WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following full committee hearing on nominations.
Nominees to include*:
Mr. David T. Matsuda, to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Mr. Michael Huerta, to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
*Not necessarily in order of appearance.
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for webcast hearings, should contact Naomi Eskin at 202-224-5115 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IVU.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - I want to thank and congratulate our nominees. I appreciate your commitment to public service and look forward to seeing you all confirmed shortly, so you can get to work.
Mr. Michael P. Huerta is the President’s nominee to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the Department of Transportation.
Until April 2009, Mr. Huerta was president of the Transportation Solutions Group of Affiliated Computer Service (ACS), which supports transportation services, including electronic toll collection, management of cities’ parking systems, and photo traffic enforcement.
His experience there may give him a useful perspective as the FAA moves forward on the NextGen initiative, and I look forward to hearing his views on this critical project.
Prior to his work with ACS, Mr. Huerta was a managing director with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002.
From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Huerta served in senior positions at the Department of Transportation, and I hope he will bring all of his experience and expertise with him to his new position at the FAA, which will demand strong leadership and strategic vision.
Several of us also know David Matsuda, the President’s nominee to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration.
Mr. Matsuda has served as a fellow on this committee and then as a transportation counsel for Senator Lautenberg.
I am concerned about the state of affairs at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and I am looking forward to Mr. Matsuda’s leadership in providing these students with the high quality of education they deserve.
Thank you all again to our nominees for your testimony and your continued service. I look forward to your speedy confirmation.
Senator Frank R. LautenbergChairmanU.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine, Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
WASHINGTON, D.C. - I am pleased to welcome everyone to this important hearing on the nominations of David Matsuda to head the Maritime Administration—known as MARAD—and Michael Huerta to be Deputy FAA Administrator.
This is a good day for our country—and a proud day for me personally.
Eventually, many of the men and women who come to work with us in the Senate move on—but our hope is they remain committed to public service.
Today it’s my privilege to introduce a former staff member who personifies that commitment.
David Matsuda, my senior transportation advisor for six years, is President Obama’s nominee to be Administrator of MARAD at the Department of Transportation.
The President and Secretary LaHood have made an excellent choice in nominating David to this critical post.
The Maritime Administration plays a critical role in port and vessel operations, maintaining the health of the merchant marine fleet, and supporting current mariners and educating future ones.
We need someone at MARAD who understands the role of the maritime sector in our economy and our national security—and how all our nation’s transportation modes fit together.
I know David is the man for the job.
David has unparalleled expertise in transportation issues: if it moves, David understands how it works.
David and I have worked together on laws that fundamentally change rail travel in this country, strengthen our nation’s oil pollution prevention and response programs and improve security at our nation’s seaports. Time and time again, David proved himself resourceful—and successful.
I look forward to working with him again to implement the new maritime laws recently signed into law.
My Maritime Administration Authorization Act will move more of America’s freight off the roads and onto the sea by creating a new marine highway grant program.
This law also establishes a grant program to improve the capabilities of our ports.
David will be a strong partner in implementing these new programs.
David is joined today by his wife, Catherine Matsuda; his parents, Retired Major Ron Matsuda and Mary Matsuda; his in-laws, Eugene and Barbara Parsons; and his brother Michael and his sister-in-law Veronica. They are all proud of his accomplishment. And so are we.
I am confident that he will be an exceptional leader for our nation’s maritime system.
Today we are also considering the nomination of Michael Huerta to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Mr. Huerta held senior positions in the Clinton Administration’s Department of Transportation, is currently President of MPH Consulting, which specializes in transportation issues, and was a member of President Obama’s transportation transition team.
He is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in New Jersey.
At the FAA, he will be charged with helping to keep our skies safe and convenient for all air travelers.
This, too, is a critical assignment—especially given the expected increase in air traffic in the coming years.
I welcome and congratulate both of our nominees and their families.
Senator Kay Bailey HutchisonRanking MemberU.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing. Today, we will consider two nominees chosen to fill important positions within the Administration.
