March 30, 2017

Senator Hassan Presses Transportation Nominee for Answers on Programs Critical to New Hampshire’s Infrastructure

Senator Hassan Presses Transportation Nominee for Answers on Programs Critical to New Hampshire's Infrastructure

In a lackluster hearing yesterday, Jeffrey Rosen, Nominee for Deputy Transportation Secretary, failed to directly answer Senator Hassan's questions on TIGER Grants, Essential Air Service program

WASHINGTON - As part of her efforts to ensure that New Hampshire has the modern transportation infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century, Senator Hassan sent a letter to Jeffrey Rosen, President Trump's nominee for Deputy Transportation Secretary, calling on him to clearly answer questions about programs critical to New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure and economy. The letter follows Rosen's lackluster performance at yesterday's Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee hearing.

"This week, during your hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation we discussed very real infrastructure needs of the State of New Hampshire," Senator Hassan wrote. "My goal was, and remains, to learn more about your plans and priorities, particularly as to how they may affect New Hampshire, if confirmed to this position. Unfortunately, I found your responses incomplete and troubling. I would like to provide you with this additional opportunity to elaborate."

In yesterday's hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Hassan asked Mr. Rosen about his commitment to continuing the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants (TIGER) and the Essential Air Service program, both of which would be eliminated under President Trump's proposed budget. Senator Hassan underscored the critical role these programs have had in strengthening transportation infrastructure in New Hampshire and boosting the state's economy.

"The transportation sector represents numerous jobs in New Hampshire and across the country. Therefore, the proposals we discussed - including the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants and the Essential Air Service (EAS) program - merit your full attention and a thoughtful reply," Senator Hassan wrote.

The full text of the Senator's letter is below:

Jeffery A. Rosen
Senior Partner
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
655 Fifteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-5793

March 30, 2017

Dear Mr. Rosen:

As you know, our national infrastructure faces grave challenges that will require astute leadership from the Department of Transportation. If confirmed to the position of Deputy Transportation Secretary for the United States, it will be your duty and privilege to ensure the United States maintains a safe and efficient transportation system- from land to sky- that benefits our constituents and industry alike.

This week, during your hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation we discussed very real infrastructure needs of the State of New Hampshire. My goal was, and remains, to learn more about your plans and priorities, particularly as to how they may affect New Hampshire, if confirmed to this position. Unfortunately, I found your responses incomplete and troubling. I would like to provide you with this additional opportunity to elaborate.

The transportation sector represents numerous jobs in New Hampshire and across the country. Therefore, the proposals we discussed - including the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants and the Essential Air Service (EAS) program - merit your full attention and a thoughtful reply. Please respond to the following questions as soon as possible. I will rely on your responses to further inform my vote, as you move through the confirmation process in the U.S. Senate.

  • Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants: In January of this year, Secretary Chao testified before our Committee and discussed the TIGER Grant program. She noted that these grants were "one area of great agreement" in Congress and also noted that the funding levels for this program were a "modest sum." Yet the President's proposed budget eviscerates this program. Do you agree with the proposed elimination of TIGER grants? If confirmed, how do you plan to ensure critical projects like the Memorial Bridge and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in New Hampshire receive the funding and support they need?
  • Essential Air Service: The President's budget proposal also eliminates the EAS program, which rural communities depend on for commercial air service. Lebanon Airport in New Hampshire relies on the EAS program as do rural communities across the country in states like Texas, Nevada, Nebraska, Alaska, and so many others. If the President's proposed budget becomes a reality, what is your plan to keep rural communities connected to broader transportation services?
  • Safety: The number one job of government is protecting public safety. If confirmed, how will you prioritize safety across all transportation modes?
  • Commuter Rail: I have long supported efforts to bring commuter rail up from Boston to New Hampshire, which would improve access to jobs and economic opportunities for our entire region, and would have the net benefit of reducing congestion on our roads. A project of this magnitude will require federal support to enhance our state and local efforts. Are you committed to ensuring support for a vibrant commuter rail system in this country?
  • Automation: The trucking industry plays a critical role in my state and around the country. The previous Administration announced a working group on automation consisting of various public and private sector stakeholders as well as innovators, labor, and academia. Do you agree that there is value in a multi-stakeholder process to prepare for future technologies? Do you support the continuation of this working group under the current Administration?

Thank you for your attention to these pressing questions and I look forward to hearing from you.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan
United States Senator

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