistic cost estimate has come to pass, why would you oppose revising the cost goals now?

    Mr. WYKLE. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to pass that one also to Tony. He is the one who is closely monitoring that. He goes to Boston on a quarterly basis to discuss their financial plan and the status of the project, so I'll let him go into the details on that.


    Mr. KANE. If we take a look at the current cost estimate, Mr. Chairman, the $10.8 billion, we really are in sync with both GAO and the IG on that. The issue is being able to forecast the future and what might happen, but for well over a year and a half now we have been in continual dialogue with both the IG and the GAO on this, and you will see in their reports it's mostly about forecasting what might happen in the future. But we all are in agreement on $10.8 billion, and we've been holding to that.

    I think the real reason we've been holding to it is by trying to have aggressive assumptions about what the future is going to bring, and the biggest potential area that we're talking about is really the potential cost growth during construction. We're at a phase now where the project, as of the end of January, is—in terms of completion—96 percent completed in terms of design, 36 percent completed in terms of bills on construction. By the end of this year the bulk of the construction contracts will be let. The issue of cost containment involves working with those construction companies, value engineering efforts, of which we've had about half a billion in the last two years, efforts on insurance costs, efforts on utility costs, efforts on scope changes, and we're going to aggressively pursue them. But it is our feeling and the feeling of our partner, the State, that unless you keep an aggressive goal of cost growth during construction—and our goal was to try and make that no more than 7 percent. In the past it had been higher than that, and it's really speculation as to what might happen in the future. Anyone can make forecasts, and as we dialogue with the IG and GAO, it's more of ''what happens if,'' if you get cost growth on those contracts, what will happen. But we do have contingencies built in there in the sense that the State is fully committed to find any cost increases outside of the Federal programs. But we think, philosophy-wise, it makes sense to hold a tight forecast, and to do that you then aggressively worry about scope changes, you aggressively worry about value engineering.
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    The program that was put in place two years ago in terms of design-to-cost when we still had a number of the designs to still go meant that we did not change the forecast of $10.8 billion. In other words, it really forced lots of value engineering on the project to hold to that forecast.

    So our belief is that the best way to attack this is to hold aggressive cost-containment goals and then do everything we can to meet them. If it slips a little bit, you've got to make it up. But rather than forecasting something bad or worse in the future, we might live up to that expectation.

    So it's a philosophy, that if we hold tight in terms of our forecast, we will work much harder on cost containment methods. The debates and issues as we deal with GAO and others are forecasting what's going to happen in the future. But in terms of today's estimate, we are in line with them.

    One thing we have been doing, and we have always done it in the past, is sharing much more information, even in terms of the finance plan that was recently approved on an interim basis, because as we look towards what's going to happen with reauthorization, we'll clearly have to modify that. We have been exchanging information far more frequently than we did in the past.

    Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question?

    Mr. WOLF. Sure.
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    Mr. OLVER. Do I understand what you say in there, that the Federal share is based upon the $10.8 billion, and that anything that goes above that if the goals are not met, the State either has to pay all of, or a greater portion of, or something? I certainly heard that somewhere.

    Mr. KANE. Let me try to clarify it.

    In terms of specific funding for that project, namely, coming out of the Interstate cost estimate approach, that money has been capped. The last money was in ISTEA; approximately $4 billion of the total cost is directed money in terms of Interstate completion. The remainder comes from utilizing a variety of categories of Federal Aid, as well as State resources.

    As you look to the future, what I was really trying to indicate is that any growth in cost for which there is the inability to utilize Federal Aid categories in a fair way—because there was a commitment to have a solid Statewide program; that was one of the things we really worked with the State on over the last several years, so that there are various Federal Aid categories, whether it's surface transportation funds or NHS funds, they were not all dedicated to this project, but rather they had a fair State-wide program. But the State is committed, as you look to the future, if reauthorization doesn't bring the amount of revenue to Massachusetts that they might have gotten in ISTEA. They are fully committed to coming in with State resources. That's what I'm indicating.
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    In terms of special Federal funding for the project, that has ended. Interstate completion funding was the last item for that. ISTEA was the last payment on that, so approximately $4 billion of the total $10.8 billion comes from Interstate completion funds.

    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. WOLF. When Federal Highway approved the Central Artery/Tunnel Project's finance plan, Federal Highway officials said that they expected—as you just referred to—the State to continue its $400 million Statewide road and bridge program, exclusive of the Central Artery Project. But despite that commitment, the 6-year STIP that Federal Highway approved on September 30 of last year shows dramatic reductions in both the Interstate maintenance and CMAQ programs. In particular, Massachusetts would spend only $9 million in Interstate maintenance funds over the next six years. That appears to be almost no maintenance on the Interstate. Is that level of spending for Interstate maintenance and CMAQ in the 6-year STIP adequate? And how do you support a program with no Interstate maintenance for six years, to be considered balanced? The figure doesn't look right when I look at it.

    Mr. KANE. We'll give more detail on that.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

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    Mr. KANE. My understanding, certainly, on utilization of Interstate maintenance funds is that they are being utilized in accordance with the needs.

    One issue is obligation ceiling versus overall apportionments, as well. But the balanced State program is both Federal and State resources, and so as there was a commitment Statewide to have at least a $400 million program, that's a combination of both State resources as well as Federal resources to keep that balanced program.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, what the chart shows is that they have $415 million, but they're only going to spend $9 million for maintenance. And with regard to CMAQ, they have $252 million and they're only going to spend $44 million.

    Is the $9 million—maybe we're looking at this wrong—is the $9 million accurate?

    Mr. KANE. I'll need to get back to you on that specific one.

    [The information follows:]

    You are correct, $9 million is the amount of Interstate maintenance in the STIP. However, as indicated previously, FHWA bases its decision primarily on the adequacy of Interstate maintenance on a ''results basis'', as opposed to a ''level of effort'' basis. Also, the STIP does not include all State funds, such as basic maintenance, and some are allocated on a more short term needs basis. Nor does the STIP reflect any of the funds for the reconstruction and maintenance of the entire length of I–90, Massachusetts Turnpike, from the New York State line to Boston, except for the major reconstruction of the current interchange within I–93 in Boston. Nevertheless, last year, FHWA did tell the State that we thought they may need to allocate more funds to the Interstate in the future, and they should reassess what is needed to maintain the conditions of the Interstate.
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    Mr. KANE. The numbers I recall are more on the overall Statewide program and the commitment that they have. But on the specific Interstate maintenance——

    Mr. WOLF. If $9 million is the figure, wouldn't that be not enough to maintain the Interstate——

    Mr. KANE. The answer is yes. I think another issue is going to be how much State resources are also there. But we would like to give you detail on those, on Interstate maintenance and CMAQ.

    Mr. WOLF. Excuse me, go ahead.


    Mr. OLVER. May I follow up on that one, too?

    You're saying that the approved plan for funding by FHWA includes $400 million. How strictly could that be adhered to, or could that be enforced, that $400 million, aside from the idea that so little of that $400 million is anything like maintenance on the Interstates, which there are quite a few miles of Interstate.

    Mr. KANE. The commitment in the finance plan is that the State will have at least a $400 million annual program. That's a combination of both Federal and State resources. The STIP itself is something that the State develops. I mean, the State has made that commitment; we have seen that they have lived up to that. In fact, in most years they have exceeded it in terms of a feeling of a balanced Statewide program.
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    A significant share of the regular Federal Aid category of funds is going to this project during the duration of the construction. And what we wanted to make sure, and what we had as a commitment in the finance plan, was that the rest of the State would not suffer. We looked at it in terms of a total combination of State program funds as well as Federal funds.

    So we have seen that the State has put in their own State resources to ensure that there is at least a $400 million program Statewide.


    Mr. OLVER. But that sort of begs the question, if they have $400 million that they're committed to, but you don't really have any underlying oversight as to what they put that to, that could lead to just not doing much on the Interstates, which might be left very inadequately covered.

    Mr. KANE. Well, in terms of the Interstate maintenance funds themselves, the State, under current Federal law, can transfer up to 20 percent under the current rules that you have in ISTEA. Beyond that, they can only do it if they show that they have adequate maintenance of the facility in terms of performance measures on pavements and bridges.

    Mr. Olver and Mr. Chairman, we need to get back to you with more details on that Interstate maintenance activity itself.

    One issue that Massachusetts has, and a lot of States have, is that you don't have an obligation ceiling to cover all of the apportionments you have. States make choices as they do their multiyear Statewide program as to which categories of apportionments they are going to utilize because they only have a limited amount of obligation ceiling to use it for.
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    Ms. JEFF. Maybe again just to restate, so that we're clear about the question that was asked, what you've indicated is that the account indicates that there is only going to be spent—the chart that you have—$9 million on Interstate maintenance. That does not necessarily represent all of the dollars that will be spent on maintaining the Interstate. There may indeed be State dollars associated with that. So you can't simply read that as $9 million. ''Interstate maintenance'' refers to a category of funding; it does not necessarily represent the total amount of funding available, or that will be spent by the State on the maintaining of Interstates outside of the Central Artery Project.

    I think that in our response that we will try to provide to you is an answer as to how much is going to be spent on maintaining the Interstate as opposed to how much is being spent out of the category of funds being utilized, called ''Interstate maintenance.'' I'm assuming that's your concern as opposed to how much money in the category is being spent.

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

    Mr. KANE. Federal funds and National Highway System funds, as well as the Surface Transportation Program funds, can be spent on Interstate.

    Mr. WOLF. My sense is that 10 or 20 years from now, as you look back on this, you will see that things were not done in other parts of the State that could have been done or should have been done. It is a big sucking sound and a big drain, and obviously there is tremendous growth up north of Boston, up in the Marblehead area and south of Boston, different places like that, in the western part of the State.
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    But if you would just look at that.

    Mr. KANE. Yes.


    Mr. WOLF. The GAO reported that the project may need additional funding, and you were mentioning it briefly, in part because Massachusetts is expecting Federal funding that is up to $1 billion less than the amounts in the reauthorization bills before Congress. Since the Federal Highway Administration has indicated that it does not support additional special setaside funds, as you were talking about, or Interstate construction funds, where do you expect that they will find the rest of the money?

    Mr. KANE. The finance plan indicates a variety of sources. The Turnpike has already made a commitment to the project, and there is a potential for more Turnpike resources to go into it.

    Mr. WOLF. Has that resulted in an increase in tolls on the Turnpike?

    Mr. KANE. On the Metropolitan Highway System, there has been a toll increase, that's correct. This project will be incorporated—in fact, is incorporated—in the Metropolitan Highway System with the two existing tunnels that are already in Boston. So it's a combined system.
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    Fuel tax, registration fees, a variety of State resources, but the commitment is there. And in approving the finance plan, Mr. Chairman, we have called for an update as soon as reauthorization comes in, so we will fairly soon have an update of that with, then, a recommitment of what those State resources would be.


    Mr. WOLF. The IG's office indicated that they are troubled by the level of Bechtel people who are still working on the project. Given the fact that the final design, as you said, is 94 percent complete, and is scheduled to be substantially completed by the middle of this year, the IG indicated that there should be significantly fewer Bechtel folks there.

    Why have contractor support staff levels not decreased? And are you taking any action to ensure that unjustified contractor support costs are not being charged back to the contract?

    Mr. KANE. We are closely working with them. In fact, in the last quarterly meeting we focused on that issue. The amount of staff that they have right now is less than what they had forecast a year ago.

    The shift is over into construction, however, and what the Bechtel-Parsons team is doing, they are also in charge of all the construction engineering. So they are out there right now at the active phase of construction, and you need to have that level of oversight. The Bechtel-Parsons team did do the preliminary engineering work. Most of the design work was put out to a variety of what are called ''section designers,'' but the need right now is on construction.
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    So we have to carefully look at whether reducing Bechtel-Parsons staff has a negative impact in terms of construction oversight, because what they have done is switched staff from the designers to the construction side of the house. So we have to weigh that carefully. We will certainly discuss that and talk with the GAO and IG on that, because I think they would have as much concern as well, that you have good construction oversight. That's the place right now where you really have to worry about future costs. The future costs from now on are really cost growth during construction. The design issues are behind us. Scope issues, for the most part, are behind us. So we really have to be careful in these next several years to focus on the areas where you could have potential cost growth, and it has changed to construction. So we really need to focus closely on that.

    At the same time, realize that it is clearly a significant expense, with the level of staff that they have.

    Mr. WOLF. Bechtel said that they were not going to transfer these people to construction. And now they are. So that is added cost, quite significant added costs.

    Ms. JEFF. Mr. Chairman, I need to ask a clarifying question. I don't think that Mr. Kane is indicating that the same individuals who have been working on the design side have now been switched to the construction side, but rather that individuals who are employees of the company whose expertise is in construction are now being utilized.

    Mr. KANE. That's absolutely right. There are some engineers who have the versatility and can do both who were actively involved in some of the preliminary engineering work, but you're absolutely right, Gloria. It's the level of staff effort that they have.
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    We will provide more information for the record on that if you like, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. Are you all in agreement, GAO and IG and Federal Highway, pretty much overlay 100 percent on all these issues?

    Mr. KANE. Well, to the degree possible. What we have clearly done is open up a much better line of communication.


    Mr. WOLF. I think this has been helpful for future big projects.

    Mr. KANE. One thing we have done jointly with them, and what we are clearly doing with the IG and GAO, is trying to share good lessons learned, and this is a mutual kind of activity. The IG was certainly very impressed with the kind of monthly tracking of costs and status, the monthly reports, and they think that it's a very good tool that you could use on other projects around the country.
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    Mr. WOLF. Are you going to use it for the Alameda Corridor?

    Mr. WYKLE. We're certainly looking at how we would design a type of financial plan. It may not be identical, but certainly the same type of process, the ideas.

    Mr. KANE. In terms of some of the very specific items that the IG may look at, we may have some disagreements where there is judgment involved. But in terms of issues to focus and look at, we certainly are in agreement.

    Probably the hardest part—and I wouldn't call it a disagreement—is being able to forecast the future, as I had mentioned earlier. It is anyone's guess as to what the real cost growth might be during the construction stage. They have certainly wanted us to have a high degree of caution and concern and worry about contingencies, and we're doing that. But in terms of where we are to date and appreciation of kind of the baseline, if you will, we are together on that.

    Certainly on the IG, if there is any area where it looks like there is a need to focus on it more strongly, we are there. Their staff meet with our staff there daily up in Boston, so it's really a close coordination.


    Mr. WOLF. We asked the Secretary yesterday on the media consultant issue, and I don't know about the legality of it, but that's probably not a good idea to hire and pay a consultant with Federal funds. I can see this on ''Your Money.''
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    Mr. WYKLE. The particular one you're interested in the $24,000——

    Mr. WOLF. Well, the $24,000, and also the advertising program. I think the best advertising and project promotion is to do a good job.

    Mr. KANE. Public awareness on traffic control is a very important part of any large-scale project——

    Mr. WOLF. Is it public awareness, though, or is it a promotion?

    Mr. KANE. Well, we will look at every particular cost item on it. If it's about regional promotion, that's something that wouldn't be chargeable to the project. If it's about letting the public know about the construction problems, alternative traffic routes, take transit——

    Mr. WOLF. I think they know about the construction problems.

    Mr. KANE. Well, on large-scale projects, and we've looked at a lot around the country, in Detroit and Chicago—I just came back from a recent national conference in California where they are about to redo the construction on 710 in the city of Pasadena. The typical public awareness and traffic control announcement plans have been in the neighborhood of 1 to 2 percent of the project cost. Now, if you took a look at the Artery, I wouldn't want to say 1 to 2 percent of the cost is what you should put on this, but on projects that were $50 million and $60 million and $100 million, those kinds of project scale, we have had public information campaigns upwards of $1 million on those.
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    It is very important, and it is done in a variety of ways, on radio, on TV, it's now done on the Internet, but a variety of ways of helping to control traffic during the construction period, in a real-time sense, because this is an effort that is going to be under construction until 2004.

    Ms. JEFF. Mr. Chairman, if I may——

    Mr. WOLF. What we're going to do is maybe give you all a break about 12:30, just recess for 15 minutes so that you can go get a bite.

    I really don't want to spend a lot more time, and I think it's the appropriateness of it. Originally the program was going to cost $750,000, we heard; now it's up to $2 million. Also, the 60-minute piece is not a good idea.

    Mr. KANE. Yes. That is no longer.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, has it already been paid?

    Mr. KANE. It has been credited back.

    Mr. WOLF. Credited back. But that's really what creates a lot of the controversy. I think people can understand that very, very easily. I made the comment yesterday that I remember when I was running for Congress and I had lost my first couple of attempts, and then we watched Governor Connally, on 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace interviewed him; and one of my kids said at the end of the interview, ''Dad, if you're ever called by 60 Minutes, I don't think you ought to go on the show.'' [Laughter.]
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    The child was about 12 or 13 at that time.

    But to do that, if they're going to do that, they ought to pay for that out of their earnings. I think it's inappropriate, particularly for a project that has had so much controversy. Our sole purpose is just to ensure that it doesn't go out of control, that there are sufficient funds to complete the project, and lastly, that we don't set any precedent here that somebody from the Alameda Corridor or Corridor H or some of these other projects can point to.

    Ms. JEFF. Mr. Chairman, on that matter, it is essential, though, that you recognize that there is a public information function that needs to be ongoing.

    Mr. WOLF. I understand that. I understand that. This can be used for political reasons and for a lot of other reasons. We don't have to spend any more time on it.

    Maybe I could go vote and Mr. Olver could ask some of these questions, and then I'll come back and we can continue up to 12:30. Do you mind doing that? Whenever you feel comfortable, just recess, and then I'll be back.

    Mr. OLVER. You are going to come back at 12:30?

    Mr. WOLF. No, I'm going to go vote and then come back. I'd like to keep this going until about 12:30 and then take about a 15- or 20-minute break at 12:30.

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    Mr. OLVER [assuming chair]. Well, I think that the Chairman has pretty well covered the ground on the Big Dig. [Laughter.]


    He is much more comprehensive on this than I could have been.

    But let me ask one other here. We have learned as a committee that you have threatened to withhold STIP approval over an issue of representation on the Regional Planning Board of the Metropolitan Planning Agencies in Massachusetts. Is that true? And would you tell us what the issue is, and has it been resolved?

    Mr. KANE. My understanding is that it has been resolved. It was an issue between the State and the Metropolitan Planning Group in Boston, and that representation has changed and that has been resolved.

    Mr. OLVER. It has been resolved?

    Mr. KANE. My understanding.

    Mr. OLVER. So the STIP now has been approved?

    Ms. JEFF. I think it's fair to say that we were not holding up approval of the STIP contingent upon that resolution. It was not being submitted to us for action because the State and the local Metropolitan Planning Organization were resolving their membership issue. Once they resolved it, they submitted it.
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    Mr. OLVER. And has the STIP been approved? Or is that STIP approval in relation to the balance of the Statewide plan, or what is it?

    Mr. KANE. This was a while back, I am told. It has been approved, so we are currently working with a valid STIP. I'm sure that after reauthorization it will go through another whole process, both each Metropolitan Area as well as Statewide, but it was some time back, and we are operating under an approved STIP.

    Mr. OLVER. Okay.


    The Appropriations Act for this year, the 1998 Appropriations Act, included $130 million for intelligent transportation systems. However, it would appear that the ITS JPO has made the decision to delay the initiation of new starts under ITS, including all of the earmarks. Is that correct? And if that is correct, what is the genesis here?

    Mr. WYKLE. Basically, sir, as I mentioned to the Chairman, we had to make some management decisions whenever we got the six-month extension in terms of the things that we would fund and what level we would fund those out. So, feeling that we must be able to keep agency operations going past 31 March, which the six-month extension gave us enough funds for, we decided to delay and defer some programs so that we could use the resources to pay salaries, rent, keep the general operating aspects of the agency going.

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    We do not feel that that will have a negative impact on these earmarked programs because you have to do some up-front work. You have to get your statements of work completed. You have to get your requests for proposals done. We need to do the actual coordination with the States with that up-front type of information. So it is certainly our intent, once reauthorization occurs, to fully fund all of those earmarks as prescribed, and we will have sufficient funds to do that, and we will be able to do it in a timely manner because we will have all the up-front work done. So we would have had some delays anyway, waiting for the up-front work.

    Mr. OLVER. Well, the intent is to have the up-front work going along, but much of this requires money somewhere along the way too, doesn't it? Doesn't that require the funding to do that?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes. We have set aside $1 million of the $47 million that we received under the six month ISTEA extension for this purpose.


    Mr. OLVER. And on these earmarks, if you have been using some money for the up-front activities on these earmarks, has it been used sort of evenly across the board? Or are some of them not going anywhere?

    Mr. WYKLE. It's an even, equitable distribution. We're not funding one project over another project. If for some reason we did not get adequate funds, we would work to have an equal distribution of those funds by partially funding.
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    Mr. OLVER. Okay. I'm sorry, go ahead.

    Mr. WYKLE. I was saying, if for some reason reauthorization does not occur, or we do not get the amount of money that is intended, we will not favor one project over another. We will do a pro rata share to get all of them started as intended. If for some reason there is inadequate money to do that, we will come back and consult with the committee.


    Mr. OLVER. So you can assure this committee that you will not favor one project over another, and that all those which were earmarked projects would move in a pro rated way?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes, that is correct. We will not favor one project over another. We will pro rate any money we have if we do not get the full funding. But we anticipate the full funding, and we will be ready to go because of the advance work that has been done.

    Mr. OLVER. There was a caveat that you put on there, that if something happened, you would come back to the committee. What was that?

    Mr. WYKLE. I said that if for some reason the full program is not funded——
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    Mr. OLVER. I see.

    Mr. WYKLE [continuing]. Then we would come back and consult.

    Mr. OLVER. But you anticipate the full program being authorized, and if for some reason, in the reauthorization that is going on, then you would come back—on the pro ration aspect, not on the aspect of favoring one issue over another?

    Mr. WYKLE. Right. We would come back and consult with the committee if for some reason that happened.

    Ms. JEFF. Let me additionally clarify. If, for example, the amount of funds that were to be made available were so woefully inadequate that we could not reasonably pro rate any of the projects, pro rate across all the projects, we would come back to the Congress and say, ''You have provided so few dollars that we cannot realistically, fairly and equitably, spread dollars across all the projects. Which projects do you, Congress, wish us to do?''

    Mr. OLVER. Well, I thank you.

    I have a very short time, and the Chairman should be back momentarily, but we're going to have to be in recess until he returns. I think the intent was that he was going to continue until 12:30.

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    Mr. WYKLE. We can just hang loose here. We'll take a break in place.



    Mr. WOLF. [RESUMING CHAIR] I understand that Mr. Olver asked a number of questions related to ITS, and a number of these we will submit for the record.

    The real question is, will the Department assure the committee that no specific ITS projects will be afforded any special funding considerations? That is, that all projects are funded, or that none of them are funded?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes, we will assure you of that.

    Mr. WOLF. Yes. Because that begins the whole fairness issue.

    Mr. WYKLE. Absolutely.

    Mr. WOLF. I think that raises everyone's comfort level.

    These others, we will just submit for the record.

    [The information follows:]
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    Once we have full GOE funding we will fund all of the ITS earmarks. We will not fund the earmarks in a piecemeal manner, nor will we choose one of the earmarks over another. If we receive less than full GOE funding, we intend to prorate the funds across all earmarks. If the GOE funding is at such a reduced level that prorating the funds would be unworkable, we will return to Congress for additional guidance.


    Mr. WOLF. The next ones, too, we will submit for the record. We have an extensive series of questions on field structure. We had a good meeting when you came by the office, and I don't want to rehash that and go through all this. What is the status of FHWA's restructuring effort?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes, we will do that.

    When Tony and at that time the Acting Administrator testified before this committee last year, they made a commitment to look at the restructuring of the FHWA field organization. They put together a task force to do that and completed their work, and when I came on board, that was basically waiting for a decision for the new Administrator. So within the first week on the job I met with all of our Regional Administrators, as well as the headquarters leadership team. We selected a course of action and started to work on that. We subsequently briefed the Secretary, the Department staff; we coordinated with the Modal Administrators, to include Rick and the other Modal Administrators within the Department; talked to our own IG; briefed the GAO on that; and then got the clearance from OMB to submit a report to you, which I delivered earlier this week.
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    Basically, the concept is to eliminate the Regions. They will no longer be in the decisionmaking process. We will empower—delegate—to the Division Administrators at State level the majority of the certifications and approval authorities that are currently done by the Region. If there are one or two exceptions, that will be withdrawn to the headquarters level.


    We will then establish four Resource Centers. Those Resource Centers will have technical capabilities in tunneling or bridging expertise, where they can provide support on large projects, complex projects, to the States, to the Divisions, as required.

    It also provides the flexibility to provide support to the Federal Transit Administration, to NHTSA, to the Federal Railroad Administration if we have an expertise that they need in terms of a project or work that they are doing. It moves us much closer to achieving the one DOT that the Secretary is so interested in achieving, so that when a customer calls the Department of Transportation, they get someone that can handle their problem or their issue. We are jointly manning offices with NHTSA in locations where it is needed and appropriate.

    So we are moving in that direction. We will cut the letter of direction to the Regions and the Divisions within 30 days in terms of empowering them to make these decisions, then over the next three to four months we will do the detailed analysis to determine costs, identify the sites, and begin execution of the program.

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    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. What are the estimated savings, do you know?

    Mr. WYKLE. I would prefer not to give you a figure at this time, sir. We have not done a detailed analysis of that. We have looked at certain factors in terms of individuals who may choose to retire as opposed to moving, and termination costs, reassignment costs. We don't have a good figure to even give you an estimate.


    Mr. WOLF. Do you anticipate new funding for the Centers?

    Mr. WYKLE. We do not plan to use any new funding. We plan to do it within the current budget. And for that reason, it may take us two to three years to fully execute it; but as we start, we will do virtual offices initially, telecommuting, teleconferencing, that sort of thing.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    [The information follows:]

    The FHWA will not be requesting additional funding for the operational costs of the new resource centers. FHWA will absorb these costs within current funding levels. However, in preparation for any transition activity that may be required during FY 1999, our FY 1999 budget included $2.4 million in personal change of station (PCS) funding. These funds are intended to cover costs of activities that may be necessary to begin the process of transitioning to a new organization.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, I have a number of others that we will just ask for the record.

    Mr. WOLF. I appreciate your attitude on that. We were working with Congressman Hoyer, who authored the first Federal telecommuting centers in my District, in Winchester.

    I think the more you treat the employees with a sense of compassion, to make sure we're not ripping somebody up and moving somebody, particularly somebody who has a son or a daughter who is going to high school and is on the debate team or who is a cheerleader or on the football team, whatever the case may be—so I would ask you to use a sense of compassion and understanding. And coming from your background, you know how difficult the military can be in moving people around. So I do want you to do that in that way, as you downsize. But I appreciate it.

    Mr. WYKLE. I have firsthand experience. I have moved 26 times with my family, so I understand the disruptions that can be caused. I have talked to many of the employees personally as I go to visit the Regions and Divisions. I make time to talk to them, explain to them what we're trying to accomplish, and I assure them that we will take care of them as individuals.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    Mr. WYKLE. This is not an effort to get anyone's job or to fire anyone. It's an effort to become more efficient and more effective and to better deliver our services to the customer.
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    Mr. WOLF. And I support you in that and in the way that you approach it, even if it takes just a little bit—not forever, obviously—but if it takes a little bit longer.

    Mr. WYKLE. We are confident that we can do it in a two- to three-year time period.


    Mr. WOLF. Recently the Federal Highway Administration released its strategic plan which includes five goals relating to mobility, safety, productivity, human and natural environment, and national security. For each goal, Federal Highway has identified indicators to measure performance. To what extent will these performance measures become the basis for comparing States to one another, and ultimately to determine the effectiveness of each State's program?

    Mr. WYKLE. I want to share some of these questions, so we'll let Gloria answer that.

    Ms. JEFF. Mr. Chairman, it's a question that I am excited at the opportunity to come back and chat with you about, since Virginia has been one of our most verbal members in terms of helping us with this issue.

    It is not our intention to utilize these performance measures in any way, shape, form, or fashion to compare one State with another. The rationale for the performance measures is to look at the overall performance of the national highway, road, and street system, and in that context, be able to report back to the American public that we have been good stewards of their resources and that we are, indeed, improving the performance, making it more responsive to their needs, both in terms of personal travel as well as industry response.
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    So it is not our intent to utilize these performance measures in any way, shape, form, or fashion to compare one State to another. Indeed, the information may be available to us which the State may be reporting, and we will be able to say to the State, ''Here's what you've done; what are you going to do in terms of your own decisionmaking process within the State to improve your own performance?'' But we will not utilize it to compare a State to another one. It is information that the State may use to do its own job better, and for us to assess the overall performance of the national system.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Mr. Wolf, we actually have experience with that now. If you remember several years ago, we started a pilot project with States where they moved from basically focusing on paperwork and oversight to performance partnerships. One of the things we wanted to do early was to help States look at their own data.

    Mr. WOLF. Could I just recess for about three minutes?


    Mr. WOLF. What we're going to do, before we finish here, is break about 12:30 to give you half an hour just to grab a sandwich or whatever, and then come back at 1:00 o'clock.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I was just going to point out, Mr. Wolf, that some of these issues were raised when we began to work with the States. We wanted to move toward the performance partnerships, so we did a pilot project to begin with. That was so successful that the second year, about 40 States requested that they do the performance partnerships, and now they have all requested to do that. It gives the States an opportunity to do several things, one of which is to strengthen their own data systems so that they can use a lot of this data to connect it and look at what they have, not only at the State level, but also locally and at the county level and at the city level. So we have actually found that it has been a strength. At this point in time, the States have requested that we move to that sort of a relationship. They can look at a national level overall, but use internal data to organize and identify their own issues.
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    Mr. WOLF. To what extent would these performance measures become the basis for awarding discretionary funds to the States?

    Ms. JEFF. In terms of assessing them as part of the selection process for discretionary grants, we have not specifically identified their achievement of performance measures as one of the criteria. It is clearly one that could be considered in the overall process. In our dialogues, not only with the State Departments of Transportation but with the others involved in the delivery of transportation, we have said that we need to look at a variety of ways to achieve the desired outcomes. And where there needs to be incentive to achieve those outcomes, we will clearly look at that. Where there needs to be utilization of a ''bully pulpit'' to improve the performance, not necessarily by providing incentives, but other actions in terms of increasing the overall objectives, we need to take a look at that as well. But we have not eliminated, nor have we said absolutely that it will be.

    Mr. WOLF. Dr. Martinez, how does that fit for your area with regard to awarding grants?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It has not been an issue for us. We do a formula grant to give out funding to the States. We have found that it gives us an opportunity for the localities to identify where the hot areas are so that we can focus on them.

    Another way we have been able to use those data systems is, for example, with our alcohol programs, our Partners in Progress. We're going to look at the top five States that have alcohol fatality issues and try to work within those States, and use the data to help identify what their problems are.
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    Mr. RECHT. If I could add to that, in our NEXTEA proposal we have performance alternatives in two of our incentive grant programs, both in the alcohol incentive grant program and in the seat belt program, where we say that if you meet these performance measures, that's an additional way to qualify for the funds.


    Mr. WOLF. By giving to those who are doing well, which I think is important, do you also take away from those who aren't doing well, where there is a greater need?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. There are alternative ways to meet that. They have several grant categories. What they can do—rather than meet the performance measure—they can put infrastructure in place with certain laws or programs that would allow them to get the money.

    Mr. RECHT. One last item. The way it is structured, at least on the alcohol side, is that you have to improve against your own State's performance in subsequent years, so that it essentially equalizes out.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, I think it's good to give it as a carrot, but I just wondered if that doesn't take away from other States, but you covered that.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I will say that one of the nice things that has occurred from this, is that we have seen data within the States improve dramatically, because they do want to find out what their problems are and how to address them.
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    Mr. WOLF. The IG conducted an audit of the Federal Highway Emergency Relief Program, revealing that Federal Highway had not used emergency relief funds in accordance with the regulations for nearly 30 projects, and had squandered $104 million. What are your comments with regard to the IG's findings?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, I think we certainly politely disagreed with the IG in terms of his categorization of that. But we did take a look at the term ''betterments,'' as an example, which was one of the concerns that he had, that that was not sufficiently defined, so we put out clarifying guidance to our field offices in November. We are in the process of updating our Emergency Relief Guide, and that will be out by the end of the year. And we are reviewing projects to ensure that they comply with this guide. When I was recently in California I met with the State DOT Director and reminded him of the IG findings from previous work on the earthquake, and the fact that we wanted to ensure that those types of situations did not recur.

    So not only have we put out clarifying guidance, we are updating our regulations, plus I am personally talking to the State DOTs as I see them and emphasizing the importance of this.

    Mr. WOLF. The conference report directed that Federal Highway submit a report to the committee explaining under what circumstances emergency relief funds can be used for betterments, by February 1. Do you know the status of that report?

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    Mr. WYKLE. We are slightly behind on that. We did not make that deadline. We should have it shortly, I would say within a couple months—this month? Okay.

    Mr. WOLF. By the end of March, then?

    Mr. KANE. Yes.

    [The information follows:]

    FHWA will submit the report to Congress as soon as it has been reviewed and cleared by the Office of Management and Budget. The report discusses the eligiblity of funding betterments under the emergency relief program and provides several exampl.es of both eligible betterments as well as ineligible betterments. The report also discusses the development of emergency relief projects in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act process and the types of projects and project features that are eligible for emergency relief funding as a result of compliance with this process.


    Mr. WOLF. We'll move to highway investments. Given the Department's estimate of $63 billion annually to maintain current highway conditions, why does the fiscal year 1999 budget propose a real cut from the fiscal year 1998 Federal-aid highway program, which itself falls far short of your estimates of need?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, it is certainly a tough issue, and within the Government it is a matter of priorities. Congress passed the Balanced Budget Agreement, which we support as the Administration. There are competing demands for the resources within that cap. The other agencies certainly would like to have additional money, as would we, but recognizing that it is a priority issue, it's a matter of trade-offs. When we submit our budget, we think the levels it contains are fair and equitable and the best that we can get within those caps and competing priorities.
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    Mr. WOLF. Would it have made sense to have repealed the 4 cents that was allocated from deficit reduction rather than depositing it into the highway trust fund? That 4 cents were never meant for highway construction; it was always meant for deficit reduction. If it were repealed, it would allow the States to collect it at the State level, where they would have more flexibility and have every dollar they collected. In your general thoughts, would that make sense?

    Mr. WYKLE. My preference would be not to do that. I think it's important to have a total national program so that you can maintain the visibility and ensure that priorities and apportionments to the States maintain the National Highway System. Of course, the Interstate system is part of that, as well as the bridges. Trying to get this ITS infrastructure up so that we can increase the capacity of the existing physical infrastructure that we have, I think it's more important that we maintain the program completely at the Federal level.


    Mr. WOLF. The budget, again, includes $100 million for a Transportation Investment Credit Enhancement Program. Last year the program was to make direct loans and loan guarantees to States and local governments to assist in the financing of large transportation projects.

    This year, the program is to provide grants to projects that otherwise might be delayed or not constructed because of their size and uncertainty over timing of revenues.

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    Why the change this year?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, there are some difficult technical issues there as we started to work this program in terms of the budgetary and tax issues that we need to resolve in terms of the grant-based credit enhancement program. So in order not to delay the program, at least keep some funds out there for the States to use, we felt this was the appropriate way to go while we continue to try to resolve these technical issues.

    So it is a good first step in terms of continuing the flow of money to the States.

    Mr. WOLF. What types of grants would be made by the Transportation Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Program, and what projects would be funded? Would, for example, a section 3 new start project be funded if appropriations did not meet the levels set forth in a full funding grant agreement? Or would it cover something like the Woodrow Wilson Bridge?

    Ms. JEFF. I think that the basic criteria that have been considered for projects of this nature would be projects that are at least of $100 million in total cost, or that exceed 50 percent of the dollars that would be made available to a State under a normal program structure, projects in which there was not only Federal and State participation but additional user participation, and projects that can be done by any variety of other user revenue mechanisms.

    We have also been looking for projects that are of national significance; not simply a large project in a State, but one that would be deemed as having national significance and assuring continued economic viability, serving some national economic purpose, be it facilitating the movement of U.S.-manufactured goods and products to ports for sale overseas, be it utilization for lowering U.S. industry's cost to keep it competitive in the international marketplace—those kinds of factors would be looked at in determining whether or not a project was of national significance. Those are the kinds of criteria that would be utilized in determining if a project were of national significance.
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    Mr. WOLF. I asked about the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

    Ms. JEFF. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge——

    Mr. WOLF. Excuse me just a minute. Both the Department and the Federal Highway Administration have shirked their responsibilities on the bridge. It is a Federal bridge, and the only one on the Interstate system that I know of, certainly on north-south 95. And I think both Republican and Democratic administrations have watched this bridge deteriorate and done little about it.

    I think that both the Department and the Federal Highway Administration really have to step up and do the right thing on the bridge.

    Did you want to say something?

    Mr. WYKLE. Sure. I would like to comment on that, sir.

    As you know, our going-in position in terms of the current budget is $400 million. We arrived at that based on the National Highway Systems Act, which gave us authorization to fund certain types of costs, if you will. We can fund 100 percent of continuing rehabilitation, which would be about $10 million per year, on that. Also, costs to replace it at its current lane capacity, six lanes, would be $329 million, and the cost for planning, for engineering design and so forth, is $61 million.
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    So that gets us to the $400 million in terms of our current position. We understand that there's a difference in terms of the total cost when you consider the access ramps on each end and the other work that needs to be done. We're willing to work with the Congress. We're certainly willing to work with the States in trying to get this issue resolved. We have an individual working almost full-time in terms of looking for innovative financial methods to help fund this project.

    Again, I have personally spoken to both the DOTs of Virginia and Maryland, and we will find a solution. I don't know what the solution is, but we're committed to working with the Congress and the States to try to find the right answer to this.


    Mr. WOLF. If El Niño were to come to this region and destroy the bridge, how much of the reconstruction costs would it be eligible for?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, Tony and I talked about that. We didn't use El Niño, but we used earthquake, if that would have happened.

    So, Tony, do you want to comment on that? [Laughter.]

