STATEMENT OF KENNETH R. WYKLE BEFORE THE
SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE
NOMINATION HEARING TO BE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
OCTOBER 28, 1997

Good morning, Chairman Chafee, Senator Baucus, Subcommittee Chairman Warner, and distinguished Members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to appear before you today, as you consider my nomination to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation. I especially appreciate the efforts of the Committee to expedite my nomination during one of this Committee's busiest legislative periods. I am accompanied today by my best friend and partner of 30 plus years and would like at this time to introduce my wife--Mary Wykle, Ph.D.

I am honored to have been recommended by Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater and nominated for this position by President Clinton. Both the President and Secretary Slater recognize the crucial role of highways in our transportation system and their impact on our Nation's economy, national security, and quality of life. If confirmed, it would be a privilege to work with them and this Committee to ensure that we build a strong national intermodal transportation system for the 21st century.

As the former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Transportation Command, or TRANSCOM, I know first hand how much we rely on our Nation's highways and the entire transportation system to move people and goods in this country. Highways are the backbone of our current intermodal transportation system. At TRANSCOM, we were responsible for providing and arranging transport services worldwide during peace and war. In cooperation with our commercial transportation industry partners we moved thousands of personnel and millions of tons of cargo in support of humanitarian operations and during times of national crisis. We experienced first-hand the need both in peace and in time of international turmoil for safe, reliable, efficient transportation. These events demonstrated the requirement for a connected/seamless national and international intermodal transportation system. I would bring this recent experience, plus more than 16 years of experience living in Europe and Asia and working with or using their commercial Transportation Systems, to the position of Federal Highway Administrator.

I would ask that for a moment you think of our Nation's transportation system like the human circulatory system. An efficiently functioning intermodal transportation system is essential to our Nation's economic welfare and survival just as a fully functioning circulatory system is essential to our body. The Nation's intermodal transportation system must enable people and goods to move efficiently throughout the country and the world--or the economy and our quality of life will lose vitality and productivity, just as the human body will fail when its circulatory system becomes clogged. As we properly maintain and strengthen the body we must do the same for this Nation's transportation infrastructure. I personally find the search for solutions to our nation's transportation challenges rewarding. If confirmed I look forward to forming a strong alliance with this Committee, dedicated industry, government, and academic partners and representatives from environmental and other affected transportation interests to create a truly national intermodal transportation system that is interoperable with global transportation systems.

A few weeks ago, Secretary Slater transmitted to you the Department of Transportation's Strategic Plan for 1997-2002. The five Strategic Goals laid out in the Plan provide the right foundation for improving the performance of the Nation's transportation system, and if confirmed, I would be guided by those goals as the Federal Highway Administrator. I agree with the Secretary that the Department's strategic plan provides the direction for achieving transportation excellence in the 21st Century. The goals are basic, but reflect and balance the complexities of the Nation's transportation system.

o Safety--Collision Avoidance systems, highway and bridge maintenance, intelligent cruise control, and efforts to improve safety across the board.

o Mobility--Interstate maintenance, connectors, bridges, travel and weather information.

o Productivity--Economic growth and trade, intermodalism, technology, standards, freeway management and information systems.

o Human and Natural Environment--Alternative fuels, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, protection of wetlands and natural habitat

o National Security--National Highway System, connectors to intermodal facilities, bridges, access to military installations.

I believe these goals are fully reflected in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) reauthorization legislation advanced by this Committee and the Administration. Indeed, the bill reported out by this Committee, ISTEA II, and the Administration's proposal have much in common. I am aware of the difficult issues yet to be resolved, and I pledge to work with you in any way possible to obtain a multi-year reauthorization bill based on the principles of ISTEA.

The National Highway System, which was designated in legislation passed two years ago, will serve as the keystone of a transportation system that will serve this Nation well into the 21st Century. The total system will continue to foster productivity and mobility and it must be enhanced as we leverage technology, information systems and our great human resources. We cannot continue to build highways as we have for the last forty years--we must turn our focus to an efficient national intermodal system that is interoperable with global transportation systems, using technology and information to significantly increase the capacity and productivity of our current infrastructure.

In closing, I am honored to appear before you today and, if confirmed, I pledge to work with you and all of our partners to achieve transportation excellence in the 21st century. I thank this Committee for the courtesy and consideration extended to me. I look forward to your questions.

THANK YOU.