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Transportation Stakeholders Hopeful for More Information This Week

House Transportation Committee Holds Hearing on FAST Act Implementation; President Trump Will Nominate Jeffrey Rosen as DOT Deputy Secretary

Legislative Activity

Transportation Stakeholders Hopeful for More Information This Week

As the Trump Administration and Congress continue to develop a large-scale infrastructure proposal, transportation stakeholders are hopeful they will get additional information this week. The President’s ‘Skinny Budget” is expected to be released on Thursday, March 16. While it is unclear how much detail will be included in the Skinny Budget, it could give some indication of the President’s agenda for transportation. However, it could only include top-line numbers by agency, which would not necessarily indicate the Administration’s priorities.

While President Trump continues to call for a significant investment in transportation and infrastructure, few details are known. Congress continues to evaluate their own priorities, with the relevant House and Senate Committees holding Congressional hearings, as they approach an expected large-scale infrastructure bill this year. Congress is still considering FY 2017 appropriations bills, so we may not see an FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill until much later this year. It will be particularly interesting to see if the Trump Administration and Republican Congress reduce transportation and infrastructure discretionary grant programs, such as New Starts and the TIGER grant program, to pay for their own priorities.

As we have discussed previously, Democrats have been offering their own transportation and infrastructure proposals this year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) recently introduced H.R. 1458, the Raise And Index to Sustainably and Efficiently Invest In Transportation (RAISE IT) Act, legislation that would index federal gas and diesel taxes to inflation and phase in a 15 cent per gallon increase over three years, reportedly raising $210 billion in revenues for transportation and infrastructure projects.

House Transportation Committee Holds Hearing on FAST Act Implementation

On Wednesday, March 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing titled “FAST Act Implementation: State and Local Perspectives” on Wednesday, March 15. The witnesses will be Mr. John Schroer, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Transportation, on behalf of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO); Mr. Gary Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); and the Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary, Indiana on behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC).

Regulatory Activity

President Trump Will Nominate Jeffrey Rosen as DOT Deputy Secretary

President Trump is going to nominate Jeffrey Rosen to be the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Transportation (DOT). Mr. Rosen previously served as general counsel at DOT during the George W. Bush Administration from 2003 to 2006 and at the Office of Management and Budget from 2006 to 2009. As Deputy Secretary, Mr. Rosen will be responsible for day-to-day operation of DOT. Mr. Rosen has been a proponent of “regulatory budgeting,” which advocates limiting the total regulatory cost an agency can impose on an industry.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, March 14, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Opportunities to Improve American Energy Infrastructure.” The witnesses will be:

    • Stefan Bird, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Power;

    • Carl Imhoff, Manager, Electricity Market Sector, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;

    • Clay Koplin, Chief Executive Officer, Cordova Electric Cooperative;

    • Jeffrey Leahy, Deputy Executive Director, National Hydropower Association;

    • Diane Leopold, CEO and President, Dominion Energy;

    • Terry O’Sullivan, General President, Laborers’ International Union of North America; and

    • Ethan Zindler, Head of Policy Analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

  • On Tuesday, March 14, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure has scheduled a hearing titled “Continuing to Improve Truck Safety on our Nation’s Highways.” The witnesses will be:

    • The Honorable Christopher A. Hart, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board;

    • Captain Chris Turner, Kansas Highway Patrol;

    • Paul P Jovanis, Professor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University; Chair, Transportation Research Board Committee;

    • Jerry Moyes, Chairman Emeritus, Swift Transportation; and

    • Adrian Lund, President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

  • On Wednesday, March 15, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Innovation, Integration, Successes, and Challenges.” The witnesses will be:

    • Earl Lawrence, Director of the Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Federal Aviation Administration;

    • Diana Marina Cooper, Vice President of Legal and Policy Affairs, Precision Hawk USA Inc.; President, sUAV Coalition;

    • Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and CEO, Xcel Energy;

    • Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs, DJI;

    • John Villasenor, Professor of Engineering and Public Policy, UCLA; Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution; and

    • Emilio Gonzalez, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Miami-Dade Aviation Department

  • On Wednesday, March 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit has scheduled a hearing titled “FAST Act Implementation: State and Local Perspectives.” The witnesses will be:

    • Mr. John Schroer, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Transportation, on behalf of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    • Mr. Gary Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

    • The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary, Indiana on behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC)

  • On Wednesday, March 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation has scheduled a hearing titled “Authorization of Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.” The witnesses will be announced.

  • On Wednesday, March 15, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy has scheduled a hearing titled “Modernizing Energy Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities to Expanding Hydropower Generation.” The witnesses will be announced.

  • On Wednesday, March 15, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing titled “Disrupter Series: Advanced Materials and Production.” The witnesses will be announced.

  • On Thursday, March 16, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies has scheduled an oversight hearing for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The witnesses will be:

    • The Honorable David Montoya, Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development; and

    • The Honorable Calvin Scovel, Inspector General, Department of Transportation

  • On Thursday, March 16, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a hearing titled “Oversight Review of Infrastructure Needs and Projects Ready for Immediate Implementation in the Nuclear Security Enterprise.” The witnesses will be:

    • The Honorable Frank Klotz, Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration;

    • James McConnell, Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations;

    • Charlie McMillian, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory;

    • Morgan Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC; and

    • The Honorable Sean Sullivan, Chairman, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

  • On Thursday, March 16, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled “Disrupter Series: Smart Communities.” The witnesses will be announced.

  • On Thursday, March 16, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment has scheduled a hearing titled “Reinvestment and Rehabilitation of Our Nation’s Safe Drinking Water Delivery Systems.” The witnesses will be announced.

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About this Author

Timothy W. Drake legal specialist legislative administrative law squire patton
Associate

Tim represents universities, municipalities, private sector companies and nonprofit organizations on a range of legislative and regulatory matters related to education, agriculture, transportation and healthcare. He assists clients in the development and implementation of comprehensive strategic plans, identifies federal funding opportunities, and provides guidance on the potential impacts of major reauthorizations and other federal policies. Tim also advises and supports clients during the rulemaking process and in their interactions with federal agencies.

During law school, Tim...

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Patricia Doersch, Squire Patton Boggs, infrastructure attorney, transportation and highway lawyer, corporate legal counsel, public policy law
Of Counsel

Patricia Doersch is a member of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government Public Policy Practice. She assists transportation agencies, corporations and municipal governments in achieving their goals before the federal government.

Recognitions:

  • Lawrence R. Schneider Award, US Department of Transportation- the Department’s highest recognition of outstanding legal achievement
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