    Mr. KANE. Obviously it would depend on the extent of the damage, but then you would look at a facility needed for future traffic forecasts. And then we would be involved at a level commensurate with that. So it's very hard to ever forecast what might happen.
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    The current planned structure right now, including the four interchanges—the interchanges alone, the four interchanges, are about $1 billion of the $1.6 billion price tag. So on your hypothetical question, it would really depend upon where the extent of the damage was. If it was just the structure, we might be talking about something different. If it was pervasive and covered the entire area, it might be a different situation. But the interchanges alone are about $1 billion of the total cost.

    Mr. WOLF. They would qualify as betterments under your current definition, just as you've done in California, so they would qualify, wouldn't they? [Laughter.]

    I think the point is, though, this is a very important issue for this region and for the entire East Coast, from as far south as Florida, which brings the citrus products up to Massachusetts; for the shoe industry of Maine, which takes its products down there.

    So I really appreciate your comment and the fact that you have somebody working on it. This has to be resolved and it has to be resolved in a positive way. It isn't your fault; you were probably a Colonel when this thing should have been dealt with. [Laughter.]

    Mr. WYKLE. I may have been a Lieutenant.

    Mr. WOLF. When I first moved to the region, I remember I was living, I think, in Park Fairfax then, and I heard that the dedication of the bridge was taking place, and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson came; she dedicated the bridge. That was in 1961 or 1962. I think it was his second wife, obviously.
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    But I think we have known for quite a while——

    Mr. WYKLE. We understand that, sir, and we are committed to finding a solution. I have talked to our Secretary on it also in terms of the differences, and we are just committed to finding a solution. We will continue to work at it. I am personally involved in it.


    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    As you know, the National Highway System Designation Act provided a number of innovative financing mechanisms, including the authorization of a State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) Program for up to 10 States. These 10 States could capitalize their SIB, in part, by depositing in the SIB a maximum of 10 percent of their Federal-aid highway funds for fiscal years 1996 and 1997. In addition, the 1997 DOT Appropriations Act provided $150 million for SIBs and removed the 10-State limit. States have expressed their interest to use up to $2.1 billion of their fiscal year 1996 and 1997 highway programs to capitalize their SIBs; however, States obligated only 9 percent of these funds as of December 31, 1997. For the $150 million provided through the Appropriations Act, the obligation rate was 96 percent as of December 31, 1997.

    Why have States been slow to obligate their program funds to capitalize a SIB, but so quick to obligate the $150 million provided through the Appropriations Act?

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    Mr. WYKLE. A couple of reasons. It takes time, first of all, for the States to get them established. It's a new innovation, so understanding the mechanisms and the processes for it takes time.

    Also, the current budget situation—instead of taking money to capitalize these, they are using these dollars to continue current construction programs, to make capital investments, because they're not certain of the reauthorization. So right now they are taking this money and putting it against capital projects and investment as opposed to capitalizing the bank. So ''new'' takes time; establishing the processes right now are priorities within the States.

    Mr. WOLF. All right.

    We'll have a couple other questions for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    States obligated their SIB capitalization funds allocated as a result of the FY 1997 DOT Appropriations Act relatively quickly because those general funds were outside of the obligation ceiling.

    The vast majority of SIB pilot States have indicated plans to obligate their regularly apportioned FY 1996 and FY 1997 Federal-aid highway funds for SIB capitalization, but have been slow to obligate those funds in FY 1998 due to uncertainty regarding their overall Federal-aid highway funding.
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    As of February 15, 1998, the amount of regular Federal-aid highway funds that have been obligated was $182 million and the amount of FY 1997 DOT Appropriation Act general funds that have been obligated was $144 million (including amounts obligated for SIB highway accounts at $127 million and SIB transit accounts at $17 million).


    Mr. WOLF. Last year the Congress provided a total of $400 million for the Appalachian Highway, about $100 million in the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, and yet another $300 million in DOT appropriations. This funding level represents an increase of threefold over the preceding year. Have States been able to fully obligate these funds?

    Mr. WYKLE. You asked, have they been able to? The answer is no, they have not to this point in time.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you give us a list of what has and what has not been obligated?

    Mr. WYKLE. I have that. Rather than read it, do you want me to provide it for the record?

    Mr. WOLF. Sure.

    [The information follows:]
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    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. Though the final authorization for ISTEA has yet to be enacted, it may include, from what we read in the paper, additional funding for the Appalachian Highways in fiscal year 1998. What indications do you have that the States can fully obligate these funds before the end of this fiscal year?

    Mr. WYKLE. Before the end of this fiscal year, fiscal year 1998?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

    Mr. WYKLE. I know they are doing a lot of advance work, but I cannot give you a specific State-by-State condition.

    Mr. KANE. Our own proposal had it starting in fiscal year 1998 because we were anticipating reauthorization coming a lot earlier. The Senate picks it up in fiscal year 1999. The overall total 6-year levels are about comparable now with the latest Senate action to increase the level of funding in committee this week.

    The question really is a very good one and probably the first year of starting it will become an issue, depending upon when reauthorization finally comes on line. It could well be that 1999 becomes the year, depending on when reauthorization actually takes place.

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    Mr. WOLF. What is the current unobligated balance of funds provided for Appalachian highways?

    Mr. WYKLE. It is currently $190 million.

    Mr. WOLF. How do you propose to allocate the funds requested for Appalachian highways and how does this proposal differ from the distribution involved in the fiscal year 1998 DOT appropriations?

    Mr. KANE. The same as in the past, remaining constant.

    Mr. WOLF. In the 1997 Appropriations Act, it included $30 million for the Appalachian highway construction. For instance, West Virginia got $20 million. How was this allocation determined, considering there were 13 States participating in the program?

    Mr. KANE. Let us provide that for the record, sir.

    Mr. WOLF. We had $30 million for the program and $20 million went to West Virginia.

    Mr. WYKLE. We don't have those details, so we will provide that for the record.

    [The information follows:]
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    The allocations were determined based applications from several States which had ''ready-to-go'' projects that would help expedite completion of segments not open to traffic and on Congressional interest.


    Mr. WOLF. All the States that got money were able to obligate their funds except one, West Virginia. I understand that $20 million allocated to West Virginia was returned at the end of fiscal year 1997 because they were unable to obligate the funds, but that the Federal Highway Administration turned around and reallocated it back to West Virginia. Is that right and why?

    Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, Mr. Chairman, that is correct. It is our expectation that those monies will be obligated this year. They had originally been allocated for specific project activities that the State has submitted and assumed they would be able to utilize in fiscal year 1997. That did not take place and this money has been reallocated for that same project purpose.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you consider the ability to obligate when discretionary allocations are made? If so, why was West Virginia reallocated the $20 million it was unable to obligate last year? Did Federal Highway ignore that West Virginia has a current unobligated balance—and I would be interested in seeing what your lists say—we think of over $46 million, more than double the next highest State and more than one-third of the total? Is that figure $46 million?
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    Mr. WYKLE. I show their unobligated balance at $45.93 million.

    Mr. WRIGHT. It is our expectation, Mr. Chairman, that they will be able to utilize that $20 million that was allocated to them for this year. If that turns out not to be the case, as has been the case in the past with allocated programs, that money would be withdrawn and made available to projects where it could be utilized. But our expectation is—and the reason for the reallocation—is that we do expect that they will be able to make that obligation.

    Mr. WOLF. With that you would really have West Virginia getting the fiscal year 1997 plus the fiscal year 1998. Does that seem a little high?

    Mr. WRIGHT. The monies that were distributed for fiscal year 1998, the $300 million provided for in last year's Appropriations Act, was distributed not on a discretionary basis but on a remaining cost to complete basis. So that was a decision that was made independent of the allocation of the discretionary funds in fiscal year 1997. We did just utilize the straight cost to complete basis.


    Mr. WYKLE. There are a couple of other States that have fairly high unobligated amounts.

    Mr. WOLF. I think there are four: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama, and West Virginia. I don't understand why funds were returned to West Virginia the very next year. I just don't understand that.
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    Mr. KANE. We promise an explanation on fiscal year 1997 and will amplify that in our response.

    Mr. WOLF. You keep allocating to States that can't obligate. It just seems to be a little unusual.

    [The information follows:]

    FHWA provided information on the ADHS unobligated balances (as of 3/3/98) for each State just before the hearing. Of the $300,000,000 available from the FY 1998 Appropriations, the four States with the highest unobligated balances were: Pennsylvania ($73,800,000), West Virginia ($45,930,000), Alabama ($45,000,000), and Georgia ($13,113,000).

    Of the four States noted above, two had unobligated balances for their ADHS funds from all sources at the end of FY 1997: West Virginia ($34,360,730) and Pennsylvania ($295,793). Four other States had unobligated balances at the end of FY 1997, including South Carolina ($4,186) as the third highest balance following Pennsylvania.

    West Virginia had expected to complete the final EIS for Corridor D in 1997. West Virginia encountered opposition from local citizens about the impacts on historic districts which would result from the likely preferred alternative in the final EIS. The delay in the environmental process delayed advancing the project to the next phase (right-of-way acquisition and final design), so West Virginia was not able to obligate the funds for Corridor D in 1997. FHWA pulled back the $20,000,000 for Corridor D, so States could obligate other Federal-aid highway funds within the overall obligation limitation. West Virginia expects to complete the final EIS this summer for FHWA's approval and issuance of the Record of Decision, in which case, the project should advance to right-of-way acquisition and final design this fiscal year. At West Virginia's request, FHWA returned the funds for the project.
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    Mr. WOLF. Let me recognize Mr. Packard. Ron, ask any questions you have and whenever you feel comfortable to stay or go, we can just adjourn here and then come back in a half hour. I want to give them an opportunity to get a sandwich or something. Maybe after Mr. Packard finishes, we will try to wrap up before the break, perhaps in about a half hour.

    We are going to be here for awhile and I think you ought to be able to go get a sandwich.

    Mr. PACKARD [assuming chair]. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest you set a time certain that either you or I can be back here to conduct the meeting.

    Mr. WOLF. How long do you think you will be?

    Mr. PACKARD. I won't be more than 5 or 10 minutes.

    Mr. WOLF. And Mr. Olver?

    Mr. OLVER. I will be 5 minutes.

    Mr. WOLF. Why don't we adjourn at 10 minutes of and return at 20 minutes after.


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    Mr. PACKARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Wykle, you are relatively new here and we appreciate you coming before the committee. It is a pleasure to see you. I apologize for not being here to hear your testimony. I have been conducting a hearing of my own with my subcommittee and I had the Secretary of State in another subcommittee of which I am a member. So I have not been able to come and listen to you. I appreciate you still being here.

    At the border crossing in San Diego—which is not in my district, but close by—at Otay Mesa we have built a very successful new crossing there for trucks. Of course, it really does enhance the movement of goods in both directions and certainly serves the needs of NAFTA.

    But once the trucks cross the border coming north into the United States, there are no highways that connect to our freeway system, as you may know. It is proposed that we have State Route 905 as the connecting freeway right from the checkpoint onto our existing freeway systems that allows the trucks to distribute goods throughout the rest of the country.

    Would you give us an update on the progress of that and where it stands?

    We are hoping to get it in ISTEA to be authorized. In fact, it is in ISTEA, as we understand it is drafted. So it will be authorized, but what are your plans on it?

    Mr. WYKLE. I would say to you, first of all, that I have had the opportunity to go to Otay Mesa and see that facility. I agree. It certainly is a very modern facility, the inspection station there that is used to look at the condition of the vehicles and so forth. Connectors are definitely needed in terms of connecting the border crossing with the other interstate highways and the National Highway System.
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    In terms of the particular status of that project, I don't know offhand. We will have to get you for the record the particular status of it.

    But I was briefed on it while I was there. I know the need.

    Mr. PACKARD. It is perhaps the highest priority for most of San Diego County. It is a very important international issue because of NAFTA and our trade. If you could get me an update on that for the record, I would appreciate it.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. PACKARD. Under Section 344 of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995, FHWA was required to implement a motor carrier regulatory relief and safety demonstration project. Who specifically required this program to be up and running by August 24, 1996?


    Mr. PACKARD. Final guidelines were not published until June of 1997 and now in December of 1997 the OMC announced a 6-month extension. Why is it taking so long?

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    Mr. WYKLE. Let me refer that to Mr. George Reagle.

    Mr. REAGLE. Several things. I think it is the first time, Mr. Packard, we have really tried to use incentives in the Highway Safety Program, so it is new territory. What we really wanted to do was to create an incentive for carriers to get involved and in turn what we would do is decrease the regulatory burden. So we had to work through that process.

    Second, at the end of December, we had five companies who wanted to get into the program. The reason we extended it was that there was a great deal of communication problems between what was in the Federal Register and what we thought we meant when we published it, so we had to interpret that.

    I think, third, we have had quite a bit of pressure—a good kind of pressure, a dialogue—between both the House and the Senate to in fact create more incentive on the program.

    So all of those have come together to cause us to have a slight delay and, as a matter of fact, relook at the program to see if we can create more incentive.

    Mr. PACKARD. Is it true that the OMC is considering changing the pilot program and revising the application requirements and so forth?

    Mr. REAGLE. Yes, sir.

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    Mr. PACKARD. When can we expect it to announce those changes?

    Mr. REAGLE. I would hope sometime this spring, certainly before the 6-month period ends.

    Mr. PACKARD. And you fully expect no further extensions would be required then?

    Mr. REAGLE. Yes, sir.

    Mr. PACKARD. And how many carriers have applied to participate in the pilot program?

    Mr. REAGLE. Five as of the end of December.

    Mr. PACKARD. And how many do you expect will be accepted?

    Mr. REAGLE. We are going to change the criteria, so I wouldn't be able to say at this point in time until we have changed the criteria.

    Mr. PACKARD. That is all I have. Thank you.

    Mr. Olver.

    I am getting accustomed to asking Mr. Olver for questions. He has certainly been very faithful on my subcommittee as well.
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    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I want to take this opportunity to delve back into one of those little pet peeves that one often has, a little bit like getting four pennies back in change and having to carry them all over the place when there isn't a thing you can buy for a penny nowadays. That should be an apple of discord, shouldn't it? [Laughter.]

    The particular pet peeve—some years ago, 15 or thereabouts, when we adopted the right turn on red law, my impression is that in my State what they did was to immediately put up signs in all directions at every four-way intersection to stop any right turns on red. You can come up to these places and there is no traffic anywhere and if you are following the signs and willing to sit there idling, you are not allowed to turn on red.

    My impression from my experience in that State is that we could very easily eliminate half of those signs without having a very serious problem with safety, if one used good judgment. I am curious what the experience has been nationwide, particularly from the highway safety point of view, and maybe from Federal Highway itself.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Mr. Olver, I would really have to go back and get you information on that. I cannot say that I have looked hard at that right turn on red issue and its implications for safety overall. There are some interesting dynamics that occur with pedestrians, for example, with right turn on red. People look right, then they look left, and then they turn their wheel right and begin to hit their accelerator. Someone may have entered into the intersection. There has been some evidence that that becomes an issue in the past.
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    But to go into more detail, I think I would have to go back and ask our staff if we do have research on that.

    Mr. OLVER. It is obviously both a fuel and a safety issue. I was just wondering whether we had any clear and comprehensive data on that. Maybe we were the outrider State—as we are occasionally—that just put up signs everywhere to stop that intent totally.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WYKLE. Let me ask Denny Judycki to comment on that.

    Mr. JUDYCKI. There have been a number of studies on right turn on red, which is actually part of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. We can certainly follow up in providing those studies.

    The posting of signs is the discretion of State and local traffic engineers. There has been a great debate—and it still continues—as to the extent to which those signs which prohibit right turn on red should be introduced into the network. Most often it is for the purposes we are talking about, which is in the downtown area for pedestrian movement and so forth as a safety precaution. But there have been studies that relate to both the fuel efficiency as well as the safety issue on right turn on red and we can provide that for you.
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    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. OLVER. Has there been any summary analysis and thereby guidance given from FHWA or NHTSA as to those studies that have been done and what really comes through from that? I could take you to lots of sites not far from where I live where there are no pedestrians, where it was done at that time I think purely to thwart what was viewed as a wrong-headed decision. But if its purpose had to do with saving some fuel at the time when we were in a fuel crisis—there are benefits as well as costs here.

    Mr. JUDYCKI. I am not aware of any recent synthesis that has been done, but it is probably time to take a look at that and to look across the States and see if we can synthesize what they have done on their experience on right turn on red from a safety as well as efficiency standpoint.

    Mr. OLVER. Do you know if there ever was synthesis and guidance given to the States on the basis of——

    Mr. JUDYCKI. Not that I am aware of. It has been handled on a State-by-State basis, sir.

    Mr. OLVER. Okay. Thank you very much.
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    For the record, it might be useful to have whatever other summaries, syntheses—you may have so much stuff that it would not make much sense.

    Mr. WYKLE. We will take a look at it, sir, and use our judgment in terms of providing you information from studies.

    Mr. OLVER. Thank you very much.

    [The information follows:]

    A preliminary survey of FHWA division offices reveals that the practice of Right Turn On Red (RTOR) is widely accepted in all States, with the exception of New York City. Because of New York City's high pedestrian volume, RTOR is only allowed when indicated by signs. States do not view RTOR as compromising safety, and consider it a critical component of sound traffic management. In addition, FHWA field offices further indicate that acceptance of RTOR within a State was directly related to the amount of outreach and public information provided to citizens when the practice of RTOR was first introduced.


    Mr. OLVER. Let me ask a couple of other questions here.

    In fiscal year 1995, we prohibited the national speed limit and gave the authority for setting speed limits over to the States. And at the same time in that legislation the Congress asked for a report to be submitted by the end of fiscal year 1998, which was September 30, 1997, on the costs in deaths and injuries—basically safety costs—that accrued from that versus the benefits that may have accrued from that.
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    We haven't seen that report. When is it going to be available?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. That report will be available shortly, probably within the next 48 hours. [Laughter.]

    Mr. OLVER. That is fast action, isn't it?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. That didn't sound very good.

    Actually Secretary Slater was hoping to have brought it with him yesterday. I understand that it is now going through its final stages to be signed off by him.

    I will tell you that we came to the committee in the past and notified others about the report requirement. We were starting during the year and it would take to the end of the year before the required information was available. Remember, the first year various States started their changes at various points in time, based upon their legislative process.

    So going back and evaluating, really created two technical challenges. One is having the varying times in the report, and number two is different types of information from different States. So finally, we started having a series of discussions through the Federal Register notice with the States, and interested parties, on the best way to develop a report that would be meaningful for Congress. That led to a scientific approach in which we grouped States that changed their speed limits with those that did not, and looked at that data against historical trends.
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    Mr. OLVER. It would be very interesting to have been on the wall as a fly in those discussions as to what would be the best way to report those results to the Congress.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think it was actually a very open debate through the Federal Register process because different parties have very different views. To try to bring that together was really our overall goal. The bottom line, we have seen in those States that did raise their speed limit a 9 percent increase in fatalities versus the trends. Again, we went back and looked at trends in States with and without, but we lumped them together to do that.

    Mr. OLVER. So my next question was going to be—and apparently you are willing to telegraph what is in the report when it comes out in a couple of days——

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I don't want to give all the specifics since I don't——

    Mr. OLVER. Whatever the press release is from the Secretary.

    There was a report by the National Insurance Institute of Highway Safety that suggests 12 percent. You are saying 9 percent. So those at least are within margins of error, I would take it.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. They use a lot of the same data that we use and we generally find ourselves with similar results when we evaluate the issues.
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    Mr. OLVER. My understanding of the national statistics of the total vehicle fatalities and deaths per hundred thousand began increasing in 1993. It had been decreasing for probably close to 20 years before that time, probably really related to when the last energy crisis—that big one back in 1974 or thereabouts—occurred. Do you have the feeling that the speed limit is a significant or major contributor to that?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It is hard for me to answer that question specifically. When you look at the numbers, there has not been a straight line. These numbers always go somewhat up and down based upon the economy. When the economy is good, the exposure goes up quite a bit.

    The other line we look at is the fatality rate, going through the hundred million vehicle miles travelled. We saw from 1965 or so about 5.5 fatalities per hundred million miles travelled down to about 1.7, which then flattened out about the last 3 or 4 years. With the fatality rate being flat, if you increase exposure, you are going to see the numbers go up and then follow that wave.

    We have seen, too, during that period of time, seat belt use going up. Vehicles are increasingly having additional standards implemented into the fleet which make a difference because vehicles have become increasingly safe. We have watched drunk driving come down and then kind of flatten. It is a little hard to pull that data out, so we try to look at the historical trends related to speed.
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    We think we are at the point of easy gains being made, so our approach has been changed to focus on a lot of different issues. If you want to look at the issue of speed, I think you are absolutely right. It came to us, recognizing the role of speed, when the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit was implemented. We saw a 16 percent decrease in fatalities in one year, despite the fact that there was only a decrease of 2 to 3 percent in travel.

    Mr. OLVER. Well, it's a pretty dramatic drop from 5.5 in the middle 1960s to 1.7 at its bottom. I don't know how much it has gone up, but we will see what the data show. But it would be tragic if we are going significantly up. To be at 1.7 seems to me to be good. And anything that increases that, if it is increasing it in any dramatic way, would seem to me to be bad and obviously something you should be concerned about.

    Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Olver, I am going to call for the recess at this time. It is 10 before the hour. If you come back at 20 minutes after, the chairman should be here to continue the questions. We will recess until then.



    Mr. WOLF [resuming chair]. With regard to air bags, in the spring of 1997, NHTSA allowed automobile manufacturers to begin producing vehicles with less aggressive air bags. Have you begun testing vehicles with depowered air bags to see if they are as safe as the same vehicles with the more aggressive? If so, how are they doing?
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir. Let me make a clarification. The rule that we issued allowed manufacturers to make changes to the air bags faster, not just the amount of power they chose, but also design changes and other changes were made. One of the reasons we used the SLED test as the significant way to do compliance testing for the air bag as opposed to full-crash testing into the wall is that you can do several SLED tests in a day whereas only a couple of full-crash tests within a week.

    That allowed changes to occur really fast. We saw the first redesigned air bags in the marketplace by June of last year. Right now, about 90 percent of the fleet——

    Mr. WOLF. How many cars would that be?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. The number of cars?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Right now, an estimate of about 90 percent of the fleet of vehicles being made are equipped with newly designed air bags. That would be about 900,000 cars per month—somewhere around there.

    Mr. WOLF. So it would be about 12 million a year?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, between 12 million and 14 million a year total. We think it has made a significant difference. In the testing we have done so far—we are doing both compliance testing in NCAP, which is our new car assessment program, and also in static testing in our laboratories. We are finding that they are dramatically decreasing the risk of injury while at the same time providing some high levels of perfection.
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    The NCAP tests, for example—the Ford Windstar, with its newly designed air bag, still gets a five-star.


    Mr. WOLF. Is that the safest car?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I am not going to say it is the safest car, but I will say——

    Mr. WOLF. According to the article I read in the Washington Post a week ago——

    Dr. MARTINEZ. They are the mini-van that has a five-star rating, and I believe the only one. And this is the second year in a row they have had that rating.


    Mr. WOLF. So you have investigated accidents?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, we have. We have a special crash investigation team that has now done about 50 of these investigations. I don't have all the results of the investigations. We have done about 50 and expect to do 100 this year. Our request for fiscal year 1999 is to double that to 200. In addition, the manufacturers are doing investigations of car crashes, or at least have proposed to do that also.
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    Mr. WOLF. So you think that it has saved lives, particularly of small children and small-stature adults?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. With regard to the risk to children and small adults, the risk drops off dramatically in the initial stages of the decrease of the power. If you drop the power a lot more than that, you don't get much back. The curve looks like this. By using the SLED test, we have seen that the risk has been dropped very dramatically at this point.


    Mr. WOLF. In December of 1997, a rule went into effect that would permit cut-off switches to be installed in vehicles to activate or disable the air bags. To have this switch installed, a car owner needs to request an authorization form from NHTSA after certifying that the air bags are a threat to them or their children.

    How many requests have been made to NHTSA to date? How many have you approved?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It is a three-stage process. The first thing to do is contact us or dealers or other outlets that have the information. After they have read and certified that they have read the information and understand the risks and are self-certified to one of the risk groups, they send that back in to us, at which point we then turn that around. Right now our processing time is about 4 days, we send it back to dealers. We are in the early phases of this process. We have given about 18,000 authorizations.
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    Mr. WOLF. How many asked for information? What are the different numbers?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We don't know the numbers for information requests because we are not the only source that gives the information. We wanted to make the information widely available. We have given authorizations to 18,000. We have had about 22,000 to 23,000 requests in total. It has actually gone up and peaked and now is beginning to come back down.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you authorize every one where there is a request?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Every one that is completely filled out. We have actually sent some back for further information. The VIN number has been the most important, the vehicle identification number. We plan to track these long term. We have sent requests with no VIN number back for this information.

    Right now, two-thirds of the requests are for the driver side, for distance. The other one-third are for the passenger side, mostly for children's issues.

    Mr. WOLF. Say that again for the driver's side.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. The majority of the requests are actually for the driver's side.

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    Mr. WOLF. Really?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir. About two-thirds to one-third.

    Mr. WOLF. Did you expect that?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Actually, we weren't really sure where it would go. I think for the passenger side it helps us that people understand you can eliminate the risk totally for kids by putting them in the back so they have a very simple option. Drivers don't have that option to be in the back. Therefore, we have the self-certification aspect of it. The majority of them have been for the distance on the driver's side.

    There were some concerns raised about having switches installed. We are now beginning to see the forms coming back from dealers that they are installing the switches and we are monitoring that. There were some issues about liabilities raised early on.


    Mr. WOLF. Are you tracking the people that get the switch?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir, we are. We are going back to call the dealers to find out what can be done to facilitate the dealers putting the switches in for the people. We are not particularly tracking those individuals who have the switches.

    Mr. WOLF. I mean those who make the request versus those who actually get it done. Do you know the difference?
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    Mr. RECHT. We know how many people have requested permission and how many authorizations we have given.

    Mr. WOLF. Because you sent them out?

    Mr. RECHT. Yes. And we can tell you today that that is about 18,000.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We also know how many installations actually occur because the dealer is required, after the installation, to send us a form telling us it has done the installation. That is what we know. That is a much, much smaller number.

    Mr. WOLF. But you don't actually track the individual after that?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Not after that, but we do keep track of the vehicle identification number.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. Is NHTSA tracking those people that request authorization to have a cut-off switch installed in their vehicle?

    [The information follows:]
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    The agency is maintaining a database with records of all requests it receives, including an imaged version of each completed authorization request form and a record of the agency's response to each request. It does not track the individuals who make the request, but it keeps a record of the vehicle identification number of each vehicle for which a request is made and in which a switch is installed.

    Mr. WOLF. Is NHTSA tracking how many of the people that obtain authorization for a cut-off switch actually have the work done? If so, how many people have had cut-off switches installed to date?

    [The information follows:]

    The agency tracks switch installations through the use of a form attached to the bottom of each letter that it sends to authorize the installation of a switch. The dealer or other business entity that installs a switch is required to fill out this form and send it to the agency. As of March 20, 1998, NHTSA has received forms from dealers documenting 406 switch installations.

    Mr. WOLF. Is there a sticker or something put in the car? How would someone know that purchases that car?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. The way the switch is designed——

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    Mr. WOLF. Is it visible?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It is visible. It has a warning light that goes on; it gives you the status of the air bag. It is visible to the driver and the passenger.

    Early on the question was deactivation. Deactivation would have occurred somewhere in the electronics system. One of the reasons we moved from deactivation to the on-off switch is that it allowed you to change the switch according to conditions for which that vehicle was used. Secondly, you could have the status light come on and people could change that status based upon the use of the vehicle. We thought it was a better option when the technology became available.

    Mr. WOLF. At one time, NHTSA was estimating that approximately 10 percent of the driving population would seek approval to deactivate their air bags and the insurance industry was predicting that one in six would have their bags disconnected. That is no longer the case.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Gladly so. That was in the backdrop of a tremendous amount of misinformation and concerns. It is a confusing issue to a lot of people.

    One of the things we did with the air bag information switch brochure is have you read the information, I think in a fairly user-friendly manner, so that you get an informed decision, opposed to a panicked decision. From our Hotline calls, we found that people who are concerned often regain their comfort once they are given the proper information. For example, understanding that belting makes a big difference—understanding that it is the first 2 or 3 inches as opposed to the entire deployment of the air bag—where the injury or harm is most likely to occur.
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    That information gives people simple things they can do to address the issues. We found that when given that information people's concerns went down.


    Mr. WOLF. Have you seen any accidents of people in cars where the switch was off?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. No, sir, at this point we haven't. Remember one of the reasons we felt comfortable with the on-off switch is that there are over 2 million out there already on different vehicle lines. We allowed on-off switches several years ago on pick-up trucks that have no back seats. We went to the companies and asked them to make phone calls. We had some focus group meetings. People felt that they could use those switches wisely.


    Mr. WOLF. Are all the companies making on-off switches for the vehicles?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. The vast majority of companies are making on-off switches, though they have different time frames as to when they are available. Some are still doing the designs for the vehicle models. Some have opted not to.

    Mr. WOLF. Who is part of——
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. There are a few that don't think they need to make them.

    Mr. WOLF. Who?

    Mr. RECHT. I believe Mercedes and BMW have not yet indicated they are going to do it, some of the smaller——

    Mr. WOLF. Honda?

    Mr. RECHT. Honda indicated it would.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think Honda just recently made the decision that they would.

    Mr. RECHT. Originally they had decided that they didn't need to.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. But the big three and Toyota, which are the largest, all have.

    Mr. WOLF. We saw the news story about dealers not wanting to install on/off switches. What is the status?

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I will give you a little bit of information and ask Mr. Recht to give you more details, because I have asked him to deal with Mr. McCarthy and the dealers.

    The original concerns were really from the deactivation aspect of it, which had a lot more liability concerns than our final decision for on-off switches. As a matter of fact, crafting the final decision for rulemaking was really taking the dealers' concerns into consideration. NADA and others have now created model waivers that they are actually getting other dealers to use.

    With that backdrop, we then had the process begun. One of the things we found to help address the issue of liability from the dealers, is that the manufacturers have now come out and said that installation of the on-off switch would now be covered under the warranty; that they would then indemnify the manufacturers as long as the switch is installed according to directions.


    Mr. WOLF. So there is not a big problem now with dealers not——

    Dr. MARTINEZ. This only occurred in the last 2 weeks. And we have also begun to see the forms coming back from the dealers. We think this will make a major dent in those concerns.

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    Mr. WOLF. How big a problem was it that the dealers were not installing the switches?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It is hard for me to give you an answer to that. A lot of the stories about dealers not doing it was actually before we would allow them to do it. Actually since that time, January 19th, the forms have just begun to go back out to the dealers. So we are really in the early stages of this.

    Mr. RECHT. Let me add that, anecdotally we were hearing it was quite difficult for people, after they got approval from our agency, to find a dealer. In fact, I spoke to the dealer organization, which confirmed that the dealers were hesitant. They had these liability concerns and, interestingly, the insurance companies who insured the dealers—their own liability carriers—were by and large advising them not to do it.

    So one thing we did was to approach the big three and ask if they could do something to give some comfort here. In fact, to their credit, they have said that they would indemnify the dealers under the standard manufacturer-dealer agreement.

    Mr. WOLF. And there have been no suits?

    Mr. RECHT. No suits so far. In fact, Ford sent a letter out to all its dealers about a week or 2 ago and stated that they have already sold 1.2 million pick-up trucks with on-off switches, and they have never, to this day had a lawsuit for any of those vehicles. So we hope that going forward the dealers will feel more comfortable.

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    [The information follows:]

    It seems likely that some dealers will continue to decline to install switches. Despite the willingness of the manufacturers to indemnify them, these dealers remain concerned about litigation in the event of injuries that can be attributed to an air bag being turned off. At this point, however, NHTSA expects that a sufficient number of dealers will be willing to install switches to enable most people to have them installed.

    Mr. WOLF. It is our understanding that under limited circumstances, if a cut-off switch is not available from the vehicle manufacturer and an aftermarket switch cannot be installed in a motorist's vehicle, NHTSA will authorize the deactivation of an air bag. Is that accurate? Has that occurred? If so, under what circumstances?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We had that process before the rulemaking for the on-off switch. If there is no on-off switch available—which we understand by a lower threshold for installation—then they would basically still have available the option to do the deactivation aspect of it.

    We think that is not as good a solution because the benefits of the air bag are completely removed. It does require some labelling and some information for people who have the car, but we would also worry about how that information travels through the chain. So our belief is that the on-off switches are a better option. It looks as though, from the response of the manufacturers, there will be switches available for the vast majority of cars.

    Mr. WOLF. We were talking earlier that NHTSA thought approximately 10 percent of the driving population would seek to deactivate, and now you say it is the 18,000.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Actually, it has peaked and then begun to go down a little bit.


    Mr. WOLF. You reprogrammed money for air bags. Do you need all the money?

    Mr. RECHT. We may need to take a look at that. We needed a certain amount of that money to create the pamphlets and the literature and the like and get that out, but we will be glad to take a look at that and get back to you.

    [The information follows:]

    The agency has received far fewer requests for air bag on-off switches than initially anticipated. NHTSA is currently reviewing the costs associated with maintaining the database, report requirements and other process-related items. If a review finds that all reprogrammed funding is not needed for this effort, then funding will be reallotted to the pertinent programs to carry out the original programmatic intent.

    Mr. WOLF. How much was reprogrammed?

    Mr. RECHT. About $2 million.

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I will make a point that the reprogramming——

    Mr. WOLF. You might be able to use that money some other place.

    Mr. RECHT. The fact of the matter is that for the air bag issues we basically went and put many projects on hold and did not buy things we needed to buy. I would like to make sure that we can give you a good thought-out answer as to what we took it from. Quite frankly, we did not feel that first step was to come ask for additional money from Congress, but instead to make this our top priority. I want to make that point because we put a lot of things on hold last year that we are little behind on and would like to go back and make sure we are using our monies wisely.


    Mr. WOLF. Is the Department still planning to require the installation of advanced technology or ''smart'' air bags into vehicles within the next 5 years? If so, when do you expect to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking defining what constitutes a ''smart air bag''?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think we're on very fertile ground in that regard, for a variety of reasons. One of which is that we have put a fast track on the science of looking at air bags; this changes the paradigm.

    The focus before was to get the air bag out in time for a crash. You are talking about the blink of an eye. So the focus was to get it out. Now the entire focus is on how it gets out and how you modulate the air bag, the shape of the air bag, the power of the air bag, the threshold, the different stages of air bag deployment, suppression systems. All these things have only in the last 2 years had greater focus.
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    The environment we are in is actually a fairly good one. We have seen a tremendous amount of resources allocated through new and emerging companies for air bag and restraint systems. A lot of them are actually coming from this defense technology. Now we are finding ourselves with the opportunity to move forward on advanced rulemaking.

    I do think we will be on track and the rulemaking will come out during this summer. We are doing some internal research at this point in time, but we are also working with companies around the world to look at what is practical and what is feasible. Part of what we are doing is trying to do a bracketing of performance standards. That actually was kicked off when we started having our meetings with the companies last year.


    Mr. WOLF. Will this rule be expedited to make the 1999 model?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I don't know that those advanced air bags coming out from this rule would be in the 1999 model, since right now design specifications are being made for the 2001 and 2002 models. That is the kind of advanced time frame needed.

    We will still be operating under the existing modifications that we have made. I have just come back from Europe and Detroit meeting with the manufacturers and there are a series of continually improving changes being made to air bags over the next few years. I am quite comfortable and confident that you will see changes in design occur, but those next level advanced designs will probably be around 2001 or 2002.
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    Mr. WOLF. With regard to the education program, NHTSA, in conjunction with the automobile manufacturers and the Air Bag Safety Campaign, have done a pretty good job in educating the public about the dangers. There for awhile, every time you picked up the newspaper there was an article on the subject.

    In August of 1996, 56 percent of the adult population was aware of the dangers associated with air bag deployment. By the time our subcommittee began hearings in December of 1996, awareness had increased to 85 percent. Since then, it has declined and information collected by the Air Bag Safety Campaign shows that as of December of 1997, a year later, awareness has dropped to 76 percent.

    Why do you think that is occurring and how can you get it back up to 85 or 90 percent?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We are actually very lucky in that. In creating the campaign, we have raised through public-private partnerships about $15 million. That money actually allows us to do these surveys on a very rapid basis and see not only what the message is, but what are some of the approaches we can try to attack the message again. As you said, messages come in to the media and then begin to dissipate.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. You don't see the number of stories that you did?
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. No. So we can't count on it. The media has a life of its own and certain issues become big issues and then that will fade away into the next one. We have to look at weaving it into the fabric of society in other ways. We are actually using our Buckle-Up America Campaign as a way to help amplify this message. We also have the Patterns for Life Program to amplify the message. We are increasing our request for monies for occupant protection in this budget in order to go after high-risk groups and also hard-to-reach populations, as well as diversity issues, so that we can bring it to those that have different message avenues.

    The other thing we are doing is working with manufacturers who make child safety seats. I just bought a new one for my little boy, who is actually 6 months old but somewhat of a tub. He weighs more than his 2-year-old sister already. We had to buy a rear-facing seat for him. It is a much bigger seat. When we opened up the box, there was a tremendous amount of information on this particular issue, with the seat.

    We want to go back out with the videotape we did last year. One of the areas of greatest decline is new parents. If you are young and you are married and you don't have a child, you don't focus as much on the children's issues. When you are getting ready to have a child—or you have one—all of a sudden there is a whole bunch of information for you to learn. We have to constantly get this information in front of new parents.

    We found, for example, that children being placed in the front seat has increased to 30 percent. That is very disturbing for us. This is totally preventable.

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    Mr. WOLF. That was going to be my next question.

    The industry had done such a good job, but now you are slipping.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think it's where we are.

    Mr. WOLF. How can you reach that 25-to 35-year-old group?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. These children are in that rear-facing seat for one year, then they graduate up to the forward-facing seat. You are talking about a renewing 1-year effort. That is what I meant about going back to focus on those who are getting the new parents coming in and making it a central message, as you transfer into that.

