Hearing

Implementing MAP-21: The State and Local Perspective

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0 Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 10:00 | Contact:

Transcript of Hearing

Summary of Subject Matter

Opening Statements

Chairman Thomas E. Petri (R-WI)

Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

Hearing on “Implementing MAP-21: The State and Local Perspective”

April 25, 2013

Opening Statement

(Remarks as Prepared)

 

Today’s hearing is the second in a series of oversight hearings on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) implementation of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, better known as MAP-21.  Signed into law by the President last July, MAP-21 authorizes the Federal highway, transit and highway safety programs through September 30, 2014. 

These programs are administered by U.S. DOT in partnership with states, localities, and public transit agencies.  While U.S. DOT provides financial and technical assistance, these partners are responsible for carrying out these programs on a day-to-day basis.  Today, we will hear their perspective on U.S. DOT’s implementation efforts.

Before we begin, let me briefly highlight some of the reforms that were included in MAP-21.  We consolidated or eliminated more than 70 Federal programs.  These changes allow for a greater focus on national transportation goals and priorities, while giving our partners greater flexibility to meet their transportation needs.

States, localities, and transit agencies are now required to establish performance targets and incorporate them into their transportation plans and project selection.  These performance targets will help focus limited Federal resources on projects that have the greatest benefits.  It will also help ensure that American taxpayers get the most bang for their buck. 

Currently, it can take almost 14 years for a transportation project to be completed if federal funding is involved.  This is simply unacceptable.  MAP-21 made major reforms and improvements to the project delivery process.  Some of the reforms include allowing Federal agencies to review projects concurrently, penalties for agencies that don’t meet project review deadlines, and expanded categorical exclusions for projects in the existing right-of-way or with limited Federal investment.  By cutting the bureaucratic red-tape, we will realize the economic and safety benefits of these projects much sooner.

MAP-21 increased funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program (TIFIA) from $122 million a year to approximately $1 billion a year.  This increase in funding, combined with a change in law to allow a TIFIA loan to account for 49 percent of a project’s costs, will allow U.S. DOT to issue about $35 billion in loans over the next two years.  State governments, local governments, toll authorities, public transit agencies, and public-private partnerships are eligible to apply for these loans.

Previously, transit agencies had to work through FEMA to replace equipment or rebuild their systems after a disaster.  After Hurricane Katrina, transit agencies sought an emergency program similar to the Emergency Relief program run by the Federal Highway Administration.  MAP-21 created a new program that provides relief for public transportation systems that are affected by a natural disaster or catastrophic failure.  This program is already being utilized by the states and transit agencies impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Congress also recognized that new highway safety challenges have emerged.  MAP-21 requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to implement a national priority safety program that incentivizes states to pass and enforce laws that address important safety issues. 

The program focuses on impaired driving countermeasures, occupant protection, motorcycle safety, distracted driving, and graduated drivers licensing. 

These reforms are only part of the sweeping policy and programmatic changes made in MAP-21.  Today’s hearing will allow representatives from state DOTs, state legislatures, transit operators, transportation planning agencies, and local governments to provide their views on how MAP-21 is being implemented.

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Witnesses

Mr. Michael Lewis, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation; on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) | Written Testimony

The Honorable Bruce Starr, Senator, State of Oregon; on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) | Written Testimony

Mr. Peter Varga, Chief Operating Officer, Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid); on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) | Written Testimony

Mr. Richard Perrin, AICP, Executive Director, Genesee Transportation Council; on behalf of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) | Written Testimony

Mr. Terry Bobrowski, Executive Director, East Tennessee Development District; on behalf of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) | Written Testimony

Mr. Edward Reiskin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) | Written Testimony

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