Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2016-2017 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic "Transportation" - Testimonies


Hearing Event Notice:

Archived Video:





 2  -----------------------------------------------------


 4             In the Matter of the
            2016-2017 EXECUTIVE BUDGET
 5              ON TRANSPORTATION
 6  -----------------------------------------------------

                             Hearing Room B
 8                           Legislative Office Building
                             Albany, New York
                             January 20, 2016
10                           9:41 a.m.

13           Senator Catharine M. Young
             Chair, Senate Finance Committee
             Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
15           Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee

17           Senator Liz Krueger 
             Senate Finance Committee (RM)
             Assemblyman Robert Oaks
19           Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
20           Assemblyman David Gantt
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Transportation
             Assemblyman James F. Brennan
22           Chair, Assembly Committee on Corporations,
               Authorities & Commissions
             Assemblyman Michael Cusick


 1  2016-2017 Executive Budget
 2  1-20-16
 3   PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Senator Thomas F. O'Mara 
 5           Assemblyman Phil Steck
 6           Senator Diane Savino
 7           Assemblyman James Skoufis
 8           Senator Timothy Kennedy 
 9           Assemblyman Steven Otis
10           Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer
11           Senator Martin Malave Dilan
12           Senator Patricia A. Ritchie
13           Assemblyman David G. McDonough  
14           Senator Marc Panepinto
15           Senator Phil M. Boyle
16           Assemblyman Raymond Walter
17           Assemblyman Michael DenDekker
18           Senator Joseph Griffo
19           Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter
20           Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman
21           Assemblyman Edward Ra
22           Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
23           Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky
24           Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer


 1  2016-2017 Executive Budget
 2  1-20-16
 3   PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.
 5           Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy
 6           Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon
 8                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
 9                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
10  Matthew J. Driscoll 
11  New York State Department 
     of Transportation                      7         13                 
    Theresa Egan
13  Executive Deputy Commissioner
    New York State Department
14   of Motor Vehicles                    160        166
15  Maria Lehman 
    Interim Executive Director
16   & Chief Operating Officer
    Matt Howard
17  CFO
    Gordon Cuffy
18  Counsel
    NYS State Thruway Authority
19   and NYS Canal Corporation            207        212
20  Bill Carpenter
    CEO, Rochester Genesee Regional
21   Transportation Authority
    Vice president, New York Public 
22   Transit Association                  251        258



 1  2016-2017 Executive Budget
 2  1-20-16
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                    STATEMENT   QUESTIONS
 5  Mike Elmendorf
    President & COE
 6  Associated General 
     Contractors of NYS                  267         280
    Brian P. Noonan
 8  Associated Builders and
     Contractors, Inc., 
 9   Empire State Chapter               280          --
10  Nadine Lemmon
    Director, New York and 
11   Federal Policy
    Tri-State Transportation 
12   Campaign                           285          --
13  Scott Wigger
    Executive Director
14  Railroads of New York               293         299
15  Jeffrey Griswold 
16  Michael Boesel
    First Vice President
17  NYS Association of Town
     Superintendents of Highways       303         313
    Jeremy Martelle 
19  President
    New York Aviation Management
20   Association                       318         331




 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Good morning.  

 2                 Today we begin the first in the series 

 3          of hearings conducted by the joint fiscal 

 4          committees of the Legislature regarding the 

 5          Governor's proposed budget for fiscal year 

 6          2016-2017.  The hearings are conducted 

 7          pursuant to Article 7, Section 3 of the 

 8          Constitution and Article 2, Section 31 and 

 9          32A of the Legislative Law.

10                 Today the Assembly Ways and Means 

11          Committee and the Senate Finance Committee 

12          will hear testimony concerning the budget 

13          proposal for Transportation.  

14                 I will now introduce members from the 

15          Assembly.  And Senator Young, chair of the 

16          Senate Finance Committee, will introduce 

17          members from the Senate.

18                 We're joined by Chairman David Gantt, 

19          and Michael Cusick is with us.  

20                 And Assemblyman Oaks?  

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, we're also 

22          joined by the ranker on Transportation, Dave 

23          McDonough.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've also been 


 1          joined by Assemblyman Phil Steck.  

 2                 Senator?

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Thank 

 4          you, and good morning.  And I'm delighted to 

 5          be here today, especially with my esteemed 

 6          colleague, Chairman Denny Farrell, and look 

 7          forward to working with everyone.  

 8                 I'm also very happy that Assemblyman 

 9          Bob Oaks is here and my colleague Senator Liz 

10          Krueger, who is ranking member on the Senate 

11          Finance Committee.

12                 I'd like to introduce members from our 

13          conference.  And we have Senator Tom O'Mara 

14          and Senator Michael Ranzenhofer with us 

15          today.  I'm sure that other colleagues will 

16          be joining us very shortly.  

17                 And at this point I'd like to turn it 

18          over to Senator Liz Krueger.

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

20                 And I welcome Senator Young to her 

21          first budget hearing as the Finance chair.  

22          Some of us have done this more times than we 

23          can remember.  And I know that Denny and I 

24          are looking forward to working with 


 1          Senator Young.  

 2                 And I'm joined today by Senator Martin 

 3          Dilan, the ranker on Transportation, and 

 4          Senator Tim Kennedy from Buffalo.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And we'll have to 

 6          go out for spaghetti once the hearings are 

 7          over, to celebrate.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  TouchÈ.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Before introducing 

10          the first witness, I would like to remind all 

11          of the witnesses testifying today to keep 

12          your statement within your allotted time 

13          limit so that everyone can be afforded the 

14          opportunity to speak.  

15                 I will now call the first witness, 

16          New York State Department of Transportation 

17          Commissioner Matthew Driscoll.  

18                 Good morning, Matt.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.  

20          And good morning, everyone.  Chairperson 

21          Young, Chairperson Farrell, Chairperson Gantt 

22          and members of the legislative fiscal and 

23          Transportation Committees, thank you for this 

24          opportunity to discuss Governor Cuomo's 


 1          Executive Budget as it pertains to the 

 2          Department of Transportation for the 

 3          2016-2017 state fiscal year.  

 4                 I'd like to acknowledge Chairpersons 

 5          Robach and Marcellino, who are not here, but 

 6          I suspect will be as well, for their 

 7          leadership.

 8                 The most important function of the 

 9          department is to ensure the safety of the 

10          traveling public.  This is accomplished 

11          through conducting bridge safety assurance 

12          inspections; targeted and comprehensive bus, 

13          truck and freight rail inspections; providing 

14          traffic signal maintenance; and performing 

15          winter snow and ice control.  And as you 

16          might expect, snow and ice control is one of 

17          the more challenging responsibilities for the 

18          department, given the unpredictability of 

19          weather patterns.  

20                 Last year, on the heels of several 

21          years of extreme winter weather, Governor 

22          Cuomo directed state agencies to assess and 

23          strategically augment their capacity to more 

24          effectively respond to these types of 


 1          emergencies.  

 2                 To enhance DOT's capabilities, the 

 3          Governor provided the department with 

 4          $50 million for new winter storm equipment 

 5          through the NY Responds initiative.  This new 

 6          equipment, including new graders, loaders, 

 7          and plow equipment is being deployed in every 

 8          region of the state, with an emphasis on 

 9          areas that are typically hit the hardest by 

10          harsh winter conditions.  

11                 Earlier this month, the Governor 

12          unveiled a bold and comprehensive 

13          $22.1 billion Transportation Plan to 

14          modernize and enhance New York's 

15          transportation infrastructure, including 

16          historic investments in roads and bridges, 

17          freight goods movement, and upstate airports. 

18          Specific to the Department of Transportation, 

19          the Governorís proposal provides the 

20          framework for a new, unprecedented 

21          $20.1 billion five-year transportation 

22          capital plan.  This new commitment builds 

23          upon $18.3 billion in core DOT funding by 

24          adding $1.8 billion in new resources.  


 1                 The Executive Budget provides 

 2          significant new state investments during 

 3          state fiscal year 2016-17 to improve 

 4          New York's transportation system, enhance the 

 5          system's resiliency, create jobs, and deliver 

 6          record levels of operating aid for transit 

 7          systems.  The proposal includes more than 

 8          $4.3 billion in new DOT capital program 

 9          funding, an increase of 17 percent.  Of that 

10          amount, more than $3 billion in new funding 

11          is provided to support the department's 

12          highway and bridge program.  

13                 DOT's budget also provides 

14          $438 million in additional funding for local 

15          highway and bridge projects under the 

16          Consolidated Local Streets and Highway 

17          Improvement Program, better known as CHIPS; 

18          $39.7 million for the local matching share of 

19          federally aided projects under the 

20          Marchiselli program; and an unparalleled 

21          $5.2 billion to support the operation of 

22          local transit systems, including increases 

23          for upstate transit.  

24                 The Governor has also highlighted 


 1          several high-priority initiatives that will 

 2          form the core of the state's Transportation 

 3          Plan, many of which will provide local 

 4          governments with unprecedented access to 

 5          transportation funds.  These proposed 

 6          strategic investments include:  

 7                 PAVE-NY, a new $1 billion initiative 

 8          that will provide $500 million to help 

 9          municipal governments replace, rehabilitate 

10          and maintain vital local bridges and invest 

11          $500 million in state-owned bridges; 

12                 BRIDGE-NY, a new $1 billion initiative 

13          that will invest $500 million to pave local 

14          roads and $500 million to pave state roads; 

15                 A new $500 million Extreme Weather 

16          Infrastructure Hardening Program to make 

17          safety and resiliency enhancements to 

18          roadways across the state that have proven to 

19          be susceptible to flooding and other 

20          extreme-weather-related events; and 

21                 $200 million to an Upstate Airport 

22          Economic Development and Revitalization 

23          Competition to accelerate investments in 

24          commercial passenger and cargo service 


 1          airports.  

 2                 As a former mayor, I recognize that 

 3          local roads and bridges matter.  Too often, 

 4          however, local governments are forced to make 

 5          difficult choices between repairing and 

 6          replacing infrastructure.  Working with local 

 7          governments, the department has revised its 

 8          project planning and development policies so 

 9          that municipalities can implement 

10          cost-effective project solutions.  At the 

11          same time, the department will work with 

12          municipalities to develop strong asset 

13          management practices through enhanced 

14          training, technical assistance and deployment 

15          of innovative technologies.  By working 

16          cooperatively, investments in transportation 

17          infrastructure will facilitate economic 

18          growth, leverage private investment, and 

19          create new jobs across our state.  

20                 In closing, let's not forget the work 

21          we do is critical and the challenges we face 

22          are very real.  Through open and continuous 

23          dialogue, collectively we will deliver the 

24          transportation system that our residents 


 1          deserve and is necessary to maintain 

 2          New York's position as the Empire State.  

 3                 I want to thank you for your time, and 

 4          I am available to address any questions that 

 5          you may have.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 7          much, Commissioner.  We've been joined by 

 8          Assemblyman Brennan.  

 9                 First to question, Assemblyman Gantt, 

10          chairman, Transportation.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Thank you very 

12          much, Chairman Farrell.  

13                 Welcome, Commissioner, glad to see you 

14          here, glad to see that this may be a 

15          different year for both us here in New York 

16          State and across the country.  As you know, 

17          for years now we have not received that which 

18          was necessary for us to run the kind of 

19          programs that we believe are necessary here 

20          in New York State.  I will ask the question 

21          that I always ask, and that's exactly where 

22          do we stand with the condition of roads and 

23          bridges.  Are we on the upside going up, or 

24          are we coming down?  And what do you plan on 


 1          doing for us in terms of something.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think 

 3          overall we've been somewhat in the same place 

 4          for some time.  But I would suggest to you 

 5          that with the new program that the Governor 

 6          is announcing, BRIDGE-NY, it's really going 

 7          to make a significant difference both for 

 8          local and state-owned roads.  Five hundred 

 9          million dollars will go a long way in helping 

10          to make sure that not only are they 

11          maintained but also rehabilitated across the 

12          State of New York.  So I feel good about 

13          that.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Do you intend to 

15          put out a schedule of projects that are to be 

16          done?  Because quite often in the past we say 

17          these big things, and those projects just 

18          never get done for the locals.  And I think 

19          that many others here who sit here with me 

20          will have the same question that I have in 

21          terms of that.

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  So no, 

23          I want to stand behind what I say.  I've made 

24          kind of a practice of that throughout my 


 1          career.  Again, I think this program is going 

 2          to make a significant difference that the 

 3          Governor has announced.  We are doing an 

 4          assessment across the state on both the local 

 5          side and the state side for bridges.  And we 

 6          will be developing a competitive program 

 7          based on the needs of those bridges across 

 8          New York State.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Now, when we deal 

10          with the local programs, I know that each 

11          year I get questions from the locals dealing 

12          with CHIPS and Marchiselli in particular, 

13          because those are the programs that are 

14          important to them.