    Mr. WOLF. How do you go after that group? Husband and wife working, getting up at 6:00 a.m., maybe 5:30 a.m., coming in very busy, getting home at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m.—how do you reach that group?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. As you know, for the past few years we have begun to reach out to non-traditional groups. Those relationships are beginning to become fertile—the OB/GYN, the nurse midwives, neonatal nurses, family physicians, pediatricians—we are working more and more with the police departments to focus on child passenger safety. We will have a national mobilization in all 50 States by May.

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    We are also actually getting the entire Department of Transportation focused on seat belt and child safety seat initiatives and bringing all those constituents in to try to influence the target audiences, as well as our big focus on diverse populations. By creating the message in Spanish we can go to the lower socioeconomic areas where the message isn't always understood in English.

    Mr. WOLF. Is it fair to say that that increase to 30 percent will translate into more deaths?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I believe there is a possibility that it will. It is a central concern of ours. I think if you look at our request for fiscal year 1999, it is a strong amount. A large percentage of that money is for occupant protection, both in the highway safety grants and also within NHTSA's programs. A lot of that is for public information and targeting those we think need to hear the message.

    I think your point is true. You have to find out what streams of information get to that new parent and what makes this decision.

    I met with the families and they have said that if they had only known what they could have done, this would not have happened. As a new dad and as the Administrator, that is a major issue for us.


    Mr. WOLF. On seat belt usage rates, in the report last year, the committee expressed strong support for the Administration's initiative to increase seat belt use to 85 percent by 2000 and 90 percent by 2005. At last year's hearing, you testified that the national safety belt usage rate was 68 percent, the same as in 1995 and only 1 percent higher than in 1994. In 1997, it was essentially the same as the 1996 rate. What are your explanations for the lack of progress? And what does next year look like?
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I will tell you that I am quite optimistic. We have really tried to go out and get a lot of different groups on board. It takes a little while to develop relationships from which you can build and which you can begin to move forward. We have tried to get other people to see this as being their issue to attack. Seat belt use is something everyone can do.

    There are basically two groups of individuals who don't wear their seat belts—part-time users and those that never use it—high-risk non-users. Part-time users see it as an issue. They like seat belts fine, but on the other hand, they are just going to the corner drug store or on a short trip and not going on the interstate to take a long trip. So for them, we have one sort of message to get out there.

    On the other side of the coin, for the high-risk individual who also has speeding, drunk driving, and a lot of these issues, we want to get stronger laws. We have these secondary seat belt laws which are the only traffic laws you cannot enforce. It is very bizarre. We are working with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and others to get stronger laws.

    Last week, Indiana passed a primary seat belt law. Georgia passed one a year and a half ago. They have now taken this 85 percent rate as a goal. What we have to do is have a strong law followed by enforcement and education, but enforcement is a big issue.

    [The information follows:]

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    The national use rate has been essentially the same for the last several years, from 68 percent in 1995 and 1996 to 69 percent in 1997. While we do not expect to see linear increases in nationwide seat belt use from the 1997 rate to our goal of 85 percent by 2000, we do expect improvements for 1998 and then for 1999 which reflect the increases achieved during our ''70 by '92'' program where use increased about three-four percentage points for each of the years 1992 and 1993. From now through 1999, the four point strategy of the Presidential Initiative to Increase Seat Belt Use Nationwide, and the Buckle Up America program which implements that strategy, should be achieving the necessary momentum to move national use into the high 70 percent range. That momentum should continue to build, so that we fully expect to reach 85 percent by the year 2000.

    Mr. WOLF. NHTSA's second National Occupant Protection Use Survey showed overall belt use at 61.3 percent, up from 58 percent in 1994. It is my understanding that these rates are lower than the 68 percent reported because the state data (used to calculate the 68 percent) frequently excludes pickup trucks and other vehicles not covered by state belt use laws. Why does NHTSA continue to report an average of state data as the national belt use rate instead of reporting the more inclusive rate calculated by the survey? For the record, please provide the Committee with the results of your most recent National Occupant Protection Use Survey.

    [The information follows:]

    NHTSA continues to use state reported use rate data for a number of important reasons: (1) State reported use rates provide the only annual data to measure seat belt use; the NOPUS survey is conducted every two years, (2) State use rates remain the only way to measure change in individual states; the NOPUS survey measure seat belt use at the national level only, (3) State use rates provide seven years of continues, uniform data; the NOPUS survey has only been conducted in 1994 and 1996, and (4) obtaining state use rates is much more cost effective than conducting a yearly, state based, national survey.
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    State use rates do provide accurate, inclusive, and timely safety belt use data, but they do tend to vary in survey methodology, seating positions observed, and types of vehicles included. However, 28 states include pick-up trucks in their surveys, and 21 states include vans.

    NOPUS is conducted once very two years because of its considerable expense. A year uniform survey measuring use rate changes in individual states, as well as the nation, would be extremely expensive to conduct.

    The latest NOPUS results are from 1996. The NOPUS national use rate is 61.5 percent overall and 66 percent for passenger cars.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the swing in terms of seat belt usage rates? California was the highest and North Dakota the lowest?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. California is 88 percent now. At this point, I think Mississippi and Arkansas are the lowest at 48 percent. It's a 40 point spread.

    Mr. WOLF. And 48 percent in Arkansas, too? You would think the President would talk to his own State, wouldn't you?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We may ask.

    Mr. WOLF. I don't generally talk to him very often. [Laughter.]
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    Seriously, I think that is part of leadership to make that case.

    Could you submit for the record all the States and the percentages and then it will be clear those that have a primary—there won't be many that are high that don't have a primary seat belt law.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Probably not because the enforcement aspect is so hard.

    Mr. WOLF. Washington?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Washington actually has a very strong enforcement and education component. They are 82 percent, with a secondary law. The rest are primary seat belt laws.

    We are seeing a lot more activity on this issue with a lot more involvement in the coalition. The Department of Transportation is going to focus on this by getting the FAA involved. They would encourage their big corporations to buy into the 85 percent seat belt use rates for their employees. We would see what we could do to get the message out on the airplane—about wearing a seat belt after you leave the plane—in the more risky part of the trip, as it were.

    We have a weekly report looking at what we do in one month in Buckle-Up America. I am beginning to see a much more critical mass on this issue and a belief that you can do something about it. For example, 2 years ago Georgia had 51 percent seat belt use and really not much in the way of strong laws. In the past 2 years, they have put in strong drunk driving laws, graduated license laws, a primary seat belt law and went to 68 percent and have now made a commitment in the Legislature to 85 percent. That is how we will do it, focusing on 85 percent in each and every State, one at a time.
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    Mr. WOLF. What is Virginia?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Virginia is 67 percent.

    Mr. WOLF. How many States had a lower seat belt use in 1996 compared to 1995?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I have it racked up somewhere, quite frankly, and it would take a few minutes to get it to you.

    Mr. WOLF. And what about 1997 as compared to 1996?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I would be happy to do that.

    [The information follows:]

    Twelve states has belt use rates that remained unchanged from 1995 to 1996: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    Twelve states had belt use rates that remained unchanged from 1996 to 1997: Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I do want to make a point, too, that General Wykle just reminded me that we do have the Network Employers for Traffic Safety. They want to achieve the 85 percent goal also. We are going to corporations through programs that are created just for them. We think we are beginning to spread this idea of 85 percent and that it has real value to the various constituents in having them buy in.


    Mr. WOLF. To get to the 85 percent figure, how many lives would that roughly translate into saving?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It would be the most significant thing we could do in the Department of Transportation, 4,000 lives per year and over 100,000 serious injuries a year.

    Mr. WOLF. And if you ever got to 100 percent?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. If we ever got to 100 percent—well, 90 percent is 5,000. I don't know the number for 100 percent. But actually, the higher you go, the greater the gains are because you are getting to that high risk group more and more. That is one reason at 68 percent we saw it stall. We began to realize that this was the harder group. That is why we kind of changed our programs to do them.

    Mr. WOLF. I commend you for your effort. I think it is very, very important, from my own experience and others. Anything the committee can help you with, we will be glad to do that.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. We appreciate that.


    Mr. WOLF. For the record, the presidential seat belt initiative has a goal to increase national belt use to 85 percent by the year 2000. With seat belt rates remaining essentially flat for the past 4 years, and in some States sliding backwards, it seems to me that the approaches NHTSA used to get belt use rates up from the low teens to above 60 percent will not enable us to reach this ambitious goal by 2000. What new steps is NHTSA taking to get all States to achieve significantly higher seat belt use levels?

    [The information follows:]

    Prior to April 1997, when the Secretary of Transportation submitted the national seat belt plan to the President, seat belt use had leveled off at 68 percent. The two most significant reasons for this were a decrease in the number of states conducting periodic high visibility enforcement programs and only a modest interest in upgrading to primary enforcement laws.

    Since April 1997, the Department and NHTSA have been developing a new nationwide effort called Buckle Up America (BUA) in support of the Presidential Initiative to Increase Seat Belt Use Nationwide. During the first year of this initiative, staff and resources were directed at developing the program content, BUA campaign and messages, resource materials, staffing and organizational structure, building outside partnerships, and announcing the program. Using the four strategies developed in the President's Seat Belt Plan: Building Partnerships; Encouraging Stronger Seat Belt and Child Safety Seat Legislation; Active High Visibility Enforcement; and On-Going Public Education, NHTSA is conducting seasonal events to expand the partnerships which are committed to achieving the national goals; and convincing the public that they must be part of the solution. The theme for this effort within the Department is to ''get our own house in order, energize and mobilize our partners, and recognize and praise the good.''
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    The Agency has created a special team to address issues affecting diverse populations in targeting our educational and enforcement programs. The team is developing new partnerships in the African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic communities, requesting assistance in promoting seat belt and child safety seat use.

    For Spring 1998, NHTSA has partnered with the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign in a national mobilization to work with several thousand law enforcement agencies in all 50 states to conduct seat and child safety seat checkpoints and to bring increased media attention to the issue.

    To benchmark our successes and to identify new concepts and approaches, NHTSA is working with the American Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) to conduct a BUA Leadership Conference June 14–16, 1998. This working conference will bring together 80 senior policy makers and experts in highway safety to assess progress to date and to identify specific strategies to raise seat belt use and reduce child passenger fatalities. These efforts, combined with the proposed incentive grant program in the Department's surface transportation safety reauthorization proposal, should produce a significant increase in the seat belt use numbers reported by the states beginning in CY 1998.


    Mr. WOLF. For the record, in reviewing your 1999 budget request, it appears that NHTSA is using the same old approaches to tackle the goals set out in the presidential initiative to increase seat belt usage. For example, the agency is requesting funds to promote seat belt use with constituents and partner organizations including the health and medical professions, businesses, and industry leaders. We have been funding these efforts for a number of years. Dr. Martinez, tell me how you are ''thinking out of the box''.
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    [The information follows:]

    Over the past several years, all of our experience and data shows that the combination of effective legislation, on-going enforcement, combined with public education result in increased seat belt use. For example, in every case where primary seat belt legislation has been adopted, a permanent 10 to 15 percentage point increase in seat belt use has occurred. We can not assume that the strategies to increasing seat belt use are necessarily wrong. Rather, for a variety of reasons there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of states conducting periodic high visibility enforcement and only a few states have upgraded their seat belt law to primary. Still, new and innovative methods need to be incorporated into our program to overcome these challenges.

    In addition to the four strategies (Partnerships, Legislation, Enforcement, Public Education) submitted to the President in April 1997 to raise the seat belt use rate, NHTSA is exploring other ways to reach children and other high risk occupants in motor vehicles. NHTSA is developing new strategies to work with part-time seat belt users, over-represented minorities, and drivers on rural roads. Specifically, the Agency has created a special team to address issues affecting diverse populations in targeting our educational and enforcement programs. The team is developing new partnership in the African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic communities, requesting assistance in promoting seat belt and child safety seat use. Special attention will be focused on the perception of police harassment of diverse populations in the enforcement of seat belt and child passenger safety laws.

    To facilitate ''thinking out of the box'', NHTSA is working with the American Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) to convene a Buckle Up America Leadership Conference in June 1998. This conference will bring together 80 senior policy makers and experts in highway safety to benchmark our successes and to identify ''new and innovative'' strategies to raise seat belt use and reduce child passenger fatalities. Using the recommendations and commitments from the organizations attending the conference, NHTSA will provide guidance and coordination to insure that their recommendations are implemented. NHTSA will also provide technical assistance to the states in implementing their plans to achieve the President's seat belt use goals. The theme for this effort within the Department is to ''get our house in order, energize and mobilize our partners, and to recognize and praise the good.''
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    Mr. WOLF. For the record, another goal of the President's initiative is to decrease child occupant fatalities by 15 percent by the year 2000. What efforts are you taking to reach this goal?

    [The information follows:]

    NHTSA's efforts to decrease child occupant fatalities follow the national strategy presented in the Presidential Initiative for Increasing Seat Belt Use Nationwide which presents a cooperative four point plan (public-private partnerships, strong legislation, high visibility law enforcement, and effective public education) to achieve the ambitious national goals for increasing seat belt use and decreasing child occupant fatalities.

    NHTSA continues to identify and engage new partners to support our efforts. For example, as part of the Healthy Child Care America Campaign supported by NHTSA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care Bureau and Maternal and Child Health Bureau and coordinated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, ten pilot training session are proposed to take place around the country to provide basic child passenger safety education and awareness to child care administrators, providers, licensing representatives, and others transporting children. Also, USAA Insurance will be providing NHTSA's Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training Course to its employees so they can provide child safety seat education and proper installation to their members. Five courses are currently scheduled at various USAA Insurance localities around the country.
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    NHTSA is working with partners to identify states with opportunities for legislative action to remove gaps in child occupant protection laws. This will be accomplished by providing technical information and support for comprehensive child passenger safety laws to cover all children up to age 16. NHTSA is also supporting advocacy training to support this legislative agenda.

    As part of the four point plan to embrace high visibility enforcement, NHTSA will work with state safety offices, state police, patrol agencies, and state associations of chiefs of police and sheriffs to plan and carry out special enforcement programs, tailored to the state's statutes for child safety seat violations. The agency will work with these same organizations to implement ''Operation Kids,'' a child passenger safety training for law enforcement officers. This training will provide officers with an awareness of what they can do in their communities to improve child passenger safety.

    To coincide with these efforts, NHTSA will partner with the region's mass media and state safety offices to develop and implement public information campaigns consistent with the special enforcement programs. The agency will also release Vince and Larry PSAs with ''kids in back seat'' messages, develop media materials to educate the public about placing children in the back seat, how belts and bags work together, and establish child passenger safety technical information ''hot lines'' through cooperative agreements with advocate partner organizations.

    Mr. WOLF. Your recent National Occupant Protection Use Survey found that when a driver is buckled, restraint use for toddlers is 86 percent. However, when a driver—mom or dad—is unbuckled, restraint use for toddlers is only 23 percent. To reduce child occupant fatalities, more drivers must buckle themselves. A failure to do so has obviously brought about a danger. How can we better educate the public about the need to restrain children? I still see two kids jumping around in the front seat and the parent has no belt on.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Again, there are two issues. One is getting the message in front of the media where they accept it and balance it out, and the second is working through our part to weave the message in. We just finished the first quarter of 1998 with 10 Moving Kids Safely Conferences around the country, which had big media events focusing on child passenger safety. That was the week we announced these results in order to get the media bond.

    One of the other things we are trying to do is make sure people understand that seat belt use affects everyone. And when you focus on its effects on adults to children, you begin to look at issues of responsibility and support enforcement of the stronger laws.

    The second quarter, we are going to have a Mobilization America in which ABC—America Buckles Children—will focus on children and buckling up children in all 50 States. We are going to amplify that throughout all the modes of the Department of Transportation.

    We are very concerned about several things. One is that seat belt use for children tends to be lower than that of adults. It is high for the first couple of years, but at the age of 4, the laws suddenly don't cover children anymore. Seat belt laws often cover 18-year-olds and over and 4-year-olds and younger. In that age group, we are looking at how to strengthen those laws across the board.

    Interestingly enough, New Hampshire—which is the only State not to have one for adults—has one of the strongest laws for children that goes up to age 16, a primary seat belt law for children.

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    The second issue is that——


    Mr. WOLF. What is their percentage? Does that show that that has had an impact on adults since you had to keep it on up until you were 14 or 15?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think you raise a good point. I don't know because they passed it last year. It is too early to be evaluated. But I will amplify your point, if I may, that if we can keep kids buckled in that time frame, from 14 to 18, we believe we would have a much greater success by investing in that, than having them suddenly hit 18 or 19 and then tell them they have to buckle up.

    Mr. WOLF. It's like if you don't smoke up until you're 18, then you won't smoke. If you do, then obviously it looks like you continue. So it would seem to me that your primary target would be young people in first through fifth grades. Once you get them, it seems that you would keep them.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We're on the same wave length. I just spoke 2 or 3 months ago with the National Science Teachers Association. We are actually working with them on a school science curriculum about car crashes and about what a seat belt does and what happens in a crash. It is aimed at middle schools right now, but it is very good for science teachers. We try to add traffic safety at the schools in the health program. The health program is competing with AIDS issues and alcohol issues and violence issues, so we decided to go to the science teachers.

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    It turns out that this helps them teach their lessons. It teaches distance, forces, acceleration, and deceleration. That project is now nearing completion and I was quite pleased with our meeting in Nashville. They were quite pleased because it was a way to make it real for the students.

    But again, I don't think you need driver's education, but occupant education early on and get people the tools they understand. The only reason I have raised this issue is because when I was back at Stanford, one of the studies we did was to put car crashes in the physics class. When we looked at the high school students, they all wore their seat belt as a driver, but as a passenger they didn't. To me, there was a fundamental knowledge base missing that was allowing them to make that decision.

    If you look at age 13- to 16-year-old passengers who are not driving, they are unbuckled. And they die with another teenager driving at the wheel. We think that before they become drivers, we have to interact. We think we can do it through the school system.

    Mr. RECHT. I would just add to that. A number of the private companies that have been participating in this Air Bag Coalition have gone out on their own to do programs. Particularly at the schools they have been very successful, kindergarten through sixth grade.


    Mr. WOLF. Any in the Virginia area?

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    Mr. RECHT. We can probably find out for you.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. They are doing it in preschools and other classes. Ford Motor Company is working with Sesame Street and I think you have seen some of the commercials. They have a road show that is going to malls around the country. General Motors is working with Safe Kids Coalition. We are quite pleased with some of the responses on this.

    I remember actually being with Bob Eaton who did ''Kids in the Back is Where It's At''. He told me that he thought if we had invested in this 10 years ago, we wouldn't have the problems we have today with child safety. I agree with him very much.

    Mr. RECHT. We can find out. I know this Chrysler Program is taking place in the Maryland suburbs because a little daughter of friends of ours went through it.

    Mr. WOLF. If you let me know, maybe I would write all the superintendents of the schools in my area and ask them to take a look at it.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We would be happy to do that and we appreciate the support.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


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    Mr. WOLF. How many States have primary seat belt usage laws?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Thirteen.

    Mr. WOLF. What States are they?

    [The information follows:]

    Fourteen states and the District of Columbia currently have primary seat belt use laws. They are: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas.

    Mr. WOLF. During last year's hearing, NHTSA testified that the District of Columbia and a few States were considering primary seat belt laws. I know that the District of Columbia adopted a primary seat belt law. Did any States switch from a secondary to a primary seat belt law in the last year?

    [The information follows:]

    Oklahoma, Maryland and the District of Columbia switched from a secondary to a primary seat belt law in the past year.


    Mr. WOLF. What changes in use have we seen for those States that recently adopted primary seat belt laws?
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Just understand that in our research programs, we do evaluations to help legislators make decisions. In Louisiana, we just did an evaluation. They have also seen a significant increase with their law.

    Mr. WOLF. Because you can be ticketed for littering and not for not wearing a seat belt?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. That's absolutely correct.

    [The information follows:]

    To date, five states and the District of Columbia have changed from secondary to primary seat belt laws. All six jurisdictions have seen increases in belt use.

Table 1


    Mr. WOLF. How many States are seriously enforcing seat belt laws?

    [The information follows:]

    Because a seat belt violation is an infraction rather than a crime, states do not routinely compile or report total citations issued or stops made for that offense. However, it is clear that seat belt and child seat violations are being seriously enforced by many law enforcement agencies in all states. This is demonstrated by the increased resources that law enforcement officials are devoting to improve the occupant protection enforcement capabilities of their officers, deputies and troopers. For example, the agency's annual training needs assessment in 1997 disclosed that the states plan to train more than five thousand officers in Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies (seat belt enforcement) in FY 1998, and another five hundred officers in Operation Kids (child seat enforcement). The planned training will draw students from virtually all states. In addition, superintendents, chiefs and sheriffs representing more than 2,000 of the nation's largest law enforcement agencies have registered for the series of Buckle Up America Law Enforcement Summits that the agency is conducting during the Spring of 1998. These officials will sign public proclamations of support for strict enforcement of the child seat and safety belt laws. The officials will also commit increased support to proven methods of occupant protection enforcement, including seat belt and safety seat checkpoints, high visibility moving patrol and special traffic enforcement ''blitzes''.
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    Mr. WOLF. In the United States, littering is a primary offense and a person can be ticketed for it. In comparison, in the majority of the States, failure to wear a seat belt is a secondary offense and a person must be pulled over for another violation before he or she can be ticketed for this violation. With weak laws and limited enforcement, how do you believe we will ever reach the national goal of 85 percent belt use by the year 2000?

    [The information follows:]

    The agency strongly encourages all states to consider enactment of primary belt laws, based on research that demonstrates this is an important contributor to a high rate of belt use. For example, within two months after Oklahoma's primary law went into effect in October 1997, the state's belt use rate had increased by 12 percentage points. In addition to encouraging states to pass primary laws, the agency is also working with the network of Safe Communities programs and other local-level partners to promote adoption of primary belt-use local ordinances by cities, counties and other local jurisdictions. However, the agency believes it would be unwise to devote its resources exclusively to promoting passage of primary laws, as substantial gains can also be achieved through other approaches. The state of Washington, for example, has belt use above 80 percent despite having a secondary law. The agency continues to believe that a comprehensive approach, that links passing the best possible laws to the fullest possible enforcement of the laws we have, along with intensified public education and expanded public-private sector partnerships, is the best means of meeting the goal.


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    Mr. WOLF. Is stronger enforcement at the State level our best option?

    [The information follows:]

    Sustained, strong and highly visible enforcement is an important component of the Buckle Up America Campaign. States such as North Carolina, Georgia and New Mexico (to name just a few) that have conducted well-publicized enforcement programs have demonstrated that substantial increases in belt use can be achieved. All three of those states have seen belt use go up by approximately 25 percentage points since 1990. However, no single countermeasure can be considered the best option. The agency continues to believe that a comprehensive approach, that links good laws to high-visibility enforcement, intensified public education and expanded public-private sector partnerships is the best means of meeting the goal.


    Mr. WOLF. There are three States with belt use laws that still do not cover the occupants of light trucks—Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri. What efforts is NHTSA undertaking to change these States' belt usage laws to include occupants of light trucks?

    [The information follows:]

    The occupant protection incentive grant program proposed by NHTSA would encourage states to extend their seat belt laws to cover all passenger vehicles, including light trucks. The agency annually publishes crash and fatality statistics that demonstrate the need for improved protection of light truck occupants. And disseminates these data to the states. When requested, the agency will provide testimony and other information to legislators who are considering upgrades to their seat belt laws. For example, the NHTSA Region 4 office was requested to testify before the Georgia Senate and on February 24, 1998, by a vote of 34–20, the full Senate passed the primary upgrade safety belt bill SB591 which will require occupants in all vehicles and all seating positions to buckle up. There has been no legislation introduced this year in Missouri or Indiana to cover the occupants of light trucks.
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    Mr. WOLF. On funding, in fiscal year 1998, Congress provided $9 million under the 402 grant program to States to increase seat belt usage beyond what each State spent. Are all the States using this increase in funding for seat belt initiatives?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir. That money has gone out and been programmed by the States.

    Mr. WOLF. What are they actually doing with it?

    Ms. DERBY. Some of them are undertaking roadside checkpoints, using it for law enforcement, child safety seat laws. Some are using it for education in the schools. Some are using it on child safety seat purchase programs. It is across the board.

    Mr. WOLF. What have been the most successful ones?

    Ms. DERBY. If you have a good law and you enforce that law, that has been very successful as long as it is accompanied by a strong education program. In the cases where the states are not using the money—and there are a handful of those cases—it is because the Congress has said they can't spend it until they spend the base sum they spent last year. Because there is a reduced amount of funding for some states, they have put on hold some of their occupant protection education programs so they are not up to the limit of their spending. They programmed it, and at such time as they get the balance of the money and can complete their base program, then they will go into the additional supplemental money.
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    Mr. WOLF. If there is anything that the committee can do to help you with regard to that, let us know.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. What steps can the Committee take to assure that states are using their 402 funds to meet these high-priority goals?

    [The information follows:]

    No committee action appears to be necessary. The States are doing an excellent job of using their 402 funds to address high-priority goals. Even though states can modify projects and shift funding during the year without NHTSA review under the new 402 process, there is no major fluctuation due to the new process. NHTSA's review of Section 402 spending by program area over the past three years indicates that States are spending their Section 402 funds in the priority program areas where their highway safety problems lie. In FY 1997, funding in certain program areas decreased due to lack of earmarks (Alcohol and Safe Communities). However, spending in the high-priority area of Occupant protection increased by almost $900 thousand without an earmark.
    offset folio 261 insert here


    Mr. WOLF. In fiscal year 1999, NHTSA is requesting $20 million for a new occupant protection grant program. Please explain this program to the committee and discuss how this will differ from occupant protection activities the States are already doing with their 402 grant funds.
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    [The information follows:]

    The new occupant protection incentive grant program would make grants available to those states that adopt and implement effective programs to reduce highway deaths and injuries resulting from persons riding unrestrained or improperly restrained in motor vehicles. The proposed grant program is designed to stimulate increased safety belt and child safety seat use, and to support the President's goals to increase national seat belt use to 85% by 2000 and 90% by 2005, and to reduce child occupant fatalities (0–4 years) by 15% in 2000 and 25% in 2005.

    Incentive grants are provided to encourage states to pass stronger laws and implement the most effective countermeasures to increase safety belt and child safety set use. States become eligible for basic grants by taking specific actions, such as passing primary enforcement laws or driver license penalty points for belt law violations, and implementing stepper-up police enforcement of belt laws. Also, states are awarded basic grants by demonstrating exceptional performance in increasing safety belt use rates.

    The occupant protection activities which would be funded through incentive grants are no different than those which can be currently funded with Section 402 dollars. However, Section 402 funds may be spent in a variety of traffic safety areas beyond occupant protection, based on the problems identified by States in their annual state highway safety plans. The proposed occupant protection incentive grant program would encourage States to focus their energy on increasing safety belt and child safety seat use. In order to maintain a high level of belt use or to implement a primary belt law which is passed, states need additional funding to support a high level of enforcement and public education, and they will be able to receive that funding through the incentive grant program.
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    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Olver asked the questions which I wanted to be sure to get into, so we will have your answers for the record, but on the speed issue, are you able to say now that there has been an increase in deaths because of—how was that again? You don't have to go into all the questions and answers, but just for my own——

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We can state that compared to historical trends, those States as a group that raised their speed limits have had an increase in fatalities versus those that did not raise speed limits. The exact reason for that—whether it is miles travelled or changes in types of trips and number of trips—is not available at this time because of limitations of the data.

    Mr. WOLF. Will you have that later on?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Probably next year, because the fact of the matter is that you don't have a full year of data. Some states implemented it on different roads at different times.

    Mr. WOLF. But a number have had it for several years.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Raising it to 55?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. There have only been a few that have had that. Looking at a group and trying to get enough data to be able to make decisions based on the information that came in, required that they grouped them.

    Mr. WOLF. How many States raised it or took it off and are now going back. Did Montana put it on again?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I would have to get that for you for the record. I know that Montana is entertaining a night limit, and also Texas is entertaining whether or not to change their limits back down.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. How many states have increased speed limits since passage of the National Highway System Designation Act [the NHS Act] of 1995? Have any of these states considered passing legislation to return limits to pre-NHS levels?

    [The information follows:]

    With passage of the NHS Act, the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) was repealed. The NHS Act eliminated the NMSL, thereby permitting the states to pass legislation to establish their own speed limits. Based upon the latest information from our regional offices, FHWA, state legislatures and other sources, a total of 32 states raised speed limits in calendar 1996. Another four states raised speed limits in 1997. To date, in 1998, one state has raised its speed limit, bringing the total of states with increased speed limits to 37.
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    Several states have conducted preliminary studies of the potential impacts of increased speed limits, and as a result, may be considering legislation to lower the limits. For example, Montana passed legislation, effective December 8, 1995, to increase the speed limit to ''reasonable and prudent'' for passenger cars during daytime hours, with lower limits for trucks and for all vehicles during nighttime hours. Montana's legislature has considered reducing the speed limits, however, we do not have any information at this time as to the potential outcome of the legislature's consideration. We do not have any additional information at this time that other states may also be considering reducing the higher speed limits.

    Mr. WOLF. Total motor vehicle fatalities and deaths per 100,000 people began increasing in 1993 after declining since the mid-1970s. Do you believe that the repeal of the national speed limit had any impact on the recent fatalities?

    [The information follows:]

Table 2

    One of the findings of the NHTSA–FHWA study of increased speed limits is that approximately 350 additional fatalities occurred on Interstate roads for the 32 states with increased speed limits in 1996. The estimated increase in Interstate fatalities was about 9 percent above what would have been expected, based upon historical trends. In contrast, fatalities on lower speed limit roads declined in 1996. Thus, the decline in the fatality rate per 100,000 population in 1996 occurred in spite of the higher speed limits, and it is estimated that this decline would have been greater had speed limits not increased in 1996.

    Mr. WOLF. Are our nation's highways safer as a result of increased speed limits?
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    [The information follows:]

    The agency estimates that the nation's highways may not have been as safe with increased speed limits in 1996. The National Highway System Designation Act [the NHS Act] of 1995 required the Department to study the impact of increased speed limits. NHTSA and FHWA conducted the study, using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for 1996, the first year of states' experience with higher speed limits. In 1996, a total of 32 states had increased speed limits in place; 21 of the 32 states had the increased speed limits in place for a portion of calendar year 1996. Based upon the analysis of this first year of experience with higher speed limits, it is estimated that the states with increased limits in 1996 experienced approximately 350 more Interstate fatalities than would have been expected based on historical trends, about 9 percent above expectations. Due to the current unavailability of full vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and other data, however, it is not known how increased travel on higher speed roads, shifts in travel, and other traffic safety factors, (e.g., changes in alcohol involvement, belt use) or various economic factors (e.g., fuel consumption, roadway maintenance, travel time) may have contributed to an estimated increase in Interstate fatalities and economic costs. NHTSA and FHWA plan to continue to study the impact of increased speed limits at the national and state levels, particularly after states have had additional years of experience with the higher limits.

    Mr. RECHT. There were 32 States that raised their limit in some fashion and one or two are considering it.

    But back on this issue of the data, we asked the States to give us their data. Of the 32, if I recall correctly, only about 10 were able to give us something that they felt was confident and competent data to help us out. Hopefully next year we will be able to do that for you.
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    Mr. WOLF. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a report on vehicle compatibility. The report stated that ''for all crashes between cars and pick-ups or cars and utility vehicles, people in cars are four times more likely to die than people inside pick-ups or utility vehicles. When pick-ups or utility vehicles strike cars in the side, the risk of death for car occupants relative to the risk of pick-up or utility vehicle occupant is 27 to 1 . . . People in small cars weighing less than 2,000 pounds struck in the side by pick-ups or utility vehicles have a relative death risk of 47 to 1.'' What is your overall strategy for addressing the vehicle compatibility issue?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. That is a good question to ask. We actually have an overview of our vehicle compatibility LTV issues that really shows a comprehensive approach.

    The particular issue you talked about concerns structural issues. We have a research program underway that is testing six sets of crashes between pick-up trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles versus a mid-sized car to begin to focus on the structural issues. In addition to that, we are looking at roof strength, roll-over issues, and some ejection issues for the vehicle itself.

    The last thing that I will say is that we have been looking at this issue for several years and have been moving forward. We actually have an international group working with us on the LTV crashes. We are presenting this information for further discussion at an international dialogue meeting in Windsor, Canada in June. We are trying to get the research done. We have a lot of the analysis done from previous databases, but we are going to work with the manufacturers and others.
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    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. What do you think should be done since so many vehicle sales are——

    Dr. MARTINEZ. It is a concern to us in the fact that they now represent 34 percent of the fleet.

    Mr. WOLF. And growing every year.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. They are basically the station wagons of the 1990s and beyond. I actually own one and we bought it because with kids—going to the airport—I just throw a lot of stuff in the back of that car. That is the only vehicle that would really meet my needs.

    By the same token, we want to make sure that as these problems emerge, we are ahead of the curve so that design characteristics can be taken into consideration. There are several issues to be addressed. One of which is the vehicle itself. The other one—which is why I think we need to put it into more consideration—is improving the side impact standard for vehicles across the board to represent the changing height of the bumpers within a fleet. I think that was mentioned also in the IIHS report and also by some of the manufacturers in the last few weeks as we focused on this compatibility issue.

    Mr. WOLF. So that meeting is in June?

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir.

    Mr. WOLF. Let us know about that.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. The International Research Committee meets every 2 years. This year it is in Windsor, Canada. Last year, we called for a research agenda. Compatibility is one of the ones we were able to broker and now we are going to come back with our results from this next meeting.

    Mr. WOLF. In mid-February, NHTSA began crash testing pick-up and sport utility into passenger cars to examine mismatches in vehicle design. What can you tell us about your first set of crash tests with a Chevrolet S–10 pick-up and a Honda Accord? How many more tests do you plan to conduct?

    [The information follows:]

    NHTSA is conducting a series of crash tests between passenger cars and light trucks and vans (LTVs) to study the interaction between these two vehicle types. The first three tests in the series are side impacts in which the LTV is the bullet vehicle and a mid-size car is the target vehicle as shown below.

    Test 1: Chevrolet S–10-Honda Accord—(Tested 2/20/98).

    Test 2: Ford Explorer-Honda Accord—(Tested 3/2/98).

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    Test 3: Dodge Caravan-Honda Accord—(To be tested 3/21/98).

    The results of these tests will be released in late April after the agency has received the films, test reports, and electronic data from the tests and has had chance to undertake a quality control review of the test report and electronic data.

    A second set of tests is scheduled for April and May. Test conditions for the second set of tests are currently being developed.


    Mr. WOLF. There are many reasons why more car occupants die when they collide with a pick-up or utility vehicle. These reasons include vehicle weight, vehicle height—the truck or utility vehicle rides high enough off the ground that the frame strikes the side of the car not on its frame but on the middle of the door, thus hitting the occupant of the car in the head or chest—and vehicle stiffness—light truck frames are stiffer, meaning they absorb less energy in a crash and transfer more of it to the other vehicle. Now that pick-ups and utility vehicles account for almost 45 percent of new vehicle sales, do you believe that these vehicles may need to be redesigned to make them more compatible with cars in a crash?

    [The information follows:]

    As you have mentioned, vehicle aggressivity is influenced by a vehicle's weight, stiffness, and geometric design. While weight has a dominant role in aggressivity, the stiffness and geometric design also are important in both frontal and side crashes. While agency staff have concepts that could be pursued to reduce aggressivity of vehicles, careful research and evaluation of potential countermeasures to address the issue of compatibility are necessary.
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    The crash testing that is currently underway will be used to study the complex interactions between vehicles and to develop mitigation concepts that will enhance vehicle compatibility. These will be further evaluated and refined by computer modeling. It should be noted that these concepts are not limited to striking vehicles, but also may include potential countermeasures that apply to collision partners, i.e., the struck vehicles. With respect to your particular question, it is possible that pickup trucks, utility vehicles, and vans may need to be redesigned to make them more compatible in a crash.

    Mr. WOLF. What are some of the design changes you might recommend?

    [The information follows:]

    The crash testing that is currently underway will be used to study the complex interactions between vehicles and to develop mitigation concepts that will enhance vehicle compatibility. These will be further evaluated and refined by computer modeling. It should be noted that these concepts are not limited to striking vehicles, but also may include potential countermeasures that apply to collision partners, i.e., the struck vehicles. With respect to your particular question, our previous research has shown that improving the geometric mismatch between vehicles' major structural members improves the crash energy absorption by the vehicles. Also, previous work has shown that improved compatibility is achieved if the vehicle structural stiffness is progressively ''softer'' from the firewall to the bumper. This is particularly important in side crashes.

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    Mr. WOLF. Would these changes be contained in a new safety standard or are you seeking voluntary changes from the automobile industry?

    [The information follows:]

    NHTSA's objective is to make light trucks and vans (LTVs) as safe as possible for their occupants and for occupants of other vehicles involved in crashes with LTVs. Rulemaking is just one component of the agency's overall strategy to meet this objective. The two primary components are: (1) research and rulemaking coupled with enforcement, and (2) consumer information and driver behavior modification. Successfully addressing the LTV safety issue will require a combination of these approaches. In all cases, the agency's decision to proceed with rulemaking, enforcement, and/or customer information will be based on thorough research.


    Mr. WOLF. The press has recently covered a number of other safety problems with pick-ups and utility vehicles, including a danger of rolling over and weaker brakes. What work does NHTSA have ongoing on these two issues?

    [The information follows:]

    In the braking area, the agency issued a final rule last fall that extended the coverage of FMVSS No. 135 to light trucks and vans. In that standard, the brake performance requirements for light trucks and vans are exactly the same as for passenger cars. Compliance with the new requirements is optional now, and becomes mandatory for light trucks and vans built on or after September 1, 2002.
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    NHTSA also has an ongoing Light Vehicle Rollover Research program. This program's primary focus has been on-road untripped rollovers. To date, seven maneuvers have been investigated using three sport utility vehicles. It has been decided that two of these maneuvers were promising to determine a vehicle's rollover propensity and merited further investigation. A repeatability study has begun and will continue through fiscal year 1998. A vehicle steering controller is being purchased to help reduce test variability due to driver influence. Testing of an additional twelve vehicles will be initiated during 1998 using refined test procedures based on the results of previous research. The Light Vehicle Rollover Research program will continue in fiscal year 1999. Additionally, NHTSA is currently building a Variable Dynamics Test Vehicle (VDTV) which will be ready for use before the end of this year. One of the first programs planned for the VDTV is rollover research. The VDTV will be used to examine the effect of various vehicle characteristics on its rollover propensity.


