U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Hearing Statements
Date:   02/27/2003
 
Sen. Barbara Boxer, of California
Fiscal Year 2004 Budget for the Federal Highway Administration

Mr. Chairman, good morning. I want to thank you for holding this hearing today.

With TEA-21 expiring this year, the President’s Federal Highway Administration FY 04 budget is a glimpse into the Administration’s reauthorization proposal, which the Administration says is on its way. But, if this budget accurately reflects the TEA-21 proposal, it is not even close to adequate.

TEA-21 authorized $31.8 billion for FY 03. Yet, the Administration’s budget does not ask for that level of funding until FY 2007. For the four years in between, it will be less money for our states.

For my state of California, this funding is desperately needed. Our economy and our transportation system need the help.

According to the Texas Transportation Institute, Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland region are ranked number one and two for the worst roadway congestion in this country. California has two more cities in the top five with San Jose ranked four and San Diego ranked five. The Inland Empire of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is ranked 12 and Sacramento is ranked 13.

What does this congestion translate to? [Indicate table–Shown at end of statement] Delays – in the Los Angeles area: 136 hours per year, on average per driver, in peak hours. San-Francisco-Oakland drivers put up with 92 hours of delays, and San Jose drivers endure 74 hours of delays. Inland Empire drivers are delayed by 64 hours, and San Diego drivers are delayed by 51 hours a year.

What it really means – outside of the aggravation that Californians face sitting for these long hours in traffic is that in Los Angeles parents don’t get to spend an additional 136 hours with their children.

And, congestion is expensive. The total cost of traffic congestion in California was $21.7 billion in lost time and fuel in 2000.

Congestion will not get better over time. California’s population is expected to increase from 35 million people today to 50 million people by 2020. We need to make great strides in our transportation system.

Californians are trying to reduce congestion. More Californians are using alternative forms of transportation. Public transit carries over 1.2 billion passengers a year in California.

Transit ridership is up in California. The number of miles traveled annually by transit passengers grew by 20 percent between 1997 and 2001. The number of annual passenger trips was up 14 percent. In the San Francisco Bay Bridge corridor, 38 percent of all trips are on transit. And, 30 percent of all trips into central Los Angeles are on transit.

At the same time, we need to get them assistance to relieve congestion. But, our congestion also stems from goods movement, which is not just a California problem.

Forty percent of all the nation’s imported goods come through California ports. 35 percent enter through the ports of LA-Long Beach. Many of the goods that are shipped by truck leave Los Angeles and go through Riverside and San Bernardino counties. This causes terrible local congestion. At the same time, this impacts the rest of the country by adding to the price of all of the goods that come from the port.

In TEA-21 reauthorization, we need to have a substantial program to solve the grade crossing problem and the number of trucks that drive from our ports through the state to the rest of the country.

Mr. Chairman, the Administration’s budget shows us that we, as a subcommittee, have a lot of work this year.

Thank you.

The Number of Hours People Waste

Sitting in Traffic*

Los Angeles 136

San Francisco-Oakland 92

San Jose 74

Inland Empire (San Bernardino/Riverside Counties) 64

San Diego 51

*Per person over a year during peak times

Source: Texas Transportation Institute