15                 Are we planning on doing any 

16          increases, substantial increases in dealing 

17          with those particular programs?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

19          know, I've spent a significant portion of 

20          time making sure that I listen to the locals.  

21          And I understand firsthand, having been 

22          there, the challenges that they face, the 

23          people that you and I both represent.

24                 As I mentioned, PAVE-NY is another 


 1          program that the Governor has put forward in 

 2          this budget, another billion-dollar program 

 3          that is going to provide additional resources 

 4          to local governments so that local 

 5          governments will have the flexibility, in 

 6          addition to the CHIPS funding and the 

 7          Marchiselli funding, to be able to augment 

 8          their budgets.  

 9                 So they will see an increase, it's 

10          formula-based, they will see an increase in 

11          that aid in this budget.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Will we also see 

13          improvements in the condition of the roads 

14          and bridges?  Because I think that's what's 

15          most important to us.

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, of 

17          course.  Right.  I don't want the Department 

18          of Transportation -- and I know the Governor 

19          doesn't -- to spend money that doesn't make a 

20          difference.  We will see well over 200 

21          bridges improved, and we will see over 1300 

22          miles of roadways paved.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  The problem I have 

24          with just that blanket statement is that in 


 1          the past we have said that; however, we found 

 2          out that they always get boxed up someplace, 

 3          whether it be we, the state, do not abide by 

 4          that which we always said we will do, and 

 5          that is to have a fifty-fifty in terms of 

 6          your hiring people, engineers and your shop.  

 7                 Because a consistent complaint I get 

 8          is that it gets bottled up at the state 

 9          level.  And when I talk to those who 

10          represent those individuals who are at the 

11          state level, they tell me the problem is they 

12          didn't hire the staff they were supposed to 

13          hire.  And over the years, I've consistently 

14          asked the question, are we going to hire 

15          those staff members that we need to hire to 

16          make sure that we get the work out the door?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So I can't 

18          speak to the past, and I won't.  I can only 

19          speak about what I'm suggesting to you, and 

20          that is moving forward.  I don't believe that 

21          the staffing issues are the problem.  I think 

22          that -- and what I mentioned was the policy 

23          change that we've made here.  Previously, in 

24          previous administrations, the policy dictated 


 1          to locals how some of their federal dollars 

 2          might have been utilized on local roads.  We 

 3          are not doing that anymore.  We are giving 

 4          that decision-making ability back to the 

 5          locals who know it most.

 6                 We will be working very closely with 

 7          the local governments -- as I mentioned, 

 8          workshop training, assistance, the kind of 

 9          things that the department can bring to help 

10          create more efficiencies with the Department 

11          of Transportation and local governments.  I 

12          believe that we are adequately staffed to 

13          handle all of those.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  When can we expect 

15          that you will have for us a schedule of those 

16          kinds of projects that we're talking about?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So we're going 

18          through that process now.  Probably late 

19          spring.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Late spring.  Can 

21          I count on you to get a list to my office so 

22          I can see what's happening?  Because 

23          obviously there are those of us who live 

24          upstate and there's those of us who live 


 1          downstate, and we know what those important 

 2          projects are in our particular area.  So I'd 

 3          like to get a copy of those lists.

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  When we have 

 5          those assessments done, we will make those 

 6          available.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Okay.  

 8          Mr. Farrell, rather than have you beat me up 

 9          today and make me stop, I will stop here so 

10          that others can have --

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  No, you can go.  

12          You've got three more minutes.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Three more 

14          minutes?  

15                 Now, the feds, I see this is the first 

16          time in a long time that the feds have -- 

17          it's called Transportation -- FAST, is that 

18          it?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right, the new 

20          surface transportation bill.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  And a long time 

22          that we've had dollars that we could 

23          literally count on.  Where are we at with 

24          that?


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I'll 

 2          agree it's good news.  It's the first 

 3          long-term plan they've passed in 10 years.  

 4          And really the benefit of that is largely 

 5          planning, that it allows not only the state 

 6          but local governments to plan accordingly.  

 7          There's been some increases.  Candidly, 

 8          they're at about the rate of inflation at 

 9          best.  But nonetheless, that program includes 

10          some new things as well, highways of 

11          significance for freight movements of goods 

12          and services.  There are additional kinds of 

13          attributes that are in the FAST bill.  

14                 But the good news is we have a 

15          five-year bill.  The good news is we have 

16          five years that local governments and the 

17          state can plan accordingly, based upon that 

18          bill.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Well, we should 

20          know for the next five years there's a 

21          workable plan that we can hopefully all live 

22          with, and your office would be willing to 

23          work with us, because there's always some 

24          kinks in the armor when it's all said and 


 1          done.  So I hope that we can work together to 

 2          make sure that this state, New York, which 

 3          has always been at the forefront of safety, 

 4          makes sure the people in our state are safe.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You can count 

 6          on that.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Okay.  Thank you 

 8          very much, Mr. Chair.  Thank you for your 

 9          time.

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

11          much, Chairman.  

12                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

13          Alicia Hyndman, Assemblyman Kaminsky, and 

14          Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.

15                 Senator?  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And we also have 

17          been joined by Senator Diane Savino.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And we also have 

19          Assemblyman Michael DenDekker.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So, Chairman, I'd 

21          like to ask some questions now.  

22                 So welcome, Commissioner, it's great 

23          to have you here, and look forward to your 

24          answers to some questions.  It's wonderful 


 1          that you have your background in municipal 

 2          government, because I think that gives you a 

 3          great perspective as to why infrastructure is 

 4          so critical to the people of New York State.  

 5                 And as you know, with the 

 6          Transportation Plan, traditionally it's been 

 7          approval of a multiyear plan that included 

 8          the adoption of both the DOT and the MTA 

 9          five-year capital plans.  And that has not 

10          occurred since 2011.  And so as you know, the 

11          Senate Republican Conference has been very 

12          concerned about having relative parity 

13          between DOT funding and the MTA and actually 

14          having a defined five-year plan put forward.  

15                 So one of my questions is, is the DOT 

16          going to be providing the Legislature with a 

17          five-year plan?  Because I believe very 

18          strongly that we need that information to 

19          move forward.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, we are 

21          developing a five-year plan.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And when do we 

23          expect to see the five-year plan?  Because I 

24          don't believe that we have the details right 


 1          now on it.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Well, 

 3          I would suspect that it will be at the 

 4          conclusion of the budget season.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  At the conclusion 

 6          of it?  Or during --

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, sure.  I 

 8          mean, that's a conversation between the 

 9          Legislature and the Executive.  But we are 

10          building a five-year program.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And what do you 

12          anticipate, Commissioner, would be included 

13          in this plan?  So projects, needs 

14          assessments, funding details, et cetera?

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

16          know, as I mentioned, BRIDGE-NY and PAVE-NY.  

17          There's increases for mass transit in upstate 

18          New York as well, which is significant and 

19          I'm sure welcome.

20                 There's investments in rail.  So a 

21          comprehensive way the investments that DOT 

22          will be making as part of the Transportation 

23          Plan will also help support economic 

24          development initiatives across the state.  


 1          It's important that we think of how we not 

 2          only maintain our system but build upon it, 

 3          that we do it so that it connects with 

 4          economic development opportunities that are 

 5          already either in place or yet to come.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So it's a 

 7          work in progress, you're saying, right now.  

 8          okay.  

 9                 Were the details of the $2 billion in 

10          Thruway Authority funding being included in 

11          the five-year plan that you're just 

12          referencing, or is this funding just 

13          including the overall $22.1 billion DOT 

14          capital program number?  I'm very concerned 

15          about that because I think for the first 

16          time, there's Thruway funding included being 

17          counted as parity toward the five-year plan 

18          for DOT.  So could you give us some more 

19          information on that?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, what I 

21          can tell you is that the Governor's budget is 

22          unprecedented in terms of the support for the 

23          Department of Transportation.  In this budget 

24          there's $20.1 billion for a five-year plan.  


 1          That's up from 18.3.  As I've said and 

 2          outlined, there's some new initiatives here 

 3          that really I believe wholeheartedly are 

 4          really going to benefit local government, 

 5          that will make a significant difference, 

 6          particularly the BRIDGE-NY and the PAVE-NY 

 7          program.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But traditionally 

 9          Thruway Authority funding has not been 

10          included in the parity numbers, is that 

11          correct?  

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  To my 

13          knowledge.  But I can't speak to the Thruway.  

14          That would be a question for them.  But they 

15          are receiving $2 billion.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But I guess what 

17          the issue is is that these funding sources 

18          for the Thruway Authority haven't been 

19          included as parity in the past.  And it looks 

20          like under the Governor's proposal that they 

21          are included and added.  And so does that 

22          skew the parity issue?  

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, to me, 

24          as I mentioned, I'm charged with operating 


 1          the Department of Transportation, and the 

 2          unprecedented level of funding is going to go 

 3          a long way, more than it ever has before, to 

 4          not only maintain the system statewide but 

 5          enhance it.  So I'm very pleased with the 

 6          $20.1 billion budget for the Department of 

 7          Transportation.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 9                 I wanted to touch on the transit 

10          operating assistance.  There's an overall 

11          increase of nearly $224 million.  And the MTA 

12          would receive a $201 million increase while 

13          downstate non-MTA transit systems would 

14          receive a $17.4 million increase.  And both 

15          of those are attributable to an increase in 

16          downstate dedicated revenues.  

17                 Upstate transit systems would receive 

18          a $5 million increase which would be provided 

19          from the Dedicated Mass Transportation Trust 

20          Fund.  Unlike downstate, upstate transit 

21          dedicated revenues continue to decline.  And 

22          so my question is do you believe that there's 

23          a structural funding problem in regard to 

24          upstate transit?  And if so, what steps can 


 1          be taken to ensure that upstate transit 

 2          operators, including the systems in Syracuse, 

 3          Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, have more 

 4          reliable and predictable funding?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

 6          know, I would say for upstate transit there's 

 7          an increase this year.  It's going to be 

 8          providing a record for upstate, $194 million.  

 9          So that's a significant increase over last 

10          year.  It also includes $5 million for 

11          additional capital.  So in terms of upstate 

12          transit, I think that that is going to make 

13          people feel pretty good to see those types of 

14          increases, to help them continue the very 

15          important service that we need in upstate 

16          New York.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Will there be a 

18          multiyear capital program for upstate transit 

19          included in the five-year DOT capital plan?  

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The transit 

21          plan is included, incorporated into our 

22          five-year budget.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It will be.  Okay, 

24          thank you.


 1                 You touched on the BRIDGE-NY program 

 2          and the $1 billion PAVE-NY program for state 

 3          and local roads and bridges from new and 

 4          existing DOT funding.  So how will these -- I 

 5          think Assemblyman Gantt touched on this, but 

 6          how will these projects be selected?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay, so the 

 8          BRIDGE-NY program is competitive.  So there's 

 9          $500 million for local bridges and $500 

10          million for state-owned bridges.  The state 

11          owns the majority of the bridges, by the way.  

12          It will be based on not geographic, but it 

13          will be based on conditions, frequency use, 

14          how often a bridge may be used.  That scoring 

15          is being developed as we speak, it's not 

16          complete, but that's how that will work.  

17                 On the PAVE-NY, there's a formula that 

18          will disseminate those funds to local 

19          governments and to state-owned roads.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So it's strictly 

21          scoring by DOT.  Will there be any local 

22          input on these projects?  Will local 

23          governments be able to weigh in?  

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, on the 


 1          BRIDGE-NY they'll certainly want to compete 

 2          for those.  And any requisite information 

 3          that we would need, we'd ask of them.  But 

 4          the decision will rest with the DOT scoring 

 5          system.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 7                 And finally -- and I've got 2 minutes 

 8          and 58 seconds left.  But the Executive 

 9          proposes a $200 million upstate airport 

10          competition which would provide $40 million 

11          in funding to five eligible upstate airports.  

12          And I believe there are a total of 74 

13          airports.  

14                 And so I guess one of the questions 

15          might be, and is, when would this program be 

16          initiated?  And actually over how many years, 

17          also?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, it's 

19          going to be initiated right away.  We're 

20          developing the criteria now.  You're correct, 

21          there's 74 upstate airports who will develop 

22          plans and submit them to the Department of 

23          Transportation.  There will be five winners 

24          of $40 million each.  