    Mr. WOLF. NHTSA has a goal to reduce speed and aggressive driving fatalities by 5 percent by the year 2000. Obviously your program hasn't worked here in Washington, D.C. You can just sense it here. What are you doing to reach the goal?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We have created some new public awareness information campaigns that actually are geared——

    Mr. WOLF. Are they working?

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. Well, they are just rolling out. Actually, they are geared to run during drive time which we think is really one of the central times at which people are on the road.

    Mr. WOLF. Where will they be done? Here in Washington?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I would think that the PSA programs—I don't know if we have any particular ones that have signed on yet, have we?

    Mr. NICHOLS. We plan to distribute them to all the radio stations, including the Washington, D.C. area.

    Mr. WOLF. When you do that, I would like to hear it. But I would also like to send a letter out to all the radio stations in the region to tell them that you're going to be sending this out and ask them to look at it.

    What else are you doing?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We have some aggressive driving demonstration projects that are being rolled out to look at ways to target aggressive drivers and to see which particular enforcement programs or technologies that we put in to monitor these issues pay off in dividends.

    Mr. WOLF. What can you do that really works?

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    Dr. MARTINEZ. There are things such as speed cameras, red light running campaigns—actually the red light running technology has been found to be fairly successful in that what people begin to do is, not having a police presence or any sort of mechanism to cause compliance with the rules of the road, results in the rules of the jungle. On top of that, you have some of the problems of congestion that we may not be able to solve right away. So we have to find ways to——

    Mr. WOLF. You mean people are in traffic and they are so stressed? Is that what you mean?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. When we looked at the issues, we found that congestion played a large part. There is more of an urban problem than a rural problem. A lot of it has to do with congestion, time delays, people's frustration, and kind of an all-against-all phenomenon that occurs out on the roadway.

    The second one was the lack of enforcement. We have seen travel go up by 35 percent in the past 10 years and enforcement has been essentially flat. I don't know about you, but I don't see that much enforcement at times. So we have worked with the beltway to do the smooth operator program, which really was enforcing a lot of the speeding issues, following too close, passing on the right and left—those sort of things—to mitigate the aggressive driving. That was combined with a large public awareness campaign that you saw a lot of on the radio and television.

    Mr. WOLF. Is that still going on on the beltway? I don't think it is.
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    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think it just stopped and is going to the evaluation phase at this point in time.

    We have some partnerships here with FHWA, NHTSA, and the Maryland State Police to target speeding and aggressive driving behavior on the Capital Beltway. NHTSA and the Department of the Interior are looking at things we can do to reduce aggressive driving on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and that is really speed enforcement and a look at automated enforcement.

    So we have a lot of these programs that we are now putting into place. But also the States are creating some innovative programs and we are going to do evaluations with them and then work with, for example, IACP, to find what are some of the best practices and the National Sheriffs Association to try to move that from locality to locality.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. Could you send a packet of material to us that we could get to Governor Gilmore? Or maybe you could just send it to him and tell him that we asked you to send it to him. He was interested in this during the campaign. If you can get it to my office, and with a cover letter we will send it down with the name of somebody they can talk to.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Absolutely. It is an area not just of interest here, but the States are really struggling with looking for the best use of their funds to do something that works.

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    Mr. WOLF. So it is a big problem in Los Angeles and all over?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes.


    Mr. WOLF. Concerning mega-projects, several bills have been introduced in the Congress during 1997 included a requirement for States to submit a finance plan for highway projects costing $1 billion or more. If enacted, how will FHWA implement the proposed requirement that States submit finance plans for projects over $1 billion?

    Mr. WYKLE. Well, first we would prefer that it not be legislated. But if it is legislated, certainly we would look at trying to develop standard processes in terms of items to be looked at across mega-projects so that we would have consistency between them. We agree that if we are going to have financial plans for mega-projects $1 billion is probably about the right threshold in terms of dollar value to do this.

    We think from these large projects are also lessons learned that we need to collect and pass out to others that may be getting ready to start a mega-project or are currently constructing one. Certainly Utah is experienced with the design-build process that was innovative and proved cost-effective and also sped up the process for project delivery.

    So we would work to develop standard consistent processes across the board.

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    Mr. WOLF. The Administration's proposal for NEXTEA includes legislative language to require these cost estimates? To do that—and you currently have the authority to do it now——


    Mr. KANE. By policy, we're really already doing it. The first was the I–15 project in Utah. There was clearly a finance plan developed for that. As we launch into other projects, there will be a finance plan as well. Department-wide, across all modes, we are actively developing and will develop them as projects come on-line.

    Mr. WOLF. That was my next question.

    Yesterday, when Secretary Slater was here, he indicated that he did support the requirement that the Department require cost estimates and financial plans for mega-projects or those projects that have total costs in excess of $1 billion. To date, you have required project finance plans only for the Alameda Corridor Project, the Big Dig, and I–15 reconstruction in Utah. An early survey by the Inspector General's Office indicated that there may be as many as 30 projects that are in excess of $1 billion. Some are transit and rail so they would not all be your projects.

    Why haven't you required more projects to submit these cost estimates and their finance plans?

    Ms. JEFF. I think that, to be fair to the highway side, those that are at a stage where a finance plan—because funding has been identified—has been done, those other projects that the survey references are projects that are in pipeline, that is, there are in their environmental review process, they are in the thought process, or they are in the conversational stages. They have not yet been translated into projects for which long-term funding has been identified and therefore the project sponsors are not able at this time to put together a finance plan.
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    Mr. KANE. For any highway project, we are there, in terms of the ones that are over $1 billion. If I could amplify on a point General Wykle made on sharing information, we won't limit that to projects over $1 billion. The Artery had some very good practices in terms of monthly tracking of projects, design construction, targets as well as what you actually had. The IG was really impressed with the system they had. A lot of different technologies as well as the design build concepts. On the Artery we will have about 10 different areas that are strongly working with the project in the State to have ready in early 1999. We will have best practice packets to give out and will certainly give those to every State and not be limited to the projects just over $1 billion.

    Mr. WOLF. Corridor H in West Virginia I understand is estimated to cost over $1 billion. Would it not be appropriate to require the State to submit a cost estimate and finance plan for this project?

    Mr. KANE. As Gloria Jeff indicated, it goes with the staging of it.

    Mr. WOLF. Based on what you said, this ought to be one.

    Mr. KANE. Yes. You're absolutely right. I think it's a question of when they're ready to come on line and what stage of planning you're at. But yes, we will look at that and at the appropriate time do it.

    Mr. WOLF. I would appreciate that.
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    We're going to have a vote at 2:45. I hope that we can end at that time so you can just go. Otherwise I will need to bring you back at 3:00 or 3:30.

    We will ask this next one for the record.

    If we are going to have finance plans, and if the Federal Government is to invest billions of dollars in large-dollar projects, does FHWA favor requiring States to prepare initial total project cost estimates to fully understand the extent of the proposed Federal investment and the related financing requirements?

    [The information follows:]

    A formal requirement to prepare an initial total project cost for all projects is not needed. As part of its reauthorization proposal, FHWA would require a financial plan for all projects estimates to cost $1,000,000,000 or more. Aside from this proposed change, FHWA believes there are effective requirements and checks in place for cost estimates and determining the proposed Federal funding for a project. For example, ISTEA requires that the Transportation Improvement Plan be financially constrained as a means of assuring that no project will begin without adequate funding to complete that project. State and local officials develop cost estimates at various points in the environmental, planning and project development process.

    Each estimate is reliable and accurate based on what is known about the proposed alternatives or project at the time. Estimates become more refined as the project is better defined and more is learned through project development, final design, and construction.
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    Mr. WOLF. Should FHWA require States to track cost growth on large-dollar Federal-aid projects similar to what OMB requires Federal agencies to do for its own large-dollar acquisitions?

    Mr. KANE. Certainly commensurate with the concept of a finance plan on large projects over $1 billion. I think we would really have to do that in order to have an adequate update.


    Mr. WOLF. As you know, Mr. Administrator, the biennial report to Congress outlines the condition of the Nation's highways, bridges, and transit systems and the investment requirements to both maintain current status and to make improvements. The most recent report was issued in October of 1995, then some 10 months late, and its successor was due in January of 1997. That report has yet to be issued. Do you expect it to be coming up pretty soon?

    Mr. WYKLE. Yes, we do. I think the Secretary mentioned to you yesterday that you should have it within 10 to 14 days. Currently it is at the contractor for the final incorporation of all the comments we received. Our target is to have that back the middle of next week and then the cover letter from the Secretary will be signed and the report sent up here. So it is almost done.


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    Mr. WOLF. Last year for the first time in a number of years alcohol-related fatalities increased 16,580 in 1994 to 17,274 in 1995. Did alcohol fatalities continue to rise from that time?

    Also what is the impact of not only alcohol fatalities, but fatalities because of drugs? We see a tremendous increase in drug use among young people and other people.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Let me go to the last part first. We have seen increased use of drugs within the past few years. There is a large percent of concomitant drug use with alcohol, which sometimes makes it difficult because the testing is not done as routinely for drugs. But it is an area of concern.

    We have proposed in our fiscal year 1999 budget programs to specifically address drug-related issues, especially for youth.

    With regards to the alcohol issues, the overall percentage of alcohol-related deaths has been about 41 percent. It has been flat for several years. It has gone up somewhat as the overall number of deaths went up as exposure went up this last year.

    The area that concerns——

    Mr. WOLF. Could that rate be one of the major reasons it has gone up?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. You mean the drug use?
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    Mr. WOLF. No, because of increased alcohol use. There was the LSU case, with which you are familiar with.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, sir.


    Mr. WOLF. I saw a survey of a university in my State that 53 percent of the students were binge drinkers.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We are very concerned, anecdotally, where we are at this stage putting information together. When you talk to policymakers and educators, there seems to be more unbridled drinking on some of the campuses. We don't know exactly how that translates directly into crashes. We have seen the greatest decrease, for example, occur by raising the drinking age to 21 years of age. But one of the problems we have is that when you are under 21 and drink, you end up drinking at keg parties, at the lake front or by the river front, which doesn't necessarily have law enforcement patrols. We are working with law enforcement to have special youth patrols and also targeting parents who often buy these kegs, and also targeting the judicial system which oftentimes is not so interested in adjudicating under 21 to do things such as teen courts and things like that, which we have seen make an impact.

    We have many activities in process, focused toward youth as well as a protection focus for youth. We think it is a separate issue altogether.

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    Last year we saw a bump under age 21 for the first time in about 5 years. That concerned us and we expanded our relationships with youth organizations, including SADD—Students against Destructive Decisions, now—and moving that into a peer-to-peer relationship within schools in both the high schools and the college environment.

    Mr. WOLF. But it doesn't seem to be working. Do you think so?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. I think there is going to be a lag time here to evaluate those programs. But we're actually more concerned with the fact that the social message isn't necessarily there. We have to find ways to get a social message to that particular group that understands the problems with alcohol and the responsibility of driving. We think, for example, the .08 across the board and zero tolerance for youth helps send the right messages. Also the drunk driving program that states that you have to be drug-free to have the responsibility of driving.

    We often find that both getting your license and beginning to drink is kind of a rite of passage. With that, we are missing the opportunity to talk about responsibilities that come with it. We actually hope we make these points with spring break coming up. I think people are beginning to complain about the fact that spring break has become one giant drinking binge, more and more people are showing concern about it. We are trying now to get new partners to focus particularly on this issue, including some in the alcohol industry and some of those in the hospital business. They can help us get a better message out there to youth.

    I share with you the same concerns that this group is going to be a little harder to address. We're going to have to focus, not only with messages from various parties who are sometimes trying to sell to this group, but also from the students themselves. Students are actually a little bit more sophisticated than we might have been, toward messages from people outside their age group.
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    Mr. WOLF. Are you working with universities?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. We are working with educators. I can't tell you exactly what we're doing with universities.

    Mr. WOLF. But shouldn't you be working with the universities? Shouldn't you be dealing with the college presidents? I spoke to one from my State not too long ago and he was very, very concerned about this. I think he wants some help and some ideas.

    Ms. JEFF. Many universities, as a matter of their student policies, have fairly strong drinking provisions having to do with not only punishment but also having to do with education.

    Mr. WOLF. But are they ever being enforced?

    Ms. JEFF. And they are being enforced. What happens is that they usually end up back-dooring them. Where there is a major university-wide policy and where they really put the beef in it is the athletic programs. They use the athletes as the examples because the athletes tend to be the ones, in some institutions, who get caught initially. So it is the internal process by which they deal with the athletes that sends the message to the rest of the student body. The starting center for the basketball team gets nailed and brought under the university policies, then they know what is going to happen to them, a student who is not bringing in several million dollars of donations on an annual basis.

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    Mr. WOLF. I think there are two areas, alcohol and seat belts, where you are going to get most of the bang from. Both are going to be a long-term potential problem. If you're not using your seat belt at age 28 or 38, you're going to get killed. Also, if you're a big drinker at 20 at the University of Wherever, you are probably going to be a binge drinker at 28 at IBM or Xerox or TRW or Honeywell or NHTSA. [Laughter.]

    I think when you look at the pain and suffering and agony that comes as a result of it, not only in deaths but in the breakup of families and the hardship—and it is not uncommon to read about and talk to men in prisons who will tell you that they were abused by alcoholic fathers that beat them. There is a great correlation between people in prisons and how their dad treated them.

    The long-term pain is so great. To date, programs are not working. I go into all the high schools in my congressional district. I try to do it once every cycle. Drug use is high. Alcohol use is higher. And the numbers are quite startling in both the rural areas as well as the non-rural areas. I just think we have not targeted—it is not your responsibility, obviously.

    I think dealing with fraternities—I saw a report that came across my desk on Monday showing that the leadership of college fraternities drank more than the regular Greeks. The president of the fraternity—and I think it was 14.2 versus—did you see it?

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Yes, I know what you're talking about.

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    Mr. WOLF. I would think this would be an opportunity to deal with all the fraternities and to aggressively go into the high schools. Many of them have good purposes in their mottos and creeds.

    I almost think you could pilot both. You could pilot the seat belt and the alcohol together and get a double bang for your dollar and be much more effective, and save a lot of lives, and save a lot of pain and suffering.

    I was one of the members who supported Mike Barnes, a Democratic Member back in the 1980s, on the 21 drinking age. I had a problem where young people from Virginia were going into the District of Columbia where the drinking age was 18—and going onto a military base because they could drink at a certain age. I made the comment that raising the drinking age reduced the number of parents who got the call at 2:00 in the morning saying that your daughter or son is dead. I gave Mike Barnes the credit. All the people out here in this region who will never have gotten the call because of the Congress raising the drinking age is really amazing. I think we have seen that have a significant impact.

    I think you really have to go and deal with the high schools and colleges. Those students are going to be the future leaders. Life is a relay race that is won or lost in the passing of the baton. That is where most relay races are lost. It is not in the runners. They are about the same speed. As we are passing the baton and they are taking it to provide the leadership, there is some young high school kid who will be the head of NHTSA some 20 years from now.

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    They are the people we have to deal with. With a limited amount of resources, I think the high schools and the colleges are the places to go. They are going to be the opinionators and they will also be the future leaders.

    I would hope that you and your staff would be very, very open to that. I think in drug use—stopping the drugs at the border is very, very important—but also having educational programs explaining and educating people why they should not use drugs is equally important.

    I would urge you—and we can help you in some way financially—to put together a program both in the high schools and the universities.

    The remainder of the questions we will just submit for the record.


    Young drivers have the highest rate of crash involvement and many of these accidents involve alcohol. The National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 included a provision that allowed supplemental Federal apportionments to be withheld if States have not enacted and are not enforcing a law that considers an individual under age 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or greater while operating a motor vehicle to be driving while intoxicated. How many States currently have this type of law in effect?

    [The information follows:]

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    As of February 1998, 46 States and the District of Columbia have adopted zero tolerance laws; only four States were without zero tolerance laws (Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming). All of these remaining four States have proposed or introduced legislation to enact zero tolerance laws.

    Two States have laws that do not meet requirements to avoid a sanction (Delaware and Nebraska). In one of these States, legislation has been introduced to modify laws in order to comply with Federal requirements.


    Mr. WOLF. What efforts is NHTSA undertaking to assure that States enact laws declaring youths under the age of 21 intoxicated if their blood alcohol level exceeds 0.02 percent while driving?

    [The information follows:]

    Section 320 of the National Highway System Designation (NHS) Act of 1995 established a new program, 23 U.S.C. §161, which requires the withholding of certain Federal-aid highway funds from States that do not enact and enforce ''zero tolerance'' laws by October 1, 1998.

    On October 21, 1996, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a joint regulation establishing the criteria that States must meet and the procedures they must follow to avoid the withholding of funds.
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    The agency has taken steps to assure that the States were informed about the requirements and understood the certification process. In February 1997, the Administrator wrote to the Governor of the 13 States without a zero tolerance law and the 3 States with non-complying laws, to explain the new regulation and urge them to adopt ''zero tolerance'' laws that comply with the Act. Again, in January 1998, the Administrator wrote to the governors of the remaining 4 States without a zero tolerance law and the 2 states with non-complying laws, to remind them of the upcoming penalty date and to encourage action to comply with the law. The agency has also worked to assist the States in formulating legislation that would meet the criteria under the law.

closing remarks

    Mr. WOLF. I appreciate your testimony.

    Dr. MARTINEZ. Just as a parting comment, as the person who made those phone calls in the middle of the night, I appreciate your concerns on this. We have an industry that is concerned about this also and we want to make sure that we are moving forward in the direction you said.

    I thank you and your staff for all the support this year and in past years. It has always been a pleasure.

    Mr. WYKLE. Sir, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today.
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    Mr. WOLF. Thank you very much.

    The hearing is adjourned.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Thursday, March 12, 1998.








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    Mr. WOLF. Good morning, Mr. Linton. Welcome to the committee. Your full statement will appear in the record as if read. You can read it or summarize it. There are a series of votes today, so there is going to be a timing problem today.

    Mr. Sabo.

    Mr. SABO. Welcome.

    Mr. LINTON. Thank you.

Opening Statement

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity once again to come before you and testify in support of the Federal Transit Administration's fiscal year 1999 budget request.

    As has been the case for the last 5 years, I look forward to working with you in discussing the importance of the Federal role in America's transportation system. With me this morning are, to my right, Nuria Fernandez, my Deputy Administrator; Hiram Walker, Associate Administrator for Program Management; and Edward Thomas, the Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation. To my left is Patrick Reilly, Chief Counsel; Michael Winter, Associate Administrator for Budget and Policy; and Charlotte Adams, my Associate Administrator for Planning.
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    Mr. Chairman, we are requesting $4.8 billion in budgetary resources for fiscal year 1999. Our request includes $4.6 billion for capital investment, the highest level ever asked for for transit. This level of funding is essential to our efforts to build a transportation system for the 21st century. In the future, countries with the most efficient transportation systems will have a competitive edge that will make the difference between domestic growth and stagnation. Transit is a critical element of our efficient nationwide transportation system.


    This budget submission fully implements the process of tying the budget to performance measures as required by the Government Performance and Results Act. Our 1999 request reflects our strategic goals that are fully supported and consistent with the Department's strategic plan. Our standards reflect the contribution that transit makes to the mobility of Americans and to the economy of the United States. I look forward once again, Mr. Chairman, to working with you and the members of your committee as you monitor our progress in meeting these very, very tough standards.

    While our direct customers are grant recipients, transit operators and States, in more general terms the customers for transit and thus for the FTA programs are transit users, highway users, and the American public at large. Users benefit through the access and mobility which are provided. The American public benefits through impacts such as reduced highway congestion, reduced air and noise pollution for highway operations, improved mobility and access for low-income people and for those who choose not to drive, and better land use patterns. The benefits to the American public form the basis for the rationale for the governmental support for transit.
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    The Department of Transportation's strategic plan and performance plan have been touted as one of the best, but, frankly, we have been in this business for a while. In FTA, we had performance measures before the Government Performance and Results Act. For example, we have had New Starts Cost-effectiveness criteria and in place since 1984. In fact, the President's Executive Order on Infrastructure Investment used our procedures as a model. The application of these procedures in our New Starts Allocations Report sets the stage for decisions by the Congress.

    Mr. Chairman, it is my hope to have that New Starts Allocation Report to you as soon as we can get it available and after it goes through the coordination process, which it is currently in.


    The Department of Transportation has developed a departmentalwide strategic plan and the fiscal year 1999 annual performance plan to accompany its 1999 budget request. FTA has completed its own strategic plan with strategic goals that support the overall Department goals. The strategic goals of the Federal transit system program are. Safety and Security; Mobility and Accessibility for all Americans; Economic Growth and Trade; human and natural environment; and 5, a quality organization.


    The FTA believes, as does the Department, that safety is our utmost importance, and it is important to the viability of the Nation's transportation systems. FTA's goal is to promote the public health and safety by working towards the elimination of transit-related deaths, injuries and property damage, and the improvement of personal security and property protection.
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    With increased capital investment provided in this budget, we will administer grants to maintain and improve the condition of transit vehicles and infrastructure. In fiscal year 1999, we have increased the funding for safety and security from $2.1 million, which was in fiscal year 1998, to $6.4 million that we are requesting in 1999. These funds will fund training courses at the Transportation Safety Institute and other such projects as the Advanced Automated Train Control Project at BART and commuter rail car crashworthiness tests with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In our oversight program, we propose $2.8 billion, which represents a 50 percent increase over the 1994 to 1997 average.

    Our primary role is to provide guidance and technical assistance and training to our grantees; to make transit system facilities safer for employees as well as for the riding public. FTA has worked diligently with the States to successfully implement the State safety oversight requirements in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, ISTEA. The implementation of this program has increased the awareness of rail safety nationwide. To carry out this commitment, Mr. Chairman, we have had to get tough. We have issued letters to the Governors of Georgia and Michigan withholding 5 percent of each State's urbanized area formula grants apportionments for fiscal year 1998 since those two States have failed to designate a State safety oversight agency in fiscal year 1997 as required by law. Thus, they were not in compliance with the State safety oversight law.

    However, Mr. Chairman, I report that based upon news reports and information that we received, it is my belief that Georgia is moving in the right direction, and the Governor has indicated his willingness to allocate $90,000 to establish such a State safety oversight office in the Department of Transportation for the State of Georgia. Of course, we are also working with the State of Michigan to also rectify the problem.
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    We are also working with the FRA to explore the use of location and position communication technology to address railroad grade crossing safety. In addition, FTA is working closely with the rest of the Department to improve driver safety through the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative.

    Thanks in part to FTA's commitment to safety and the support from the Congress, total transit vehicle accidents have steadily and consistently declined since 1990. In fact, our numbers show that vehicle accidents per 100,000 vehicle miles fell from 2.33 in 1990, to 0.94 in 1995, with each year's rate lower than the previous year's. So we have had made tremendous progress in that area.

    In addition to these specific activities, increased capital and maintenance funding for vehicle requirements will help us maintain the average age of the bus and rail fleets and rehabilitate and modernize transit facilities and structures. This provides the means to keep our transit systems as safe as we possibly can.


    With the resources found in the 1999 budget request, we will be able to contribute substantially and immeasurably to the Department of Transportation's strategic goals. One of the key goals is to increase access to domestic transportation systems for the movement of people as well as goods. To this end we seek to shape America's future by ensuring a transit system that is accessible, seamless with other modes and efficient, and offers a viable transportation choice. Our efforts with intelligent transportation systems, such as traveler information and electronic payment, are already in place in many urban areas around the country.
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    With Federal support, the Nation's transit capacity grew by 3.5 percent, and passenger miles grew by 4.8 percent between 1998 and 1995. The funding proposed in this budget will continue this trend in improving capacity and increased ridership.

    Closely tied to the Department's mobility efforts is our outcome goal of improving the structural integrity and operational efficiency of the Nation's transportation infrastructure. Our request of $3.7 billion in formula funding will provide resources that can be used for all transit purposes.

    Nationwide, transit infrastructure consists of 135,000 total transit vehicles, 9,600 miles of track, 2,600 rail stations, and 1,165 maintenance facilities. Investments in this infrastructure ensures transit succeeds in meeting all of the strategic goals.

    We have just completed, Mr. Chairman, the 1997 edition of the Conditions and Performance Report. This report states that an investment of $9.7 billion each year over the next 20 years will be required to maintain the Nation's transit facilities and equipment in their current state of repair and to meet projected increases in travel demand. At this level, the conditions of bus and rail transit infrastructure can be maintained. However, I note, Mr. Chairman, to improve the conditions and performance will require an annual investment of $14.2 billion.

    Our statistics show that prior to 1993, 57 percent of bus maintenance facilities were in good or better condition. Our newly released Condition and Performance Report shows that 74 percent of urban bus maintenance facilities and 72 percent of rural bus maintenance facilities were in good or better condition in 1996. This, once again, demonstrates that the recent higher levels of Federal capital funding since 1992 have resulted in improved facility conditions. However, it also notes that we still have a ways to go.
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    I am requesting once again, Mr. Chairman, your support to allow all operators to use capital funds for preventive maintenance and to allow areas under 200,000 in population to continue to use Federal formula funds for operating as well as capital costs.

    I would like to thank you personally, Mr. Chairman, for your work and the work of this Committee as you provided this added flexibility in our 1998 appropriations law. Our proposal today focuses the Federal dollars on capital expenditures. However, for small urbanized areas where historically the transit operators have faced the greatest difficulty in meeting operating expenses, funds will be available for either operating or capital expenses. For transit operators in both medium and large urbanized areas, the change in the definition of capital costs will effectively help with the elimination of operating assistance.

    The American public transit association supports this project, and the House and Senate versions of the transit reauthorization bills also support this provision; however, there is a slight variation in the House provision.


    A key element of the DOT strategic plan is to promote America's economic growth and competitiveness through efficient and flexible transportation systems. The Secretary notes that we must build systems that are in fact international in reach, intermodal in form, intelligent in character and inclusive in service, and we strive to advance this goal by increasing our overall investment in transit infrastructure and supporting new technologies to meet the traveling demands of our country.
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    Today, transit expenses account for 11 percent of the United States gross national product. More significantly, it constitutes 19 percent of the spending by the average household in America, as much as food and health care combined. In order to strengthen America's economic performance, our transportation dollars must be invested in a manner that supports efficiency and improved performance.

    Transit is a vital element of a healthy transportation system. One of transit's most important roles is the ability to move people efficiently and reduce the economic costs of congestion. American productivity is dragged down by traffic, gridlock and highway snarls. Transit addresses this situation by taking drivers off the road, thus improving the commute times of transit riders and automobile users alike.

    The extensions of rapid rail, busways, light rail and commuter rail projects currently underway nationwide would provide an estimated 150 million annual transit trips. Our New Start request in this budget is $876 million. It fulfills the Federal commitment to 14 cities that have active full funding grant agreements (FFGA) for new fixed guideway projects. Funding within this budget proposes to reinstate project shortfalls experienced in previous years. The requested level will also reassure State and local entities that the Federal Government is a dependable partner in the development of major fixed guideway construction projects. These actions continue our successful strategy of employing the mechanisms allowed in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, ISTEA to execute long-term contracts to keep projects on construction schedules, thus ultimately saving the money for the government and the American taxpayers.

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    But as you know, Mr. Chairman, and we have had discussions about this, the number of new bus or rail transit systems under study nationwide is staggering. There are several things that we can do to help manage the huge demand for future new starts, a pipeline that could be worth over $80 billion in Federal, State and local dollars.

    First, we must fully fund projects with existing FFGA commitments, with funding levels adjusted as necessary to compensate for appropriation shortfalls.

    In terms of new projects, we would propose to fund only worthy projects based on our evaluation criteria which are ready to obligate construction funds within the budget year. The merits of each project will be determined based upon how it benefits mobility, environmental benefits, and its operational efficiency.

    The Senate has just adopted the criteria forwarded by the House in its reauthorization proposal. As the reauthorization process comes to a close, hopefully this will happen in May, we will have a good understanding of the factors that we will be using to make funding decisions over the next 5 years. But in any case, it is our position, Mr. Chairman, that major investment study, MIS and project planning, should be left to be funded by grantees using their formula funds or other resources that are available to them, and that we should establish as a principle the desire to make sure that our New Start money is being used for projects that are close to construction and under construction.


    In the area of environmental protection, our goal is to protect and enhance communities and the natural environment affected by transportation. This includes reducing the amount of transportation-related pollutants released into the environment and improving the livability of communities through transportation planning and investments.
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    Mr. Chairman, it is also our goal to make FTA even more of a quality organization, one that is responsive to our customers and meets employees' needs. We are a small agency, fewer than 500 employees, yet we manage an annual program of more than $5 billion per year, with more than $48 billion in active grants, for more than 800 grantees. We are currently processing 96.5 percent of our grantee payments electronically, and we plan to achieve 100 percent by the end of fiscal year 1998. In fiscal year 1999 we will continue to expand and also improve the use of electronic grant-making and management, moving us closer to a paperless system and putting us on the cutting edge of electronic business within the Federal Government. We will also complete our computer reprogramming for the year 2000 for all of our systems.


    Our Department recognizes that improving innovative technologies are the tools needed to meet our strategic goals. In your subcommittee report on our fiscal year 1998 appropriations, you requested that we submit a 5-year plan for our research program, along with our fiscal year 1999 budget. In carrying out your request, we consulted with the American Public Transit Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Academy of Sciences, and other interested parties at several public workshops. As you requested, the plan will be based on an objective assessment of both the short- and long-term research and development activities which offer the greatest payoffs, are responsive to the transit community, and are targeted with indicators of expected progress or milestones. This plan, which is in its final coordination process, will be submitted to the committee shortly.
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    Mr. Chairman, I am also pleased to report on the resolution of several oversight problem issues. The Department Office of Inspector General in its report of December 1997, identified three issues. First, it found that we had appropriately revised our oversight guidance to require our project management oversight contractors to independently verify that grantees are adequately and effectively implementing quality assurance and quality control programs, and we had revised our guidance to require project management oversight PMO contractors to monitor project costs and schedules and independently verify quality of construction data.

    Second, the Office of Inspector General, OIG found four indications where we used oversight funds in a questionable manner. However, beginning in fiscal year 1998, we have taken corrective action, and we are funding those projects from our Transit Planning and Research account.

    Third, the OIG found that we set aside funds for oversight in excess of plan requirements and obligations for fiscal year 1994 and fiscal year 1996. Our plan activities for fiscal year 1998 will fully exhaust all fiscal year 1998 funding as well as carryover balances. In addition, based upon the action of the authorizers, where we have seen their desire to have us monitor projects much more closely at all levels, it is our belief that in fiscal year 1999 there will be a substantial increase in project management oversight workloads.


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    I am also pleased to report that the General Accounting Office, GAO found that we have strengthened our overall oversight of transit grants and are continuing to enhance the quality and consistency of our oversight by improving guidance and training for staff and grantees, standardizing oversight procedures, and effectively using contractor staff. GAO found these actions have provided an increased emphasis on oversight and are continuing to strengthen our stewardship of Federal transit grants.

    However, Mr. Chairman, I will note that the GAO did find inadequate documentation of follow-up activities in our New York regional office. I would like to report to you, however, that we have taken action to address these areas of weaknesses as noted by GAO. We are pursuing enhancements to our Grants Management Information System to ensure timely and accurate data collection and analysis to ensure adequate documentation of our reviews.


    The GAO in its testimony before the subcommittee in February 1998, supported the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority's decision to suspend construction on the eastside and Mid-City proportions of the Red Line Metro Project due to substantial funding shortfalls. However, they must still comply, Mr. Chairman, with the consent decree for added bus service as provided in the conference report. Once the MTA rail recovery plan is submitted to us and accepted by us, the OIG and GAO will have the opportunity to review and determine if MTA has adequate funding sources to meet their capital and operating requirements, as well as bus consent decree demands. I will keep the subcommittee informed of MTA's progress.

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    Finally, Mr. Chairman, GAO noted that the Bay Area Rapid Transit finance plans for its 8-mile extension of its existing line to provide access to the San Francisco Airport understates the financing gap for which short-term borrowing is planned. However, BART has established a capital reserve account to meet the added financial requirements, whose success will depend on the actual rate of construction expenditures and the actual revenues flowing into accounts. Also, Mr. Chairman, BART is in the process of updating its financial plan to demonstrate its ability to finance its shortfalls. In addition, in response to your request, BART is currently negotiating land acquisition and does not anticipate any impact to project costs and schedules related to the negotiations of land acquisitions concerning the cemeteries.


    We have proposed a budget, Mr. Chairman, that is proactive and addresses the key issues of infrastructure investment and, more importantly, common-sense government. We seek these budget levels because transit is vital to America's marketplace; our metropolitan areas where American products and jobs compete in the global economic market. Transit is essential in our rural areas where transit connects to vital services—we must continue our historic investment in our rural transit infrastructure. Transit is key in unlocking and solving our gridlock. We believe that the transit investment choices that we make today will affect the well-being of our country and its citizens into the 21st century.

    We at FTA are trying to change, however, Mr. Chairman, the parochial view of new transit systems. As you are aware, most recently I visited Curitiba, Brazil, and having looked at their introduction of successful bus operations, it has spurred my commitment to encouraging cities that are thinking of new fixed guideway systems to consider such systems.
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    In addition, we are requesting in our fiscal year 1999 budget a $2 million program to demonstrate how a combination of Intelligent Transportation Systems, ITS technologies and operating and engineering strategies can produce high-performance, low-cost enhanced bus systems. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that in many of our cities this is, in fact, the way to go.

    Mr. Chairman, once again, thank you for the opportunity. I would like to thank you and members of the subcommittee for your support of including preventive maintenance as an eligible capital expense. But, Mr. Chairman, let me also say I would like to personally thank you for your generous support throughout the years, but also your guidance and also your pushes when, in fact, we needed it. I think that our Nation will be better as a result of that, and we look forward to continuing to work with you and the other members of your committee.

    I will stand ready to answer questions that you may have.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you very much, Mr. Linton. We appreciate your testimony.

    [The prepared statement and biography of Gordon Linton and biography of Nuria Fernandez follow:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. I have a number of questions, and we will go back and forth between the members.

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    The President's budget request was released on February 2nd, and many Federal agencies and departments submitted their congressional justifications either that day or by the end of the week. But more than 4 weeks after the official submission of the President's budget, this committee had not received your agency's congressional justification. What was the problem? Why was FTA not able to meet the target date?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, I know that this has been a question that has also been asked of the Secretary, and as a result of that, we all are preparing a response to you and to your committee for all the agencies in the Department of Transportation. We have gone through our normal process of submitting our budget and going through the normal coordination that we have had in previous years, but unfortunately, that coordination has resulted in the justification being received at the date that the committee has received it.

    I would mention, Mr. Chairman, however, that we, in response to the request that you have made of the Secretary, we in the Department are providing a formal submission to you that will indicate for all of the FTA as well as other sister and brother modes within DOT how we came to that problem.

    [The information follows:]

    We apologize for the lateness of our FY 1999 Budget submission. It was late in part due to the integration of the most up-to-date information from our Strategic Planning process to meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the final review by the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, FTA was experiencing computer crashes caused by network overload. As I have noted, the Federal Transit Administration was not alone. The Transportation Service Center Printing Office reports that final FY 1999 budget justifications were printed and delivered to the modes on the following schedule:
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    Office of the Secretary—February 9.

    Federal Aviation Administration—February 17.

    Office of Inspector General—February 19.

    Maritime Administration—February 20.

    Research and Special Programs Administration—February 20.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—February 23.

    Federal Railroad Administration—February 28.

    Federal Transit Administration—March 2.

    U.S. Coast Guard—March 5.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you assure the Committee that next year that will not be a problem?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, I will assure you that we will work within all of our control to try to make sure that we get our budget justification up to the committee as quickly as possible. I recognize the challenges that are before you in trying to do the committee's work, and we will want to work with you in that regard.
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    Mr. WOLF. What about the 3(j) report, when do you think the Committee will get that, if we had to pick a date?

    Mr. LINTON. I wish I could pick a date. In my recent discussions with you, it was my hope we would have had it to you before today. Unfortunately, I come before you today not being able to meet my goal, and that does not make me very happy about that, because my staff has put a considerable amount of work and time and effort into that document. We know how valuable it is to the committee's work, and we would like to see it on your desk so that you can deliberate on your activities as well. We are still working it through our coordination process, and we would hope to expedite its delivery as quickly as possible. I will keep trying to get it to you in the quickest way that I humanly can.


    Mr. WOLF. Last week the committee heard from the Federal Highway Administration about the complicating features of a delay in the reauthorization of ISTEA. How serious a disruption will occur in the transit programs if there is no authorization until late spring or even early summer?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, I am happy that we are seeing a great deal of activity going on in the Senate chamber. I know you are closely following it, as are we. I am a little more optimistic that this impasse of not having a reauthorization is finally moving.
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    But, if in fact we do have a delay in reauthorization, we will have some problems. Some of our grantees will be forced to borrow money therefore increasing unnecessarily their interest costs. We know that the average age of our bus fleet is currently 8.1 years, compared to the standard of 6 years, or half the expected life of 12 years for a full-size bus, and, of course, the increased costs of borrowing will make it much more difficult for our grantees to try to keep on a vehicle replacement schedule.

    We are also concerned, about jobs lost. That is, if we don't get our reauthorization, it will have some impact on the economy. A $1.45 billion shortfall in 1998 will equal a delay or loss of about 61,000 jobs nationwide. So job loss or delay will incur in our bus and rail manufacturing, as well as in the regular construction industry if we do not get our reauthorization on-time. So getting the reauthorization on time is extremely, extremely important.

    You also know, Mr. Chairman, we were thankful for the 6-month extension of our current authorization, because we were only able to commit a small portion of our program. Even with the 6-month extension, the reauthorization level allows us only to commit about 57 percent of our program that you and the Appropriations Committee appropriated for this fiscal year.

    Mr. WOLF. It has already had an impact.

    Mr. LINTON. That is right.

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    Mr. WOLF. Giving your estimate of needs for transit, $13 billion per year in capital requirements alone, why does the fiscal year 1999 budget propose a cut in transit funding from fiscal year 1998 levels?