First, I would like to welcome Mr. Michael Huerta, who is nominated to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
It is extremely important that we have a strong and stable leadership team in place at the FAA. While our nation’s aviation system remains the safest in the world, we need to be ever vigilant to not only maintain that safety level, but to make air travel even safer in our country.
Recent accidents and incidents have exposed areas where improvements are needed. In fact, this committee held several hearings on aviation safety last year. We will continue our important oversight responsibilities in this area this year as well, and I look forward to working with Mr. Huerta and Administrator Babbitt to further promote the safety of the air traveling public.
I am increasingly concerned with FAA’s air traffic control modernization efforts. The FAA’s NextGen efforts, if done effectively, will provide a tremendous leap forward in air traffic efficiency and safety. I cannot emphasize how important it is for the FAA to get modernization done right.
Mr. Huerta, as Deputy Administrator, you will have a very prominent role in the day-to-day operations and progress on FAA modernization. I expect you to have an active role in meeting or exceeding short and long-term modernization benchmarks.
Recently, there has been progress, such as the announcement earlier this month that Houston air traffic controllers are beginning to utilize satellite based technology, or ADS-B, to more efficiently and safely separate aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico. This is a promising step forward, but we have so much more to do.
And, we need the Administration’s support in enacting our FAA Reauthorization legislation, which we have not been able to accomplish despite our committee’s work.
I also want to welcome Mr. David Matsuda, who is nominated to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration. Mr. Matsuda is no stranger to this Committee, having served as a Congressional Fellow with the Committee in 2002 and then working for Senator Lautenberg for six years.
Maritime transportation is a vital component of both our economy and national defense. The Maritime Administration has the important task of both ensuring the safe and efficient flow of commercial goods and, through the Ready Reserve Force, supporting the deployment of U.S. military forces. I would also like to commend MARAD for activating six Ready Reserve Fleet vessels to support the humanitarian mission in Haiti.
I thank our nominees for their willingness to serve and look forward to hearing from them.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. David T. Matsudato be Administrator of the Maritime AdministrationU.S. Department of TransportationMatsuda Testimony (13.79 KB)
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Hutchison, and members of the
I am greatly honored to be here today before the Committee, and to receive
the President’s nomination to serve as Administrator of the Maritime
For many years I was fortunate to witness the Committee's work in
transportation and maritime issues from well behind the dais as a staffer. So
it gives me great pride to be back in this room today among colleagues and
friends. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many of your staff members,
and they have represented your interests fiercely, but always did so with
If confirmed, I pledge to you that I will work for President Obama and
Secretary LaHood to carry out the mission of the Maritime Administration
and execute the duties prescribed by the laws of our country. Over the years
I have witnessed this Committee play a tremendous role in maritime
leadership and oversight, and I will strive to ensure that its strong working
relationship with the agency continues.
The impacts of our nation's maritime industry are not limited to coastal
states—you don’t have to have an ocean to depend on the maritime industry.
Items brought in by ship make their way to store shelves and factory lines
throughout the nation. Some raw materials we mine, goods we produce, and
agricultural products we grow for export leave through our seaports or travel
down rivers or across great lakes to distant markets.
In all, 36 states have a maritime port—whether it's on a river, lake, gulf, or
ocean. Merchant mariners live in just about every state in the Union, and
midshipmen nominated by you and your colleagues to study at the U.S.
Merchant Marine Academy can claim home to all but one state. Some states
have shipyards or marine manufacturers which can be the largest sources of
jobs in an entire community or region. I feel that these basic elements of our
maritime transportation system are influenced by the many federal programs
managed by the Maritime Administration.
I believe the agency's mission is critical to ensuring these elements all exist
and are adequate to support our nation's sealift needs—for our military as
well as our economy.