 1                 But I would say this, too, as someone 

 2          who had an airport under my watch.  The plans 

 3          that folks develop, whether they win or not, 

 4          are useful plans going forward because 

 5          airports are constantly changing, the 

 6          economies of airports are changing.  So I 

 7          think the competition is a good thing.  

 8                 But there will be 74 airports who are 

 9          eligible to compete.  There will be five 

10          winners of that competition.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What happens to the 

12          remainder of the airports?  There will be 

13          funding available for ongoing maintenance 

14          issues, is that right?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  There's still the 

17          traditional, what is it, $6 million?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  There's the 

19          traditional -- yup, there's the traditional.  

20          We have -- $5 million will still be available 

21          for local match for the federal airport 

22          programs, et cetera.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What is the goal of 

24          the competition?  Are you looking to 


 1          regionalize and maybe eliminate some of the 

 2          airports that exist?  That's a question that 

 3          I'm concerned about because, as you know, 

 4          upstate is very vast and there are miles and 

 5          miles sometimes in between airports.  So 

 6          could you address that?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, there's 

 8          no desire to eliminate the airports at all.  

 9          As you point out, upstate New York is very 

10          vast and communities need their airports for 

11          services to people and industry.

12                 It's really designed to help continue 

13          to spur economic development opportunities in 

14          upstate New York.  You know, we live in a 

15          changing environment.  You know, the global 

16          economy is changing every day.  You know, 

17          next year or this year, rather, you'll see 

18          the opening of the Panama Canal.  That's 

19          going to dramatically change how goods are 

20          shipped and how they're received and how 

21          they're distributed throughout not only 

22          New York but other states as well.

23                 So I think, you know, the genius of 

24          the plan is to really help prepare people to 


 1          meet those challenges and to really help 

 2          people figure out how, on a regional basis, 

 3          they can utilize an important asset, which an 

 4          airport is, to help further their economic 

 5          mission.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 7          much.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And we have 

10          10 seconds to spare.  So thank you.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

12                 SENATOR FARLEY:   Thank you, Senator.

13                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman Pam 

14          Hunter and Assemblyman Skoufis.  

15                 Next to question, Assemblyman Cusick.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Thank you, 

17          Mr. Chairman.  

18                 Commissioner Driscoll, good to see 

19          you.  I'm going to be brief, but I'm going to 

20          ask about -- I know DOT has less jurisdiction 

21          in New York City than it does upstate, so I'm 

22          going to ask a little bit about New York City 

23          issues, particularly the Staten Island 

24          Expressway.  Could you give us an update on 


 1          where we are with the completion of the 

 2          Staten Island Expressway?  

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, I 

 4          believe the project is largely completed.  

 5          We've done a significant amount of work on 

 6          the BQE as well as the Gowanus expressway as 

 7          well.  The HOV on that particular lane, which 

 8          I happened to be on for the first time just a 

 9          few weeks ago, seems to be working quite 

10          well.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  Well, I 

12          wanted to ask about the HOV also.  There has 

13          been -- as someone who lives on Staten 

14          Island, and I know my colleagues from Staten 

15          Island will probably be asking similar 

16          questions, there has been major tie-ups and 

17          backups on the Staten Island Expressway.  

18          There have been folks who have speculated 

19          what the problems may be.  Folks do point at 

20          the HOV and also the connection with the 

21          Gowanus.  

22                 Is there any coordination going on as 

23          to figuring out what is causing some of these 

24          major tie-ups in the last, I would just -- I 


 1          would say in the last three weeks or a month?  

 2          Is there anything, any investigation going on 

 3          by State DOT on these?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

 5          know, I would say, to me, there's a lot of 

 6          people certainly that live in those areas and 

 7          in fact all of the boroughs, but in 

 8          particular Staten Island as well.  And if you 

 9          look at the traffic counts for the Gowanus 

10          and the BQE and you -- you know, you look at 

11          rush-hour traffic.  So from, you know, 7 to 

12          10 in the morning and 4 to 7 at night, the 

13          Gowanus is about 163,000 users and the BQE is 

14          about 150,000.

15                 So what I'm getting at is there's a 

16          lot of people on the road in a condensed 

17          period of time, and then accidents occur.  

18          And when accidents occur, that's where you're 

19          seeing these choke points that are creating 

20          huge time delays for people, because it does 

21          take time to have, you know, the scene 

22          addressed.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  When there's an 

24          accident, say in the HOV lane, how is that 


 1          dealt with?  Is that DOT, or does DOT 

 2          coordinate with NYPD?  And how quick, what is 

 3          the reaction time of cleaning that up so that 

 4          the HOV lane is usable?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Well, 

 6          I don't know the exact reaction time.  But 

 7          the City of New York is responsible for, you 

 8          know, having the police get on that highway 

 9          and having the appropriate trucks remove the 

10          vehicles that have been involved in an 

11          accident.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And when the 

13          Verrazano Bridge, which is run by the MTA, 

14          when it's closed for construction or anything 

15          like that, what is the lead time given to 

16          State DOT as to notice?  Because that's also 

17          another issue too, is the coordination of -- 

18          I know there's a lot of construction going on 

19          on the Verrazano, the Gowanus, the BQE.  

20          What's the lead time that you're giving a 

21          notice as to what is happening and you can 

22          inform, then, elected officials and then the 

23          public?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Well, 


 1          I think during the project development phase 

 2          DOT is notified.  But quite honestly, you 

 3          know, that's an exact area that I've been 

 4          reaching out on, to -- I'm fairly new in this 

 5          position in terms of understanding the 

 6          coordination between the agencies.  And 

 7          that's an effort that will continue.  I'm 

 8          still getting my arms around that.  

 9                 But I do know that in project 

10          development there's coordination between the 

11          agencies.  If there's road closures, we are 

12          made aware of it.  And, you know, I'm all 

13          about protocol, so I like to make sure that 

14          local officials like yourself certainly are 

15          aware in advance, you know, that there may be 

16          a closing or a detour.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And we do 

18          appreciate that.

19                 With the HOV lane, I know that many 

20          commuters, not only Staten Islanders but 

21          people in the region, in Jersey and other 

22          parts of New York City, they use the HOV lane 

23          to go from the Staten Island side of the 

24          Verrazano Bridge over into the Gowanus.  And 


 1          I know that recently in the last couple of 

 2          holidays you've kept those HOV lanes open in 

 3          the Gowanus.  Is that going to be a practice 

 4          that DOT will keep doing, keeping it open on 

 5          holidays?

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, the same 

 7          schedule.  And I believe that this was the 

 8          first holiday that that might have been open.  

 9          We want to make sure that that continues.  

10                 We're, by the way, working with the 

11          City DOT, you know, on this very issue.  So I 

12          think the HOV lane has thus far proved very 

13          successful.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And the HOV lane 

15          is vital for many commuters to get to work, 

16          particularly the folks who take the express 

17          buses into the City for work.

18                 With the HOV lane, is everything 

19          complete?  Is construction complete on the 

20          HOV lanes with the Staten Island Expressway?  

21          Are there any plans of making any additions 

22          in this phase or maybe you saw that there 

23          might be some changes needed somewhere?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  To my 


 1          knowledge, the work is substantially 

 2          completed.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  I know 

 4          that there are a few elected officials on 

 5          Staten Island that have made some suggestions 

 6          concerning HOV, and I just wanted to say that 

 7          we've been working with your regional offices 

 8          to talk about if there are some changes that 

 9          may be needed, some kinks in the armor 

10          that -- after everything is going.  And you 

11          have been very open to us and to the other 

12          elected officials in the region and out on 

13          Staten Island.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I'm happy 

15          to meet with you and anyone else on that as 

16          well so, you know, I can also better 

17          understand the challenges as well.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Yes.  Because the 

19          expressway, as I said, is vital not only to 

20          the residents of Staten Island but to the 

21          entire region for business and for getting to 

22          work on a daily basis.

23                 Thank you, Commissioner.  Thank you, 

24          Mr. Chairman.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 2                 Senator?  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes, next I'd like 

 4          to have Senator O'Mara ask questions.

 5                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you, 

 6          Chairwoman.  

 7                 Good morning, Commissioner, and thank 

 8          you for being here.  As Senator Young touched 

 9          on briefly in her comments, obviously parity 

10          is of primary importance to those of us 

11          representing upstate areas.  The parity, as 

12          I've seen it reported as recently as over 

13          this weekend, is -- and correct me if I'm 

14          wrong -- that it's been a $22 billion 

15          proposal for upstate and a $26 billion 

16          proposal for MTA.  Is that generally accurate 

17          figures?

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm honestly 

19          not sure what the MTA number is, but 

20          $22 billion is the Transportation budget.

21                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Well, there was an 

22          announcement earlier in the year between 

23          Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio about I 

24          believe it was a $8.38 billion figure for 


 1          MTA.  Do you know whether that 8.3 billion is 

 2          per year, and for how many years that 

 3          commitment is for?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't.  I 

 5          would suspect that that's a conversation 

 6          between the Legislature and the Executive.

 7                 SENATOR O'MARA:  With regards to CHIPS 

 8          funding, as I read the Executive Budget so 

 9          far there is no increase for CHIPS funding?

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's 

11          correct.  It's the same amount as last year.

12                 SENATOR O'MARA:  And with the other 

13          $22 billion for upstate roads and bridges, 

14          how much of that will be going towards local 

15          roads and bridges, as opposed to state?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, 

17          $500 million for each program.  Recall we 

18          have the BRIDGE-NY program for a billion 

19          dollars and the PAVE-NY program.  

20                 So I'd add that the PAVE-NY program 

21          will really be in addition to CHIPS funding, 

22          as an example, because it will provide 

23          across-the-board additional resources for 

24          local governments.


 1                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Is it the intention 

 2          to distribute those monies in the same kind 

 3          of formula fashion as CHIPS is distributed?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  There is a 

 5          formula, but I can't say to you with 

 6          certainty that it's the same.

 7                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Do we have that 

 8          available as far as where that spending is 

 9          going to be for upstate roads and bridges -- 

10          or local roads and bridges?

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Those have not 

12          been identified yet, but we will have that 

13          information.  We're poring through building 

14          the criteria now.  

15                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Now, with regards to 

16          the Dedicated Highway, Bridge and Trust Fund, 

17          it's my understanding that that brings in 

18          roughly 6-point-some billion dollars a year.  

19          Could you explain -- if that number is 

20          accurate; correct me if it's not -- how that 

21          money is broken out, where that's spent?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I can't, but 

23          I'd be happy to get you those answers.

24                 SENATOR O'MARA:  I would.  My 


 1          understanding is that the Dedicated Highway, 

 2          Bridge and Trust Fund, the intention when it 

 3          was set up was to be towards capital funding 

 4          for roads and bridges.  And it seems that a 

 5          lot of that goes towards regular maintenance 

 6          as opposed to capital projects.  And also a 

 7          great deal that seems to go to administration 

 8          as well rather than capital projects.  So 

 9          that's certainly a concern of mine in those 

10          resources not being used as they were 

11          originally intended that are collected 

12          through a variety of driver's fees and fees 

13          at the gas pumps as well.  

14                 So it's important to all of us in this 

15          state that money is spent the way it was 

16          intended as it's collected.  And I think it's 

17          been a long time since that hasn't been 

18          followed, and I would like your attention at 

19          that, and maybe an explanation as to the 

20          breakout of how those funds are currently 

21          being expended, proposed for this year.  

22                 On public transit in upstate, we seem 

23          to have a bit of a battle and dispute going 

24          on between the Department of Transportation 


 1          and the Department of Health as it comes to 

 2          non-emergency Medicaid transportation and the 

 3          use of public transit for those rides.  And 

 4          my rural counties that I represent are 

 5          struggling greatly with rides being assigned 

 6          to taxi companies rather than through the 

 7          public transit that is provided by the 

 8          counties or in some cases by the ARCs of the 

 9          county, to the point where one adjacent 

10          county to mine, Tioga County, has completely 

11          shut down their transit system because of 

12          loss of ridership because of non-emergency 

13          Medicaid transportation no longer being 

14          directed to public transit.  

15                 I believe the Department of 

16          Transportation has been supportive in my 

17          efforts and my colleagues' efforts to rectify 

18          that.  We're still having quite a battle with 

19          the Department of Health, who is assigning 

20          those rides.  Are you up to speed on that 

21          issue, and can you address what DOT is doing 

22          with regards to non-emergency Medicaid 

23          transportation, trying to get those rides on 

24          our public transit systems?


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So that's the 

 2          first I've heard of that.  But I will be 

 3          reaching out to the Department of Health as 

 4          well to understand what their thinking is 

 5          related to that.