    Mr. LINTON. The budget itself, is a straight-line budget at $4.8 billion. It means that we will continue the record level of investment that we were able to achieve in 1998.

    If you look at the actual reduction in the bottom line of our budget, any reduction can be attributed to the $150 million reduction in our request for WMATA. You know, Mr. Chairman, we are requesting $50 million this year for WMATA which will complete the Federal commitment to the 103-mile system. So that resulted in a reduction from $200 million in that line item that was in our budget for 1998 to a $50 million this year.

    If you subtract that $150 million, that is a substantial part of what we see as a difference between our 1998 budget and our 1999 budget. But overall, it is pretty much a straight-line budget this year.

    Mr. WOLF. So you are saying by adjusting for WMATA reductions, you are at the same level?

    Mr. LINTON. That is right.

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    Mr. WOLF. Your budget provides $135 million for rural transit formula programs, including the rural transit assistance program, which is proposed to be funded into the rural formula program. This amounts to at least a 16 percent cut from fiscal year 1998 total funding provided for rural programs, which includes $134.1 million in rural formula funds, a separate appropriation for RTAP of 4.5 million, and at least 22 million in bus discretionary funds for nonurban areas. Why did you propose a reduction in funds for rural transit?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, that is a reflection of the formula. Our rural program is, formulized within the overall formula, and as our NEXTEA authorization formula was introduced, that percentage was proposed for the rural program. Our fiscal year 1999 budget is calculated based on those percentages in NEXTEA.

    Mr. WOLF. How do we address rural transit, since by your own figures there are 30 million people in rural America that use buses?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, I recognize that we are going into this budget year in a year where there is some uncertainty due to the reauthorization. I would suspect that as we get to the reauthorization, hopefully, additional resources that will go to our rural areas.

    As I follow the Senate activity leading up to the reauthorization, there has been an effort to try to respond to the disparity to some degree to the rural communities, and I would hope as we move forward with that, we will be able to do so. I will provide a more detailed response for the record.
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    [The information follows:]

    Our request for Fiscal Year 1999, for nonurbanized areas formula was calculated based on our NEXTEA proposal. We have recognized over the last few months that the percentage for nonurbanized area formula may be slightly understated in NEXTEA due to the historic proportions of Bus and Fixed Guideway Modernization funding used in the NEXTEA calculation at the time our NEXTEA legislation was developed. We have been working with the House and Senate authorizing committees to ensure that rural areas receive their fair share. In addition, the Governors' have the ability to transfer urbanized formula funds to the rural areas that could mitigate any reductions in the nonurbanized area formula program. The nonurbanized formula program has also benefited from flexible fund transfers averaging over $17 million annually over the past five years.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.

    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I am just curious, as you go through your internal studies in terms of making your recommendations to the Congress and look at future operations of your program, you pay attention to these formula distributions. I come from Minnesota, and occasionally I take a look at how these formulas flow. I look at the transit formula. We are roughly 1.8 percent of the Nation's population. There are significant urban populations; still many rural communities. And I look at formulas, and if we are in the neighborhood of 1.8, a little more, I rarely find those, I figure, you know, it is in the ballpark, or if it is slightly less, we are getting slightly shortchanged, and I can understand that variation.
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    But I look at what happens with transit formula grants, $2.5 billion last year, $1.8, 45, and our State gets about 26, a little over 1 percent, $19 billion off what I would consider to be in the ballpark of being fair.

    In fixed guideway modernization formula, it was 3.3, 1.8, is about 60 billion, and we end up with 28, a shortfall of 30. I am sure that we are not the only State in that category. I looked briefly at our neighboring State to the east, Wisconsin, slightly bigger, but much the same characteristics as we have, and roughly it followed the same pattern.

    How do I go home and explain that to my folks, that we have this formula distribution, and we are 1.8 percent of the Nation's population, roughly average, our income may be a little bit above the national average, not much, and we come out that short on the formula? How do I explain that?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee and Congressman Sabo, specifically I served 11 years in the state legislature and vice-chaired an appropriations committee, and one of the challenges I found was trying to find a perfect formula. It becomes as much an engagement in discussions with my colleagues as it is with the realities of the demographics of communities as well.

    As you know, one of the biggest challenges of the reauthorization process, is trying to find a formula that maximizes the return to every community across the country.

    We continue to work with the formula and try to work with the committees through the reauthorization as they fashion a formula that is responsive to the needs of all interests. One of the things that we had always hoped would be a way to allow us to offset some of the issues with the formula was discretionary money. When we looked at things like our discretionary program, which was our old section 3 funds, it was thought that that was a way to compensate for some of the disparities within the formula, so that when there was an area that should get more because of current needs or pressing needs, one could use those discretionary funds in order to do that.
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    So that was one of the ways.

    Mr. SABO. Excuse me, discretionary is sort of taking care of unusual demands. The formula flows year by year.

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct. I am acknowledging that the formula itself needs some attention, and I am suggesting—

    Mr. SABO. Is that occurring? Is there any change in the formula funds in the reauthorization?

    Mr. LINTON. The Senate has considered major changes in the formula and are working on those as the bill is going forth.

    Mr. SABO. In what fashion?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman and Mr. Sabo, we are still trying to work through the magnitude of amendments that have been put through the Senate, so I would not attempt this morning to give you detailed information on the breakdown of that formula.

    Mr. SABO. Well, I just want you to know that some of us are concerned over this flow of money. I understand there is a national role to try and define needs. No, I am not sure. There is some equitable way. But this is further out of whack than any of the highway formulas that everybody gets so excited about.
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    Mr. LINTON. Congressman, this is the year that hopefully this will get resolved, as the House and Senate authorizing committees complete their work. This is our window of opportunity to address those issues.

    Mr. SABO. Well, I don't see much happening.

    Mr. OLVER. Would the gentleman yield?

    Mr. SABO. I would be glad to yield.

    Mr. OLVER. I am not sure I should get involved in this myself, but is there anything closer to proportion with, say, the total ridership of public transit to the number of dollars that goes into each State? Do you have any idea of whether that would show a better proportion? That could be nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you provide the services, then you get some ridership, and then you have got to support them in one way or another. If you haven't done it, provided the capacity to serve, then you don't have much ridership.

    Mr. LINTON. That could be a self-fulfilling prophecy that gets you further and further into a glut. Our formula right now is not just based on population, it is based on service factors and like route miles, population, population density.

    Mr. OLVER. I thought the ranking member was talking about the distribution of transit monies.
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    Mr. LINTON. That is what I am referring to.

    Mr. OLVER. You said route miles, routes of transit.

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, vehicle miles, passenger miles, population, and population density.

    Mr. OLVER. What route miles would be in the transit formula?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't have the details for you. I can provide those for you if you would like to have those, Congressman.

    Mr. OLVER. I would love to see whether the total ridership has any better proportion to the amount of money that goes to different States according to whatever is that formula, with whatever factor is drawn from whatever conceptualization that occurred. Anyway, that is all.

    Mr. LINTON. We can provide that to the committee, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    We find that the Urbanized Area and Nonurbanized Area formulas distribute available funding fairly and equitably. The formulas use a combination of population and service factors that take into account the need for new service as well as the need to fund existing service.
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    For areas under 50,000 population, the Nonurbanized Area formula apportions funding in proportion to each state's share of nonurban population. Transit providers in these areas are typically very small and would find the need to report necessary data for other distribution approaches extremely burdensome.

    The Urbanized Area formula apportions funding to areas over 50,000 in population. For areas up to 200,000 in population, the formula is based on a combination of population and population density. Using such factors is reasonably reflective of transit needs without burdening relatively small operators with reporting requirements. Also, since this funding is apportioned to the governors for allocation within the state, the funding can be targeted to the areas with the greatest need. For the larger areas over 200,000 in population, the formula is based on a combination of population and population density, vehicle revenue miles, passenger miles, operating costs, and route miles. Thus, the formula considers both population as well as transit usage.

    The following chart shows a comparison of FY 1998 formula apportionments to passenger miles and the 1990 census population. Minnesota has 1.76 percent of the national population, a higher percent than its 1.08 percent of transit formula funding. On the other hand, Minnesota only accounts for 0.72 percent, or a lower percentage than its population share. Massachusetts is just the opposite. Its 3.66 percent share of formula funding is higher than its 2.42 percent share of population, but lower than its 3.96 percent share of passenger miles. We believe that the data for these two states and others demonstrate that the most equitable transit distribution formula is one that takes into account a combination of population and transit usage.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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    Mr. SABO. I would just say that I would like you to have some sensitivity to this issue. It is lots of money, and I might add too, just as sort of a side light, I suppose to a certain degree it is related to how much you have done, which in part is sparked by how much money you have gotten. But just taking broad looks at it, I just see major inequities. It tells me that somebody, somehow, has gotten this formula skewed in a certain fashion years ago, and it continues to go on year by year. I find that happening regularly in how we distribute Federal funds.

    I could go into a whole host of other programs where I find the same problem. But I am curious also as we move to this reauthorization and I see major expansions of dollars being taken away from other programs to fund the current highway bill, my rough estimate is what I hear coming from the Senate, the additional resources going to highways from other programs would represent about a 2 percent cut in all other non-defense discretionary spending programs. I am just curious how you think transit is going to end up not being impacted by that kind of discretionary spending cut on all non-highway programs in this process of reauthorization and where the money is going to come from, and how transit and other—we frankly have problems here with outlays for FAA, the Coast Guard, for the Federal Railroad Administration, and major problems with proposals for user fees that are not going to be impacted. When we get through all of this, transit ends up better off.

    Mr. LINTON. Congressman, I think two weeks ago when the President met with the governors at the National Governors' Association in response to a question about increased funding for transportation, the President stated that if in fact those increased fundings can be made within the budget caps, that he could support those.
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    The President still wants to protect major programs which are his priorities and the Congress' priorities. To date, the Senate has provided some $26 billion additional on the highway side and some $5 billion additional on the transit side.

    Mr. SABO. Excuse me, but just so I understand, the $5 billion on transit is authorizing, which then has to fit within all the competition for that reduced outlay dollars available for us and other subcommittees of appropriation.

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct, and what those offsets are, Mr. Sabo, I don't know. We will all be looking and waiting to see what has been decided to be those offsets. But the framework in which the President has stated was that, one, we do not destroy the budget agreement; that we stay within the budget caps; and, that of course, he would be concerned about what offsets are proposed, and what programs would be affected.

    Mr. SABO. I would assume we would stay within the budget caps. I am curious how transit is going to come out along with all the other discretionary programs in the country, when all of a sudden we assume a significant increase in highway funding, above and beyond what it was. It was already a significant increase in the budget agreement of last year.

    I think we may have some things that look nice on the surface, but that we have major problems in dealing with some of the real future transit needs that exist in this country if we proceed in the direction we are going. I would hope that your agency puts some major effort into really examining closely what is happening internally with the department.

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    Thank you.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Aderholt.

    Mr. ADERHOLT. I don't have anything.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Cramer.

    Mr. CRAMER. If I could direct your attention to the communication-based train control systems, I want to ask a question. Mr. Reilly, you may need to be involved in this.

    There is a proposed settlement that was negotiated by your precursor, UMTA, between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and a supplier, which would result in the installation of the CBTC system that would substantially increase the safety and efficiency of SEPTA's operations.

    So my question is a two-fold one. Are you familiar with the settlement approved back in 1993? How do you feel about the CBTC's similar systems that I consider to be an important new addition to enhance the safety of transit systems?

    Mr. REILLY. Are you referring to a proposed settlement between Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, SEPTA and ADTRANZ?
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    Mr. CRAMER. Yes.

    Mr. REILLY. I am familiar with that issue. That is an issue before the agency right now and one of the critical issues we have to consider is whether or not ADTRANZ can meet the agency requirements for a sole source procurement. And we have asked for that information from SEPTA, and SEPTA has supplied that information to us. We have asked for some additional information. My understanding is they just recently submitted the final information. We intend to hold a meeting with signalling system suppliers to hear their point of view. We have already met with SEPTA on this issue, and the agency will consider all these viewpoints before it makes a final decision.

    Mr. CRAMER. Doesn't the settlement offer expire on March 15th, a few days from now?

    Mr. REILLY. That is correct. We have already asked SEPTA to extend it, and they have informed us that they can do that. In fact, they had extended it once before. The settlement had a deadline of December 31st, and through a SEPTA board meeting, they received authorization to extend it to March 15th, and we have asked them to extend it again, and they said they could do that.

    Mr. CRAMER. Well, I would hope that this matter is resolved fairly quickly and that we don't—I mean, it has been pending since 1993. But then, Mr. Administrator, back to the issue of the CBTCs. Do you feel that they are similar systems that are an important new addition to enhance the safety of transit systems?
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    Mr. LINTON. Absolutely. In fact, we have been engaged in a train control project in California with the Bay Area Rapid Transit, BART system that we have been working on for the last couple of years. This is a project that we are doing with the Department of Defense, and we believe that this automatic train control both has advantages for safety, as well as efficiency in utilization of the fleet. Regarding SEPTA, as was shared by my attorney, it is clear that even though there was a proposed settlement, and I believe you made reference to a 1993 date, this issue involving train control has only recently surfaced in our regional office for us to consider. It was only last year that we had documents that were submitted to us from SEPTA. It wasn't an item that had been awaiting a decision for 5 years. It was not an item that SEPTA had been negotiating a settlement for several years. The documentation that we needed to review, we only received last year. When we received that documentation, we met with the general manager and talked to several of their attorneys and suggested that there was additional information that they needed to provide. SEPTA recognized that, and by recognizing that, they also extended the deadline of the contract settlement, which from December of last year, to March 15, 1998, Their most recent submittal still was lacking in information that we needed to make an informed decision. SEPTA recognizes this.

    We have tried to accommodate their settlement, but we also have to be mindful that we have to be assured that the system itself will be the safest system. This is in fact new technology which was not involved in the 1993 Settlement. We also have to make sure that we comply with our procurement laws. We have had court decisions over the last several years, which lay out the terms in which we can entertain such an agreement, and we must make sure that we do not violate our procurement laws. Other manufacturers of similar type systems may have an opportunity here. In addition, there is a possibility that they will be excluded from the marketplace if we do not do this in the proper way.
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    So that is why we are being very judicious and careful in deriving this decision and make it is one we can stand by.

    Mr. CRAMER. If time would permit, I would carry the discussion on. I would like the opportunity to interface with you more about this, because I am made to understand there is a summary that would support the sole source justification here that you have had, or SEPTA has had for some time. So there is more background information here that I would like to share with you. If you would give me that opportunity, I would like to do that.

    Mr. LINTON. I would love to do that, Mr. Congressman.

    Mr. WOLF. We are going to recess for about 15 minutes for two votes.



    Mr. WOLF. The Reconciliation Act last year contained a direct appropriation of $1.5 billion for the welfare-to-work program in fiscal years 1998 and 1999. Seventy-five percent of these funds are allocated based on a formula to private investment councils, 25 percent of the funds, $275 million, are retained by the Secretary of Labor for discretionary grants. The welfare-to-work grant program includes transportation as an eligible activity and transit authorities are able to apply for these grants in conjunction with other entities.
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    Why do you need another $100 million grant program at DOT?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, we worked very closely with the Department of Labor to try to make sure that transit was considered eligible within their welfare support program, but the point is that transit is only eligible. There are many other competing programs that are in place. There are efforts for job support, child care and others, all of which are eligible as well.

    Mr. WOLF. If I could just add, and I will give you a chance to finish, but I note here that 19 percent of household spending goes to transportation. The food basket is 19 or 20 percent or maybe 21 percent today. If that is the case, particularly for people who are at that income level who need as much help as possible, shouldn't the Department of Labor make transportation a priority? Shouldn't it be, if it is nearly equal to household food allocation, shouldn't the administration make it clear that transportation has to be a high priority, not just eligible for, but a high priority?

    Mr. LINTON. The biggest problem that we face in transportation, which we are seeing now as an issue of authorization, is how do you balance. Everyone thinks that their priority is the highest priority. As I have reviewed some of the surveys from former welfare recipients, transportation is mentioned as a major concern. But also they mention child care as a major concern. What the program is designed to do is to try and provide the opportunity for those in local government to work to establish their needs based upon what they see as their priorities. Transportation, once again, is recognized a major issue that must be solved.

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    Yes, there is some money in the Department of Labor that transit programs would have access to and we are working with local governments and grantees and providing them with guidance. Mr. Chairman, from what we have seen, there still continues to be unmet demand for transportation. We believe that the authorization that has been supported in the Senate this week, shows our request in our budget is still needed at this time.

    Mr. WOLF. How will you keep them from being redundant or duplicative if you were to get this money?

    Mr. LINTON. Our proposal is a grant proposal with competitive grants. It will however require coordination. We are working through the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, NPO's, and we will be lookimg at the coordination of these projects.

    With that in mind, we will have in place the process that will lend itself to knowing where funds are coming from, who the participants are, what their funding streams are. All this will ensure that we do not have competing Federal dollars out there.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Organizations involved with HUD's ''bridges to work'' program are spending roughly $2 million to provide transportation services to 400 people. As you can figure out, that is $5,000 a participant. You could almost buy a used car. Most of my children bought used cars for $2,000. If you were to get the money, how many people would you move?
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    Mr. LINTON. Unfortunately, I can't give you that answer, but I can tell you that based on our experience with programs that are similar we have not had that high of costs per occupant.

    Mr. WOLF. Could you give us some of the programs that you have had and what the costs per are? Because it is very difficult as you are going from, let's say, south Philadelphia, out to Chester, it kind of disperses. There is really not a rail line going out that way. So it is really tough. I just think if you could show us some of the programs you have had and what the cost per participant was.

    [The information follows:]

    The number of persons to be supported under the Access to Jobs program is dependent on the transportation strategies and services selected locally. The cost of providing service varies widely depending on service type and service circumstance. For example, the cost involved with ridesharing arrangements may be relatively modest, while the cost of paratransit and fixed route services may be more. The cost of late night rides may prove more expensive to provide than regular day time service.

    However, the number of welfare recipients that will be assisted by the Access to Jobs program can be estimated based on nationwide examples of similar service and costs generated by our congressionally directed Joblinks demonstration program. For example, in Hartford, Connecticut, the metropolitan planning agency has generated a proposal involving a mix of services that range in annual costs from $400 to $2,000 per patron, after fares. Under our Joblinks program where discrete new services have been provided in both urban and rural areas and drivers are paid the service is more costly. If Joblinks projects were projected on an annualized basis providing round trips five days a week over fifty (50) weeks, Joblinks costs would range from $2,000–$6,000 per passenger annually. After adjusting for average fares the cost would be $1,000–$5,000 a year. Based on these two examples, between 40,000 and 500,000 persons could be supported annually under the Access to Jobs Program, assuming a program of $200 million annually, which includes the 50 percent local match.
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    Mr. LINTON. We will provide that information, Mr. Chairman. In fact, SEPTA is conducting a program in Philadelphia, not with our resources, but they have been able to use some resources, and I think it is leaving from the city to one of the—I don't know if it is Federal Express or United Parcel Service, UPS.

    Mr. WOLF. Located where?

    Mr. LINTON I think it is in Chester County, or maybe it is Delaware County, where they are providing transportation service, and UPS has done some of the underwriting. I think they have some cost per rider numbers we might be able to provide to you.

    [The information follows:]

    SEPTA has made a number of service changes to provide access to jobs for city residents. For example, SEPTA's Route 68 operates from South Philadelphia, Broad and Oregon Subway stop to the United Parcel Service (UPS) Air Hub. SEPTA has recently added 13 new one way trips to and from the Broad and Oregon to UPS to meet the demand of new UPS employees. Based on SEPTA reported costs the added expense on the Route 68 service is $216,366 annually. The ridership to UPS is 834 trips per day generating $195,656 in fares. Therefore, the operating cost to SEPTA is $20,710 annually to transport 417 people to jobs at UPS. This is only $49 per person a year, much more economical than the HUD program.

    Mr. WOLF. Would programs that provide welfare recipients cars, rather than relying on mass transit systems, be considered a success?
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    [The information follows:]

    A number of states have initiated automobile refurbishment programs to make automobiles available to a limited number of welfare recipients at low cost. Additionally, most states have removed restrictions on the value of automobiles that welfare recipients may own and still qualify for welfare assistance.

    While automobile donation and refurbishment programs may be attractive in the more isolated rural areas, it is questionable public policy to support the use of older vehicles in metropolitan areas unless specifically used for car pooling welfare recipients to work. These areas are already plagued by congestion and air pollution. Older vehicles are polluters and will add to the congestion and air quality problems that are greatest in our innercities where many welfare recipients live. This population has suffered disproportionately from health problems caused by poor air quality. Older car donation programs would directly contravene air quality and congestion reduction policies supported by the Clean Air and Federal Transit Acts.

    It should also be noted that the cost of owning an automobile, particularly an older auto with high probability of breakdowns and high maintenance costs, is likely to be considered more expensive than mass transportation alternatives. The cost of insurance and the probability of theft or vandalism in innercity neighborhoods is also quite high. Such automobiles will not provide the reliable transportation that is needed to ensure on time attendance by employees.

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    Illustrative of these problems is a demonstration program supported by the Metropolitan Affairs Council in Detroit. The Metropolitan Affairs Council is an organization of business community, public and labor organizations. Their membership includes the ''big three'' automobile manufacturers. The Council has been active in helping to support welfare to work activities in Detroit. With the help of the automobile manufacturers, they made 10 automobiles available to innercity residents. The results have not been encouraging. Most vehicles have been either stolen or vandalized.

DOL Coordination

    Mr. WOLF. Though the Department of Labor's welfare to work grant program includes transportation as eligible activity, the eligibility criteria in DOL's recent solicitation notice do not permit public transportation systems to apply directly for the grants. Why? Aren't you and the Department of Labor talking to each other?

    [The information follows:]

    The Department of Transportation has worked very closely with the Department of Labor in the formulation in DOL's WtW grant program. Specifically, DOL invited DOT, HHS, and HUD to be part of a policy committee that established the WtW program guidance. As a result, transportation is an eligible support service under that program. WtW funds may be used not only to reimburse individual participants for transportation costs, but also to enable administering agencies to purchase additional services from transportation providers, or alternatively to support, in combination with other funding sources, the development of new transportation that may be needed in order to connect individuals with jobs.
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    WtW grants are divided into competitive and formula grants. Twenty-five percent are available for competitive grants. Seventy-five percent are allocated to formula grants.

    Transit agencies can directly apply for DOL's Welfare to Work (WtW) competitive grants. The guidance for these funds requires that agencies other than Private Industry Councils (PICs) and political subdivisions must apply ''in conjunction'' with local PICs or local political subdivisions. This merely means that transit agencies must provide written evidence, usually in the form of application signoffs, that they have coordinated their applications with PICs or local political subdivisions. The intent is to ensure that competitive grant applications are consistent with the formula funded local programs administered generally by PICs. The Lowell Massachusetts Regional Transit Authority, for example, has taken the lead in Lowell in applying for a competitive grant.

    By statute, the other 75 percent of WtW funds are allocated directly to governors by formula. States must pass 85 percent of such formula funding to local Private Industry Councils (PICs). WtW planning guidance requires that the PICs as recipients of local formula funds must coordinate the development of their local programs with MPOs and transit agencies. These formula funds may support services provided by transit agencies.

    In addition, fifteen percent of the formula funds may remain in the governors for projects of their choosing. Transit agencies may apply directly to the governor for state discretionary funding.

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    Mr. WOLF. I am going to recognize Mr. Olver in a second. Just these last two questions that fit in together. APTA testified that the transit agencies do not have enough resources to provide new welfare-to-work services without potentially adverse effects on existing services and customers. You are proposing to take $100 million off of the top of the formula funds distributed to all transit districts. Won't you be hurting people more than you will be actually helping them?

    Mr. LINTON. We recognize the concerns that APTA has expressed. This is a concept that we have introduced in our NEXTEA proposal. What I have seen to date, however, seems to indicate that the Congress, the Senate specifically, has in their authorization, is looking at access to jobs as a separate program. If that was the authorization that we would have today, it may not have the same impact on current funding that APTA is concerned about.

    [Additional information follows:]

    In general, the flexibility to decide the type of transportation projects at the local level is supported by the Department. But in instances where strong national interests exist, the Federal transit/highway program does include categorical programs such as the Access to Jobs program. The Access to Jobs program reflects a national priority over the next several years to put in place transportation services that will supplement our existing transit services and make it possible to help transition persons from welfare to work in the required time frame. Time limits on welfare recipients creates an urgent need to act expeditiously. The Access to Jobs and Training program is also constructed to draw other non traditional funding resources to address these transportation priorities. Under the proposed Access to Jobs program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the new Welfare to Work grants may be used in meeting the match requirements.
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    It also should be noted that the Access to Jobs program affords localities great flexibility in determining the best solutions to meeting these important employment transportation needs and provides funding flexibility, even beyond that afforded in the transit formula program. Funding may be used for operating and capital service costs for new and supplementary transit services, support for providing employer transportation services, capital for needed support facilities at transit stations such as day care and other employment support services, the development of long term financing strategies and other related activities. It also should be noted the program also will afford localities and states great flexibility in determining provider strategies. A local employment transportation program developed through local collaboration may include transit agencies, non-profit social service providers, local neighborhood or community-based transportation ventures, private-for-profit operators, ridesharing organizations, employer transportation management associations and other arrangements to provide additional employment transportation services.

    Therefore, the Access to Jobs program initiative, similar to other programs funded under ISTEA, reflects a strong national purpose, but affords localities the maximum flexibility in deciding how to respond.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, the House and Senate bills include an authorization for access to jobs, but it is from the general fund. Why should the general fund support these activities and not the mass transit account of the highway trust fund?

    Mr. LINTON. That is a good question.

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    Mr. WOLF. The last one, I hope it is as good as the last one. I am asking this on behalf of Mr. Sabo too. Mr. Sabo, I hope you will volunteer to help out here.

    Last year the committee directed the FTA to work with public private partnerships to develop reverse commuting opportunities for urban residents seeking public transit alternatives to reach their jobs. If you can tell the committee what progress that you have to report, how, and if, you distributed the educational guidelines to advise the metropolitan communities to advise them on developing such strategies. A man from Minnesota came in to see me at the request of Congressman Ramstad and he knows Mr. Sabo, too. He is hopeful to have a reverse commute program using the Department of Labor's funds, which are readily available.

    What progress can you report to the committee? Have you distributed an educational guide, and second, would you work with Mr. Sabo's office and with the committee to be an advocate with the Department of Labor to help with regard to this gentleman's proposal?

    Mr. LINTON. Absolutely. Mr. Chairman, one of the ways we have been responsive to that guidance was that in meeting with the industry in our 5-year Research and Technology plan, that we hope to forward to you soon, will show the work we are doing to respond to the reverse commute. That is one of the items that has been identified within the five-year plan that the committee has been working on.

    Mr. WOLF. Would you work through Mr. Sabo's office and our staff to schedule a meeting with the Department of Labor and your people to look at this proposal? It would be for Minneapolis' reverse commute. They have more details in another document that I have. If you could do that, I would appreciate it.
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    Mr. LINTON. Absolutely, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    The Department of Transportation has worked very closely with DOL in the development of DOL's Welfare to Work (WtW) grant program. DOL's WtW grants include transportation as an eligible support service expense and requires that the development of plans under that program be coordinated with transit agencies. Reverse commute services are among the eligible services under that program. We will work with Mr. Sabo's office and the appropriate DOL staff to review the Minneapolis, MN reverse commute proposal.

    As you are aware, FTA awarded a grant to Hennepin County, MN in 1995 to document their ''Destination Jobs'' Reverse Commute Employment Program and to develop an instructional manual for replicating the program in other areas. We continue to disseminate this document to all interested individuals and agencies.

    Mr. WOLF. I think a meeting with FTA and Labor would go a long way.


    Mr. Olver.

    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It turns out that I had been intending to ask exactly where we are, questions exactly where we are.
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    Mr. WOLF. Sure.

    Mr. OLVER. I will follow that along, if that is okay with you. Mr. Linton, it is good to see you again.

    Mr. LINTON. It is a pleasure, Mr. Olver.

    Mr. OLVER. Last year we expanded the definition of capital expenses to include preventive maintenance. Can you give us some idea of how much expenditure has there been moved, under the new definition, from what would previously have been capital, onto the operating side in the transit business?

    Mr. LINTON. Sure, I can address that. One of the things that we know is that we have had a short year fully implementing this provision because of the need for the extension for our authorizations. This has delayed the spending in the industry.

    Mr. OLVER. Delayed the expenditure?

    Mr. LINTON. The spending in the industry.

    Mr. OLVER. The spending only started in this fiscal year, and we are not quite halfway through the fiscal year.

    Mr. LINTON. That is right. And available because we do not have a full year of appropriations. Because the authorization schedule, it is a little difficult to see whether or not the provision is working as designed.
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    Mr. OLVER. What is your sense of what is happening out there with the new language?

    Mr. LINTON. We have gotten about $43 million that has been used at this point for preventive maintenance.

    Mr. OLVER. Out of a total of how much that would be available?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Olver. This is out of the total formula programs of $2.5 billion.

    Mr. OLVER. So it is a rather small amount at this point that you know has been used with the new flexibility.

    Mr. LINTON. Let me add a couple comments to that, if I may. We have been working with a number of systems who have just started exploring the opportunity. We have also been providing some technical assistance to some of our grantees who did not quite know how they could restructure their budgets so they could accommodate this change.

    We are also trying to provide technical assistance. For example, I spoke just yesterday with the general manager of Chicago Transit Authority CTA, who indicated to me that the RTA, which is their governing body, had a misunderstanding of state law and indicated to them that they could not utilize the preventive maintenance. Through the work of APTA and our staff, we have been able to rectify this problem.
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    The shortness of the time period in which preventive maintenance has been available, coupled with those type of misconceptions in its usage, has prevented many of the systems from maximizing its utilization.

    Mr. OLVER. That is a clear instance of the kind of example that an agency had difficulty using the new flexibility. Are there any other obvious categories that you have seen up to this point of problems with how to use this flexibility?

    Mr. LINTON. No, not at this point. I think it is a matter of education. We are working with the industry to provide that. I think it is a matter of clarifying the laws, the State laws and their impact on the ability of these systems to use this provision, and then it is a matter of people changing their habits. We will work through that. But I think it provides a major opportunity, and we have gotten from an APTA survey good support for the continuation of this provision.


    Mr. OLVER. I would like to explore this as a process, because at one level at first glance it looks like a robbing Peter to pay Paul kind of a situation. In fiscal year 1994, you had $800 million of operating subsidy out there, Federal subsidy. What is it in this budget, in the proposal for this budget?

    Mr. LINTON. In our proposed budget, there is no operating subsidy.
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    Mr. OLVER. No operating subsidy. So fiscal year 1999 goes to zero, and it has gone down since that $800 million in 1994 pretty steadily, leaps and bounds certainly.

    How much do the States put into operating subsidy? Over the years, has there been a match that they had to put in?

    Mr. LINTON. That varies by State.

    Mr. OLVER. So there was no required——

    Mr. LINTON. That is right.

    Mr. OLVER [continuing]. Legal match to the Federal dollars, like three to one or four to one or anything like that?

    Mr. LINTON. That is right.

    Mr. OLVER. The States put in.

    Mr. LINTON. About 50–50, but it varies by State.

    Mr. OLVER. What have the transit organizations been doing to absorb the loss of operating subsidies? What have they been doing over these last several years?
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    Mr. LINTON. Well, a couple of things. Some of the transit properties have actually been working with their States, either trying to trade operating for capital and trying to get more operating money from the States, recognizing that they can draw on capital sources from us.

    Mr. OLVER. Has our capital expenditure gone up in that same group of 5 years?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes.

    Mr. OLVER. Maybe someone could find the numbers, from what to what, from 1994 to now while you are finishing.

    Mr. LINTON. Sure. That is one of the methods that some of the properties have utilized. And even before we got to preventive maintenance in its pure sense, with the support of this committee, we also did some changes in utilization of spare parts, changes in definitions of that, that also gave the properties a little more opportunity to use their capital in the way they were expending operating assistance before.

    So I think a combination of changing the ability to use spare parts and viewing it the way we did in the past, which I think we did in '95. Then I think also some of the States have been trying—some of the properties have been working with their States to change the proportion of State money for operating to offset the Federal reductions.

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    Mr. OLVER. Well, I guess what I am really trying to explore here is that it may look fine to have reduced the operating subsidy. I think I see some numbers appearing. Do you have them for how the capital amounts have gone up?

    Ms. FERNANDEZ. We have the full budget amount, but we don't have it broken down to give you a percent.

    Mr. LINTON. We can submit that to you for the record.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. OLVER. What I was trying to get at, it sounds great to have reduced the operating subsidy. What I would like to see for transit programs, as we usually need more and more in this country, and we have lots of urban areas who are coming in for probably their first transit program, maybe the first ever, for imagine what are now major metropolitan areas that were not there a generation ago, or certainly were very spread out a generation ago. I can't see the whole picture here.

    I would like to see how operating subsidy policy and capital policy goes along with the FARE policy, the amount of State subsidy, whatever it is going in, whatever cuts in services or expansion of efficiencies, a whole matrix, essentially, of these matters that go into being able to answer whether our transit systems are improving and being supported the way they ought to be, without trying to make that decision on the idea that, oh, we have decreased the Federal operating subsidy to zero and therefore everything is hunky-dory, when in fact it is the whole pattern, whether the transportation needs are in their totality being served, that I would be much more interested in. Do you have any kind of analysis that takes those kinds of factors and tries to see what it is that has been happening here over a period of—within this decade, for instance?
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    Mr. LINTON. I think we can look at those, we can look at an analysis and see if we can provide something to you that would provide that. It would have to be a snapshot of what is going on in certain States so you can get a sense of that. Because, as I indicated, from my own experience, not just the seat in which I sit now, but from the fact when I was on the board of a transit system and was in the legislature in Pennsylvania, those factors and those variables change from system to system, even within a State. So we can try to give you a snapshot of what is going on in different areas of the country and how they are responding and what the impact will be.

    Mr. OLVER. It would have to be a whole series of snapshots. It is inevitably snapshots in the sense that you look at some period of some time and some other time, and then you have to look at a variety of different, well, there are policies. Probably each State is handling this in different ways.

    But we, I would certainly be interested in having a sense of what our policy of operating subsidy reduction, what has resulted. If not a specific cause and result of that effort, what the service system looks like after you are in place for some period of time. So it is a snapshot probably for each one in a number of different major systems.

    Mr. LINTON. That is something we should do. I agree with you.

    [The information follows:]

    To cope with the reductions in Federal operating assistance, grantees have typically reduced service, raised fares, improved operating efficiencies or relied upon greater state and local assistance. As shown in the table and graph on operating assistance below, Federal assistance has declined from 13 percent of total transit operating assistance to just six percent over the ten year period ending in 1996. (Please note that the funding levels are expenditures which lag Federal appropriations and obligations by one or three years.) Local and state governments have generally covered the Federal reductions by almost tripling their assistance from $3.8 billion in 1987 to $9.4 billion in 1996. Even after adjusting for inflation, this is still a significant increase in assistance. While many areas have had to reduce service, in total, the transit industry has been able to increase service provided. For example, in 1995, 4.3 billion bus mile equivalents (based on maximum of 70 passengers per vehicle including standees) were provided compared to 3.8 billion ten years before in 1986.
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    As shown in the table and graph below on capital assistance, the Federal share declined from 58 percent in 1987 to 42 percent in 1993, but then increased to 47 percent in 1996 reflecting the increasing Federal appropriations for infrastructure.

    Grantees are handling the phase-out of operating assistance and implementation or preventive maintenance quite well. Like any change, it takes some time for the industry to adapt. Experience to date shows that transit authorities, as they better understand the flexibility of preventive maintenance, are finding that they do not need Federal operating assistance. Grantees are utilizing preventive maintenance where it fits their needs, but many grantees have also decided not to use preventive maintenance at this time.

    Since most transit agencies are awaiting enactment of the full reauthorization before they submit their grant applications, we have limited experience to date. Nevertheless, there is evidence that grantees are not making any major changes in their budgets to shift capital projects to preventive maintenance. For example, through February 1998, less than three percent of the obligations have been for preventive maintenance. And most of the grantees using preventive maintenance tend to be the smaller areas, not the areas over one million in population.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Let me also say, Congressman, that I have from my own experience in Pennsylvania when I served both in the general assembly enacted, but also on the SEPTA Board, that we created in 1991 provided something similar to what we have now proposed Nation-wide with preventive maintenance. We called it asset maintenance, but it was implemented under the same policies and procedures, where in fact the definition of capital within the State of Pennsylvania was expanded to included asset maintenance that could be used, just like the preventive maintenance we are proposing at the national level. And the transit systems in Pennsylvania have embraced this in a big way, and they have also endorsed our preventive maintenance policies. Pennsylvania is one of the States where they have had at least 5 years experience in utilizing this type of flexibility.
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    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am done.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.

    Mr. SABO. Nothing further.

    [The information follows:]


    Mr. WOLF. Last year the Congress expanded the definition of capital expenses to include preventative maintenance and your budget request again includes that language. How have transit agencies responded to this new flexibility? Has it mitigated fully the reductions in Federal operating subsidies over the last year?

    [The information follows:]

    It is too early to tell exactly how much use transit agencies will make of this new flexibility. As of February 6, 1998, only $4 million had been obligated, but we expect more once transit operators become more familiar with the concept and adjust their plans and programs accordingly.

    If the capital definition continues to include preventive maintenance, transit agencies will have sufficient flexibility in the use of Federal formula funds that operating assistance will not be required. Without this provision, virtually every transit operator in urbanized areas over 200,000 population would have preventive maintenance costs that exceed their previous apportionments of operating assistance under a $400 million Federal cap.
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    Mr. Wolf. Last year when advocating an elimination of all Federal operating assistance, you anticipated that there would be a dollar-for-dollar trade in. Has the capital maintenance definition enabled transit providers to mitigate the reductions on more than a dollor-for-dollar basis, and if so, does it concern you that transit providers are using less of their formula funds for traditional transit investments in facilities and new rail cars?

    [The information follows:]

    The flexibility afforded by this provision enables local operators to tailor the use of Federal formula funds to meet their specific needs. It is likely that the proportions of funds used for preventive maintenance, versus capital investments, will vary from year to year and among individual operators. We do not foresee a trend away from infrastructure investment in favor of short-term maintenance costs.

