Three top transportation nominees appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee yesterday. Here are some brief highlights from their testimony.
“I believe that the first priority of the FMC is to play a role in our economic recovery. We meet today as our ports are suffering double-digit percentage cargo declines. Over five hundred container ships are laid up or at anchor awaiting work. On certain foreign trade routes, carriers are moving containers virtually for free, charging just handling and fuel costs. Experts predict that any growth will not be seen before next year.
"It is the role of the FMC, through its regulatory powers, to assist all segments of our waterborne commerce—vessels, ports, support industries, labor both on board our ships and on our terminals, truckers and railroads—in regaining their economic vitality and jobs when the upturn comes.”
— Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., nominated to be the next Federal Maritime Commissioner.
“Since June, 2004, it has been my distinct privilege to serve as an NTSB Board Member. During those five years, I have accompanied our investigators on 16 major accident launches. I have watched them drop whatever they were doing, grab their go-bags, and head to an accident scene to get there often before the smoke has cleared. Once on scene, they hardly stop to rest or eat. Some begin the meticulous work of documenting the scene in minute detail, while others seek out witnesses and survivors. While investigators begin piecing together the accident sequence, our Transportation Disaster Assistance team reaches out to victims and their families to help them begin navigating through shock, grief, and eventually, healing.
"The work we do with the victims’ families may seem difficult, but it’s not. These families are a gift to the NTSB, because they remind us, with their grace and courage, why it is so important to work together to make sure these accidents are prevented in the future.”
— Deborah A.P. Hersmann, nominated to be chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
“I am deeply committed to these goals and believe we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve them as Congress and the Obama Administration prepare to rewrite our nation’s surface transportation policy and work to ensure its long-term financial stability and sustainability. One key to achieving that sustainability will be to create a transportation program that is multi-modal, performance-driven, transparent, and accountable. To do so, we must greatly strengthen our ability at the federal, state and local level to conduct cross-modal comparisons of projects and track and measure program costs, timelines and outcomes.”
— Polly Trottenberg, nominated to be assistant secretary for transportation policy at the Department of Transportation.
With thanks to the Commerce Committee staff.