 6                 SENATOR O'MARA:  At last year's budget 

 7          there was some $4 million that was allocated 

 8          towards rural public transit systems to make 

 9          up for this loss of ridership.  So there's an 

10          acknowledgment that it's having an impact.  

11          That was last year's budget, $4 million was 

12          appropriated.  None of it has been 

13          distributed to our rural transit systems, 

14          which are dying on the vine right now with 

15          the lack of ridership.  

16                 And I would encourage you to look into 

17          that, Commissioner, because as more and more 

18          of our rural counties shut down their transit 

19          systems, that's not going to help anybody, 

20          including those that are -- the Medicaid 

21          recipients that are getting these rides and 

22          the like in that regard.

23                 One final question with regards to the 

24          Tappan Zee Bridge.  Can you explain to us how 


 1          the state is going to pay for the Tappan Zee 

 2          Bridge?

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't have 

 4          the knowledge of that final plan.  Obviously 

 5          they received a TIFIA loan, that work 

 6          continues, great progress is being made.  The 

 7          final plan is not yet available.

 8                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Who is putting that 

 9          plan together?

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That would be 

11          a question for the Thruway Authority.

12                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you very much, 

13          Commissioner.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.  

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  We've 

16          been joined by Assemblywoman Simon.

17                 Next, Assemblyman Brennan.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Good morning, 

19          Commissioner.  I just wanted to discuss a 

20          little bit about the overall perspectives 

21          associated with the DOT capital plan.

22                 This is the second year of a five-year 

23          plan.  But as we had last year, there was not 

24          a project list submitted as of the time of 


 1          the budget.  Can you tell us when you will be 

 2          submitting a project list for the DOT capital 

 3          plan?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  My 

 5          understanding is we've lived up to that 

 6          commitment and we're working with the 

 7          Legislature on those projects.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Well, isn't it 

 9          more useful for the general public and the 

10          members of the Legislature to see in advance 

11          what the project list is proposed, so that 

12          there can be some kind of understanding and 

13          some kind of input into that?  

14                 I mean, usually the past couple of 

15          years we've had an MOU that has been 

16          negotiated, you know, in the last 48 hours of 

17          the budget and no list prior to that.  So I 

18          don't really think that's such a great 

19          process.  Can you possibly change the 

20          process?

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, yeah, I 

22          can't speak to the MOU, but I can tell you 

23          that the projects that were part of that are 

24          being honored.  Now, we're working with the 


 1          Legislature, who has the projects --

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Well, they were 

 3          appropriated in the -- I mean, they were 

 4          pursuant to the MOU, so they're on a list 

 5          pursuant to an appropriation.

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right, and 

 7          we --

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  So you're 

 9          supposed to do that anyway, right?  

10                 THE SPEAKER:  And we are honoring that 

11          commitment.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Okay.  But as 

13          far as you know, there's not going to be a 

14          public list anytime in the near future other 

15          than what we see at the time of adoption?

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, I wouldn't 

17          speculate on that.  

18                 I would say that with regard to the 

19          last project list, as I said, we've provided 

20          that to the Legislature, and we are living 

21          that commitment.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Okay, I 

23          understand that.

24                 And as far as a letting level is 


 1          concerned, do you publish a letting level for 

 2          the next three years sometime in the near 

 3          future?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry, did 

 5          you say letting --

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  A letting level.  

 7          How much actually goes out the door and 

 8          pursuant to a contract.

 9                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, sure.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  You will be -- 

11          when will you be publishing that?  

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  When we have 

13          the project list fully developed from the 

14          Legislature.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  At the same time 

16          as the MOU as of the practice beforehand?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Again, I can't 

18          speak to what the practice was previously.  

19          As I mentioned, the MOU that ultimately was 

20          not signed yet still included projects, we 

21          are honoring those commitments and we are 

22          working with the Legislature on those 

23          projects.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Okay.  So it's 


 1          good to see an increase in the five-year 

 2          capital budget.  You mentioned or in the 

 3          Executive Budget it shows an increase of 

 4          $3.8 billion between state and federal funds.  

 5          How much -- how is that divided between state 

 6          and federal?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, so for 

 8          this year, it's 1.8 billion, so there will be 

 9          1.1 billion in state funds and 700 million in 

10          federal.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  That is the 

12          increase?  

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  And what is the 

15          source of the additional state funds?  What 

16          is the source of funds for that $1.1 billion.

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  State funding.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Is it cash from 

19          the General Fund?  Is it borrowing --

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That would be 

21          a question for the Department of Budget, but 

22          I'd be happy to get you the answer as well.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  It's not 

24          included in your budget how it will be 


 1          financed?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  They're state 

 3          funds.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRENNAN:  Okay.  No more 

 5          questions.  Thank you.

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 8                 Senator?

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Krueger.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Senator Marty Dilan.

11                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you very much, 

12          Madam Chairperson.

13                 Good morning, Commissioner.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

15                 SENATOR DILAN:  I have the same 

16          concerns regarding the project list and MOU.  

17          Despite the fact that we may be in the second 

18          year of a five-year plan, we constantly get 

19          the same responses and no project list and no 

20          MOU, and then we're expected to vote blindly 

21          on these projects.  So I just wanted to note 

22          that for the record.

23                 But I want to know how did DOT's 

24          overtime and consulting costs change during 


 1          the 2010-2014 capital plan, relative to its 

 2          projections?  How have overtime and 

 3          consulting expenses changed since the passage 

 4          of design/build?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So as you're 

 6          aware, the typical breakdown has been about 

 7          50/50 in house versus consultants.  That has 

 8          not changed.

 9                 In terms of the dollar amount on a 

10          change, I don't believe that there's been a 

11          change.  We've been pretty consistent, 

12          historically, on those costs.

13                 SENATOR DILAN:  Can you give us a 

14          status report on the implementation of 

15          design/build legislation since it passed in 

16          2011 and what percentage of DOT's capital 

17          programs use design/build or best value 

18          procurement, and can you explain how 

19          design/build generated the fiscal time and 

20          savings projections that were cited and how 

21          design/build procurements are audited by your 

22          department?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  I 

24          don't think I can give you a percentage of 


 1          that.  I can tell you that the design/build 

 2          process has awarded 23 contracts totaling 

 3          about $1.1 billion.

 4                 The reality is design/build is really 

 5          a faster process to get projects done.  And, 

 6          you know, there's an old saying time is 

 7          money.  So it's been very successful.  The 

 8          K Bridge in the City is a great example of a 

 9          design/build project.  It's moving along 

10          wonderfully.  But design/build has been very 

11          successful, and I would suggest respectfully 

12          to this body that making that a permanent 

13          option for the Department of Transportation 

14          would be welcome.

15                 SENATOR DILAN:  With respect to the 

16          Kosciuszko Bridge, can you give us the status 

17          of that?  And that also is a design/build 

18          project, so --

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  It is.  It is.  

20          And I had the good fortune of being there 

21          about a month ago to take a look at that.  

22          It's on time, it's on budget, is my 

23          understanding.  And as you can see, progress 

24          is being made.  So it is on time, the 


 1          progress is working well, the partnership 

 2          with the design/build firms is working 

 3          wonderfully.  And I think it's a great 

 4          example, particularly in a very kind of 

 5          condensed area, of why design/build can make 

 6          good sense when time so important.

 7                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  I want to move 

 8          to the $200 million for upstate airport 

 9          revitalization.  And there is a lot of talk 

10          about parity.  Is there any expected funds 

11          that will go to New York City airports?  And 

12          are you involved in the LaGuardia Airport 

13          revitalization?

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So on the 

15          LaGuardia Airport we are helping coordinate, 

16          with the Port Authority, access on the Grand 

17          Central Parkway for construction activity at 

18          the airport.  That's the extent of our 

19          involvement.  

20                 You know, with respect to the upstate 

21          airport initiative that the Governor put 

22          forth, it is for the 74 airports that are 

23          upstate.  And I think, you know, the 

24          Governor's efforts clearly, with LaGuardia as 


 1          an example, really demonstrate the need to 

 2          upgrade these facilities, not only in the 

 3          city area but certainly in upstate.

 4                 As I mentioned, it's a competitive 

 5          program.  There will be five winners out of 

 6          74 who would compete.  But again, I want to 

 7          say that I think it's a healthy exercise for 

 8          localities or airport operators to develop 

 9          their plans, because it helps them think 

10          long-term.  So I think it's a great program.  

11          It is focused on upstate New York and not the 

12          City, sir.

13                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  Years back 

14          there was a lot of talk with respect to 

15          high-speed rail.  And during that time there 

16          were federal funds that were given to 

17          New York State initially, and I believe that 

18          there was another state, I believe it was 

19          Florida, who refused their funds, and that 

20          eventually was awarded to New York State.  

21                 Can you tell us what progress has been 

22          made with respect to high-speed rail in 

23          New York?  

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  Sure.  


 1          We're making progress.  And, you know, this 

 2          is a really long-term effort that really must 

 3          rely on the federal government as well as a 

 4          partner.  

 5                 But in the Rensselaer Station, the 

 6          fourth track is being added.  In Schenectady, 

 7          the double track is being constructed.  

 8          Historically for those of us that live west 

 9          of Albany, Schenectady has been somewhat of a 

10          choke point in terms of time.  That is 

11          getting addressed.

12                 But going forward, there's lots of 

13          work and signalization and other areas that 

14          will need to continue, and we'll need to work 

15          very closely with our partner in the federal 

16          government to help support those efforts.

17                 SENATOR DILAN:  But how are those 

18          federal funds being spent or utilized?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  As I just 

20          mentioned, there's two concrete examples, in 

21          Rensselaer adding the fourth track, which 

22          moves traffic flows over because there's this 

23          tension between cargo and passenger.  And the 

24          same in Schenectady where, you know, 


 1          historically a train could sit, be parked to 

 2          the side for up to 45 minutes.  

 3                 You know, my personal opinion is on 

 4          high-speed rail it's really not the speed 

 5          that the trains can travel at.  Because right 

 6          now trains can travel up to a hundred miles 

 7          an hour in certain areas.  But they make a 

 8          lot of stops.  There's these two areas that I 

 9          mentioned that really slow the system down.  

10          There's signalization challenges that need to 

11          be upgraded as well.  And we have a strong 

12          commitment to work with our federal partner 

13          to continue to fund those efforts going 

14          forward.

15                 We're also doing new stations.  We 

16          will be doing it in Schenectady.  We are 

17          under construction in Rochester modernizing 

18          that facility.  So work is progressing.

19                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  And my final 

20          question is with respect to MWBEs.  If you 

21          can give us your dollar value in past capital 

22          program years.  And what do you expect for 

23          the new five-year capital plan with that 

24          respect?


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, the 

 2          Governor clearly has set the bar very high 

 3          for MWBE.  I think we lead the nation, you 

 4          know, in those goals.  And I think that's an 

 5          admirable thing to do, by the way.

 6                 DOT has worked very hard to make sure 

 7          that we are utilizing the training that we 

 8          can in each of our regions.  I don't view 

 9          this as a one size fits all, because I think 

10          that there's different challenges in 

11          different parts of the state.  But since I've 

12          been in, we have been communicating with our 

13          folks in the regions about outreach, getting 

14          out there helping to educate and train 

15          MWBE/DBEs in terms of the opportunities that 

16          exist with the Department of Transportation.

17                 And I think our numbers are pretty 

18          healthy.

19                 SENATOR DILAN:  So do you have an 

20          actual dollar value, or you will get back to 

21          us with that?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't have a 

23          dollar value, but we're about 17 percent on 

24          WBE and when it's all in with DBE, we're 


 1          about 26 percent.  So we're doing very well, 

 2          but that's not good enough.  We need to 

 3          continue to do more outreach, training 

 4          programs for our industry partners across the 

 5          State of New York in every region.

 6                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you very much, 

 7          Commissioner.  

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I'm 

 9          committed to that.

10                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.  

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you. 

12                 Assemblyman Kaminsky.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Before that, 

14          Chairman, I'd like to say that Senator Patty 

15          Ritchie has joined us.

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And also Senator 

17          Marc Panepinto.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Good morning, 

19          Commissioner.  How are you?  I just want to 

20          ask you a few questions about some 

21          transportation projects on southern 

22          Long Island, if that's okay.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  So the first 


 1          involves State Route 878.  And I'm sure you 

 2          have a lot -- it's a big state and a lot of 

 3          roads to deal with.  878 connects the Five 

 4          Towns area and a good part of the Long Beach 

 5          Barrier Island with Queens, JFK Airport and 

 6          the rest of New York City.  

