I had to resort to live tweeting from my phone, as I didn't have a wireless connection to blog live.

Here are my tweets, starting with the beginning of the meeting.

Live tweeting House Transport listening session from Vancouver

Room at capacity, 125 people, SRO, at least that many waiting outside & can't get in

Reps Mica, DeFazio (OR), Shuster (PA) & home district Rep Herrera Beutler at listening session

Mica: for those who couldn't get in or may not get to speak, you have 2 weeks to submit comments for record

Herrera Beutler: CRC is most important project, "we gotta get it right". "there are a lot of questions left to answer"

DeFazio: we are not investing enough to maintain current system, much less building system to compete in 21st century.

DeFazio: transportation projects have more private than public sector jobs

Shuster: gotta figure out how to do more with less. CRC good example - how do we bring cost down.

DeFazio - 150,000 bridges on fed system needing serious repair now. Need to invest

Funny. Mica to Hammond: "Put down your statement and tell us what you want to see in the new bill"

Mike Ennis of conservative think tank: Citing MN bridge rebuilt in 437 days as blueprint for feds doing more with less

Mica not interested in anecdotes about WA system. Wants specific examples of leg provisions to modify or eliminate

Mica: Feds need to spend the $35B in RRIF acct and $6B in HMTF instead of raising gas tax.

Hammond: WSDOT is "more strategic with less" instead of "do more with less"

Capell: continue or increase fed funds to MPOs and locals. Critical to matching local funds for projects.

Hammond: better operations, technology, tolling & transit key to getting more from existing system.

AGC rep: streamline permit process. Delegate more authority to states to manage/comply with fed rules

AGC: force FHWA to rule more quickly on contract disputes. WSDOT: yes, process can be onerous. [Note: Hammond added collaboration with FHWA -WA is pretty good but she hears from other DOTs that process is more broken there]

AGC: Feds should use more best practices in rule/law compliance instead of being totally outcome oriented.

CRC opponent: many other large projects around country built for less than CRC estimate. e.g., Hoover Bypass

Mica to CRC critic: so what's your finance plan? What is fed role since states design project?

CRC critic: Feds should require local vote. Don't talk to state/local "bureaucrats". Audience groans loudly.

CRC critic basically implies project supporters influenced by "outside" financial interests. Even louder groans from audience.

WSDOT CRC manager: when multiple fed agencies involved, do simultaneous not serial reviews. The latter=huge delay

OR Iron Works: we just did 1st streetcar built in US in 58 years. Got more orders now. Keep Build America, it works.

Ennis: use more PPPs, more design build. Look at revising prevailing wage. WA should be more aggressive on PPP.

DeFazio: PPPs good in some cases but not all. And they always include tolls so private Corp. can make profit.

DeFazio: PPPs are not the magical solution. WA state likes PPPs more than me.

Shuster: CRC seems very expensive, sort of [implies] too expensive. Some applause from crowd.

DeFazio: leading int'l company looked at PPP for CRC: Not interested unless could toll I-205, which locals oppose.

Shuster: i feel your pain on project cost increases due to enviro regs. PA has lots of waterways.

Now using lottery to pick audience members to [ask questions].

There was Some talk of xtra costs due to stringent stormwater rules.

OR iron works: Why do streetcars in existing road need enviro impact study? Delays project DeFazio seemed to agree.

Posted On 2/21/2011 03:31:00 PM by Larry Ehl |

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