    Experience with preventive maintenance to date in Fiscal Year 1998 is limited. Most transit agencies are awaiting enactment of the full reauthorization before they submit their grant applications. However, there is evidence that grantees are not making any major changes in their budgets to shift capital projects to preventive maintenance. For example, through February 1998, less than three percent of the obligations have been for preventive maintenance. And most of the grantees using preventive maintenance tend to be the smaller areas, not the areas over one million in population. Also, the San Francisco, Chicago, and New York urbanized areas have indicated that they do not plan to utilize the preventive maintenance flexibility.

    Mr. WOLF. Operating subsidies have been on a steady decline over the past several years. As recently as Fiscal Year 1994, Federal operating subsidies totaled over $800 million a year. Are transit agencies adjusted well enough now to the expanded capital definition combined with increases in formula funds enacted over the past several years to eliminate all Federal operating assistance this year?
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    [The information follows:]

    Yes, we believe that operating assistance can be eliminated if the capital definition continues to include preventive maintenance. We have had many discussions with the transit industry on the subject of preventive maintenance, and have found that most of the concern over the elimination of Federal operating assistance is due to an incomplete understanding of the preventive maintenance definition. Once transit agencies more fully understand the issue, they support the expanded capital definition and their concern for the loss of operating assistance declines.

    It is important to note that no actual funding was cut through the ''elimination'' of Federal operating assistance. Rather, it was the eligibility of certain expenses for Federal formula funds that changed. Operating assistance represented a ''cap'' placed upon the amount of Federal formula funds that could be used for operating expenses; it was not a separate funding category.

    Historically, Federal operating assistance for transit agencies has accounted for less than five percent of operating revenue expended by transit operators in large cities (urbanized areas over 200,000 in population). Thus, the elimination of operating expenses as an eligible item for use of Federal formula funds, plus the revised preventive maintenance definition, will more than offset its elimination. Operators in urbanized areas of less than 200,000 population can continue to fund operating expenses with their Federal formula funds, and there is no ''cap'' on the amount of such funds that can be used in this manner.

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    Mr. WOLF. What problems, if any, have transit agencies had in adjusting to the new flexibility?

    [The information follows:]

    Like any change, it takes some time for the industry to adapt. Experience to date shows that transit authorities, as they better understand the flexibility of preventive maintenance, are finding that they do not need Federal operating assistance. Grantees are utilizing preventive maintenance where it fits their needs, but many grantees have also decided not to use preventive maintenance at this time.

    Mr. WOLF. Were you upset that the committee put $150 million in for operating last year?

    Mr. LINTON. I am very happy with whatever you provide me, Mr. Chairman, and we will try to make sure we can utilize it to the best of the country's well-being.

    Mr. WOLF. Since Mr. Olver asked a number of the questions, we are going to submit a number for the record. How many of the systems liked the change in definition and how many had a difficult time adjusting to it? Just tell me.

    Mr. LINTON. What I have heard from APTA, based on a recent survey that they have done, and I think they have surveyed about 134 systems——

    Mr. WOLF. Of all sizes?
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    Mr. LINTON. Yes, I believe so. There were 128 that said that this was a program that they could embrace.

    Mr. WOLF. So knowing the budget restraints that we are under this year, would it be better for us to take that money and move it into capital?

    Mr. LINTON. I think that the systems would be able to leverage it more and give more opportunity to commit it if it were in capital. As we indicated to you last year, we will work with them continuously so they can get the most leverage out of that opportunity. But, yes, I think that would provide the best support for our systems, if you were to roll it all into the capital.

    Mr. WOLF. Are you planning to discuss with the 4 or 5 or 6 systems that didn't feel good about it to see what the problem was?

    Mr. LINTON. We are working with at least one grantee that I met with yesterday.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you feel comfortable to tell us so the Committee could find out? We would like to know.

    Mr. LINTON. One of the systems I met with yesterday said that there was a local decision within the MPO not to use it this year. It wasn't that they disliked it. In fact, they made a local decision not to take advantage of it this year because they had already made previous years' programming for capital. I don't think they disliked it. There is also another city, in Greenville, South Carolina, that has some difficulties. I think there has been an effort to rectify their problem in the reauthorization.
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    Mr. WOLF. So overall, it has been an A?

    Mr. LINTON. I would endorse it again, and from all I have heard, it has been embraced, and the transit associations have embraced it as well.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the point of de minimis return? Are we below what now? This is an issue we are going to have to deal with, since we are at $150 million. There is a point I would guess, that it is better to move all of it from operating and put it into capital. Do you think that is a de minimis point?

    Mr. LINTON. The way in which we have operated this current year is, if you have less than 200,000 in population, those systems have the flexibility of continuing to use operating. Population of 200,000 is still a good ceiling.

    Mr. WOLF. But we are talking about if there is only $150 million available for operating assistance, given the numbers that you have, the question is do you get too small an amount? John was saying that he spoke to a large transit authority, and they were getting as little as $300,000 this year. It was a small amount for a large system. So are you better just zeroing it out? I know it is the administration's position to zero it out, and put it all in capital? Is that what you are saying?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes.

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    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. Reauthorization bills reported by the House and Senate authorizing committees retain the major capital investment program in its current form. And APTA does not support the program structure advocated by the Administration in its NEXTEA proposal. Given these repudiations of your proposal to eliminate the bus discretionary program and move the fixed guideway modernization program into a formula program, why does the department's fiscal year 1999 request continue to assume this significant change?

    [The information follows:]

    We still believe that consolidating the Fixed Guideway Modernization and Discretionary Bus programs in the Formula Grants program would provide increased flexibility to our grantees and reduce the number of discrete programs. At the time of our budget development process, during the latter part of 1997, it was still unclear as to what legislation Congress would enact.

    Mr. WOLF. Last year you indicated there were 68 major investment studies which were underway throughout the country that may lead to requests for section 3 new start funding. How has this number changed over the past year and what are the total capital costs for the projects?

    Mr. LINTON. In my opening remarks, Mr. Chairman, I said we are looking at $80 billion.
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    Mr. WOLF. $80 billion.

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, that's the estimated demand in total Federal, State and local dollars.

    Mr. WOLF. Using current budget projections, how long would it take you to get there?

    Mr. LINTON. The year 2064 maybe is an estimate that I heard tossed around by someone whom I have confidence in.

    Mr. WOLF. There are 40 projects that are likely to be ready for full funding agreements in the next 5 or so years. What is the total Federal demand for those projects?

    Mr. LINTON. From what I recall, Mr. Chairman, we have right now in final design approximately $800 million of projects that are ready to be moving towards full funding grant agreements. When we go to preliminary engineering, we are talking about almost another $7 billion of projects. So those will be the two tiers. You are talking about 27 projects.

    Mr. WOLF. Could you elaborate for the record all of those projects and the different amounts connected with each project? Given the demands, how do you expect to manage the emerging pipeline requests?

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    Mr. LINTON. Well, there are a couple things that we are hoping to do, and in our most recent efforts to produce our 3(j) report, we are trying to raise the bar in terms of scrutinizing the projects. We are trying to come up with a way of ranking the projects.

    I would also point out what seems to be a uniform agreement now between the House and the Senate authorizing committees, since both of them have adopted the same and similar language. What they propose to do is having us to do a very, very stringent ranking of projects in the area of recommend, highly recommend, and not recommend, and within that ranking you would consider factors like financial capacity of the system, mobility improvements, land use planning, and very stringently look at those factors.

    What we will do, and are already beginning to do, based upon our most recent experience, is raise the bar in terms of scrutinizing the financial packages for those systems earlier in the process. We will require them to demonstrate to us where their financial contributions will come from the State, local and other contributors. We will start doing that before they go into preliminary engineering.

    [The information follows:]

    The projects cited are either in final design, preliminary engineering, or are expected to submit a request to enter preliminary engineering over the next six months. The estimated Section 5309 share of these projects total almost $12 billion. Many of these projects are likely to be ready for full funding grant agreements in the 1998–2000 time frame. The attached table provides specific information on these projects.
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    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Do you think the ratio 80/20 ought to be changed to something else, to leverage more local money? Because now somebody can come in at 80/20, they are going to have a tough time, but they think they can do it. We are having hard times, the committee, agonizing over some of these things. I just rode up with two different Members who are coming to me talking about two different projects. Are you looking at local share? Do you look at that and discuss that?

    Mr. LINTON. In that criteria I just described, local commitment will be highly weighed.

    Mr. WOLF. Commitment share?

    Mr. LINTON. Share, yes. Local share will be weighed. So those projects that have a stronger local share commitment and the stability of that will get a higher ranking in that categorization, and we will be asked to provide this report to both the authorizers and appropriating committees, and, therefore, you would be able to use that in making your determinations.

    Mr. WOLF. Are you finding more coming in with a higher share than 80/20?

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    Mr. LINTON. We are finding more projects coming in, with higher local shares, because they are beginning to believe that Congress will make the ultimate deliberations is going to consider that as a factor and they are beginning to recognize that. They rise higher on the list of consideration when they have a higher local share.

    Mr. WOLF. So you agree based on the answer to your last question that you think those who have higher shares ought to rise higher, is that correct?

    Mr. LINTON. We are going to rank them higher. The other thing I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, is that we are also going to look more closely at the financial system. I think in the past we have looked more at the capacity of the property to finance a project. Based upon some of our most recent experiences, we are going to look more at their capacity throughout their system. This means we will look at what is the interrelationship of their bus system to their rail system, what are the other kind of projects they are involved in, and what is the relationship of these elements to their ability to finance the new project they are asking us to support.

    That higher level of scrutiny of their financial capability is going to give us a lot more information that we will utilize to assist you in making your decisions.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, just with your answer, I think you have probably changed a lot of tabulations that have taken place or are going to take place in the future. In some respects, and I agree with you, you have raised the bar. Hopefully that will not be one of the 100 factors you will consider, but it will be one of three factors.

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    We do look at it. Members want to do the best they can by everybody, but I think that certainly has an impact when you look at it.

    Mr. LINTON. If I may add, Mr. Chairman, my staff has been working closely with the authorizing committee, and I am, quite frankly, pleased that both authorizing committees have stepped up to start looking at those factors and are putting them in the authorization bill, both in the House and the Senate. We all recognize to get to that year 2064, forwarding even some of these projects is something that creates a tremendous amount of demand within the limited amount of resources. We need to find some way of ensuring that, one, we have the best projects and, two, that there is some demonstration of local commitment to both finance the construction, as well as the operation of those projects.

    This year is a good opportunity for us to begin to address these issues.

    Mr. WOLF. Where will you be living in 2064? Will you be in Mt. Moriah?

    Mr. LINTON. I know you and I have engaged in this discussion for the last 5 years. I don't think either one of us will be doing that.

    Mr. WOLF. You may be in Mt. Moriah.

    Mr. LINTON. It is a possibility.

    Mr. WOLF. Most of my family is buried in Mt. Moriah.
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    Mr. LINTON. Is that right?


    You made the comment, and if you could elaborate a little more for the Committee, about buses and new systems, young cities, rapid rail transit. What are you doing to convince people of the utility of bus rapid transit systems. Mr. Thomas was very, very helpful when he came out to our region, and I do appreciate that very much. I think he did a good job explaining the rationale and why. I think buses have this image in people's mind that it is where you have to line up with 10, 15, 25 people waiting, and they are not aware of some of the new technology.

    How are you reaching out? Are you waiting for systems to come in, or are you going out to those who have made preliminary contact with you saying could I get a couple minutes with you to let you look at this concept? Are you doing that? Have you sent the Curitiba tape out to other transit agencies? Could you tell us what you are doing with regard to that?

    Mr. LINTON. Sure, Mr. Chairman. We have been astonished about the response that we are getting on bus rapid transit around the country. When we returned from Curitiba last year, We had some conversations with you about our excitement about this new application in use of buses. We started producing the Curitiba tape, and now we are continuing to distribute the Curitiba tape, because we are getting requests every day from cities and systems, who have heard about the concept, and want to consider it.

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    We are also getting requests from some of our systems that currently have planned light rail or heavy rail. These systems are beginning to look at the reality of the resources and the demand, and are beginning to question whether or not they need to look at another alternative. They, too, are beginning to turn to looking at bus rapid transit.

    On January 15th, Martin Luther King's birthday, we had a forum here in Washington. I was very pleased that Mr. Blazey was able to join us. At that forum we were joined by a number of astute individuals who worked on bus studies around the country. Jonas Radonovich from the United Nations Sustainable Communities Division was in attendance. Mr. Radonovich came from Curitiba, and was there when they developed their system. At the form we put together a program show-casing the studies done by all of these individuals. There were over 150 in attendance from across the country, who wanted to know about how they could adapt bus rapid transit to their communities.

    We are doing this proactively. We are going out with the videotape introducing bus rapid transit at the forums and workshops throughout the country. We are also trying to get ourselves invited to any available forums so we can present this idea.

    Mr. WOLF. Wouldn't the APTA convention have been a good place?

    Mr. LINTON. In May, at the APTA bus conference, we are going to have sessions demonstrating bus rapid transit in Curitiba. APTA has embraced this idea and are working with us to sell the concept around the industry.

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe Mr. DeLay was waiting when you were talking about buses, because they are the best example, I think, in the country to date of a community that looked at rail and then went to buses. They are doing very, very well. We have been talking about—I thought you were waiting. We planned this. You are just right on time. But I think the more you do that, I think you put it in your publications. Anything you can do, even developing field trips whereby some of the systems are encouraged to go down there and look at it firsthand.
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    Before I recognize Mr. DeLay, let me ask you a question like that. If you had a system in rail that was going to move so many people, if you were to—and the conditions were suitable for it to be—if you were then to use a Curitiba substitute, if the rail system were going to cost $2 billion, what would the Curitiba system cost? Do you know what the ratio is? Is it 10 or, 20 percent of?

    Mr. LINTON. To give you an average, A heavy rail subway system would be about $200 million a mile. The numbers we are seeing for bus rapid transit, if you base it upon what Curitiba has achieved, it would be in the area of about $10 million a mile. So that is fairly substantial.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you. Mr. DeLay.


    Mr. DELAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Linton, thank you for being here. I just have to congratulate you and the FTA on the work that you have been doing, and specifically the cooperation that we have gotten out of your department over the years, and particularly in the last year or two, under some very tough circumstances. You all have taken a very objective view of things going on in mass transit, and I really appreciate it.

    I would also like to express my appreciation for your having extended Houston Metro's current waiver from the Federal DBE regulations. As you know, Houston Metro has been prohibited by Federal court order from implementing its federally approved DBE program. Metro continues to operate under the constraints of the Federal court order and is it looks like, to be released from these constraints for months, if not years, while Metro appeals the District Court ruling that invalidated its DBE program as unconstitutional.
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    Is there any reason why your agency would not, in light of these restraints, grant an extension of that waiver in October when this particular extension expires?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't see any reason at this point why we wouldn't. As you indicated, we have continued to work with you and we look forward to continuing to doing so. I think you and I have had some difficult issues over the last 5 years that we have had to address, and we have always been able to come to a good resolve. We have been on this issue as well. I understand our common objective, is to make sure that your projects and the projects, all of our projects in the City of Houston, in that region, continue to be constructed, and that the people there continue to get their mobility needs met.

    We also have regulations that we have to operate under. We have found the right mix to make sure that we can achieve both of those goals. It will be my desire to work with you and Houston as we have done in the last 5 years, to keep this operation going and meet our goals.

    Mr. DELAY. You have been very creative, I must say. So is there anything that Metro ought to be doing that it isn't already doing to make sure that Federal funding is not interrupted again? Can they do anything else?

    Mr. LINTON. We have gotten from Metro what we need. They continue to call us when they need clarification or with questions. Our staff is working with their staff. As you know, there is a new board that has been appointed. I have already had a conversation with the new chairman of the board, and met with the mayor. We are still right on course. And even with the change in administration, our ability to continue to work with Metro and the board has not changed at all.
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    Mr. DELAY. Thank you. Great. I understand that yesterday the Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Senator McConnell from Kentucky, and it was passed on a voice vote, and this amendment protects transit agencies that find themselves in a situation similar to the one that Houston did. Does the FTA or the Department of Transportation have a position on the McConnell amendment?

    Mr. LINTON. I just recently, in fact as recent as this morning, became aware of the McConnell amendment. It is one that would bring an amicable resolution to a situation such as the one in Houston. The amendment is one that is consistent with what we have tried to do now. I think it is one that would fit within that same sphere. I think that would give us the legislative guidance and authority that we need to resolve this issue. So the authority would be good.


    Mr. DELAY. Great. Your budget in brief boasts the Nation's transit capacity grew by 3.5 percent and passenger miles grew by 4.8 percent between '93 and '95, and that the funding proposed in fiscal year '99 will continue this trend in improving capacity. However, the FTA and the Commerce Department data indicate that while Federal subsidies have more than doubled since 1980, ridership has dropped 10 percent.

    What is the point of expanding transit capacity when ridership is dropping?

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    Mr. LINTON. We have had, quite frankly, some increasing riderships in the most recent years. The system right here that I use every day, WMATA, has had a substantial increase in ridership, and that increase has occurred within the recent year and may not even be reflected in the data that you are making reference to. We think we are on an upturn in this country. We also have seen in recent years, that States where historically have not had congestion problems are now also turning to transit. For example in your own State transit is increasing not only with what you continue to do in Houston, but also the very expansive and highly successful transit system in Dallas. We are seeing interesting places like Utah seeking transit solutions. I know just last year, Governor Hunt in North Carolina, working with the corporate communities and others, even enacted local taxes and cited congestion in places like North Carolina and the need to have transit funding there.

    We are seeing across the country some recognition that one cannot live by highways alone, and that we cannot continue to build ourselves out of our congestion, and you have to have choices and options.

    If that momentum continues in this country, and we all know we have additional issues of clean air and global climate change. All of those factors will feed into both a continued need and a continued growth of transit

    Mr. DELAY. That is a good answer. You could have left the climate change stuff out. I am very interested in the number crunching and studies on this issue. In the case of WMATA though, WMATA's ridership went down and the recent increase just brings it back up to where it was, is that not correct?

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    Mr. LINTON. That is true. There was a reduction in ridership, but a number of things accounted for that. Of course, they have some new services. But you also have what I think is the key to a lot of this, is more creative planning, making sure that your system serves the location where people need to go.

    Mr. DELAY. Innovative.

    Mr. LINTON. That is right. One of the things we are seeing, quite frankly, is the new boarding at the airport. People who did not normally use that station, because it was located such a distance from the airport itself, are now using WMATA to get there.

    We also have had the MCI Center arena open, where 60 to 70 percent of the people going into that arena are beginning to use the system.

    The key to making our systems viable is not just the investment, but it is the planning so that you have an integrated system with growth, development, housing, economic development, and the systems are tied into taking people where they want to go. If you provide good quality service, people will use it.


    Mr. DELAY. The administration has been very vocal about its support for local participation in transportation projects and the need for community involvement in transportation planning. Do you support greater local flexibility also along with the financial support to adapt these projects as opportunities become available that might result in greater cost effectiveness or better meet the needs of the community?
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    Mr. LINTON. We are always looking at flexibility. We have seen a great deal of flexibility in funding. We have also tried to be creative with our transit systems and getting them to be very flexible and innovative. We are looking at things such as joint development. We are looking at new ways that they can also receive revenues that they can use for transit purposes. We have been having conferences and workshops on innovative finance and joint development, trying to encourage private sector participation. We are seeing some projects now where the local match will not just be State or local money, but it also includes private sector money. We are encouraging that. We have some systems where private firms are actually building stations. I know in Charlotte, N.C., Nations Bank built a transit station. We have some of that going on here in WMATA where a developer has stepped up to the plate and expressed interest in building a station.

    So I think flexibility increases the opportunity to leverage resources. We are going to have to use innovative financing if we are going to help meet this expanding demand with our fixed amount of resources.


    Mr. DELAY. As you know, that flexibility is vitally important to Houston, because we have always done things differently from anybody else, in that we move monies around in our overall transportation system.

    Would you also support greater intradepartmental flexibility within the Department of Transportation? Like in the area of shifting funds in order to take advantage of opportunities that might result in greater cost effectiveness, or better meets the needs of the community?
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    Mr. LINTON. We do a lot of that, and the Secretary has pushed us to be, as he says, one DOT, so we look for opportunities to provide funding flexibility. Although we also have within our laws some defining categories, and sometimes within those defining categories our flexibility is in fact limited.

    Unfortunately, there are very often things that sometimes some of the properties would like us to do, but they are outside the eligible use of a category of funds, and that becomes a problem. We are flexible to the extent that our legal standing allows us to be flexible, but you would not like to see the Federal Transit Administration do anything that violates the laws you enact.

    Mr. DELAY. That is true.

    Mr. LINTON. I choose not to do that either.


    Mr. DELAY. We do have an opportunity coming in the next few weeks to change those laws, to maybe help make your job a little easier.

    Texas is one of the primary sponsors of the ATTB program, the advanced technology transit bus, which is developing the transit buses of the next generation. I understand that Houston has been scheduled to receive one of those prototype buses this summer in order to incorporate and test additional advanced technologies that Houston Metro has been developing.
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    Can you tell me if the ATTB program is on schedule so that Houston will have one of the buses to work with this summer?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, it will. In fact, Houston is on the test site for one of the buses, as is Washington. The next bus will be coming to Washington. We will have a great roll out, and I hope that, Mr. Chairman, we will have members of the committee at the roll out here with the Advanced Technology Transit Bus, ATTB. We will invite all of the members of your committee who have been so supportive of that effort to see it here in the Nation's capital.

    But, yes, Houston is on the schedule to be one of our test sites, and the program is on schedule.

    Mr. DELAY. Well, I have just been informed that it was announced recently that Lockheed Martin, which is developing its own hybrid electric bus, plans to acquire Northrop Grumman. The merger has been delayed by the Justice Department while they review antitrust matters.

    Will that merger mean that development of either the ATTB or the hybrid electric bus will be delayed because of the Department of the Justice review?

    Mr. LINTON. I just found out myself yesterday that that decision was rendered. I have not heard nor do I anticipate that delaying the product.

    Mr. DELAY. Have you heard from Lockheed Martin as to whether they are going to stop participation in the ATTB?
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    Mr. LINTON. Ed, would you like to respond to that? This is Edward Thomas, Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation.

    Mr. THOMAS. Congressman, we have actually two advance technology bus projects and Lockheed is currently involved in only one of them. That one is a project that is looking at advances in subsystems, and Lockheed Martin is continuing to be involved in that project. Northrop Grumman Corporation is actually the firm that is working with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority on the second ATTB project. We do not expect any delays in the project. We are pretty much on schedule to finish up the testing program in April of 1999. As the Administrator mentioned, we expect to have a bus in Houston. There are meetings actually planned for next week to address the Houston issue.


    Mr. DELAY. Great. Finally, Mr. Linton, I would like to bring up a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, and that is regulatory reform. Recently I have been working with the leadership and committee chairman to make one of our legislative victories, the Congressional Review Act, a higher priority in this session of Congress. As a reminder, the Congressional Review Act was signed into law nearly two years ago. It requires agencies to report on their compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Unfunded Mandates Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and some others. It also gives Congress the ability to disapprove a regulation once it becomes final.

    Mr. Linton, what, if any, procedural changes in the rule development process were made in response to the passage of the Congressional Review Act, CRA?
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    Mr. LINTON. Congressman, I don't have that available at the moment. I will submit it for the record. I will say to you that procedurally we have looked hard and fast at any efforts that we would take to undertake any results. We have also worked very, very deliberately in reducing paperwork. In fact, we have a very, very strong achievement record in the reduction of paperwork in our agency.

    As I indicated earlier in my opening remarks, one of the areas, for instance, in our electronic grant making, we are now up to, 83 percent of our grantees are now on-line electronically, and we expect at the end of this fiscal year, we will be up to 100 percent. So we are moving to a paperless operation. We have been cutting back on our relations. We have been reducing the paperwork in our regulations. We have been engaging much more—operationally we have been different in terms of working with the industry. We have done some things recently with our procurement rules where we have streamlined a number of those, reduced those as a result of our working with the industry.

    There has been some very good work as a result of the passage of that act, and I think we have been responsive to it.

    [The information follows:]

    FTA has not had any procedural changes in response to the passage of the Congressional Review Act.

    Mr. DELAY. Has the GAO highlighted any concerns about your agency's compliance with the CRA?
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    Mr. LINTON. Not that I know of, no.

    Mr. DELAY. I am asking this of everybody.

    Mr. LINTON. Not that I know of, no.

    Mr. DELAY. Finally, what regulatory policies are currently under way that are critical to achieving your strategic goals and objectives during the next fiscal year?

    Mr. LINTON. I think the only ones that we are responding to are the GPRA, the Government Performance and Results Act.

    In response to that, we do have some performance measures. In order to reach those performance measures, we may need to do some additional data collection. So that in and of itself may require us to do some additional data collection.

    But it is only directly responsive to GPRA, and I need to meet the performance measures, and we can't do it if we don't collect the data.

    Mr. DELAY. Could you submit the data you talked about on ridership to the committee for the record?

    Mr. LINTON. Sure.
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    [The information follows:]

    Our statistics show that since 1993, transit utilization has increased at about 2.5 percent per year. The following table shows the number of transit passenger miles since 1993.

Table 3

    Looking only at boardings is misleading, since the length of transit trips has increased.

    Mr. DELAY. I would appreciate it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your indulgence.

    Mr. LINTON. Thank you, Congressman.

    Mr. WOLF. We are going to keep on going until the next vote, maybe 30 minutes. Then at that time we can break for maybe 20 minutes and you can grab a sandwich or something. We wanted to keep going on.


    Last year the department requested almost $170 million less for new starts than assumed in the full funding grants negotiated by the FTA. Compare that to this year's request to fully fund the FFGAs, $678 million and $144 million, to cover the accumulated shortfalls. It seems like the funding for new starts is either feast or famine. Why such dramatic shifts from year-to-year?
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    Mr. LINTON. We recognize the need to catch up and be on point with our agreements to these new transit systems. We recognize that the shortfall that they received over the last years was creating some difficulty. There is an effort in this budget this year to make up for those shortfalls, to try to get back to where we should be with our full funding grant agreements. The budget request of $876 million is a direct reflection of our desire to meet our commitments, we have made in the full funding grant agreements. This is recognition of what you just stated, that we were below our commitment in the previous year and we needed to catch up.

    Mr. WOLF. So from here on in you are going to stick to the levels, except in circumstances like L.A. or something like that? You will stick to the levels?

    Mr. LINTON. It is my hope, Mr. Chairman, that we can be consistent with our full funding grant agreements. They need to represent a commitment by the Federal Government, and we need to do all that we can do to follow these commitments. We will talk a little bit later today about WMATA, but one of the successes of the WMATA system has been the consistency of the resources over a period of years, and that has allowed them to do the kind of creative financing needed to keep the construction on schedule.

    It is my objective to try to do that with the rest of our commitments as well.


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    Mr. WOLF. The budget proposes to fund only the existing 14 full funding and grant agreements. Doesn't FTA anticipate entering into any additional ones in fiscal year '98 or '99?

    Mr. LINTON. I think it is clear, Mr. Chairman, that we were in an unusual circumstance this year, recognizing that our reauthorization expired and we were in the midst of an extension. But before we engaged in any additional full funding grant agreements, it would be prudent to see what our authorization levels are or what the projects are that get authorized. So we want to be guided by that, and that will allow us to make decisions on the next full funding grant agreements.

    Mr. WOLF. But there are a number of new starts that are nearing their final design and are expected to obtain their record of decision within the next several months with a funding agreement to soon follow. Since the budget request fully allocates the $876 million to make up, again, as you said, for last year, where it did not, requests for new starts in fiscal year '99, aren't those projects that are in line now to obtain the agreements in fiscal year '98 or '99 out of luck, particularly if we enact the request?

    Mr. LINTON. It may be an anomaly in that it is going to be an unusual year. We in the administration as well as the committee, will have to deal with the possibility, that the authorization will occur at the same time as your final deliberations on appropriations. We will have to be guided by the authorization and make the appropriate adjustments. At this point in time that what we have done is prudent management by staying with the 14 full funding grant agreements that we currently have in place and propose our budget accordingly.
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    Mr. WOLF. If the reauthorization of ISTEA were to require FTA to sign new full funding agreements in '98 or '99, would the department then submit a budget amendment reallocating '99?

    Mr. LINTON. That is a question that today I could not answer. That is something that we have not explored, and I think that is something that we must have some discussion with the administration on how we would respond to the reauthorization if it occurs during the middle of appropriations, and there are other projects that are authorized.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the total Federal cost to complete the existing 14 full funding grant agreements? You briefly mentioned that, but what is the cost?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, $2.2 billion.


    Mr. WOLF. When the department negotiates a full funding agreement and establishes the annual Federal funding levels assumed in them, yet when it doesn't really seek those levels in the annual appropriation request, such as we talked about last year, what should the transit agencies do or how do they respond to the variation from levels?

    Mr. LINTON. When we enter into a full funding grant agreement, we make it clear that yes, this is a contractual agreement that we enter into with the property, but we also make them aware that this agreement is contingent upon annual appropriations. Therefore, the agencies would have to be prepared to adjust to that within their implementation of the project.
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    There are several ways that they can do that. One is to have contingencies so they can deal with those shifts in appropriations. The other way is that they have the ability to do financing, and we consider the cost of the financing as reimbursable within the full funding grant agreement. Interest payments are also allowed. Those are the tools that many of them use to deal with the shortfalls as they occur.

    Mr. WOLF. That actually costs more money in the long run then?

    Mr. LINTON. In the long run, it does. In the long run when you have to use financing options, you have to cover the interest costs.

    Mr. WOLF. And in a bad economy it would be even worse with the interest rates?

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. Your department negotiates the FFGAs and establishes the annual federal funding levels assumed in them yet it does not regularly seek those levels in annual appropriations requests (as evidenced by last year's budget submission). How do transit agencies respond to variations from the levels assumed in the FFGAs and the final appropriation?

    [The information follows:]
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    Prior to the Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request, budget requests were always based on the annual commitment levels specified in the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) schedules. However, due to overall budget pressures, the Fiscal Year 1998 request did not follow the FFGA schedule. For Fiscal Year 1999, the Budget Request returns to the FFGA scheduled amounts and, additionally, includes amounts to make up for prior year shortfalls (including Fiscal Year 1998).

    Transit agencies employ a variety of measures to mitigate the effects of lower than expected appropriations. Unfortunately, these measures, if implemented, could translate into higher costs to the projects. This is due to short term borrowing costs required to bridge cash flow shortfalls and the necessity to delay or stretch out construction schedules to defer or reduce current spending.

    Mr. WOLF. Given their ability, why is it imperative that Congress appropriate funds to cover all the accumulated shortfalls this year?

    [The information follows:]

    Given projects' carefully prepared construction and cash flow schedules, we believe that, if at all possible, the Federal FFGA funding commitments should be honored on a yearly basis. The accumulation of shortfalls only tends to disrupt cash flow schedules and ultimately translate into higher costs to projects.

    Mr. WOLF. The temporary extension of ISTEA has limited the amount of funds that may be obligated for transit capital programs. This will likely lead to greater first-year unobligated balances than would normally be the case. Shouldn't these balances be taken into account when allocating funds in 1999 so as to avoid irregular funding peaks and troughs?
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    [The information follows:]

    Fortunately, the temporary extension of ISTEA has not resulted in a shortfall of funds for the new starts program. The combination of the additional authority contained in the ISTEA extension of $452,640,000 and the unobligated contract authority of $392,000,000 remaining under ISTEA exceeds the Fiscal year 1999 appropriation for new starts ($800,000,000). Consequently, the concerns stated above do not apply to the Fiscal Year 1999 new starts program.


    Mr. WOLF. The St. Louis MetroLink, the budget requests $64,320,000 for the St. Louis MetroLink St. Clair Extension project, yet the full funding grant agreement for fiscal year 1999 is $35 million, and to date the Federal Government has provided the project a little over $5 million less than agreed to in the full funding grant agreement. So a fiscal year appropriation of $40.1 million would meet the full funding grant agreement requirements. In this case, the department proposes to accelerate funding. Why the special treatment and the extra money, the extra $24 million?

    Mr. LINTON. Well, procedurally we really would like to complete our Federal commitment to these projects at the point that they open for revenue operations. This project was one in which, according to the original schedule, we would still be paying the property after they already completed construction and started operation.

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    What we are seeking to do here is try to complete paying the Federal share at the point that they start their operations for revenue service. We were able to do that within this year, and we sought to try to do it in this year's appropriation.

    Mr. WOLF. John was just saying, there are other projects, and what do you tell the others?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, there are other projects.

    Mr. WOLF. I mean, why do you treat these people differently than you treat the others?

    Mr. LINTON. Once again, as you indicated, we are trying to cut the cost of the project by trying to close these out earlier. It cuts down on the interest that they would have to pay.

    Mr. WOLF. But it would take it away from someone else. It is a zero sum game. We only have so much.

    Mr. LINTON. What we are trying to do in St. Louis is expedite the completion of the project, and we would like to do that whenever we can, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. How does the need to accelerate funding for this project differ from time-sensitive projects like Salt Lake City, or far more cost-effective projects like Tren Urbano?
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    [The information follows:]

    The St, Louis Metrolink extension into St. Clair County, Il, provided an opportunity to accelerate the Federal payment schedule in order to conclude the Federal commitment in Fiscal Year 2001, prior to the project's revenue operations date of September, 2001, and one fiscal year earlier than specified in the FFGA. The additional $24.2 million included in the President's Budget Request for Fiscal Year 1999 accomplishes this objective.

    In the case of Salt Lake City, the Congress has itself already accelerated payments to this project, appropriating through FY 1998, a total of $22.6 million more than called for in the project's FFGA schedule. In the case of San Juan's Tren Urbano, the Congress appropriated $15.1 million less than the Administration's FY 1998 Budget Request and $3.9 million less than the Fiscal Year 1997 Budget Request for Tren Urbano.

    Mr. WOLF. In fact, the budget request for this project doubles the level assumed in the project's finance plan. Why should the Congress approve the department's budget request from this particular project and treat it differently from other FFGA's, as you propose?

    [The information follows:]

    This project provided the Administration with the opportunity to accelerate the Federal payment schedule in order to conclude the Federal commitment prior to the project's revenue operations date of September, 2001. This recommended acceleration should alleviate cash flow problems and thus short term borrowing costs associated with cash flow shortfalls.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, we would like to accelerate funding on every project. Project sponsors plan to extend the project from the Belleville Area College to the Mid-America Airport as soon as Illinois State funding is available, while seeking Federal funds for other MetroLink extensions. As of last month, the Mid-America Airport had no airlines using it, and I guess if you had no airlines, that would mean you probably had no passengers—you would just going out to the restaurant or something. It was featured in Fleecing of America.

    So when you look at the needs in San Francisco and in other places, it just seems to me this would not be a good idea. This could almost, if you were to do that, be viewed as a fleecing, I think, of some of the other systems.

    Why would this be more important to do it, particularly since the airport has no airlines or flights?

    Mr. LINTON. We expect that the reauthorization will give us the guidance and the opportunity as to how we are going to address any future extensions. But let me just say that from both my travels to Illinois and my meeting with several of both private sector as well as public sector agencies there, they believe that the Mid-America Airport will in fact have new airlines. They have plans in place to do that.

    Mr. WOLF. They may. I saw that piece myself, and it just kind of hit me. They may, and then they may not. Obviously every Chamber of Commerce wants to boost every local airport. But look at the needs in Washington, and look at the needs in San Francisco, and look at the needs in Houston. I mean, their definition of a rush hour is probably a tie-up in traffic for 5 additional minutes. There are people in this region spending an hour to an hour and a half to get in and out to work.
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    I just don't think that is appropriate. I think you do with the levels you can, but to jump that up higher I think would be unfair just to so many others.

    Do they have any planes, any airlines that are now serving, and have they signed any agreements for any to come in?

    [The information follows:]

    The Mid-America Airport is scheduled to open on April 1, 1998. At this time, Mid-America Airport officials are negotiating with TWA and a number of charter airlines to establish service to Mid-America. The St. Louis region also has plans to move freight services currently being handled at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport to Mid-America Airport by the end of 1999. St. Louis-Lambert is currently being expanded to accommodate TWA's growing hub operations. The St. Louis region looks for Mid-America Airport to handle freight, charters and single destination flights (for example, St. Louis-Chicago Midway).


    Mr. WOLF. What does your financial management oversight consultant's analysis of the MTA reveal? Does it have the financial ability to implement the bus consent decree, meet other financial commitments, like the Alameda corridor and continue with the Red Line subway?

    Mr. LINTON. At this point, Mr. Chairman, we are still waiting, as was called out in the reported language, some additional information from the L.A. MTA. Right now we are comfortable with the fact that they have the financial wherewithal to finish North Hollywood, and they have demonstrated the ability to purchase a significant number of new buses, and we have documentation of their bus purchases and the buses they will have on delivery and their commitment to purchase those buses.
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    However, we are still waiting to see how they seek to have the financial ability to support Mid-City or Eastside.

    Mr. WOLF. When will you have that, do you think?

    Mr. LINTON. The Board made a decision to suspend for six months those projects, so we would expect that they would be providing us plans to continue those projects in around June-July.

    Mr. WOLF. We will have marked up by then. I think you probably know the answer, and I think as your people know the answer you ought to let the committee know. You see what is happening out there, and I think everybody else knows, so it is helpful to know as early as possible.

    Mr. LINTON. If I can make one further comment on that point, Mr. Chairman, our budget request is only for North Hollywood, and even decisions that they would make post the markup would not affect that. That is also consistent with where we are at the moment, North Hollywood is under construction and it is pretty much on budget. The $100 million we are requesting for that system would only be for North Hollywood.

    The decisions that they are going to be making that are critical for our future consideration would affect primarily the Mid-City and Eastside extension, neither of which we are recommending funding for in this budget cycle.

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    Mr. WOLF. The IG report said that North Hollywood was slipping a few months. Is that accurate?

    Mr. LINTON. They may have been slipping a few months, but we still think they are relatively within schedule.

    Mr. WOLF. So how much slippage? In schedule, but a little slippage? What are you talking about?