Today’s maritime industry is struggling with many tough challenges: a
lagging economy, climate change, the threats of invasive species, piracy and
other security issues, a greatly expanded Panama Canal opening in 2014, and
an aging workforce, to name a few. I feel my experience working within the
federal government, and especially working in the Senate, has allowed me a
broad understanding of how these challenges can be approached
successfully: by working with all stakeholders in good faith and with
transparency in decision-making.
Since coming back to the Department of Transportation, I've had the
opportunity to again work with some highly capable federal professionals,
who show great passion for their work. If confirmed, it will be my privilege
to work with these men and women to execute the relevant laws and policies
of our country to help ensure that the merchant marine is there when we
need it, and especially when we need it the most.
Mr. Michael P. Huertato be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation AdministrationU.S. Department of TransportationHuerta Testimony (135.02 KB)
Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison, and members of the Committee,
thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I am honored that
President Obama has nominated me for the position of Deputy Administrator of the
Federal Aviation Administration. If confirmed, I look forward to the opportunity to
work with Secretary LaHood, Administrator Babbitt, the Administration and of
course you in Congress to serve our country in this capacity.
I would also like to introduce the members of my family who are present today:
First, my wife Ann Sowder, who is my best friend and life partner. On more than
one occasion she has encouraged and supported my desire to follow for my heart
and passion to try something new and challenging. She shares my belief that public
service is truly a noble calling and I would like to thank her for all that she has done
not only for me but for countless others. I would also like to introduce our son
Matthew. He has inherited his father’s interest in transportation and aviation and
was once observed – at age six --schooling a couple of off-duty pilots on the fine
distinctions between various aircraft types.
The Federal Aviation Administration has a huge responsibility and faces significant
As you well know, the FAA’s mission is to provide the safest, most efficient
aerospace system in the world. It carries out its responsibilities both as a regulator
and as an operator.
Crucial to the success of the FAA is its ability to work in partnership with its diverse
stakeholders including the private sector air carriers and the general aviation
The FAA also relies on sophisticated technology. Its systems must meet
exceptionally high standards of safety, security and reliability.
And, of course, the agency is a large and complex organization and it has an
ambitious agenda for transitioning to a next generation air traffic control system,
while continuing to operate on a daily basis the largest air traffic system in the
In my career, I have been privileged to have had wonderful professional
opportunities both in the public and private sector. I held senior policy positions at
the U.S. DOT under President Clinton, which gave me valuable insight into how
federal agencies work and, in particular, the important role played by the FAA.
More recently, I led a large transportation technology services company. I had
responsibility for the operations of a large, global organization, managing a diverse
and technical workforce and ensuring that we met our financial targets. Our
customers were for the most part state and local government agencies and we
provided critical systems that were central to them successfully executing their
missions. I came to develop a great appreciation for the benefits to be gained by
partnerships between different interests in government and the private sector.
The years I spent with the Salt Lake Olympic Committee taught me about how an
immovable deadline can be extremely powerful in motivating and focusing a team
toward a common objective. We had to be focused but flexible, and ready to adapt
to the unexpected.
My skills and experience will be helpful as I look at what might be ahead at the FAA.
I am excited about the prospect, if confirmed, of playing a major role in the FAA’s
deployment of NextGen, the new air traffic control system. NextGen is in fact a
system of systems, which must all work together in a coordinated and fashion to
improve the safety and efficiency of our nation’s aviation system. Its successful
deployment has been identified both by Secretary LaHood and Administrator
Babbitt as a critical objective for their tenure. I am committed to do everything I can
to help ensure that objective is met.
I am also aware the series of short-term extensions in FAA authorizations have
created a degree of uncertainty within the FAA and the aviation community at large.
It is important that FAA Reauthorization gets done. There are important safety
programs that need to be reauthorized. If confirmed I look forward to working with
Congress and aviation stakeholders throughout the legislative process.
I hope that my background and experience will assist the FAA in meeting the
challenges it faces in the coming years. I am honored to have been nominated by
President Obama. I look forward to working in partnership with you in ensuring
that our nation’s aviation system leads the world in safety, efficiency and innovation.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. I am happy to respond to any
questions that you might have.