WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nomination hearing on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 to consider the presidential nomination of Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation.
- Ms. Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation
*Witness list subject to change
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Full Committee (Hybrid)
This hearing will take place in the Russell Senate Office Building 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
*In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the markup. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this markup via the live stream.
Chair Maria Cantwell
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell Opening Statement at Senate Commerce Committee Hearing entitled “Nomination Hearing”
Witnesses: Ms. Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation
Cantwell: Good morning everyone. Today we are considering the nomination of Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation. The Deputy Secretary is the number two spot at the Department of Transportation and plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation's transportation system. Ms. Trottenberg is eminently qualified for this role, after 30 years of transportation expertise already under her belt, most recently, with the city of New York as Transportation Commissioner from 2014 to 2020. I think she has a great understanding of our nation's transportation needs.
She helped implement the country's first “Vision Zero” traffic safety program. Vision Zero is an ambitious idea that will help us tolerate and prevent basically unwanted deaths in our streets, by having better systems. And is a tireless advocate for equitable and important transportation projects throughout our major cities. US Department of Transportation will be familiar with Ms. Trottenberg, as she served in the Department of Transportation from 2009 to 2014, first as Assistant Secretary for Policy and later as Under Secretary for policy, the third ranking official at DOT. And in those important roles she was responsible for implementing legislation, developing key transportation initiatives, including starting up the TIGER grant program, now known as the BUILD discretionary grant program. And I can just tell you already that a lot of the questions I'm going to have is going to be around freight and major transportation infrastructure investment that our economy in the Pacific Northwest depends on, so thank you for your leadership there.
And as a testament to her success of the Department Secretary Ray LaHood, Ms. Trottenberg’s former boss is also going to be joining us today to discuss, probably via the web, your expertise, and his support for you. So we are certainly welcoming him back to this committee and thank him for all of his leadership particularly, I would like to thank him for his leadership on moving freight.
In addition to her work in Congress, in 2008 Ms. Trottenberg became the first executive director of Building America's Future, a non-profit organization that supported increased investment in infrastructure and major transportation policy reform. And obviously, your great educational background. We're so excited to have you here in a leadership position.
Our nation's state Departments of Transportation are estimating $50 billion dollars in revenue losses over the next five years due to COVID-19. So, our airports have lost over $23 billion from a reduction from traveling public. Our transit agencies have lost $50 billion in revenue as of 2021, something you can probably speak directly to. And in the state of Washington, we are facing a $1.14 billion in transportation revenue loss over the next 10 years as a result of the COVID pandemic. So, I can tell you that, that story now with a story that is going to come out today, the American Society of Civil Engineers who are basically going to say, this is the investment America needs to make in transportation or our economy through GDP is going to lose trillions of dollars. So we have the COVID story of lost revenue, and we have assessment by our civil engineers saying we need much more investment in transportation infrastructure. So facing this economic outlook it's critical that we have someone with Ms. Trottenberg’s leadership and expertise to help us in the transportation sector. Of course, in the pandemic we will need to get people moving, that includes Amtrak and the airlines and the aviation sector overall, and certainly support workers who are just trying to get to and from their work in their daily lives. So, all of this is a difficult task, but we know that you're up to it.
I want to mention a couple of things that I believe are critical to our infrastructure in the future. In my state, Sound Transit is in the midst of one of its biggest expansions in the nation really, and it faces a billion dollar shortfall in budget, also impacted by COVID and the loss of local investment that taxpayers would have normally been putting into the system. And due to the pandemic, we see the challenges that it will face and really completing this project at has been imagined. There's also many freight projects in the Northwest and places like the West Seattle Bridge, which suffering from critical cracks in the concrete infrastructures made it unsafe to make our ports as cost effective as they could be in delivering freight. And so we need to have a backup, we're talking about moving not just products from the Northwest but products throughout the United States, from the Midwest, who come through our ports to travel to Asia. So there are many other examples of major investments, whether it's the Columbia River crossing, or the Trussell in Everett, there are many examples where we in the Pacific Northwest need to keep people moving. That that investment will mean job growth and help our economy in the future. So, I look forward to having a chance to ask you questions but more importantly, I look forward to having you confirmed and over the Department of Transportation, so we can get to work on these many issues. Now I'll turn to my ranking member for his opening statement, Senator Wicker.
Witness Panel 1
Ms. Polly TrottenbergDeputy SecretaryDepartment of Transportation