    Ms. FERNANDEZ. Mr. Chairman, based on the information that is contained within the full funding grant agreement, the completion date was scheduled for December of 2000. The Board and the staff made a determination that they could complete the project by May of 2000 in lieu of December. So even if they slip for a couple of months, they are still within the full funding grant agreement schedule.


    Mr. WOLF. The newspaper reported that there were cost overruns on the Hollywood segment that hit nearly $80 million, is that correct?

    Mr. LINTON. Let me have Mr. Walker respond to that, if he would.

    Mr. WALKER. Mr. Chairman, I am not aware of any overruns on that. The report that we have is that they will be in on schedule and within budget.
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    Mr. WOLF. Could you check and the committee will make available the newspaper report and then you can just tell us, run it down and maybe get back to us next week if you could.

    Mr. WALKER. Sure. If I could just make one more comment, some of the things they are calling cost overruns are a change in their budgeting. They are allocating now indirect costs to those projects, which they had not allocated previously.

    [The information follows:]

    The newspaper headline which stated ''Hollywood Subway Cost Overruns Hit $79.1 million'' referred to MOS–2, not the MOS–3 segment to North Hollywood. Any cost increases on this segment are a local responsibility and will be borne by the LACMTA not the Federal Government. LACMTA has made appropriate provisions to cover the increased costs, which was confirmed by the article. LACMTA had increased its budget to account for potential cost increases which could result from contractor claims against the agency, including those arising from the Hollywood sinkhole incident. The budget increase would also cover projected price increases of materials used in project construction activities. LACMTA itself has filed suit against the contractor responsible for the segment of work that included the sinkhole to recover some of the costs resulting from that incident. If successful, the ensuing settlement could be applied to offset any cost increases.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think that is valid, the way they are doing it?
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    Mr. WALKER. It is. You can do it either way. But any of those costs that they are allocating they will have to pay themselves. We have made that very clear to them.

    Mr. WOLF. Of course, this has been a subject of a lot of newspaper and radio and TV reports too. What is the status of MTA's recovery plan and do you expect the recovery plan to focus on only ongoing construction of segment 2 and North Hollywood, or will it outline funding sources and commitments for the whole project?

    Mr. LINTON. We are expecting the recovery plan to reflect several items. One is the consent decree. The others include the Pasadena line, as well as a final resolution on what they are going to do with Eastside and Mid-City.

    Mr. WOLF. The $24 million which was set aside in the act, do you believe that should be taken from Eastside and made available for North Hollywood?

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, based upon the decision that the Board has made to suspend Eastside, we know that North Hollywood is under construction and could obligate the money now. It would be prudent for us to allow that money to go to North Hollywood. What happens with Eastside is still uncertain.


    Mr. WOLF. Do you personally believe that the Mid-City and Eastside will ever be built?
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    Mr. LINTON. I think that it will be very, very difficult for L.A. MTA to financially construct those two legs in the near future.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think they are fairly aware of that as they look at the numbers?

    Mr. LINTON. The Board members under the leadership of Julian Burke are becoming more and more aware of their financial constraints, not only with us, but also with the California Transportation Commission. The Commission has also given L.A. MTA a December 2nd deadline in which if they do not present a plan on how they are going to deal with Eastside and Mid-City, the money that they are holding aside for those two lines would have to be used in some other parts of the system. I think everyone is pushing in the same direction.

    Mr. WOLF. What are the costs involved in suspending the two Red Line extensions and how long can the suspensions be sustained before a major redesign is needed? And who will pay for the costs?

    Mr. LINTON. The shutdown costs would be about $5 million, and it is our expectation that they would absorb that and not us.

    Mr. WOLF. So none of it will be paid for by the FTA?

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct.

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    Mr. WOLF. No Federal funding. The political leadership of the city is said to be considering bus alternatives in the Eastside and Mid-City corridors. The existing authorization for the Red Line is for heavy rail subway. Does the FTA support broadening its existing authorization to include other fixed guideway and bus alternatives to these corridors thereby giving them the opportunity to probably meet the demand at a much lower cost? We were mentioning that Curitiba project earlier, and I know the mayor or somebody from his office went down there.

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct, the deputy mayor was on the same trip I was, Mr. Chairman. There has been a considerable interest in the Curitiba-type bus rapid transit system in California, as you mentioned, by the mayor. But I would like to bring to your attention that I have met with members of the assembly in California who have also expressed a great deal of interest in exploring that not just for Los Angeles, but other corridors in that region.

    We will be guided by the direction from the Board. The mayor is very persuasive, and I think the mayor is convincing the rest of the Board that they need options and flexibility.

    They recognize, Mr. Chairman, that they are at a critical point, and that projects throughout the rest of the country are moving and that the authorization is also moving ahead. They realize the risks they are taking by not coming to a decision and how that will box them in. We continue to make them aware of that. We have given their own congressional delegation some direction in regards to reauthorization and how they could be accommodated.

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    Mr. WOLF. The 6-month hiatus was seen as a victory for subway proponents since the Board did not go as far as the MTA CEO wanted them to do. If in your opinion, did the MTA Board go far enough in the action taken in January to suspend the extension of the subway work beyond the North Hollywood extension for 6 months, or should they have done more?

    Mr. LINTON. I try to not substitute my judgment for that of the Board members.

    Mr. WOLF. I think we are not in antagonism. The position, I felt certainly they have a transportation gridlock problem out there, and I think they of all the regions need it. If you could do something quickly, the faster you do whatever you are going to do, the cheaper it is going to be. Interest rates are not always going to be where there are, other things are not always going to be where they are. The sooner you make a decision to move ahead. Also if you do need a change, other systems are coming on line, there is greater competition for everything. I was looking——

    Mr. LINTON. Mr. Chairman, let me respond. I had hoped that they would have made a more definitive decision in January and would have liked to have seen a more definitive decision than the 6-month hiatis. As you have indicated, that the information is there, and they need to address that. But as we always do, we try to respond to that Board just as we responded to the issues with Mr. Delay and his board. We try to give those boards the opportunity to govern locally. Yes, I too believe that a definitive decision could have been derived and should have been delivered in January.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. We will have a number of other questions for the record. You know, this is an opportunity I think for maybe you and Secretary Slater to kind of bring them in. I had written a letter before asking that and members from the delegation seemed to agree. Just bring everybody into town and just spend a day, bring all the people that have to be part of the decision-making process. Because it just keeps going on and on and on.
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    We will do this one for the record too.

    [The information follows:]

    We are awaiting LACMTA's submission of their revised Rail Recovery/Restructuring Plan. As you know, the Fiscal Year 1998 Conference Report language requires our review and acceptance of the plan and further review by the Department's OIG and the General Accounting Office before the plan is sent to Congress. Once this has occurred and we have received feedback from your Committee, we can assess the situation and determine the new step to take. It may well be advisable to assemble key decision-makers to examine the Red Line MOS–3 situation at some future point, but I believe that it would be premature to make any definitive plans at this time.

    Mr. WOLF. What options does the Federal government have if MTA determines that it can no longer construct the Mid-City and Eastside extensions or must indefinitely suspend construction?

    [The information follows:]

    If the LACMTA Board of Directors decides to make the temporary suspension of work on the Mid-City and Eastside portions of MOS–3 indefinite, FTA could reduce the commitment to MOS–3 by the value of the suspended segments (less allowable expenditures to date), recognizing that the financial ability of LACMTA to restart and complete these projects would likely be many years in the future; and could also consider lower cost, but cost-effective, fixed-guideway type substitute in these corridors as proposed by Los Angeles to use the remaining commitment authority in MOS–3. This latter option might require clarifying language in the next authorization to expand or adjust the definition of the project or projects to be built.
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    Mr. WOLF. I understand that some $650 million in contingent commitment authority has been allocated for the Mid-City and Eastside extensions in the MOS–3 FFGA. These funds have been committed against the balance of the trust fund. Since these projects are years behind schedule, in some cases well after the next re-authorization of ISTEA, why not reallocate these funds to other worthy projects that are ready to go and have completed (or are soon to complete) the required analysis, but are precluded because FTA has fully committed the balances of the trust fund?

    [The information follows:]

    It is true that FTA has essentially exhausted commitment authority as provided by law (a residual amount remains to accommodate possible downward fluctuations in Treasury estimates of the balance of the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund). Before making a final decision on the remaining MOS–3 commitment, FTA will await a definitive decision by the LACMTA Board of Directors on the disposition of Mid City and Eastside. This is expected later this year. Once a public decision has been made and LACMTA reveals and replacement plans for the corridors in question FTA will address the commitment issue.

    Mr. WOLF. Isn't there a way to preserve the contingent commitment authority provided for MOS–3 over the long-term while still providing needed up front commitment authority in the short-term for other ready-to-go-projects.?

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    [The information follows:]

    In essence, you are asking whether new start commitment authority can be reserved for two projects at the same time, that is, one which will be needing federal funds in the short term and the other in the longer term. Given the existing basis in law by which overall new start commitment authority (including contingent commitment authority) is calculated and dispensed, such a differentiation is not possible.

    Once the transit program is re-authorized, however, adequate authority will become available to make additional commitments for ready-to-go projects.

    Mr. WOLF. The structure and governance of the MTA has been a source of many of the problems at the MTA. In your opinion, are things getting better or is there still a governance nightmare of the agency?

    [The information follows:]

    The Interim CEO at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA), Julian Burke, has taken aggressive measures to promote institutional change and establish a more responsive and business-like approach to day-to day operations at the agency, Moreover, Mr. Burke has guided the agency and the governing LACMTA Board of Directors into a more realistic view of agency's planning and financing capacities and mandates. Mr. Burke has already announced requests for proposals from private consultants to re-work the agency's budgetary mechanisms and controls to ensure that budget activities are in line with the accounting industry's best practices. Clearly, Mr. Burke is working to lay the groundwork for a better-run organization which can execute its missions to (1) provide efficient, effective transit services on a daily basis; and (2) plan, manage and execute needed capital improvements for the future based on realistic financial assumptions.
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    The LACMTA Board of Directors, as presently constituted, has also received criticism as a dysfunctional body which poses a significant impediment to agency reforms. Changes to the Board structure is the purview of the State of California and any reforms to that body must be passed by the California legislature and signed into law by the Governor.


    Mr. WOLF. The budget earmarks $100 million for Los Angeles MOS–3 extensions, but it does not expressly limit the funds to the North Hollywood segment, the only portion still under construction. How does the Department propose to allocate these funds?

    [The information follows:]

    The President's FY 1999 Budget Request requests $100 million for MOS–3. This request was made on the premise that the funds would be applied to the North Hollywood segment. This segment is presently under construction, is making steady progress and is essentially on schedule and on budget. The North Hollywood segment is expected to open for service well ahead of the revenue operations date specified in the FFGA (December, 2000), and is also expected to bring significant ridership increases to the system.


    Mr. WOLF. Recent local newspaper reports declared that ''construction bids shatter BART-SFO cost estimate'' and that the BART to the airport project will end up costing more than the planners had originally anticipated. With the award of the first two construction projects more than $125 million over the amount planned, what is the revised project cost?
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    Mr. LINTON. There were two things that contribute to the cost of the initial contracts. One was that there is a change in the construction market, both in terms of both labor and materials in that region, and we have checked that, not just accepting BART's information, but we have begun to recognize that with the upturn in the economy in the San Francisco region, the cost of materials as well as construction has risen.

    Another thing that has occurred is that there was a change of scope in the contract. Some of what was going to be in the later contracts, the two station areas, were moved up into the line area of the current contract. So more work was being done under the contract than was originally considered. The other thing that we should be mindful of is that with the letting of those two contracts, 92 percent of the work for the project has now been out to bid, and is under contract. Only 8 percent of the total project is yet to be let to contractors.

    But in addition to that, BART recognizes that we will not be contributing more money. We just received their plan that is still under review, but they are seeking money from CTC, I think $57.5 million, and our own indication in our discussions with those at the California Transportation Commission (CTC) is that they seem to be favorably supportive of that request. We have checked that out independent of BART.

    Mr. WOLF. In order to meet the higher costs, BART's board has been forced to use the balance of the agency contingency funds as well as to dip into the capital reserve account. In doing so, hasn't BART essentially exhausted the $80 million contingency funds for cost overruns, the amount that was supposed to carry the project through to completion?

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    Mr. LINTON. We have new financials that reflect a new capital reserve account (CAPRA), that they have provided us with new financials quite different than the ones that I think were looked at when the GAO did their analysis, and those new financials provide BART with an additional capacity. They will have to underwrite any additional reserve that may occur in this process.

    The other thing that I would mention is that they themselves recognize the increased costs of construction in the region and have increased allowances for what they would normally consider for the balance of their contract. I think they have now increased it up to $12 million, or is it 12 percent, on the balance of the contracts?

    Mr. WALKER. I am not sure.

    Mr. LINTON. I will provide the specifics to you in writing, Mr. Chairman. But I do know that one of the questions I raised with them was if in fact the cost of doing contracts in that region has risen, have you made the adjustments in your cost factoring for the balance of your contracts, and they have done so. We will provide you with our review of their updated financials very, very soon.

    [The information follows:]

    BART's Finance Plan assumes that an additional $57.5 million in State funding will be forthcoming, providing, among other things, for a $33 million construction contingency. BART's revised plan also increases the $24 million budget for short term financing costs by about $3 million, and provides a $13.4 million risk contingency toward potential additional financing costs. This latter figure recognizes the possibility that Federal appropriations may not be received exactly as scheduled in the FFGA. Since the GAO's estimate of higher debt financing costs was made, BART has reduced the assumed estimated effective rate for commercial paper to a 4.25 percent based on a firm proposal from a financial institution. The expected advancement of state aid to meet cash flow requirements will result in reduced borrowing needs and thus financing costs.
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    To summarize, the BART budget now includes a $33 million construction contingency, a $27.1 million budget base for financing costs, and an additional $13.4 million contingency for appropriations variability (total $40.5 million).

    In addition, BART's Capital Reserve Account (CAPRA) has been increased in size to $79.0 million, based on projections from BART's financial advisors. $8.5 million of the CAPRA has been used in the ward of the Millbrae station, a total of $70.5 million remains available to cover unforeseen conditions.


    Mr. WOLF. These next two fit in with what you have already said, but to get to some sense of it, the contracts we were told for the stations and parking at Hickey and San Bruno were bid in February and also I guess in January. How do they come in compared to the original cost estimates and how will they affect the project's total costs?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't think I have those actual cost estimates before me. We will submit that for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    The original schedule called for the San Bruno Station and Parking design-build contract to be bid and let in January and February 1998. However, the new schedule calls for a revised contract to be advertised in late March 1998. Thus, at this time, no comparison between cost estimates and bids can be made. When the bids are opened, we will analyze the effect the bids have on the projects total costs.
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    Mr. WOLF. Okay. Following along then, there was some other construction major projects, for instance we were told a Caltrans bridge retrofit project was 35 percent higher than engineers' estimates. We were told that other Caltrans bridge projects were 23 percent higher and the airport's international terminal is almost 14 percent higher. Won't this be difficult for BART to absorb cost increases of as much as 25, 30 or 40 percent more if you average these figures out?

    Mr. LINTON. One of the things that those statistics point out is that construction costs in that region are driving contract costs up.

    Mr. WOLF. What will that do to them?

    Mr. LINTON. Of course, BART has factored that into their plans. The recovery plan they submitted to us, has gotten a great response from the California Transportation Commission (CTC), who to date has assisted them when they met with those kind of difficulties. They just recently, for instance, requested $57.5 million to accommodate those other cost escalations in the contracts.

    Mr. WOLF. They are prepared to do more?

    Mr. LINTON. That is the indication I have to date.

    Mr. WOLF. They don't have to go to any more local funds or local sales tax; the State is going to be the deep pocket just to do whatever they need?
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    Mr. LINTON. They have the CAPRA available, so they may resort to that. Between the CAPRA and the support from the State, it is our anticipation that they will be able to accommodate that.

    I would also mention to you on the same point——

    Mr. WOLF. I guess one point is they will not be coming back for additional Federal funds.

    Mr. LINTON. Not to us.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. Because we had heard there was a BART executive decision document that indicated that should the State application be rejected, and what you are saying is it has not been rejected, so that they were going to come to look at more Federal funding. So you have no understanding they would come?

    Mr. LINTON. The vote I understand is in June by the CTC, but our own independent discussions with the CTC indicates that.

    Mr. WOLF. John just said there is an executive decision document. It said, ''to replenish the project contingency, an application has been submitted to the State of California jointly by BART and San Francisco for an additional $57.5 million. The staff is optimistic this grant application will be successful. Should the application not succeed,'' we will do what every other place in the country seems to be doing, and I put those words in myself.
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    Mr. LINTON. It got my attention, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. WOLF. Other Federal, State or local funds will be pursued. But you have no indication that additional Federal funds are sought—you would not support that. You just don't——

    Mr. LINTON. No, not at all. I just met the day before yesterday with the Executive Director and was grilling him about his plans and the reliability of his request for the $57.5 million. We are also going to assign one of our financial management oversight teams to go in and examine the financial capacity as well. One thing that we have learned from our experience in Los Angeles is that we must gear up our financial management oversight, FMOs to go in and do ongoing reviews of financials, of properties, and we believe we will benefit from those reviews.

    Mr. WOLF. Is it an option to eliminate a station to save money?

    Mr. LINTON. I haven't seen eliminating a station as an option in the plan they have submitted to us, it is not something they have explored. It is always an option, but their plan does not present that as something that is under consideration, or needed.

    [The information follows:]
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     "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. We have a number of other questions that we will do for the record. The last one: Given the higher than estimated costs for the design/build contracts, is the BART project still a model for greater use of design/build in transportation projects?

    Mr. LINTON. We have seen overall, that design/build contracts are still a very good tool to use in constructing major projects of this sort. The information that we have seen, when you look at all the design/build operations across the country, is that they have been successful in terms of being more efficient.

    Mr. WOLF. Is this the model?

    Mr. LINTON. I wouldn't say BART is the model. The design/build is a good model, but I would not say BART is necessarily the model of design/build that is the best.

    Mr. WOLF. What would be the model now, do you think?

    Mr. LINTON. Baltimore design/build system that came in MTA was a very good one and highly successful. We expect Hudson Bergen is moving very well in New Jersey. We are seeing some good results around the country.
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    Mr. WOLF. The committee understands that they have experienced significant cost overruns. Do you know anything about that?

    Mr. LINTON. Once again we are examining that issue. The costs are not overruns, but they are enhancements, which means that they are doing different items and additional elements than what they agreed to in their FFGA.

    Mr. WOLF. Is that smart for them to do?

    Mr. LINTON. As long as they pay for it. They have the resources to pay for additional elements from their local funds. But it should be understood that those enhancements are outside of our agreement.

    Mr. WOLF. Since this is early on, are you going to have anybody take a closer look at this?

    Mr. LINTON. Absolutely. What I was alluding to just generically earlier, we have a financial management oversight team that is going to be assigned to examine that project as well.

    Mr. WOLF. Beginning when?

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    Mr. LINTON. Within the next month. We have amended our contracts for financial management oversight. That gives us the latitude now to go in and look at these projects. We have learned quite a bit from the Los Angeles situation, and the IG's recommendation also would suggest that we should undertake these type of stringent reviews. We are following up on these recommendations.


    Mr. WOLF. A recent review of FTA's oversight by the GAO has shown that FTA has continued to strengthen its oversight of Federal transit grants and decreased the risk associated with providing billions. However, the GAO noted there is room for significant improvement in several management areas.

    What have you taken action on with regard to the GAO findings?

    Mr. LINTON. First of all, we appreciate both the fact we have made improvements, but we also appreciate the fact that the General Acounting Office, GAO has identified to us some areas of weaknesses that we need to strengthen. One of the areas that was very specifically noted was our New York regional office.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. The GAO found that many grantees still frequently do not meet the FTA's time frames for correcting non-compliance findings. How does the FTA expect to safeguard the Federal investment if it is lackadaisical about the deadlines it imposes upon its non-complaint grantees?
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    [The information follows:]

    We are reinforcing to the Regional Administrators the high priority and importance of timely issuance of Triennial Review Reports and the monitoring of corrective actions in follow-up to oversight review findings. We have stated it is essential that the FTA regional office leader for each Triennial Review meet the deadlines for processing Triennial Review Reports; expeditiously monitor grantee corrective actions; and enter all findings of compliance or noncompliance and follow-up into the Triennial Review Information System (TRIS) and follow-up on past due deadlines. FTA Headquarters will follow-up with the regional offices' progress on a quarterly basis. A comprehsnive Oversight Tracking System is being developed and will assist us in these efforts.


    Mr. WOLF. I was going to ask you specifically about New York too.

    Mr. LINTON. We have changed the grant management responsibilities in the New York regional office and made management assignments that are in fact different. We are upgrading our grants management information system so that we can more timely and accurately respond to deficiencies as the GAO report has recommended. We have already put in place those changes to respond to those deficiencies.

    Mr. WOLF. Have you put a new person in?
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    Mr. LINTON. We are currently in the process of doing that.

    Mr. WOLF. This was the only office that had a political appointee. Why was there a political appointee there and not any other place?

    Mr. LINTON. It has been the case in the recent history of this agency.

    Mr. WOLF. Really?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes. It was the case when I came, and it had been the case through several administrations.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think that should change?

    Mr. LINTON. We are doing that.

    Mr. WOLF. So it is now just going to be a career person?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes that is correct.

    Mr. WOLF. Did the person leave or did he become——

    Mr. LINTON. The person separated from Federal employment. After that person separated from Federal employment, we have posted the position as a civil service position and we hope to be making a permanent hire for that position.
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    Mr. WOLF. Who made that appointment—FTA, the Secretary or the White House—on who got that job?

    Mr. LINTON. All political appointments come through the White House.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you just supply for the record the background of the individual that had the job?

    Mr. LINTON. Sure.

    [The information follows:]

    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. What steps are being taken to correct the significant management oversight weaknesses in the New York regional office?

    [The information follows:]

    As a result of the deficiencies noted by GAO, the New York regional office has assigned specific responsibility for corrective action follow-up to program managers in the Office of Operations and Program Management. These program managers now have responsibility for day-to-day oversight of their grantees. In addition, FTA Headquarters will increase its monitoring of the oversight function in all regional offices. These changes will address the areas of weakness noted by GAO.
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    Mr. WOLF. Currently, the FTA is not able to identify the full extent to which grantees are not complying with Federal transit requirements. In light of these findings and in the context of the Government Performance and Results Act, how can FTA evaluate the overall effectiveness of the agency's own oversight program?

    [The information follows:]

    FTA has developed performance measures to evaluate the overall effectiveness of its oversight program. One all encompassing performance measure is the total number of non-compliant findings identifeid each year in Triennial and State Management Reviews. A non-compliant finding is a determination that a grantee has failed to meet a Federal grant requirement. An example of FTA use of this performance measure is: For fiscal year 1999, we have set a performance goal of improving grantee compliance by five percent. This will be calculated as percentage decrease in total fiscal year 1999 Triennial Review and State Management Oversight Review findings.

    Also, FTA is developing a comprehensive Oversight Tracking System to help identify areas on noncompliance. This tracking system will be a management tool to assist FTA in evaluating the overall effectiveness of its oversight program.

    Mr. WOLF. We are going to have one vote. We are going to go for 5 more minutes, and then maybe take 20. You can go down and grab a sandwich or something like that. When we break, we will go back into session at 1:30.

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    Mr. LINTON. Okay.

    Mr. WOLF. I think you have covered—we have a number of others about the New York office. Also, too, that region oversees more transit dollars than I think maybe any other region. Did that start under a Republican administration or under a Democrat administration?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't know, but there has been equal opportunity to do it.

    Mr. WOLF. We will do that for the record too.

    [The information follows:]

    The New York regional office had been headed by a political appointee since 1981, prior to my tenure as the FTA Administrator. The New York regional office is no longer headed by a political appointee. The FTA has advertised and is planning to fill the position with a career employee. There are no legislative or statutory changes required to convert the position into a career position.


    Mr. WOLF. At a GAO hearing, John Ennison—what would we do without GAO? It seems your attitude has been very positive. In the past, some people have been very defensive, but Jane Garvey testified yesterday—we have found this very helpful to have GAO and IG looking at these—and Jane Garvey was very open yesterday, and I have noticed you have been relatively open. You haven't been defensive to criticism. Have you found that working relationship, having GAO look at these things, has given you the ability to get things done that maybe you wouldn't know about?
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    Mr. LINTON. I think it is helpful. Oversight is a necessary part of the process. Although I am kind of biased because I worked in the Office of the Auditor General in Pennsylvania and was the Regional Administrator. Some of the things I learned from GAO courses in government standards. But I think that that kind of oversight is important, as long as it is done so that it provides direction and the kind of guidance in which the agency can take corrective action. It is useful and important to have it. We have benefited from GAO's involvement.


    Mr. WOLF. Here is one that fits into that. They said in the report, ''Continued scrutiny and improved oversight are needed to safeguard the substantial Federal, State and local investments in several large dollar highway and transit projects.'' No one would disagree with that. ''Moreover, if the demand for project management oversight services continued to increase due to the number of projects entering preliminary engineering,'' which they will, ''and to a lesser degree by the need to increase oversight of several troubled projects'' why does the FTA propose to cut project management oversight by 13 percent and financial review activities by almost 50 percent in 1999? That doesn't sound like a good idea, particularly given today's discussion on the San Juan, the L.A., and the BART projects.

    Mr. LINTON. Actually, Mr. Chairman, there is not a reduction. In our 1998 budget, we had a tremendous amount of carryover from previous years, and in fact the committee put a ceiling on the amount of oversight money that we could draw down in 1998, with the idea that we would spend down that carryover. This is also the year in which we negotiated our 5-year contracts for both project management oversight as well as our financial management oversight. Therefore, there is an unusually large infusion of dollars.
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    This is kind of an unusual year. But what you see reflected in our 1999 budget request is actually increased activity. We will do more oversight reviews with the dollars that we have requested, and, quite frankly, we really need those dollars. We need the entire amount that is available within the law so that we can do those reviews.

    As I indicated, we have learned from Los Angeles. We believe that what the GAO has suggested is true, that we have to go in, look at the entire system not just the project. We have to put them under a lot more financial scrutiny. And with the major pipeline of projects in major investment study MIS, if we are going to have to have the responsibility of ranking projects, recommend, highly recommend, or not recommend, we need the resources and the ability to go in and do that kind of thorough review.

    Our oversight is going to have to be even more intensive than it has been in the past. That is our plan.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. Last year in response to a question for a record, the FTA indicated that it requires projects covered by an FFGA to submit a financing plan in support of the grant application before signing an FFGA. Other than monitoring individual grantee's local funding sources, does FTA require that each new start project with an FFGA submit annual updated financial plans and cost estimates after signing the FFGA, and if not, why not?

    [The information follows:]
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    FTA does require grantees with FFGS's to submit budget reports on a regular basis as a means of tracking project costs against the baseline budget. If FTA sees a problem developing, we request updated financial plans and cost estimates.

    In addition, over the past year, FTA has assigned Financial Management Oversight ((FMO) contractors to grantees with major capital projects with financial issues and have been receiving periodic analyses of their financial plans. FTA is in the process of assigning FMO contractors to additional grantees in order to enhance oversight of grantees financial capacity to complete their projects.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. We will recess until 1:30.



    Mr. WOLF. We will resume the hearing. We are going to go into WMATA, but I bumped into Julian Dixon on the walk over to the vote, and he asked me to ask you, and I know it has come up and I have a couple of questions on the advanced technology transit bus. He was concerned, one, he was interested in the idea of the Curitiba. I began to tell him a little bit of what we were talking about earlier today, about the North Hollywood and the others and the eastside and mid-city and the potential of this. So he would like to see the video, and I told him that you would—Julian Dixon—you would call him this afternoon, after the hearing, if you can.
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    Mr. LINTON. Sure.


    Mr. WOLF. And try to set up a time to go by to show him the video and explain a little bit. I think it would be well worth the time, particularly with all the time and money that has been spent on this.

    Secondly, he was concerned about the advanced technology transit bus, with the merger being delayed by the Justice Department. Would Lockheed Martin continue—rather Northrup Grumman continue, would they go out and get somebody else to do it with them, and do you have any thoughts? I said I would raise it at the hearing, but he would also like to talk to you about it.

    Mr. LINTON. I have not seen anything that pointed, that would indicate Northrup Grumman would stop anything they were doing with the advanced technology bus.

    Mr. WOLF. Did they plan going into production and producing the buses or just the next step? Or were they going to get somebody else to go team up with them?

    Mr. LINTON. They were planning to team up to do the production. They were looking for a firm who had some experience in the bus manufacturing business. Their business has generally been the aerospace. I think Northrop was looking to Lockheed, because Lockheed, had done a lot of work in subsystems, and thought that from the merger, that would be a good part of a team. But I also know they have been talking to other bus manufacturers that would assist them in doing the actual manufacturing.
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    Mr. Thomas, if you would like to add to any of that?

    Mr. THOMAS. Congressman, Northrop is responsible for the program working with the transit agency, and Northrop has expertise in developing the shelf of the bus.

    Mr. WOLF. Right.

    Mr. THOMAS. The composite shell.

    Mr. WOLF. But not producing buses.

    Mr. THOMAS. They are not bus manufacturers, but they did express an interest in producing the first 100 buses. The L.A. CMTA's board actually passed two resolutions to advance at least 100 ATTB, and Northrop was pretty much willing to do that much.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. When you call Mr. Dixon, if you could tell him that. The other thing is he said, when are they going to roll the buses out here in Washington—the bus? And I said that you said that the committee would be welcome. He said he thought they were doing it April 1 or 2. Of course, the Congress is not in session. When is the recess? April 2nd is the last day we are here?
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    Mr. SABO. I think April 1st is.

    Mr. WOLF. We go out on April Fool's Day.

    Mr. LINTON. When will you be recessing, Mr. Chairman?

    Mr. WOLF. We will recess on April 1st, so we will not—the Congress—I will, but the Congress will not be here on the 2nd and 3rd.

    Mr. LINTON. We can make accommodations, I am sure.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, I think it might not be a bad idea. The 1st is a Wednesday.

    Mr. LINTON. Would the 1st be a good day?

    Mr. WOLF. You could pick a time, and I don't know if we would actually hold a hearing, but I think we could do a notice to everyone and tell them. Mr. Dixon expressed interest in going, and other Members. If you were to do it either that Tuesday or that Wednesday, either the last day of March or the first day of April, and you were to tell the committee, maybe Mr. Sabo and I could do a ''Dear Colleague'' letter to all the Members of the House telling them.

    Mr. LINTON. We would welcome that and coordinate it with your offices so we could do that.
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    Mr. WOLF. I am glad I bumped into Mr. Dixon.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Thursday, March 12, 1998.







    Mr. WOLF. Why don't we go to WMATA now, if we can. Do you want to come on up, Dick?

    Your statement, if you have one, can appear in the record as if read, and perhaps you could summarize.

    Mr. WHITE. That is fine, Mr. Chairman. I will very gladly submit the statement for the record. I will be very, very brief and just indicate that this is our final appropriation request under the 1990——
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    Mr. WOLF. Could I just say ''hooray——'' And if you could underline that, if you have any color opportunities, if you could put it in that, and then I would like to frame it. So we will never see you again.

    Mr. WHITE. You will never see us for a request for a 103-mile system, sir; yes.

    Mr. WOLF. Is it possible to go in color?


    Mr. WHITE. The request is for $50.3 million. This will complete the Federal contributory share of $1.3 billion of the program. The total program cost is $2.075 billion, 62.5 percent federally funded, 37.5 percent locally funded.

    We are very, very thankful for the strong support that you have provided us, Mr. Chairman, in making sure that we get these appropriations within this time frame, which has allowed us to put these investments in the ground. We are very, very pleased.

    We are pleased that this program is on time and under budget. We are very, very proud of our accomplishments in terms of managing these public resources in a very prudent way.

    We opened our Franconia-Springfield station last summer and it has been enormously successful. There were those who predicted that we would only be getting about 4,000 new transit riders daily at that station. Since week one, we have had double that, approximately 8,000 new riders, at that station. That is a 3.3 mile line, with one station.
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    Our Glenmont station will open up July 25th of this year. We are very pleased to extend an invitation to you have you join us. This will be our last station in Montgomery County. This line is 1.4 miles, with one station and a yard.

    In December of 1999 we will be opening up the so-called ''missing link'' in the District of Columbia on the inner green line from U Street to Fort Totten, and that is two stations, 2.9 miles. In spring of 2001, we are on schedule to open up the last piece of the 103-mile system, which is the extension from Anacostia to Branch Avenue, 6.5 miles and five stations.


    I would like to indicate very, very briefly a couple of our recent program initiatives. We are very pleased with the recent turn of events on our ridership situation. Our ridership is extremely strong. Our system ridership is up 4 percent this fiscal year, compared to last year. It is up over 5 percent on rail and approximately 3 percent on bus.

    I think there are a number of factors that have helped contribute to that. First, several large capital investments coming on line, such as Franconia-Springfield, the opening of the new National Airport terminal and the outstanding Metro connection to that facility. We have seen a 25 to 30 percent increase at the National Airport Station. With the recent opening in December of the MCI Center, approximately 60 percent of the gate are taking Metro to get there. People who come to the MCI Center are served by Metro, and transit ridership has been as high as 70 percent of the gate on certain events. So that is certainly not only a transit-friendly investment, it is a transit-dependent investment.
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    We are carrying another 26,000 additional weekday trips on the rail system compared to a year ago, so we are taking that many more cars off the road this year than we did last year. It is not just the rail side.

    On the bus side, we are up 10,000 daily trips compared to last year. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we have had 2 or 3 years of downward spiral on the bus side. We have now seen that situation reversing itself and moving in the right direction.

    We are very thankful for you joining us in our 25th anniversary celebration of the Metrobus system. We are certainly making a strong commitment to the bus system and the role that it can play in helping to address the mobility requirements of the metropolitan area.


    Finally, we are nearing completion of construction of the Metrorail system, yet the oldest segments have now been in operation for more than 22 years. Our problem is now moving from building the system to adequately maintaining what will be a $10 billion public investment in the Metrorail and Metrobus system.

    Our region is very focused on trying to come up with a solution so that we can adequately preserve this system so that we do not see ourselves facing a series of disinvestment, like some of the older systems in the country did. Other cities watched their system suffer for a number of years until they could figure out how to adequately fund their capital program. That now becomes our regional challenge, to develop a solution to that.
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    Finally, we are very pleased that you urged us to come up with a solution to the regional bus situation. Your fiscal year 1997 appropriation language directed the region to develop a report to Congress by September 30 of 1997, which we accomplished.

    You identified the need to deal with issues of fragmentation and rising costs and to develop a regional plan that would make sense for the region. We are very pleased that the region came together, probably in a way that it hasn't done in quite some time, and has come up with what I think is an outstanding plan that defines appropriate roles and responsibilities and a new set of conditions to make the bus system do even more than it has done in the past.

    So I think we are now up to the challenge to start addressing some of these new population and employment trends that are developing in the metropolitan area and have transit play even a stronger role in serving new markets. Thank you.

    [The prepared statement and biography of Richard White follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. White. We will recess for about 20 minutes and be back.


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    Mr. WOLF. Would you briefly summarize the regional mobility panel with regard to coordination and less fragmentation, and in detail for the record?

    Mr. WHITE. The Mobility Panel has agreed on service-based criteria to determine what are routes of regional significance, services that a regional operator should provide, and what are routes of local significance, routes that should largely be under the control of local government.

    They took the entire route system and broke it up into those two different categories, playing into the strength of what a regional operator should be able to do and also recognizing that there are services that local government can do at their choice, but that they should all be integrated together. So there is a new set of integrating mechanisms that didn't exist before.

    The Panel completely changed the formula, that allocates the subsidy shares of the bus system costs. The formula was significantly outdated and based on inappropriate criteria that had the wrong incentives and disincentives. The Panel created a new formula similar to the rail system formula, and said that we would all start moving forward with the new formula starting next fiscal year.

    The Panel took approximately 25 percent of the service that Metro runs today and said that that service can be operated at the choice of local government. Local governments can decide to contract with Metro, run it themselves, or make any other decision that they would choose to make, but they have made a commitment to the regional system. The local governments have made a 5-year commitment to preserve the regional bus system which is 75 percent of the service we run today, and to make their own decisions on the remaining 25 percent.
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    In return for that stability and predictability, we made a commitment that we would hold our fares constant for 5 more years, on top of the 2 years when we have already not had a fare increase. We also agreed not to ask for any increase in our subsidies for the same level of service. That was a very strong statement to our funding partners that we are serious about ensuring that we provide cost-effective service.

    Mr. WOLF. What are you doing at the local level to provide predictable funding?

    Mr. WHITE. Well, the region is clearly struggling with that issue right now. The way our services are funded is different depending upon which jurisdiction you are talking about. In the State of Maryland, it is almost exclusively funded by the State out of their transportation trust fund, which is a large fund that supports statewide highway and transit activities. The Baltimore transit system and our system is funded out of that trust fund. Only a very small amount of money comes from county government.

    In the District of Columbia, their contributions come from the District's appropriations that are financed with its own resources, combined with that which the Federal Government provides. In the State of Virginia, it is largely a 50–50 proposition. Approximately half of the money that we get for capital and operating comes from the State, and approximately one-half comes from local government. So it is a larger burden in Virginia for local government than it is, clearly, in Maryland.

    We have indicated to the region that we are one of the few metropolitan areas that does not have a source of dedicated funding to support its transit system. We certainly have been educating the region on that chart that you have in your hands, Mr. Chairman, and the region is now engaged in a debate on that issue.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, I am sure you have. I haven't seen a lot though out there, to be honest with you, and I read all the stories with regard to transportation. I think this is a pretty dramatic thing, if it is accurate, and I think it is from the sources. But I think there needs to be a lot of work done at that level soon or else you are going to have a potential problem.

    Fare structure, a little bit about simplify. Tell us what you are going to do with regard to that.

    Mr. WHITE. Yes. I like to label it as you need a Ph.D. in transit to understand how to navigate our bus system and pay our bus fares. It is a very Byzantine collection of very complex zone structures and transfer charges that differ by the jurisdiction that you happen to reside in. That is under the old rules of the bus game.

    Under the new rules of the bus game, as a result of the Regional Mobility Panel, we are now able to break out of that hold that was on us because of the way the funding formula worked. We can now try to approach this on a much more global or regional basis.

