January 16, 2014


WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks during a Banking Committee hearing entitled “Progress Report on Public Transportation under MAP-21.”
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 
"In July 2012, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, also known as MAP-21, which authorized transportation programs through September 30, 2014. 
"Since enactment of this legislation, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has been working to implement its transit provisions.  At this point, MAP-21 programs are authorized for only another eight and one-half months. 
"Today, we will hear from witnesses on implementation of MAP-21’s transit provisions.  Some of the provisions that are of interest to me: MAP-21 provided FTA with new authority in the area of transit safety.  While public transportation is one of the safest modes of transportation, I look forward to an update on what progress has been made to improve passenger safety.  I also want to understand how FTA is approaching this issue. 
"In Idaho and other states, many transit providers operate in rural areas and with very small staffs, often of only one to three people.  It is important that new rules be tailored in a way that is not unduly or disproportionately burdensome to smaller and rural systems, especially as rural transit has a good safety record.
"Rural transit agencies in Idaho and elsewhere provide vitally important transportation services.  For example, they facilitate transportation for the elderly and persons with disabilities to medical appointments, and low-income individuals to jobs.  If new regulations are burdensome, it will be harder for providers to deliver service. 
"MAP-21 also directed the FTA to establish a national transit asset management system to aid in understanding and assessing the condition of public transportation systems.  Public transportation simply cannot be captured with a one-size-fits-all approach.
"There are many different types of transit systems and a great deal of diversity with respect to the needs of each system within our nation.  I look forward to hearing how FTA intends to implement the asset management provisions.  I hope that the level of detail that transit providers will be required to provide to FTA will be practical and not excessive.  For rural systems, reporting on the age and mileage of the vehicle could be enough.
"Understanding where the FTA is in implementing MAP 21 will aid us when we begin to consider the reauthorization later this year.  I recognize that short-term extensions don’t allow the kind of predictability and security that a longer-term authorization can. 
"However, as Federal dollars collected for transportation have fallen below our expenditures, it is no secret that the most difficult issue to be considered during the next reauthorization is how to finance our transportation needs going forward.  This includes finding a meaningful fix to the serious current inadequacies of the Highway Trust Fund. 
"MAP-21, a bill with just over two years of authorization, was financed using ten years of pay-fors.  We must be very careful what we do with respect to financing this bill in the future.  Again, I thank our witnesses for being here and I look forward to their statements.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman."