STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN H. CHAFEE
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
HEARING ON THE NOMINATION OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL KENNETH R. WYKLE TO BE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
OCTOBER 28, 1997

Good morning. I would like to welcome everyone, particularly General Wykle. I understand that your wife, Mary, and your son, John, are here as well and I welcome them.

Before we proceed, Congressman Rahall is here and would like to make a brief introductory statement on behalf of General Wykle. Congressman Rahall?

The purpose of today's hearing is to receive testimony from General Wykle, the President's nominee to be the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. I must say that we have been waiting quite some time for this day, as the position has been vacant since Secretary Slater was confirmed in early February.

The Committee therefore plans to act expeditiously on General Wykle's nomination. In fact, we have scheduled a business meeting to vote on this nomination tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. It is my hope that, if all is in order, the Senate will act quickly so that he will be confirmed before Congress adjourns for the year.

I am pleased to report General Wykle has a distinguished record of service. He served in the U.S. Army for 32 years, where he led a number of organizations and commands in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He also has extensive experience in managing the transportation of personnel and cargo by air, highway, rail and ship. I am confident that he will continue to build on this excellent record if he is confirmed as Federal Highway Administrator.

If confirmed, General Wykle will represent the Department of Transportation and advise the Secretary on all matters related to the efficient movement of passengers and freight on the nation's transportation system. The Federal Highway Administration is responsible for implementing a wide range of programs, including the federal-aid highway program; highway safety programs; motor carrier programs; the federal lands highway program; research and technology; and international programs.

An issue that is on everyone's mind is the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, or ISTEA. General Wykle, when your predecessor, Rodney Slater, appeared before the Committee five years ago, Congress had recently passed ISTEA. During that hearing, we focused on the key role the Federal Highway Administration would play in carrying out the new transportation law. Here we are, five years later, working on the reauthorization of this landmark law. As you know, the FHWA's role continues to be a critical one in helping us to do our work. The agency provides us with technical assistance in developing legislation. Moreover, the FHWA will write the regulations and guidance to carry out the new law, and it will work closely with the State departments of transportation and the Congress to that end.

General Wykle, if you are confirmed, I look forward to working with you and your staff through the reauthorization process and through the implementation process, once the bill is enacted. I cannot reiterate how important it is to get the rules out to implement the new law as quickly as possible.

It also is incumbent upon the Federal Highway Administrator to protect not only the key federal role in implementing ISTEA II but also the broad perspective needed to guide the nation's transportation system into the next century. The enactment of ISTEA in 1991 transformed what was once simply a highway program into a program not only for building roads and bridges but also for enhancing our mobility, our safety, and the environment. In the second ISTEA, we must move forward and strengthen ISTEA's laudable goals of intermodalism, flexibility and efficiency.

I am confident that General Wykle has the experience and the knowledge to lead the Federal Highway Administration through the challenges ahead. Thank you.