    We have committed that we will move forward with simplified and integrated fares, simplified on our bus and appropriately integrated into our rail system. The Board has authorized us to hire Booz-Allen & Hamilton who, in my opinion, are the foremost experts on this issue around the country. Every large successful fare simplification effort that has gone forward in this country has largely been done by Booz-Allen.
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    So they are engaged in starting their work now. It will be a process that involves all the local jurisdictions, our Board, and public hearings. Mr. Chairman, by this time next year, I fully expect we will have a new simplified fare system in effect.

    Mr. WOLF. It will be in effect by next spring?

    Mr. WHITE. Yes.


    Mr. WOLF. How much does WMATA receive annually in Section 3 and Section 9 capital funding and how does this compare with WMATA's annual rehab and replacement needs?

    Mr. WHITE. For fiscal year 1998, we received approximately $20.5 million in Section 3, $61.6 million in Section 9, $1.45 million in operating. With flexible ISTEA funding, our capital sources add up to a little over $90 million. In total, when combined with local matching resources that we have, we get approximately $130 million in Federal, State and local funds for our capital program. Our needs, on an annual basis, are approximately $100 million in excess of that number.

    Mr. WOLF. One hundred million dollars a year.

    Mr. WHITE. Annually, that is correct.
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    Mr. WOLF. For how many years?

    Mr. WHITE. Essentially for our lifetime. As our system now moves middle age and beyond, all of the assets that were originally purchased have seen their useful lives. They are coming due now and in the next several years for replacement. In essence, you are in a perpetual method of always rehabilitating and replacing your assets.

    Mr. WOLF. For rehab and replacement, the need will be $100 million a year?

    Mr. WHITE. Annually $100 million more than what we have today.

    Mr. WOLF. More than what you have today. I don't think the region understands that.

    Mr. WHITE. Well, those who are working with us understand it, but it is such a daunting task, they haven't been able to——

    Mr. WOLF. They are all probably lawyers, and a couple, probably a select few, maybe you are dealing with some in the business community, one or two, but if you stopped the average person at the Vienna subway stop and asked them that, I would venture to guess they will not understand that.

    Mr. WHITE. That is a good point, Mr. Chairman. Our Mobility Panel, has a Transit Funding Subcommittee, chaired by Ken Sparks of the Federal City Council.
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    Mr. WOLF. Where does he live?

    Mr. WHITE. Ken lives in Springfield. Secretary Winstead from Maryland, Chairman Hanley from Fairfax and many others are on this committee. It is the chief elected officials and members of the business community who largely have been leading this effort. They clearly have identified that we need a more extensive public education process, as you have suggested. The goal is to get the public to understand that what they see today, which is largely a good, high quality service that doesn't appear to be aging is on the verge of deterioration.

    Clearly we are facing difficult choices. The way we have described it is that we, we are now stretching that rubber band and the tension is getting greater and greater. At some point in the next couple of years, we are going to be at the snapping stage, where the funding shortfall will definitely affect service delivery, and our customers will see it in a very real way.


    Mr. WOLF. How have other transits dealt with this?

    Mr. WHITE. Well, a number of them have chosen to stick their head in the sand and ignore it for a decade or so and then come back and get the political will to fix it, usually at two or three times the cost, because it has resulted in such a serious condition of neglect. That has been, unfortunately, the experience of most of our largest and oldest systems. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, by and large, have all followed those cyclical trends. For a decade or two they have under invested to such an extent that the quality of their services deteriorated so far that people said it is now broken, and now we have to fix it.
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    What we are attempting to do is try and prevent ourselves from breaking.

    Mr. WOLF. When they had to repair their systems, have they come to the Federal Government mainly, or have they done it at the local level?

    Mr. WHITE. I think largely, it has been largely a State-local issue.

    Chairman WOLF. Do you agree with that, Mr. Linton?

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, and I refer particularly Philadelphia, because I was there at the time the problem was addressed.

    Mr. WOLF. How did Philadelphia deal with it?

    Mr. LINTON. We ended up raising additional revenues. I worked on the bill, Act 26, to provide additional funds. I was a sponsor of the bill. There had been so much deferred maintenance of the system that bridges were falling down and addition funding was critical. There had been a major educational initiative to get the public to understand how critical those new revenues were needed. Public support was essential in gaining revenue for asset maintenance. Mr. White is trying to avoid the same situation.

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

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    Mr. WHITE. That is really the reason why the Federal Government created the rail modernization program as part of the funding program. There was the recognition of this need.

    Mr. WOLF. Obviously if you talked to those numbers, $100 million every year——

    Mr. WHITE. We receive $20 million from rail modernization program. It is not going to do the job.

    Mr. WOLF. That is above what you are getting; correct? The shortfalls for the rehab and replacement——

    Mr. WHITE. The $100 million per year shortfall is on top of what we get today.

    Mr. WOLF. You are kind of out into the distant future.

    Mr. WHITE. That is correct.

    Mr. WOLF. I really think you are going to have to go and just make this an issue, and I know there is going to be a great temptation, and I want to just kind of say it publicly before the temptation gets too great, you really just don't look to the Federal Government. You are really going to have to make this case. I think the people support Metro, I think you do a fine job.
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    I would venture, and I don't want to put you in a difficult spot on this, but would it be fair to say maybe Metro should have dealt with this issue several years ago, or do you think it was appropriate to delay it as long as it did, particularly since they were still constructing the full 103 system?

    Mr. WHITE. It is clearly difficult to get on people's radar screen the severity of the problem when they still see construction. But this issue was recognized two general managers ago by David Gunn, who came in and said we have a problem here. He started to bang the drum, but it was the first time that people had heard of it, and they largely didn't believe it.

    After David left, Larry Reuter continued that message that this is a serious problem. We are not too far away from a very unfortunate set of circumstances. As soon as I got here, I recognized that problem.

    What you have is a continuum. You have the old systems that were built decades ago, even before the turn of the century and in the early part of this century. Then we had a hiatus in this country for decades when there were no fixed guideway investments. Then BART was built in San Francisco, and then the WMATA and Atlanta rail systems and now other rail systems are being built around the country.

    So you have this huge continuum, and now the BARTs and the WMATAs of the world are struggling with this issue. Everybody is now trying to come up with a solution to it. But it is something that has not happened for a long time.
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    Mr. WOLF. How is BART dealing with it?

    Mr. WHITE. Well, BART is very fortunate to have a half-cent sales tax created by the State legislature. It actually came into being before the system was opened. When they were running short on capital to complete the system, they raised money through a half-cent sales tax. They then recognized, of course, that the operation of the system was going to warrant an operating subsidy. They have been living essentially off of that half-cent sales tax since the late sixties, early seventies. That is a very powerful source of revenue in the Bay Area. It was bringing in $120 million a year. So it is a very strong revenue source for BART.


    Mr. WOLF. Preventive maintenance, the change; Mr. Linton said it was very successful. Do you agree it was very successful?

    Mr. WHITE. Yes. I would agree that the industry would have been in desperate straits were this provision not enacted. We certainly need it to be continued in the future. I think the industry will be responsible in making the appropriate decisions to use the money prudently.

    In our case, if this were to have happened abruptly, without flexibility, we would have been faced with no other choice but to significantly raise fares or cut service. We have experienced here in Washington, unfortunately in the 1990's, raising fares consecutively three times in rapid succession. We also had a huge service cut at the same time because of funding shortfalls in local government. We have been suffering as a result. We suffered for 2 or 3 years in reduced ridership because of these decisions.
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    So if we are faced with the necessity of raising of our fares or cutting service, we are going to be in great difficulty. This has been a very important provision to us.


    Mr. WOLF. Metro construction, on schedule, and when will the 103-mile system be completed? I am not asking for the day, but——

    Mr. WHITE. Our Board of Directors is.

    Mr. WOLF. When do you expect it to be? Are you on schedule?

    Mr. WHITE. Yes. We are very pleased. All of our segments are on schedule. As I said very briefly, our Glenmont segment opens July 25th of this year. December 1999, the two remaining stations on the Inner Green Line will open.

    My apologies, Mr. Chairman, I just jumped into this and didn't introduce you to John Elkins, our Acting Assistant General Manager for Transit System Development, and Peter Benjamin, Assistant General Manager for Program Finance and Development. John will say the project managers are cautiously optimistic on the progress of the Inner Green Line construction. We experienced some very difficult site conditions that set us back a bit as we put into place a grouting system to deal with the unexpected high level of water. We also have had a problem with one of our station contractors that is behind schedule.

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    We have a number of workarounds and are cautiously optimistic that the segment will open in December 1999.

    Things are looking very good for the Branch Avenue opening in the spring of 2001. At that point, the 103-mile system will be completed. There are two remaining elements that are being funded under this program. One is an operating yard to support Branch Avenue which will be completed later. We are buying railcars as well.

    Mr. WOLF. So spring of 2001?

    Mr. WHITE. Spring of 2001, sir.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the status of your efforts to identify funding for the Branch Avenue yard and the purchase of additional rail cars?

    [The information follows:]

    We have successfully identified residual savings sufficient to pursue the design of the Branch Avenue Yard, the purchase of necessary real estate for the yard, and the purchase of rail cars. With the approval of Full Funding Grant Agreement Amendments now being processed by FTA, we will proceed to contract for the rail cars in April 1998. We anticipate identifying the remaining necessary funding to proceed with construction contracts to begin construction of the Branch Avenue Yard later this year.

    Mr. WOLF. If you could, for the record, maybe just a sentence or two, how much did the State and local jurisdictions in the region contribute annually for operating construction and capital funding?
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    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. To what extent have the participating jurisdictions indicated that they are unwilling to continue their participation, particularly in the bus program?

    [The information follows:]

    The Regional Mobility Panel recognized that there is a fundamental need to maintain a regional bus system, most essentially for interjurisdictional travel. The Panel's recommendations included an identification of the region's bus routes that classified about 54% of the region's bus service as a regional and the remaining 46% as non-regional. The jurisdiction have made a commitment that WMATA will plan and operate the regional bus system. Non-regional bus service will be planned by the jurisdictions and either continue to be operated by WMATA or the jurisdiction will operate the bus service themselves or contract to another entity.

    Mr. WHITE. They spent over $300 million a year in operating, approximately $320 million. Their local match on capital funding for our rehabilitation and replacement program is about $25 million. For construction, their annual contribution is approximately $120 million.


    Mr. WOLF. Ridership, it is up. What are the general factors? What percentage of the increase—say National Airport, which has to be significant—have you been able to kind of analyze it? Is it because everything is going great, or is it because National Airport opened up and this happened?
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    Mr. WHITE. It is largely because of good management, Mr. Chairman, of course.

    Mr. WOLF. Of course.

    Mr. WHITE. No, we are very fortunate. At the National Airport Station, we are seeing a 30 percent ridership increase which is approximately 1,800 new trips being generated because of the new airport facility. There are approximately another 8 or 9,000 daily new trips at our new Franconia-Springfield Station, and, on average, about 8,000 new trips at the new Metrorail entrance to the MCI Center. So these three large facilities are contributing significantly to our ridership increases.

    We have also had general systemwide ridership increases that are accounting for the remainder of the growth.

    We have not raised fares for several years. We have stable and expanding services, which is an important factor in our recent success. The local economy, is certainly improving. The central city is becoming healthier. The massive exodus of population and jobs of a few years ago affected us significantly, because that is the bread and butter of our market. The downsizing of the Federal Government had an impact on us, because a third of our rail customers are Federal employees. So all of those factors are now stabilizing and are contributing to our recent success.

    Mr. Wolf. What efforts does WMATA have underway to attract ridership.
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    [The information follows:]
     "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. What happened Monday night? There were five trains lined up at the West Falls Church stop.

    Mr. WHITE. I know on Monday itself, I am not sure——

    Mr. WOLF. They were spaced apart.

    Mr. WHITE. In the evening at West Falls Church?

    Mr. WOLF. I didn't hear anything on the news or anything.

    Mr. WHITE. We had a whole series of complications in the morning. I did not hear of any particular disruptions in the evening. I am not aware of that occuring on Monday evening.

    Mr. WOLF. It would be highly unusual for five trains to be stacked.

    Mr. WHITE. It is exceptionally unusual.

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    Mr. WOLF. Are there special demands, I know there are opportunities, but are there special demands on WMATA because it serves the Nation's Capital?

    Mr. WHITE. I would certainly say yes, that is the case. We have to be prepared to carry extraordinary numbers of people on short notice to support events that go on in the Nation's Capital. There are always large events going on at the Mall. There are Fourth of July fireworks, presidential inaugurations, and other events of that nature. We have to have the capacity to be able to absorb those kinds of demands.

     Being in the Nation's Capital, brings with it heightened security considerations. Unfortunately, in today's world, that is a very important factor that is an extreme challenge to us. We also have the basic challenges of serving the region's largest employer, the Federal Government. It is a real challenge to us to serve, as well as the federal workforce, the remainder of the region, all the tourists that visit the Nation's Capital.

    Mr. WOLF. Are you confident you are doing everything you can to attract the ridership? Do you have advertising programs?

    Mr. WHITE. Well, you can never rest on your laurels and say that you are doing everything that you can do. I think we are taking many aggressive steps to address these issues. We are becoming much more businesslike, more entrepreneurial, and more market driven. We are trying harder to understand our marketplace, understand what our customers want, understand what it is going to take to attract the people who are not riding the system today. We recognize the changing population and employment trends in this region, and are figuring out how we can address all of these issues.
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    So we are beginning to turn ridership trends around, but I feel that we can still do more in that arena.


    Mr. WOLF. Today, up to $65 per month is tax free for employer-provided transit benefits compared to $175 tax free for parking benefits. What impact would there be on Metro ridership if the proposal to make the tax-free benefit for transit users equal to that for parking were enacted?

    Mr. WHITE. I think it would be of significant potential benefit to us. One of the things that transit suffers from is that we are frequently not on a level playing field with the automobile when the public makes its decision as to what mode of transportation to use for a particular trip. The automobile receives some very large hidden subsidies. The Tax Code creates this bias, allowing an employer to offer to an employee $175 a month of tax-free benefits, tax free to both the employer, and tax free to the employee, while transit benefits can total only $65 per month.

    So as an employer, what is your likely decision to be when you start divvying up your benefits?

    Mr. WOLF. Have any of the transits pushed to equalize that?

    Mr. WHITE. This is an issue that the industry has been pushing for quite some time. We are very pleased that the President has included it in his budget proposal for this year. We will see if that Tax Code amendment is made this year.
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    Mr. WOLF. Who is the sponsor of that?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't know if a sponsor has been identified, but I do know that Representative Lewis has a bill that I think he has already introduced.

    Mr. WOLF. What would the revenue loss be for the government?

    Mr. LINTON. I don't have those numbers. It would be about a wash.

    Mr. WOLF. It can't be a wash. You lose.

    Mr. LINTON. Any revenue lost to the Treasury is accounted for in the President's budget.

    Mr. WOLF. You would have gas tax not collected.

    Mr. LINTON. We will get that for you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. I don't think it could be a wash.

    Mr. WHITE. There is probably some revenue impact.

    Mr. WOLF. If you could get that for us.
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    [The FTA information follows:]

    The President has proposed a number of new tax initiatives in his FY 1999 Budget to address Climate Change. This Climate Change Technology Initiative is a five-year $5 billion package of tax incentives and research and development spending to spur energy efficiency and help develop low-carbon energy sources. Equalizing the tax treatment of parking and transit and vanpool benefits is one of the tax initiatives. To encourage public transportation and vanpools, employers would be allowed to provide tax free transit and vanpool benefits in lieu of compensation, up to the same amount that they can provide for parking beginning January 1, 1999. The estimated cost over the five years is $84 million. The entire package of tax incentives to address climate change is included in the President's overall balanced budget proposal.


    Mr. WOLF. The Transportation Planning Board recently released its 1994 Household Travel Survey that found that travel for personal business reasons, such as shopping, banking and childcare account for 38 percent of all weekday travel. What are the implications of this research for transit?

    [The information follows:]

    The Metrorail and Metrobus systems play a vital role in meeting the travel needs of the region. Both systems serve discretionary and personal business, as well as the work trip. Currently, about 55% of Metrorail ridership uses the system to travel to and from work, and the remaining 45% use the system for shopping, personal business, recreation, school and tourist travel. On Metrobus, the distribution between work and non-work purposes is very similar.
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    The implications of this research is quite positive. Spreading the demand for service more uniformly over the entire day can reduce peaking requirements typical of transit service and increase the utilization of vehicles. Transit service, however, must orient its services to new and emerging travel markets in order to gain a share of this market.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the potential role for transit to be a viable option for people making these trips?

    Transit can better serve these markets by developing the area in and around transit stations to serve riders with commercial activities such as convenience stores, newspaper vendors and banking facilities. This will enable riders to conduct some of their personal business at the transit station, perhaps on the way to and from work, thus eliminating the need for a separate trip to accomplish these tasks. Better land use policies and development patterns, conducive to transit use will have to be in place before transit can play an even greater role in serving this trip purpose.


    Mr. WOLF. The other couple of questions we will ask for the record on that.

    The new Convention Center budget, the administration budget, we have questions for you, Mr. Linton, on this, too, and we will kind of blend them.

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    The request includes $25 million for transportation-related expenses associated with the new station at the D.C. Convention Center. Did WMATA request these funds at all, either from the District or the Federal Transit Administration?

    Mr. WHITE. No, we did not request these funds. As I understand it, this proposal was made by the President as a part of the economic development and management reform in the District of Columbia category of his budget. It is for the benefit of the Washington Convention Center Authority, which is an independent authority.

    They consulted with us as a part of their deliberation as to where they were going to locate that new Convention Center. They asked if they were going to place it at the proposed Mount Vernon location, what investments would be required of Metro to adequately serve the huge volume of people that would be using that Convention Center.

    We provided them with some cost estimates, which I believe are the basis for the request the President has made in his budget.

    Mr. WOLF. Should it be enacted and WMATA be required to provide the local match, what other capital projects would have to be curtailed, delayed or canceled?

    Mr. WHITE. WMATA is not being asked to provide any funding in connection with this proposed project. I believe that the request is being made in a section of the budget other than transportation funding.

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    I think the situation is somewhat analogous to the MCI Center, where no special facility was originally contemplated at the Gallery Place location. When it became a location that Mr. Pollin was interested in, and as a part of the collection of interests trying to attract the MCI Arena, a funding program was put together. In that particular case the District of Columbia offered some flexible Federal funding as the primary source of funding for that investment. Clearly that project has been very important to both the economic revitalization of that part of the city, because of the number of people using Metro to get to the arena.

    Mr. WOLF. I understand that. That is not before this committee. Is that before the D.C. Appropriations Committee?

    Mr. WHITE. That is our understanding, yes. It is the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Mr. WOLF. Congressman Taylor.

    Mr. WHITE. Yes, as we understand it.

    Mr. WOLF. What effect, has the placement of the Metro stop a half a block away from the new MCI Center had on attendees? The current station, what impact? You just told me that 65 to 70 percent are using it.

    Mr. WHITE. At the MCI Center we had three entrances into that station location before the MCI Center was built. Then when the MCI Center was being planned, they wanted a Metro connection to the new building. We moved the southern terminus to create a whole new exit, where there was an existing mezzanine, to bring you out and literally deposit you almost in the front door of the MCI Center. You exit our station through a new entranceway and turn left, and you are in the MCI Center.
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    Mr. WOLF. But if you told me 65 to 70, you even said at some games 70 percent were captured by Metro, why do you need that? I mean, why do you need that? Is it half a block walk now?

    Mr. WHITE. The other locations would have been, yes, about a block away.

    Mr. WOLF. So you are building a whole new station?

    Mr. WHITE. It was largely a capacity issue. The existing concourse entrances we had clearly were not capable to absorb the kinds of crowds that come in. We knew that we were going to have to put in new gates, new escalators, and new elevators to be able to be adequately sized for the crowds. So there was a substantial investment that was going to have to be made irrespective of the location of that entrance.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Linton said you might not build it, you might be rehabing it. What is FTA's involvement in this? It is apparently not before this committee if it is before Mr. Taylor's committee. What do you plan on doing? What is your involvement in it?

    Mr. LINTON. We haven't had any involvement. I understand the money, as was indicated by the General Manager, Mr. White, is in to the District's budget. I would suspect that we may be asked to do some project management, but that would be something that we may be asked to do. But at this point, we are not engaged.

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    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. FTA's budget request includes the final appropriation of $50,300,000 to complete the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority's 103-mile rail system. An additional $25 million is requested for transportation-related expenses associated with a new station at the DC convention center. Why were these funds included in the administration's request for the District of Columbia and not within the FTA's budget?

    [The information follows:]

    The $25 million is intended to augment the access to the existing Mt. Vernon Sq-UDC Station to provide for the increased use associated with the new convention center. The existing station entrance will be expanded to increase the number of escalators from three to four, to double the number of elevators from one to two, and to add a stairwell. Additionally, 16 fare card vending machines, 19 turnstiles, and 5 add fare machines will be installed to provide service to the crowds from the convention center expected to use the Metrorail system. There are no plans to build a new station at this site.

    The FTA was not consulted, nor participated, in this funding decision. Therefore, I am unable to provide an answer to the question.

    Mr. WHITE. Mr. Chairman, I had answered your question as I had understood it. I thought you were asking about the MCI Center. I believe your question was really on the Convention Center. With respect to the Convention Center we have a one-entrance station that exists at that location now. There is no new entrance that is being built for that station. What is being built is an expansion of that entrance to be able to accommodate the crowds. So it is not like we are building a new entrance.
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    Mr. WOLF. For the Convention Center, the $25 million, is that to take it directly into the Convention Center?

    Mr. WHITE. There are two different issues.

    Mr. WOLF. One is Convention Center, and one is MCI.

    Mr. WHITE. I might be confusing you. There was approximately $20 million spent to put in a new entrance at the MCI Center. For the Conference Center there is a proposal for approximately $25 million to rebuild and expand the one single entrance that exists for the planned Convention Center. So we are not going to be building a new entrance to that station that might be 50 feet closer than the other entrance. It is to expand the existing exit, to put in the escalators and elevators that are necessary, to open it up to bring in more fare collection equipment. So it is just to make it suitable and large enough to handle the crowds.

    Mr. WOLF. So the $25 million is not for the MCI?

    Mr. WHITE. That is correct.

    Mr. WOLF. That doesn't conflict——

    Mr. WHITE. The $25 million is for the Convention Center, to expand an existing entrance to the Convention Center at the proposed location of the Convention Center.
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    Mr. WOLF. It was put in D.C. as an economic development item?

    Mr. WHITE. My understanding is the category was economic development and management reforms in the district.

    Mr. WOLF. Is it difficult to get—I have honestly never taken the subway to the Convention Center. Is it difficult to get to the Convention Center now?

    Mr. WHITE. The existing Convention Center? No. There are a couple of stations, one right across the street and another one a couple of blocks away.

    Mr. WOLF. Is this needed, in your opinion?

    Mr. WHITE. I would rather not get into the merits of the Convention Center. I believe the case being made that convention events have outgrown the existing Convention Center. At the existing Convention Center there is no opportunity to expand. So they are now looking for a location for a new Convention Center.

    Mr. WOLF. And this would serve the new Convention Center that is not built yet?

    Mr. WHITE. That is correct. That is what is being proposed.

    Mr. WOLF. Would they tear down the current Convention Center?
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    Mr. WHITE. I believe they are intending——

    Mr. WOLF. I can remember when it opened.

    Mr. WHITE. There are already discussions under way as to what might be the future use of that facility. Clearly there is an intended reuse of it.

    Mr. WOLF. Is that authorized? Is there a piece of authorization legislation for this $25 million job?

    Mr. LINTON. I am not aware of the details of that, Mr. Chairman, to say the least.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you know, Mr. White?

    Mr. WHITE. I don't believe that the District's appropriation comes with an authorization. I believe it is just through the direct appropriation process. Is that correct, Peter?

    Mr. BENJAMIN. There is no authorization.

    Mr. WOLF. WMATA will not be required to put up any money if Mr. Taylor agrees to fund it.

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    Mr. WHITE. Correct.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. A recent budget plan that you presented to the Board faces an $80 million shortfall in its maintenance funding. To make up this shortfall, you proposed to delay several projects and purchases that had been planned for next year. Let's be honest. If you had your druthers, wouldn't WMATA prefer to have any appropriations in excess of the final installment of $50,300,000 available for these deferred projects or for the Branch Avenue yard and new rail car purchases to respond to the increase in ridership rather than direct access to the new convention center?

    [The information follows:]

    Our priorities are to finish construction of the 103-mile system, including the Branch Avenue yard and new rail car purchases, and to perform adequate rehabilitation and replacement in order to protect the public investment in the Metro system. We are also pleased to work with the District of Columbia and the Washington Convention Center Authority to expand the existing Metrorail entrance to accommodate the additional ridership that is expected.

    Mr. WOLF. I am lead to believe that the $25 million would provide a direct access from WMATA's rail system into the new DC convention center. Why is this direct access necessary at all, since a station already exists only a half block away? (A similar configuration currently exists for the MCI Center which requires people to walk a half block and it has not deterred Metro ridership to the MCI Center at all. Almost half of all MCI attendees arrive by rail.)
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    [The information follows:]

    Because the FTA is not involved in this project I can only provide you with the information we have been given by WMATA. WMATA management officials have told us that the $25 million will not provide a direct access into the proposed DC convention center from the existing Mr. Vernon Sq—UDC Station. We are also informed that the augmented station entrance will be similar to the access provided from Metro to the MCI arena in that the escalators will be within the footprint of the convention center but as far as 25 feet from the entrance to the center.

    Mr. WOLF. a recent budget plan presented by WMATA general Manager Dick White indicates that WMATA faces an $80 million shortfall in its maintenance funding. To make up the shortfall, Dick White proposed to delay several projects and purchases that have been planned for next year. Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Administrator, that WMATA could use additional appropriations for these deferred projects rather than a new, unjustified station access to the DC convention center?

    [The information follows:]

    The augmented station access to accommodate the crowds expected at the convention center is an appropriate consideration in planning such an activity center. In my opinion, providing ease of access to and from traffic generators such as sports arenas, convention centers, and employment centers are an important function of an urban mass transit system. Budgeting limited resources across a variety of conflicting needs requires making difficult decisions in establishing funding priorities.
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    Mr. WOLF. If the District determined that such a stop was warranted, why should all American taxpayers pay for it?

    [The information follows:]

    The convention center is to be built at an existing Metrorail station. The work planned will simply provide for augmented access to handle increased station usage.

    Mr. WOLF. Did FTA include this $25 million in its request to the Office of the Secretary? to the OMB?

    [The information follows:]

    The FTA did not include this $25 million in its request to either the Office of the Secretary or the OMB.


    Mr. WOLF. The Dulles Corridor, I appreciate your sending Mr. Thomas, I don't see him—I guess he has gone back—to our meeting, Mr. Linton.

    Should the task force which is working on this recommend any new major infrastructure in the Dulles Corridor, such as fixed guideway or new buses, would the planning process have to be reopened, or could it all be done within the current planning process that has been taking place out there?
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    Mr. LINTON. There is a possibility that you might need to do an amendment to the major investment study, but I think we are looking to the locals to work with that process to determine if one is needed. A lot is going to depend on how this project gets scoped out in its design, which I know is being planned. There has been some resolution into how much they would like to spend. There is a concept there now that is more finite. As WMATA looks more closely at the design, what changes may be necessary in the MIS, it is possible that it may be amended. But I think it would be something abbreviated, not a major effort.

    Mr. WOLF. Very minor. Mr. Thomas told me he thought the proposal made sense. Do you have any feelings about it?

    Mr. LINTON. I think it makes sense, too.

    Mr. WOLF. You also had a staff person sitting in on all the meetings.

    Mr. LINTON. Yes, we had Sharon Pugh from our planning office attend the meetings.

    Mr. WOLF. I appreciate your cooperation too, I do.

    Mr. LINTON. It is a great project. It is something you and I have had some discussions about in terms of the concept, and I think we need a good model to show the rest of the country. The Dulles Corridor provides a real opportunity for that to happen. I am looking forward to it.
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    Mr. WOLF. Good. I appreciate that. I do, too. There are people who want rail out there tomorrow, and obviously we all know if I had my choice, I would love to see rail go out there now. But we cannot afford it. And here is something I think is creative, and Metro has some ideas about it too and could bid on it, but some creative opportunities at one-tenth the cost or less, that can deliver the same capacity.

    I think to do it here in the Washington region where people could see it, plus both the National and Dulles Airports used to be Federal airports, owned and operated by the FAA; and, too, would be to serve that airport and also serve the new Aerospace Museum which will be out there. So I appreciate that.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Administrator, I appreciate your personal attention and that of your staff to the use of express buses in the Dulles Corridor. Should the Task Force recommend any new major infrastructure in the Dulles Corridor, such as new fixed guideways or new bus lanes that would trigger a major increase in capacity, would the planning process be reopened?

    [The information follows:]

    The essence of the major investment study (MIS) process is to: (a) determine the nature of transportation problems in a given corridor before committing to any particular solution; (b) make major investment decisions in an open, collaborative process; and (c) consider a complete array of multimodal alternatives and evaluation criteria in support of these local decisions. These alternatives must be introduced at the very beginning of the MIS process, although they may be modified and re-evaluated at various points throughout the study. All alternatives under consideration must be adequately and consistently evaluated in terms of meeting the mobility needs of the corridor, determining relative costs and benefits, and achieving desirable environmental, socioeconomic, and land use of objectives.
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    It may be desirable for local officials to reopen an MIS in situations where there is a significant increase in capacity beyond what was studied, or where the local consensus is to advance a transportation option which was not previously evaluated, nor compared to other alternatives, within the original study. Reopening an MIS does not necessarily require a great deal of time or resources, but such further analysis must ensure, at a minimum, that adequate justification exists to advance the option over other alternatives, and that the public is provided with the opportunity to participate in the discussion of transportation improvements in the corridor.

    FTA appreciates the opportunity to work with the Dulles Corridor Transit Task Force to determine the degree to which enhanced bus elements currently under consideration were analyzed in prior planning studies, and the applicability of their results to current conditions, needs, and preferences in the corridor.

    Mr. WOLF. The 1990 MIS advocated substantial park-and-ride and express bus service in the Dulles Corridor. Is it accurate that to the extent to which plans involving park-and-ride lots and express bus service are incremental and support the 1990 study, a new major investment study would not be necessary?

    [The information follows:]

    The need for a new MIS is ultimately a decision made collaboratively by local governments and agencies with an interest in the study. In the case of the Dulles Corridor, one relevant factor affecting this decision is the extent to which bus and park-and-ride improvements currently being considered in the corridor vary from those proposed as a result of the 1990 Fairfax County Transit Alternative Study. We intend to work with stakeholders in the Dulles Corridor to better understand the nature of and relationship between the 1990 study and the MIS completed for the corridor in 1997. Specifically, we need to cooperatively determine: (a) the extent to which the 1990 study examined a broad range of transportation alternatives, as consistent with the intent of the MIS; (b) the degree to which conditions and needs in the corridor in 1990 are similar to those found in 1998 and forecasted for year 2020; (c) the extent to which the 1990 study results were incorporated into the MIS alternatives; and (d) the level of local stakeholder support for implementing express bus service.
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    Mr. WOLF. Just a couple of last questions. Bus safety. You said bus safety was up by, I forget the figure you said, but tell us about that.

    Mr. LINTON. Vehicle accidents per 100,000 vehicle miles have reduced from 2.33 to 0.94 from 1990 to 1995.

    Mr. WOLF. How about in terms of injuries?

    Mr. LINTON. Injuries as well.

    Mr. WOLF. Are the injuries down also?

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct.

    Mr. WOLF. Did you want to give us for the record what the injuries are, say, for the last couple of years? You can do it for the record.

    Mr. LINTON. We can submit it for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    Our statistics show that overall injuries for both bus and rail, has gone down from 1994 to 1995. However, the number of injuries has fluctuated up and down since 1990. We expect the trend to continue as transit operations employ safer operating procedures and the number of passenger miles nationwide increase. The following chart shows that history of injuries, as measures per 100 million passenger miles, since 1990.

Table 4

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    Mr. WOLF. The Safety Board learned during an investigation that many transit bus operations are exempt from significant Federal oversight and that States provide little, if any, safety oversight of bus system. Why are so many transit bus systems exempt from Federal oversight? You mentioned Georgia earlier. How many are exempt?

    Mr. LINTON. Well, actually, I think there are two issues here. One is that we do have a State safety oversight program. We received the authority to initiate the program from Congress in ISTEA. But that applied only to rail systems. It does not apply to buses.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    Mr. LINTON. As I mentioned in my statement there are two States that were not in compliance.

    Mr. WOLF. Georgia and Michigan.

    Mr. LINTON. That is correct. The NTSB issue is talking about buses specifically. We do not have national safety oversight with respect to bus operations. At this time the safety of transit bus operations remains the responsibility of the state and local governments.

    Mr. WOLF. How do they do?
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    Mr. LINTON. It varies from State to State. I am only becoming aware of this issue myself. I came from Pennsylvania, as you know, and we have vehicle inspections that the State Police perform. I was under the impression that was the norm in each state.

    Mr. WOLF. So when we were talking about the fatalities earlier today, we were just talking about fatalities in rail, or rail and bus?

    Mr. LINTON. We were talking about the fatalities in total for both. The incidents are going down.

    Mr. WOLF. For both?

    Mr. LINTON. For both rail and bus the incidents are going down. The NTSB is suggesting that we even have a more rapid reduction in incidents if there were some uniform oversight across the country on the bus side. That program doesn't exist now.

    Mr. WOLF. Are there any proposed model programs that you have put out for States to adopt that the States could do it without the Federal Government being involved, or are you in touch with all the DOT's at the State level with recommendations?

    Mr. LINTON. Our safety office has been gathering information from various states concerning their safety programs. One of the States that we seem to be very impressed with their oversight is California. My Safety Office director has indicated that California has a fairly good system. She indicated to me that their system might be something we might want to replicate.
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    Mr. WOLF. Have you ever put out model law?

    Mr. LINTON. No, we haven't.

    Mr. WOLF. Do many States not have any?

    Mr. LINTON. This is something I think we are just starting to look at. The NTSB focused at the lack of uniformity across the country. Each State has their own direction, their own laws on how they handle the problems. I believe that NTSB is suggesting that there should be some consistency nationwide.

    Mr. WOLF. Perhaps it would be, without getting into greater regulation, put together a model code or model law, working through the State legislature that the States could adopt.

    Mr. LINTON. That is an excellent suggestion, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. I will submit these other questions for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    Mr. WOLF. It appears that uniform practices for the systematic safety oversight in areas such as driver qualification and training, drivers hours of service, bus maintenance, and maintenance training do not exist in this segment of the transportation industry. What must be done to ensure that federal or state governments provide safety oversight of transit bus systems beyond that of very infrequent roadside inspections?
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    [The information follows:]

    The Federal Transit Administration has very limited authority over bus safety. Prior to the advert of public ownership of virtually all transit systems in the nation, private transit operators were generally regulated by state public service commissions, and local city councils, regarding franchises, fares, quality of service and safety. However, with public ownership, it was presumed that the public interest was represented by transit authority boards of directors consisting of appointed local citizens and elected officials. A few states have maintained jurisdiction over public transit safety beyond vehicle inspections and police enforcement of traffic regulations.

    In fact, the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 exempted state and municipal employees, and agencies thereof, from intrastate motor carrier regulations except for the commercial drivers license requirement.

    The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has taken a proactive role in safety for all modes of transit. Through training programs at the Transportation Safety Institute, for example, some 20 courses are offered to transit industry personnel in the areas of bus and rail safety, transit security, system safety, industrial safety and managing emergencies and, shortly to be introduced, fatigue awareness training. For the ''Train-the Trainer'' course, since 1976, some 1,936 instructors have been trained and certified who in turn have trained 23,505 bus operators. FTA has encouraged the adoption of system safety programs by transit agencies, and has monitored safety implementation through its Triennial Review process and Safety Management Information Statistics program, but is not of course empowered to require such programs.
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    The Federal Transit Administration believes that, although safety can always be improved, the transit bus safety record is excellent and should continue to be regulated by the states or local transit authorities.

    Mr. WOLF. What involvement does the FTA have with the Safety Board's special investigation of transit bus systems?

    [The information follows:]

    The FTA's Office of Safety and Security was represented by a witness who testified before the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) March 3 and 4, 1998, Board of Inquiry in St. Louis. The FTA witness provided extensive testimony concerning the history and background of the Federal mass transit program, purpose and function of the Office of Safety and Security, safety oversight authorities granted to the FTA, safety data collection and analysis, and related oversight of rapid transit systems.

    The FTA has and will cooperate fully with the NTSB in their investigation of bus transit safety. FTA has been responsive to the Board's accident investigation findings and all previous recommendations have been classified by the Board's as ''Closed-Acceptable''. Currently the FTA has underway four activities costing a total $425,000 which address specific outstanding recommendations.


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    The department's budget includes a request for $10 million for a new joint program between DOT and the Energy Department to focus on the development, demonstration and deployment of advanced vehicle technology. The congressional justification states that this program builds on the electric hybrid technology supported by FTA.

    That being the case, why is the FTA requesting an additional $5.5 million for activities like the Georgetown fuel bus and other technologies that can be supported within the $10 million requested by Federal Highway for the joint program?

    Mr. LINTON. The joint program office was designed most recently to coordinate the research efforts of all the DOT modes in working with the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

    We have made our specific request for the hybrid electric vehicle with Georgetown as part of our continuation to close out that project.

    Mr. WOLF. When does that end?

    Mr. LINTON. I think we have 1 or 2 more years on that installment in our cooperative agreement with Georgetown.

    Mr. WOLF. Will there be any duplication between you and Energy and others?

    Mr. LINTON. Actually, the objective of the coordination office is to eliminate duplication and to make sure that we have cross-pollination, in that we learn from the other modes. We are not doing the same research. However, we can learn from the research we would do for heavy buses and trucks, and we would be able to exchange that research information and not have it done independently within each of the various modes. That is the objective of the joint program office.
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    Mr. WOLF. Okay. We appreciate all of you taking the time. Thank you Mr. Linton and Mr. White. The hearing is adjourned.