The Maritime Administration’s marine highways program will provide shippers with alternative services, said David Matsuda Tuesday at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Matsuda, Marad’s acting administrator and the nominee to become chief administrator, faced his old boss, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who presided at the hearing for Matsuda and Michael Huerta, nominee to be deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Matsuda was Lautenberg’s senior transportation advisor before moving to the Department of Transportation last year. Lautenberg was the author of legislation last year that provides $7 million in grants for marine highway ventures.
“We want to create more services and expand existing ones to make sure shippers have a choice when they look for transportation services,” Matsuda said. “We can take advantage of getting cargo moving in a more efficient manner on the water.”
Lautenberg asked Huerta about issues ranging from delays and congestion in the airways around New Jersey to training and compensation standards for pilots working for regional airlines.
“There’s got to be one level of safety for all air carriers throughout the aviation system,” Huerta said. The FAA was being as vigilant as possible to ensure safety standards were enforced, he said. “But there’s no one silver bullet that you can look at. You have to look at training and experience of the individual, and the route that’s being flown.”
Huerta said FAA is to accelerate and improve the “already ambitious” schedule for the NextGen air control system.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced Huerta, a Utah resident, and praised his work in managing transportation at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
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