 7                 And the number-one complaint I guess 

 8          I've received in my term so far involves the 

 9          congestion and the flooding on Route 878.  A 

10          lot of people spend a lot of time either 

11          repairing their cars after driving on it, 

12          stuck in traffic or stuck in floods.

13                 And the first question I had for you 

14          before I get into the road itself is about 

15          state priority roads.  How do you go about 

16          determining what road gets priority status 

17          and what doesn't?  And then I'll ask 

18          specifically about this one.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

20          know, I think we do a historical overview and 

21          look at where roads have been impacted by 

22          extreme events such as the one that you're 

23          mentioning, you know, with flooding.  This 

24          might be an opportunity with the program I 


 1          outlined early on, which was the Extreme 

 2          Weather Program that the Governor is 

 3          promoting in this budget as well.  

 4                 So we try to do a thoughtful analysis 

 5          of where these particular roadways are that 

 6          may not just be impacted by extreme weather 

 7          events -- flooding, in the example that you 

 8          cited -- but also in road conditions, traffic 

 9          counts, et cetera.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Sure.  And 

11          after Hurricane Sandy, the fact of 878 being 

12          a key evacuation route was really highlighted 

13          for people, and it's scary.  

14                 So I brought a photo I blew up just to 

15          show you what happens on a day where there's 

16          just regular rain.  This wasn't a storm, 

17          there was no -- you would have heard on the 

18          news "Rain tomorrow."  And this is what you 

19          get on a regular rainy afternoon.  And you 

20          can obviously see that this is to the 

21          consternation of a lot of taxpayers who don't 

22          understand why this has been this way for so 

23          long.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Is 


 1          that ponding on the left-hand side?

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Yes.  

 3                 So what we have as a result, 

 4          unfortunately, is this is a symbol for a lot 

 5          of people beyond their driving trouble, it's 

 6          a symbol of government failure.  And I think 

 7          a lot of that has to do with the fact that 

 8          you have two different regions of DOT 

 9          intersecting right there between Nassau or 

10          Long Island and the City.  You have the 

11          county having a part of the roadway that kind 

12          of is right around there too, and so it's 

13          difficult.  

14                 What I was able to unearth was DOT did 

15          a study on congestion in the area, and 

16          flooding, a few years ago, just in I believe 

17          2011 or 2012.  And I've worked with some of 

18          your regional directors on it.  But it's kind 

19          of gotten buried in the attic, so to speak, 

20          and I would appreciate if you could look at 

21          it and give it some attention.  

22                 For a relatively modest sum, expanding 

23          a lane in one direction or the other, I think 

24          some great improvements could be made.  And I 


 1          think because it's an evacuation route and 

 2          because it's gotten inattention for so long, 

 3          making the flooding and the congestion a 

 4          priority would be much appreciated by a lot 

 5          of Long Islanders.

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.  And did 

 7          you say that was 2012 you thought that study 

 8          was?

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Yeah.  I have 

10          the study; I could pass it on to your staff 

11          if you like.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.  Yeah, 

13          we'll definitely take a look and I'll get 

14          back to you.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Okay, thank 

16          you.  The second thing is I'm sure you 

17          appreciate when politicians ask for funds for 

18          a program and then, when you're doing the 

19          program, complain about the chaos it causes 

20          in the area.  I'll try not to do that.  

21                 You are investing money to repair the 

22          Loop Parkway drawbridge, which is the eastern 

23          end of the Barrier Island up.  And it's a 

24          needed repair, and that's appreciated.  But 


 1          my understanding is that it will be shut down 

 2          for entire weekends in the upcoming year.  

 3          And I'd just ask that you pay attention to 

 4          that, to try to minimize the impact it will 

 5          cause.  There will be thousands of people in 

 6          my area who will have to take a tremendous 

 7          detour just to get off the island on certain 

 8          weekends, so making sure we minimize the 

 9          impact of that is appreciated.  But I do 

10          appreciate you modernizing our bridges, and I 

11          thank you for that.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  And I 

13          appreciate that.  And look, I mean, we're 

14          going to have to shut that down for the 

15          weekend to get the work done that's got to be 

16          done; there's going to be some disruption.  

17          But what we will make sure is that we are 

18          giving as much advance notice, you know, to 

19          folks so they know where the proper ways will 

20          be to avoid that closure during the time of 

21          construction.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Okay.  And, 

23          look, I'm not an engineer, but if you could 

24          just make sure that those closures are 


 1          absolutely necessary, that would be 

 2          appreciated as well.

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay, sure.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  And lastly, I 

 5          drove up to Albany this morning and heard 

 6          apocalyptic weather reports about coastal 

 7          flooding this weekend.  And I actually, after 

 8          having lived through Irene and Sandy, take 

 9          that seriously.  So I'd just ask that you 

10          spend some time this week considering how 

11          that will impact coastal areas in our region 

12          and help us be prepared in case the flooding 

13          is more serious than we'd like.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  And 

15          just so everybody knows, we've been meeting, 

16          they're meeting right now on it, we've been 

17          in discussions since yesterday with New York 

18          Responds, DHSES, and other emergency service 

19          providers, coordinating efforts.  We're 

20          tracking the storm to see what happens.  Just 

21          know that we have -- all of our salt sheds 

22          are fully up, they're full on Long Island.  

23          We have plenty of equipment and manpower, and 

24          we're prepared to respond.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Thank you, and 

 2          I appreciate that.  

 3                 The Governor's Office of Storm 

 4          Recovery has worked with our communities to 

 5          come up with coastal mitigation projects, 

 6          sometimes very involved projects that cost a 

 7          lot of money.  And we are very excited for 

 8          that, but they're not there yet.  And 

 9          obviously that's not your department.  But 

10          the point is we almost, in many cases, are no 

11          better prepared for flooding than we were the 

12          day before Sandy.  So, you know, please keep 

13          that in mind in making your preparations.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I will.  

15          And I have some familiarity with that from my 

16          previous career, and you're correct, there's 

17          been a lot of -- with the erosion of the 

18          coastal sea grasses in particular, that acted 

19          as kind of a protective barrier.  So I know 

20          the requisite agencies, DEC, EFC and others, 

21          are working with EPA to secure funding to 

22          really make sure that those protection 

23          barriers are in place.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN KAMINSKY:  Okay, thank 


 1          you.  I look forward to working with you on 

 2          these projects.  Take care.

 3                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 6                 Next we'll hear from Senator Michael 

 7          Ranzenhofer.

 8                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Good morning.  

 9          Thank you, Commissioner.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

11                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  I just want to 

12          ask you about one of the comments that you 

13          had made earlier when Senator Young asked you 

14          about parity and you were talking about your 

15          budget and you said words to the effect that 

16          you are given a budget to administer in the 

17          Department of Transportation and parity, you 

18          know, that's not your issue.

19                 It is my issue.  And it is an issue 

20          for a number of people, my colleagues 

21          especially upstate, who are very concerned 

22          about parity because if the money is not 

23          flowing to our region, then the roads and 

24          bridges are not being adequately addressed.  


 1          I just want to tell you that that is a 

 2          concern of mine.  

 3                 And one of the things that you've 

 4          mentioned is right now you're readdressing 

 5          the formula.  And several years ago the 

 6          formula was recalculated to the advantage of 

 7          some areas and then to the disadvantage of 

 8          other areas.  My area in particular, the 

 9          Western New York region, did not benefit by 

10          the recalculation of the formula.

11                 So if you're now revising the formula 

12          again, this will be the third reiteration of 

13          this formula for distributing funds.  And I 

14          wanted to ask you when is the formula going 

15          to be ready and why is the formula being 

16          changed again?  Because it seemed like when 

17          you made the second change, it was more 

18          subjective as opposed to just number of lane 

19          miles, as it had been previously for many, 

20          many years.  

21                 So what's the rational behind the 

22          readjustment of the formula?  Because that 

23          ties into the parity question, which I 

24          believe my area in Western New York was 


 1          adversely affected.  So if you can tell me 

 2          when it's going to be done and why it's going 

 3          to be done and what the new formula's going 

 4          to be and how it's different from the second 

 5          version.

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So we're not 

 7          changing previous formulas.  I talked about 

 8          the development of a formula for the new 

 9          PAVE-NY program.  And that really will help 

10          support dollars that localities are 

11          receiving, you know, otherwise through CHIPS.  

12          So it will be in addition to.  

13                 So we are creating a formula for the 

14          distribution of those funds.  When it will be 

15          done, you know, I can't tell you with 

16          certainty.  I would hope that it would be 

17          done by late spring.  But we are working on 

18          that now.  

19                 You know, I'm hesitant to give you a 

20          time frame because, candidly, I don't know 

21          what it is and I don't want to be wrong.  But 

22          we are working on a new formula for the 

23          distribution of those dollars for the PAVE-NY 

24          program.


 1                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Okay.  Are you 

 2          planning on getting those dollars out the 

 3          door this year?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sure that 

 5          the locals would love us to do that.  And I 

 6          recognize, having been in that position as 

 7          well, how important that is.  So when we're 

 8          ready to go, we'll want to make those 

 9          disbursements as soon as we can.

10                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Okay.  Because 

11          one of the things that we deal with just on a 

12          day-to-day basis -- and this was brought up 

13          earlier as well in terms of your letting 

14          process and then your award process.  I mean, 

15          all too often my experience is, you know, 

16          you'll be soliciting bids in February and 

17          March and April and then you get backed up 

18          because of the construction season and then 

19          the project gets done the following year.  

20                 The concern I have for your PAVE-NY 

21          and BRIDGE-NY program is that if you're not 

22          going to have your formulas in place until 

23          the late spring, how can you possibly then do 

24          the letting process, award the contracts -- 


 1          with all the time delays that are built in -- 

 2          and actually get the work done this year?  So 

 3          that's my concern, is that we can do the work 

 4          this year.  

 5                 So how would we be able to actually 

 6          get the projects out the door, get the men 

 7          and women working, get the roads paved this 

 8          year with that timetable that you've alluded 

 9          to?

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  And 

11          so, I mean, you know, you're correct to point 

12          that out.  That's a discussion that I had 

13          soon upon my arrival at the department, was 

14          the coordination and the timing of the 

15          lettings and how the construction efforts 

16          roll out, absent from the funding piece.  

17                 We have a short window for 

18          construction in New York State, let's face 

19          it.  It's about five months, six months.  

20          This year was a little better because we've 

21          so far -- knock on wood -- had a pretty fair 

22          and mild winter.

23                 But having said that, you know, it's 

24          really a timing issue and a coordination 


 1          issue.  So as we develop this formula and as 

 2          we understand where projects lie, some 

 3          projects may not be just a one-year summer 

 4          project as well.  They're all different.

 5                 But as best that we can coordinate 

 6          those, we want to do that for efficiencies on 

 7          the local level and, candidly, for 

 8          efficiencies from our end as well.  Because 

 9          if we have dollars available to support local 

10          efforts, we want to get those out the door.

11                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Okay.  Because 

12          one of the comments that you also made 

13          earlier, and I quote, you said "Time is 

14          money."  And obviously if the projects are 

15          delayed, they're going to be more costly.  If 

16          they're delayed into the next construction 

17          season, the costs are going to go up more 

18          than anybody wants to do.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

20                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  So what can you 

21          say to assure us that, you know, there's 

22          going to be some sort of change within the 

23          department to get these projects done more 

24          quickly?  


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I mean, 

 2          look, I'm not going make a promise about 

 3          something that might happen in the weather to 

 4          delay a project or some unforeseen event.

 5                 You know, many times in construction 

 6          in particular, sometimes you find things you 

 7          never planned on.  So there's a list of 

 8          variables that can happen during a 

 9          construction project that might delay it.  

10          Not in all cases; it could happen.  But to 

11          the best of our ability, we are looking at 

12          how we can better coordinate the release of 

13          funds, getting projects let so that they're 

14          coordinated so that without a hiccup they can 

15          be done in a timely manner.

16                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Okay, let me 

17          just switch gears a moment to public transit 

18          and the disparity between the upstate and the 

19          downstate area.  

20                 We have transit systems in our area 

21          that, you know, have had capital projects on 

22          the back burner for years.  One in 

23          particular, an escalator which transports 

24          people up and down, which has been 


 1          inoperable.  And it just took forever to get 

 2          it fixed.  You have systems that want to 

 3          expand bus service systems, you have systems 

 4          that want to purchase new buses, and, you 

 5          know, at least what I view as a rather meager 

 6          increase in funding for upstate public 

 7          transit.  I just don't know how you can ask 

 8          them, you know, to just continue to put these 

 9          projects on hold, especially after your 

10          comment that time is money.  You know, the 

11          longer you wait, the more expensive the buses 

12          cost.  The longer you wait, the more 

13          expensive the cost to fix the elevator.

