House Transportation Committee to Begin Holding FAA Hearings
The House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will begin examining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization this week, with the first of five expected hearings on the issue. The first hearing, titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: State of American Aviation Manufacturing.” The witnesses include the associate administrator for aviation safety at FAA and representatives from the aviation manufacturing industry, including representatives from Pratt and Whitney, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Textron Aviation. According to the T&I Committee’s press release, the hearing will “examine the current state of civil aviation manufacturing in the United States, including the economic, regulatory, and general health of American civil aviation manufacturing, as well as challenges facing this critical industry.”
T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) is expected to once again push for his air traffic control (ATC) reform proposal that he introduced in the last Congress. The controversial proposal failed to garner enough support last year, facing opposition from Democrats, appropriators, and several members of the House Ways and Means Committee. However, Chairman Shuster may find he has additional support this year in President Trump. Last week, Trump met with representatives from the aviation industry and said the ATC system is “totally out of whack,” characterizing the current NextGen modernization effort as billions of federal dollars spent without achieving significant results. And while noting that the US has obsolete airports, Trump appeared to dismiss any proposal to increase passenger facility charges to fund airport improvements.
House Energy and Commerce Committee to Hold Hearing on Automated Vehicles
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 14 titled “Self-Driving Cars: Road to Deployment.” Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) said the hearing will “explore the potential of this game-changing technology and ensure the proper framework is in place for a safe and secure deployment of self-driving cars.” Witnesses will include representatives from General Motors, the RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Volvo Car Group, Lyft, and Toyota Research Institute.
FTA Withholds Funding from DC, MD, VA for Missing WMATA Safety Oversight Deadline
In a letter to the Governors of Maryland and Virginia and the Mayor of Washington DC last week, FTA informed the jurisdictions it is withholding five percent of their FY 2017 Urbanized Area (§5307) formula funds because the jurisdictions failed to establish a State Safety Oversight Program (SSOP) for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) by the February 9, 2017 deadline. Under the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding federal programs through April 28, 2017, these withheld amounts total $8.9 million. The funding will be restored after each of the jurisdictions passes identical legislation to establish a new federally-compliant SSOP for WMATA. By law, states are primarily responsible for the safe operation of their transit systems, but FTA assumed responsibility for safety oversight of WMATA in October 2015, following several safety incidents and accidents.
This Week’s Hearings:
- On Tuesday, February 14, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing titled “Self-Driving Cars: Road to Deployment.” The witnesses will be:
- Mike Abelson, vice president of global strategy for General Motors;
- Nidhi Kalra, co-director and senior information scientist at the RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty;
- Anders Karrberg, vice president of government affairs for the Volvo Car Group;
- Joseph Okpaku, vice president of public policy for Lyft; and
- Gill Pratt, executive technical advisor and CEO of Toyota Research Institute.
- On Wednesday, February 15, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy has scheduled a hearing titled “Modernizing Energy and Electricity Delivery Systems: Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Infrastructure Improvement and Expansion.” The witnesses will be announced.
- On Wednesday, February 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation has scheduled a hearing titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: State of American Aviation Manufacturing.” The witnesses will be:
- Peggy Gilligan, associate administrator for aviation safety at the Federal Aviation Administration;
- Alan Epstein, vice president for technology and environment at Pratt and Whitney;
- John Hamilton, vice president for engineering for Boeing Commercial Airplanes; and
- Michael Thacker, senior vice president for certification for Textron Aviation.
- On Wednesday, February 15, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security has scheduled a hearing titled “Moving America: Stakeholder Perspectives on our Multimodal Transportation System.” The witnesses will be:
- Matthew K. Rose, Executive Chairman, BNSF Railway;
- Christopher B. Lofgren, Chief Executive Officer, Schneider National;
- Tom Gurd, Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain, Dow Chemical Company; and
- Wick Moorman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amtrak.
- On Wednesday, February 15, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.” The witnesses will be announced.
- On Thursday, February 16, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment has scheduled a hearing titled “Modernizing Environmental Laws: Challenges and Opportunities for Expanding Infrastructure and Promoting Development and Manufacturing.” The witnesses will be announced.
- On Thursday, February 16, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security has scheduled a hearing titled “Stakeholder Perspectives on Improving TSA for the Security of the Traveling Public.” The witnesses will be:
- Stephen Alterman, president of the Cargo Airline Association and chairman of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee;
- Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president of legislative and regulatory policy for Airlines for America;
- Kim Day, CEO of Denver International Airport; and
- Mark Laustra, vice president of global business development and government relations for Analogic.