14                 You know, what assurances do we have 

15          that this money is actually going to be there 

16          that these transit systems can use?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, let me 

18          say that about two months ago I took the time 

19          to meet with all the transit operators to 

20          hear firsthand from them.  And while some may 

21          have some capital needs, largely it was 

22          operational.

23                 But I've listened to them.  And part 

24          and parcel, that's why we want to ensure that 


 1          when, you know, funds -- and hopefully as the 

 2          budget is passed, these additional 

 3          resources are made available, that we can get 

 4          to those transit operators who need those 

 5          operating funds.  

 6                 There is an additional $5 million put 

 7          in for capital funds.  We'll go through that 

 8          assessment.  I won't speak to it because I 

 9          haven't done it.  But we will be going 

10          through that assessment as well to identify 

11          the capital needs and how those can be 

12          distributed upon need.

13                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Let me just 

14          touch on two other areas.  

15                 You mentioned this airport 

16          competition, there are going to be five 

17          awards and I think 79 or 84 --

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  74.

19                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  -- 74 that are 

20          going to compete.  

21                 One of the things I just want to ask 

22          you is, you know, when you ask an airport to 

23          come up with some sort of plan, I mean, they 

24          have to spend a lot of money in terms of 


 1          architects, engineers.  It costs tens, 

 2          hundreds of thousands of dollars for these 

 3          type of plans.  So while they're going to be 

 4          helpful -- but if you only have, you know, 

 5          maybe five or 6 percent of the airports 

 6          receiving money, where is the incentive for 

 7          an airport, who has very limited funds right 

 8          now, to expend hundreds of thousands of 

 9          dollars for design projects if they have a 

10          very low chance of receiving any funds?  

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  Well, 

12          that's assuming they all have to spend that 

13          money.  Because they might not all have to.

14                 If they have an aggressive build-out 

15          program, they may need to bring in 

16          contractors to help fulfill that design 

17          project, as an example.  Other airports may 

18          simply need a jet bridge, which is the piece 

19          of equipment that you walk out the door to 

20          that connects to the airplane itself.  

21                 Their needs are different.  For people 

22          who are looking to do a more aggressive 

23          build-out of an airport, they would likely 

24          utilize outside consultants.  But for some of 


 1          the smaller airports that frankly are 

 2          throughout New York State, their needs may 

 3          not be the same.  

 4                 So I can't speak intelligently to 

 5          whether or not they all spend a hundred 

 6          thousand dollars or not.  My guess is, based 

 7          on past experience, that's not completely 

 8          true.  But I would acknowledge that there are 

 9          airports that likely will have development 

10          plans or have those already in their back 

11          pocket.

12                 You know, many airports -- federal 

13          funding is the large driver for airports 

14          across New York State and the country.  We 

15          get the money from the feds.  And so most 

16          airports have plans already developed.  They 

17          may have to upgrade them, they may have to 

18          make some adjustments, but by and large most 

19          airports do have plans on the table.

20                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Okay, let me 

21          just close with one question.  You talked 

22          about the MWBE program.  In some areas of the 

23          state, that works great.  In other areas, 

24          there's a lot of time spent getting waivers 


 1          because it's just not being met.  And back to 

 2          your "time is money," it just takes forever 

 3          to get this waiver. 

 4                 So I'm wondering what your department 

 5          can do to speed up that process so projects 

 6          can be done more quickly if that goal, 

 7          although lofty, is not able to be met in a 

 8          community.  

 9                 And I'll stop asking questions and 

10          just listen to your answer.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.  Well, 

12          thank you.  That's a good question.

13                 So we have met with ESD, who is really 

14          the program overseer, if you will, on the 

15          waiver issue and others.  And again, you 

16          know, it's really about education and 

17          outreach.  

18                 But from the state's perspective, it's 

19          also making sure that localities or people 

20          who are looking to do work are casting a wide 

21          net.  That is, they're not just perhaps 

22          advertising in the town tribune, but they are 

23          casting a wider net to seek out MWBE 

24          opportunities beyond the county line, if you 


 1          will.

 2                 So again, I think a lot of it is 

 3          educational that we need to continue to do.  

 4          We are also working with ESD to better 

 5          understand their position on waivers and what 

 6          additional information may be necessary.  

 7          Because you're correct, sometimes the waiver 

 8          requests take long.  And of course we don't 

 9          want that as well.

10                 SENATOR RANZENHOFER:  Thank you, 

11          Commissioner.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

13          sir.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you, Senator.

15                 Assemblyman McDonough.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Thank you, 

17          Chairman.  

18                 Welcome, Commissioner.  Good morning.  

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  One of my 

21          concerns is the transit capital funding, but 

22          I know this is going to be a subject that we 

23          have to discuss in our budget negotiations, 

24          that downstate capital funding seems to be 


 1          zero in the Executive Budget proposal.  

 2          Upstate is doing $20 million.  

 3                 Anyway, but I have another local 

 4          question, and I'll be very brief.  In Nassau 

 5          County, the Southern State Parkway.  I don't 

 6          know if you've been on it, but there's a 

 7          section there that over the past several 

 8          years has gotten the moniker as "Blood Alley" 

 9          because there's a lot of curves and it's high 

10          speed, of course.  

11                 And I'm wondering -- I don't think we 

12          can rebuild the Southern State Parkway, 

13          obviously.  But if you would seriously 

14          address that, because I'm getting lots of -- 

15          over several years, lots of times that people 

16          have called and complained about it.  And 

17          there are severe accidents on there, high 

18          speed at turns.  I don't know what we can do 

19          about lowering the -- we can't lower the 

20          speed limit, usually, on a parkway.  But I 

21          would appreciate if you would look into it, 

22          the Southern State Parkway, mostly in western 

23          Nassau County.  And I'll get back to you with 

24          the actual locations and all of that.  But if 


 1          you'd look into it.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay, I will.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  And as I say, 

 4          it's referred to as Blood Alley.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  What, I'm 

 6          sorry?

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Blood Alley, 

 8          because there's many deaths there.  

 9                 So if you could look into that, I'd 

10          appreciate it.  And let me know what's -- if 

11          anything can be done to remediate or develop 

12          something with that.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Okay?

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN McDONOUGH:  Thank you very 

17          much.  

18                 And, Chairman, I won't use any more of 

19          your time.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

22          much.  

23                 Next we have Senator Kennedy.

24                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you, 


 1          Chairwoman.  

 2                 Thank you, Commissioner.  It's great 

 3          to see you.  And let me just start by 

 4          thanking you and your office for the level of 

 5          professionalism and outreach communication 

 6          that you've demonstrated over the course of 

 7          the last several months.  It's been a 

 8          pleasure to work you, and it's great to see 

 9          an upstater that recognizes the needs of our 

10          community.  And I want to touch on some of 

11          these needs that are contained and some 

12          concerns that I have with the budget.

13                 You know, again, as my colleagues have 

14          already pointed out the issue of parity, I 

15          have to bring it up, I'm compelled because 

16          it's something that we're hearing with great 

17          significance, not only the safety of our 

18          roads and bridges and those that are 

19          utilizing these roads and bridges every 

20          single day in their commutes, but also the 

21          workforce, the businesses, and the jobs that 

22          are created and ensuring that there is that 

23          parity, there is that level playing field.  

24                 There is a lot of talk of parity, and 


 1          we want to see it through into actuality, 

 2          into reality.  So we're going to be watching 

 3          intently how this unfolds over the course of 

 4          the next couple of months.  But certainly we 

 5          are on the same page when it comes to 

 6          ensuring that our region -- which, quite 

 7          frankly, in years past has been neglected.  

 8          And as an upstater yourself, a former mayor 

 9          of Syracuse, you get it.  So certainly that's 

10          something that is a major concern of ours.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

12                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Another point that 

13          I'd like to make in regard to public transit, 

14          the operating assistance.  Again, my 

15          colleagues have touched on this already.  

16          But, you know, my district in particular is 

17          impacted with great significance.  I 

18          represent the City of Buffalo, the City of 

19          Lackawanna, the Town of Cheektowaga.  Buffalo 

20          Niagara International Airport is in my 

21          district.  There is the public transit system 

22          wholly contained within my district, the 

23          light rail.  Our community is the only 

24          community in upstate New York with a light 


 1          rail transit system.

 2                 And so, you know, it seems like year 

 3          after year -- and I know this is your first 

 4          budget hearing, but it's my sixth.  And year 

 5          after year we come to the table and we talk 

 6          about ensuring that Western New York and in 

 7          particular the NFTA, because of the fact that 

 8          it's the only upstate system with a light 

 9          rail component, is funded to the level that 

10          it needs to be.  And quite frankly, I believe 

11          that the formula needs to be adjusted.  And 

12          we've talked about redoing the formula in 

13          various areas.  This is one area that I think 

14          needs to be addressed.  And I'd like you to 

15          touch on that, if you could, please.

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  Well, 

17          I'm pleased to report that the Governor has 

18          increased upstate transit funding.  So as I 

19          mentioned earlier, everyone will see an 

20          increase in that.

21                 You know, as we go through the 

22          long-term needs of a system, you know, 

23          there's two sides of that.  Right?  There's 

24          the capital side that that system may need, 


 1          and then there's the operational side as 

 2          well.

 3                 And I know, you know, that as I 

 4          mentioned meeting earlier with many of the 

 5          transit operators across the state, they're 

 6          very hardworking.  They provide a critically 

 7          important service.  And I say that as a 

 8          former mayor, it's so critically important to 

 9          my city, and still is, and is to many of your 

10          districts as well.  And so they also 

11          understand, you know, the need for 

12          modernization as well.

13                 So I can say to you that there is an 

14          increase in this budget, that I'm going to be 

15          working very hard with them to better 

16          understand and work cooperatively with them 

17          going forward to see how we can help them 

18          continue to maintain and expand their 

19          service.

20                 It appears that in Buffalo, the region 

21          in Buffalo and in Albany, kind of the 

22          bookends of the state, their ridership is up.  

23          It's not that in the middle of the state.  

24          And so there's differences throughout, of 


 1          course, the systems.  They have different 

 2          needs.  Some are in more suburban or urban 

 3          areas, and others are in more rural areas.

 4                 So there is no one easy, quick answer.  

 5          But the importance of mass transit in 

 6          particular to upstate is critically important 

 7          for those who need it most and, in 

 8          particular, how it supports economic 

 9          development opportunities.  We know that it's 

10          a part of the REDC transportation piece.  The 

11          REDC process, smartly, you know, has made 

12          sure that they're working closely in terms of 

13          site selection for specific reuse.  When you 

14          talk about how you want to develop a 

15          particular opportunity, that is coordinated 

16          with the local transit operators as well.  

17                 So clearly it's an important issue.  

18          I'm very personally aware of that.  And I'll 

19          be working hard with them going forward.

20                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Well, wouldn't it 

21          make sense, Commissioner, to include the 

22          light rail into this formula as we move 

23          forward, to ensure that there is equity with 

24          the NFTA and other areas of upstate?  


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I would 

 2          say to that -- because I don't know the 

 3          answer -- I'd like to understand what their 

 4          revenues are versus their operating expenses 

 5          versus their capital costs, and look at those 

 6          on kind of a dashboard, if you will, in 

 7          comparison with the others so I could better 

 8          make an informed decision.

 9                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Okay.  Thank you.  

10                 I want to talk a little bit about the 

11          transit capital needs, the non-MTA, the 

12          $20 million.  Can you talk a little bit about 

13          the formula and how it's going to help 

14          systems like the NFTA make more accurate 

15          long-term plans moving forward?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think, 

17          without being redundant, as I just described, 

18          there's additional dollars available for 

19          upstate transit.  I think -- I know that 

20          that's going to go a long way in helping them 

21          in particular with their operating expenses.  

22                 You know, they're very sophisticated, 

23          as you know, because every turn in the wheel 

24          costs money.  And so when they look at their 


 1          route coverage, where they want to send their 

 2          vehicles, those are sometimes difficult 

 3          choices that they need to make as well.  

 4                 So I can't make a promise, and I 

 5          won't.  But what I will say is going forward 

 6          I intend, as I've told the group, to stay 

 7          close with them and have a good understanding 

 8          and be an advocate for them as we develop 

 9          long-term funding plans.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you.

11                 And again, from my perspective -- and 

12          I know we're well into the game here.  But, 

13          you know, for fear of being redundant, to 

14          touch on what some of my other colleagues 

15          have mentioned, that we're hearing this from 

16          the industry leaders, of the timing.  And I 

17          know, again, you've touched on this already.  

18          Is there a way -- look, we can't predict the 

19          weather.  We know that.  You've mentioned 

20          that.  But, you know, we can understand 

21          weather patterns and the timeline which we 

22          have to deal with.

23                 What can we do, what if anything can 

24          we do to move these projects along?  The 


 1          industry leaders are saying, you know, that 

 2          money is being held up, that projects are 

 3          being held up, that jobs are being held up 

 4          because of the timing to which these 

 5          projects are let, in concert with the weather 

 6          pattern.  What if anything can we do here?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

 8          know, I think really it boils down to, for 

 9          me, a better coordination.  I think that's 

10          going to go a long way.  And I think that 

11          starts, you know, with the Department of 

12          Transportation as well.  

13                 I mentioned, and you did, you know, 

14          the unforeseen circumstances.  Things happen 

15          that are beyond anybody's control if a 

16          project may have started.  But having said 

17          that, you know, getting it off the ground I 

18          think starts with good coordination.  And so 

19          that's something that we are working on.  I 

20          don't have an answer for you today on that.  

21          But it is something that I am interested in, 

22          that I experienced myself.  And part of the 

23          policy adjustment I talked about earlier was 

24          from a previous experience as well.


 1                 And so I'm pleased to report to you 

 2          that we're making progress.  I don't have all 

 3          the answers for you today.  But you should 

 4          know that I understand these challenges, I 

 5          know the concerns that you hear from your 

 6          constituency on, and frankly I consider them 

 7          all my constituency as well now.  And so I'll 

 8          continue to work hard with my team.  I have a 

 9          great team, great institutional knowledge at 

10          DOT.  And so we're looking for creative ways 

11          to improve what we do as well.

12                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Great, Commissioner.  

13          And look, I'm touching on some concerns 

14          because we have a very limited amount of time 

15          and I'm done.  But I just want to make a 

16          point that, you know, there are a lot of 

17          positive things contained within this budget 

18          for local municipalities, including that 

19          PAVE-NY.  When it comes to getting these 

20          potholes fixed in the various municipalities 

21          that we're working with -- especially the 

22          more industrialized areas of our state, like 

23          the district that I represent, in the older 

24          infrastructure -- it's important that those 


 1          funds flow as quickly as possible.  

 2                 So I'm very pleased to see that sort 

 3          of funding moving forward.  I look forward to 

 4          working with you to make sure that that gets 

 5          spent as quickly as possible.  Thank you for 

 6          your time.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Me as well.  

 8          Thank you.  

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

10                 We've been joined by Assemblyman 

11          Thiele and Assemblywoman Fahy.

12                 Next to question, Assemblyman 

13          DenDekker.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you very 

15          much.  

16                 So the first thing I'd like to just 

17          talk about real quick is obviously you've 

18          heard concerns of many of my colleagues on 

19          issues and problems and things are taking so 

20          much longer than they used to.  And I guess 

21          where I want to go right away is looking at 

22          the workforce of the agency.  

23                 I mean, we've had a 20 percent 

24          decrease in personnel in the Department of 


 1          Transportation over the past nine years.  How 

 2          can you -- when you hear us being so 

 3          concerned about projects not getting off the 

 4          ground, I mean, logically we have to assume 

 5          you don't have enough people.  So I don't 

 6          understand why we're cutting again this year 

 7          another 46 positions from the budget.  Why is 

 8          the Department of Transportation, if they're 

 9          having such a problem keeping up with the 

10          demands of transportation, are you not hiring 

11          more people?  I mean, I know you must be 

12          productive.  And that may be the way you're 

13          saying, oh, well, we've gotten more 

14          productive so we need less people.  Well, 

15          think how much more productive you would be 

16          if you had kept the staffing level where it 

17          was.

18                 And I'd like you to explain to me, you 

19          know, how you can possibly keep up on snow 

20          removal and the time required for the 

21          planning of all these projects when you keep 

22          on cutting your workforce.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You know, our 

24          snow and ice operations, which are in earnest 


 1          right now, and our summer maintenance efforts 

 2          really haven't been, in my opinion, impacted 

 3          by retirements, attritions or eliminations of 

 4          positions.  We still have, you know, over 

 5          8200 people at the Department of 

 6          Transportation.  That's a lot of folks.  

 7                 We recognize the importance of our 

 8          engineering staff, who really are the 

 9          backbone -- by the way, engineers aren't just 

10          sitting at an easel drawing out plans for a 

11          project.  They're doing construction 

12          inspection, they're doing bridge inspection, 

13          very specific and specialized elements of the 

14          engineering field.  

15                 So, you know, we want to keep them 

16          well staffed.  I do believe, and I say this 

17          to you confidently, that it's not always a 

18          staffing issue.  There are many other things 

19          that come into play in terms of letting 

20          procurements or coordination of projects.  

21                 Many times locals also aren't always 

22          ready.  Again, you know, if you're in a local 

23          office, you're serving local government, you 

24          know, smartly, you're trying to bundle as 


 1          much grant or other elements of funding that 

 2          you can before you launch a project.

 3                 So while a project may be on a 

 4          particular list for five years, it doesn't 

 5          always reflect that it didn't go because of 

 6          DOT effort or funding.  Many times there's 

 7          matches involved, there's local elements that 

 8          need to take place.  

 9                 So I would say to you that it's kind 

10          of a combination of all of those.  I just 

11          described to you how we're looking at how we 

12          might better improve our efficiency 

13          internally.  I had a conversation yesterday 

14          with somebody just about that that I've 

15          assigned to look at some creative ways that 

16          we can do that.

17                 So I think it's really a combination 

18          of all of those things that perhaps are 

19          frustrating to folks.  But clearly I'm 

20          comfortable with the number of staff we have.  

21          We bring on part-time drivers who are 

22          operators, if you will, particularly for our 

23          snow and ice detail, who do a tremendous job 

24          working long hours, out there as we speak.  


 1          So we augment, as needed, our forces as well.  

 2          And when you think about it from a long-term 

 3          kind of business perspective, you know, 

 4          sometimes you're better served by that.  

 5                 So we do that in snow and ice with our 

 6          operators.  They're part-time folks who come 

 7          to us during the season when we need them 

 8          most.  We frankly don't need snow operators 

 9          in July.

10                 So I think it's a combination of all 

11          of those things.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  But having a 

13          workforce that is trained to an aspect of not 

14          doing a single position, that can do more.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  That's right.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So that in 

17          those times when you don't need snow plow 

18          drivers, you still need people to do work to 

19          make our state continue to move forward in 

20          transportation.

21                 What I'm saying, what we see, I 

22          believe, many of my colleagues and I see is 

23          jobs and projects taking too long to get 

24          going.  And hearing all the various things 


 1          that you just described, they sound very 

 2          logical.  But when I look at your staffing, 

 3          where you at one time had staffing well over 

 4          10,000 and now you're down to 8200, and you 

 5          say, Oh, but we're comfortable with that 

 6          because we're productive and we find new 

 7          creative ways of making it work -- we don't 

 8          want you to find new creative ways.  We want 

 9          it to work.  

10                 We don't want you to try to be 

11          streamlining and -- we want you to get the 

12          manpower that you need to get the projects 

13          done that need to be done.  Because the 

14          longer they take to get done, the more 

15          deterioration goes on and then the more it 

16          costs in the long run.  And then it reaches a 

17          point like we hear where we finally do have 

18          to do the work, that we have to completely 

19          shut down a portion of transportation in an 

20          area to now do the critical infrastructure 

21          job that has to be done because we didn't do 

22          it along when we had the manpower at the 

23          time.  

24                 I'm just saying it's something I'd 


 1          really like you to look at.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Understood.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  The other 

 4          thing I just want to talk about quickly is 

 5          funding to the MTA.  

 6                 As you know, I'm from the New York 

 7          City area.  MTA funding is of the utmost 

 8          importance, MTA transportation for our trains 

 9          and our buses.  Especially in Queens, where 

10          I'm from, bus service is so vitally 

11          important.  And I see that in this budget the 

12          MTA is going to get an increase of 

13          $22 million which is a 0.49 percent increase.  

14          Is that correct?

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The MTA, in 

16          our budget --

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Yes.

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, they'll 

19          be receiving, of the mass transit statewide, 

20          they'll be receiving about $4.7 billion.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Correct.  

22          But that's the --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So there's 

24          $303 million available --


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- 0.49 

 2          percent increase over last year.  Okay?  

 3                 The funding for some other areas -- 

 4          like some of the upstate transportation areas 

 5          got a 2.7 percent increase.  Is there a 

 6          particular reason why the MTA funding in the 

 7          City of New York and the critical 

 8          infrastructure and equipment that we need 

 9          only got less than a half percent increase?

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I can't 

11          speak to the MTA, and I won't.  

12                 I can tell you that as part of that 

13          budget also in other downstate areas, other 

14          transit operators have received about 

15          $303 million.  And as I pointed out earlier, 

16          $194 million will be for the remainder of the 

17          upstate transit operators.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Correct.  The 

19          $303 million that you're talking about, 

20          though, is for non-MTA downstate transit.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Which, by the 

23          way, got no increase.  So non-MTA downstate 

24          transit got absolutely no increase at all, 


 1          they have flat funding.  The MTA got a 

 2          0.49 percent increase, but upstate got 

 3          2.7 percent.  Where I think there's so much 

 4          transportation needs in the City, and the MTA 

 5          is trying to do as much as it can, why New 

 6          York State and DOT is going to cut their 

 7          portion or give such a minuscule little 

 8          amount of an increase doesn't seem very 

 9          logical or fair to my constituents in my 

10          area.

11                 So obviously I would advocate for a 

12          larger amount of funding for the MTA.  And I 

13          would also say that leaving the non-MTA flat 

14          is not reflective of the needs either.  With 

15          increased costs in wages and insurance and 

16          other aspects, to keep funding flat is going 

17          to result in a service cut to my 

18          constituents.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Understood.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  That's all I 

21          have.  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

24          Commissioner.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 3          much.

 4                 Next I would call on Senator Diane 

 5          Savino.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

 7          Young.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Good morning, 

10          Commissioner.  

11                 The beauty of going this far into the 

12          testimony is a lot of the questions I had 

13          have already been answered.  But I want you 

14          to clarify for me something.  In your 

15          testimony you mentioned that the Governor has 

16          given your agency $50 million to enhance 

17          DOT's capabilities with respect to purchase 

18          of winter storm equipment so that your agency 

19          can respond better to harsh winter 

20          conditions.  But yet in the CHIPS/Marchiselli 

21          budget, which is remaining flat, there's also 

22          no additional money this year for harsh 

23          winter weather conditions.  

24                 So are you suggesting that the state 


 1          will be responsible for helping localities?  

 2          Or how are localities supposed to absorb the 

 3          increased costs?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, yeah, 

 5          the harsh winter funding that was done last 

 6          year, I believe, was really in response to 

 7          what was all, if we all recall, the vortexes, 

 8          you know, that took place, really extreme 

 9          harsh winter weather.  And fortunately this 

10          year we haven't seen that yet.  

11                 But there is going to be an increase 

12          for folks, you're correct.  CHIPS and 

13          Marchiselli are staying the same.  But I 

14          mentioned the PAVE-NY program.  That is an 

15          increase.  And so when you couple that 

16          increase with the CHIPS that's held at the 

17          same level, and the Marchiselli, which is 

18          used to match for those federal programs, 

19          they will see an increase.

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So now let me go back 

21          to something more local.  You know, we're all 

22          very parochial here.

23                 Assemblyman Cusick talked a bit about 

24          the Staten Island Expressway.  And while it 


 1          seems to be largely completed -- and, by the 

 2          way, it has made things much better for 

 3          Staten Island -- that's assuming there's no 

 4          problems on the other side of the bridge.  

 5          One of the things with the HOV lane is the 

 6          abuse of it.  So obviously there has to be 

 7          coordination with the NYPD and the Highway 

 8          Division to have greater enforcement on the 

 9          HOV lane so that people don't abuse it.  

10                 But one of the ways you avoid that on 

11          the Brooklyn side of it is there's a Jersey 

12          barrier that prevents people from getting 

13          into it once the HOV lane starts.  

14                 So has there been any consideration 

15          about putting a Jersey barrier down the SIE 

16          to make sure that people cannot abuse it?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I haven't had 

18          that conversation, but I will.  I'll have 

19          that with City DOT.  I'd mentioned earlier I 

20          was having discussions with them on the 

21          Gowanus now because, you know, at some point 

22          certain we transfer it over to them and 

23          they'll be responsible for that.  But I will 

24          have that conversation with them.  


 1                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Because it's 

 2          incredibly frustrating to Staten Islanders to 

 3          see people routinely abuse the HOV lane with 

 4          impunity.

 5                 Now, with respect to the Gowanus 

 6          Expressway, I'm going to ask you the same 

 7          question I asked your predecessor, Joan 

 8          McDonald.  We've invested hundreds of 

 9          millions of dollars in improving the Staten 

10          Island expressway.  The MTA is spending, you 

11          know, untold amounts of money on redecking 

12          the Verrazano Bridge.  They're also about to 

13          embark on a new plan to revamp the entrance 

14          and the exit ramps, particularly the 

15          connections to the Belt Parkway, which is 

16          going to create a significant amount of 

17          traffic congestion on the Gowanus Expressway.  

18                 But we've invested tens of millions, 

19          millions and millions of dollars on the 

20          Gowanus Expressway and the BQE over the past, 

21          I don't know, 30 years.  We've never added 

22          any capacity to it.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm sorry?

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  We have not added any 


 1          capacity to it.  It is the same, you know, 

 2          roadway that it always has been.  And that is 

 3          what creates the backup.  

 4                 So if you have one accident on the BQE 

 5          or one accident on the Gowanus, it's backed 

 6          up all the way either to Queens or it's 

 7          backed up all the way to New Jersey.

 8                 The same bottlenecks every day, the 

 9          split where the Battery Tunnel -- where you 

10          go this way to the Battery Tunnel or this way 

11          to the BQE -- same tie-ups every day, the 

12          same tie-ups at the Kosciuszko Bridge.  So 

13          unless we're prepared to either eliminate the 

14          Gowanus and build something else or to add 

15          capacity to it, how are we supposed to 

16          improve transit through this region?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, that's  

18          a great question.  And candidly, there's a 

19          ton of traffic there, as you know.  And that 

20          complicates things, because you've got a 

21          roadway that was built whenever it was built, 

22          and there's more traffic than that roadway 

23          was designed for, because there's more people 

24          than it was designed for back then.


 1                 You know, to talk about how you 

 2          frankly add on or build new is a long-term 

 3          conversation, because it's going to take a 

 4          great deal of resources, involves right of 

 5          way, which is always kind of a sticky issues 

 6          in terms of, you know, securing properties to 

 7          either expand or create a new footprint.

 8                 But we're challenged, of course, with 

 9          the high number of users on that roadway.  It 

10          kind of is what it is.  That doesn't minimize 

11          it, but it's just the fact of the matter.  

12          And so that's why the HOV lane was added.  I 

13          think it's worked very well.  But I 

14          understand that there's still challenges.  I 

15          know accidents create big choke points, 

16          they're problematic, because then everything 

17          bottlenecks.  And it's a result of all the 

18          traffic that I just described.

19                 So, you know, candidly, I don't have 

20          an answer for you to say how are we going to 

21          fix that.  It's a long-term discussion, 

22          though.  If people are interested in how you 

23          add on or build new, that's a federal highway 

24          long-term discussion that will need to take 


 1          place.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Well, candidly, those 

 3          discussions have been taking place for years.  

 4          When I first got elected, there was a -- and 

 5          I'm sure Assemblywoman Simon will also speak 

 6          about this -- there were studies done then, 

 7          and in fact there was a recommendation to 

 8          either double-deck the Gowanus Expressway, 

 9          which of course is something that the people 

10          in the community aren't interested in, or 

11          build a tunnel.  At the time -- I think this 

12          was 2006 -- the proposed cost for a potential 

13          tunnel was about $30 billion and a time frame 

14          of like 20 years to build it.  

15                 But that study, those feasibility 

16          studies on how to improve traffic flow 

17          through that area all centered around 

18          expanding capacity.  So we can spend another 

19          half a billion dollars redecking the Gowanus  

20          Expressway and still not move anybody any 

21          faster.  But if you would like, I'm sure we 

22          would be happy to send you those studies.  

23          They're sitting on a shelf somewhere 

24          collecting dust.  But there are some 


 1          suggestions in there that I think we should 

 2          look at.  Because if not, we are going to 

 3          have the same bottlenecks everywhere, which 

 4          is a disincentive to people to bring their 

 5          businesses to Staten Island or even to South 

 6          Brooklyn.  South Brooklyn is growing very 

 7          fast.  The Industry City is Industry City 

 8          again for the first time in probably 30 

 9          years.  We need to be able to move people and 

10          goods and services through that area much 

11          quicker than we're doing now.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right, 

13          understood.  And I would like to see those, 

14          and I know my staff is familiar -- I'm 

15          assuming my staff is familiar with these.  

16          We'll have that conversation.

17                 And, you know, I'm not a big fan of 

18          continually doing studies because I don't 

19          like to see studies sit on a shelf after you 

20          spend money.  We're not in a position to be 

21          able to do that.  I can't speak to what took 

22          place years before.  I can only tell you 

23          going forward that I'll take a look at it.  

24          But I won't make a promise to say we're going 


 1          to add a new deck, we're going to expand it.  

 2                 But I will take a look at that, I'll 

 3          have that conversation with staff.  And I'm 

 4          happy to meet with the two of you, if you'd 

 5          like, and discuss it further.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I'll come 

 8          to you.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

10          much.  

11                 Assemblyman Oaks.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you, 

13          Chairman.  

14                 Commissioner, thank you for being 

15          here.

16                 I know we've talked a bit on the 

17          funding for bridges, state and local.  A 

18          question related to that -- well, one, a 

19          comment.  I do think and I heard you say 

20          there would be some local input on that, 

21          although you have a metrics that you're going 

22          to use of how you pick those.  

23                 Do culverts qualify?  I know, you 

24          know, in bridge money -- in a lot of our 


 1          rural areas we have culverts that may not 

 2          meet the distance, but they're also, you 

 3          know, taking traffic.  Will those qualify 

 4          under this?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Under the 

 6          bridge program?

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yeah.

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, because 

 9          they're not a bridge.  

10                 But I did mention it's a competitive 

11          program.  So a local community and your 

12          district or anyone else's would make 

13          application to the Department of 

14          Transportation, you know, for potential 

15          funding.  And certainly we would be asking 

16          them to provide us information relative to 

17          that bridge.  And we'd utilize the bridge 

18          inspections that no doubt we have done as 

19          part of that process as well.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Well, one of the 

21          thoughts I might have, or whatever, is that 

22          we try to have a piece of funding culverts 

23          maybe that could go toward that, and whether 

24          that be distributed on a CHIPS-type thing.  


 1          But maybe a piece of that as we go forward, 

 2          because certainly those are in bad shape.

 3                 On the pavement side, you mentioned 

 4          that you're working on the criteria for that.  

 5          And we'll look forward to seeing that.  

 6          Again, a suggestion on that side that's been 

 7          made to me.  You know, if we use the local 

 8          CHIPS formula obviously on the pavement side, 

 9          that would be a way of meeting a lot of the 

10          local needs.  And at a minimum, certainly, 

11          again, having a great deal of local input on 

12          that would be appreciated.

13                 We've heard the word "parity" often 

14          today.  We've looked at the numbers.  

15          Obviously the reason I think it keeps coming 

16          up is because if you look at it 

17          historically -- I've happened to be around 

18          the Legislature a number of years -- we saw 

19          where the norm was having equal funding for 

20          mass transit and our driving public, trying 

21          to serve both those needs, which are both 

22          critically important to our state.  

23                 Then we had a fiscal crisis, the state 

24          having to make tough decisions, and we saw 


 1          where those started to see a disparity.  This 

 2          year we see kind of the most it has been.  

 3          And so instead of coming back toward more 

 4          parity, we're seeing maybe even it inching 

 5          further the other way.

 6                 And I know you made the comment that 

 7          you feel good about the investments, it is 

 8          historic.  I do know some of the industry 

 9          projections are saying, you know, we're 

10          looking at $20 billion or $22 billion if we 

11          include the Thruway stabilization.  Some of 

12          the industry standards are saying we ought to 

13          be spending $28 billion to meet the needs.  

14          And obviously unlimited dollars, if we had 

15          those, I know your first instance would 

16          probably be to say how do we get those 

17          dollars there.

18                 But I guess, you know, my question is:  

19          How do we get to parity?  Do you have a 

20          sense -- I know you've made comments here of, 

21          you know, that's -- you're going to continue 

22          to be working and whatever.  But is that the 

23          goal, the hope?  And how do we get there?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think, 


 1          you know, how we get there is doing just what 

 2          the Governor has proposed.  This is the 

 3          largest DOT budget ever.  It's $20.1 billion.  

 4          And so it allows us to not only maintain but 

 5          enhance the system as well, and make 

 6          strategic investments that support rail and 

 7          transit and support local economies also.

 8                 So I think if we looked at it in the 

 9          context of setting aside a dollar amount of 

10          what this budget can do, it can make a 

11          difference.  And I'll go back to the 

12          BRIDGE-NY and the PAVE-NY.  Now, I've been 

13          here in my role as commissioner not quite six 

14          months, and I've taken the time to travel the 

15          state and meet with local communities, 

16          elected officials, certainly members of the 

17          Legislature.  And nearly everyone, you know, 

18          is concerned about the dollars that can get 

19          to a local level to help them support their 

20          needs, even basic needs such as paving or 

21          bridge repair.  

22                 That's why those programs are in here, 

23          because the Governor understands it's 

24          important to get dollars to the localities 


 1          who need them most.  And I will say they are 

 2          also being utilized as well to help support 

 3          the state system, because we have a 

 4          responsibility to maintain and improve that 

 5          as well.

 6                 So I'm very comfortable with the 

 7          budget.  I think it's a very good budget.  I 

 8          think it's moving in the right direction.  

 9          It's going to deliver things that we have 

10          been unable to do in the past.  And so I feel 

11          good about the budget.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  I guess I would 

13          just end in saying, you know, I -- the parity 

14          sense that I hear and feel, being an 

15          individual whose residents depend more on 

16          those roads and bridges, whether they be 

17          state or local ones, each day.  So there's a 

18          sense of fairness.  There's also the real 

19          concern for safety and getting to the point 

20          where we can feel comfortable that the people 

21          who are going to work every day, getting on a 

22          school bus, doing whatever, can trust the 

23          roads that we have.  

24                 And I know when I talk to my local 


 1          highway people, they express concerns of 

 2          saying we're falling behind, help is needed, 

 3          and anything the state can do is important.

 4                 And so I come from that.  I hope that 

 5          maybe in the negotiations in this year's 

 6          budget maybe we see an opportunity to move 

 7          closer to that.  I know this is the 

 8          Governor's proposal.  I also hope that as 

 9          those negotiations take place, this year we 

10          can maybe have a louder voice, include all 

11          the leaders among those negotiations, and 

12          maybe then we come up with the best decision.

13                 So thank you, Commissioner.

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

15          sir.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

17          much.  

18                 Senator?  

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Patty 

20          Ritchie.

21                 SENATOR RITCHIE:  Commissioner, I 

22          would just like to start off by thanking you 

23          for your responsiveness.  I have to say that 

24          I've been really impressed with your ability 


 1          and your chief of staff's ability to fix a 

 2          number of problems that I've brought up at 

 3          our hearings over the last couple of years 

 4          that for some reason couldn't get fixed and 

 5          inside of a day or two, once you took over, 

 6          they were addressed and have been taken care 

 7          of.

 8                 One of those problems that I've 

 9          addressed over the last couple of years is 

10          one that I'm sure you're aware of, and that 

11          is the salt contamination in the wells in the 

12          Town of Orleans.  In your previous position 

13          you were very instrumental in helping secure 

14          that low-cost loan for the town to be able to 

15          connect the water systems to those residents.  

16          And, you know, the Governor this year has a 

17          clean water fund that I'm hoping, because of 

18          the economic challenges in the Town of 

19          Orleans, that we'll finally be able to put 

20          this issue to rest and get good water to the 

21          people who live there.

22                 So I'm just asking if you've had an 

23          opportunity to look at it and have any 

24          suggestions.


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, let me 

 2          start by thanking you for your leadership on 

 3          that two years ago.

 4                 And as you pointed out, you know, we 

 5          brought together a large number of people, 

 6          with your leadership as well, and were able 

 7          to construct a financial structure with some 

 8          grant that at that time we thought was going 

 9          to do it.

10                 I've read recently that there was some 

11          chatter about the issue.  What I want to say 

12          to you is -- and I did speak with some of my 

13          colleagues just the other day -- is that I'm 

14          going to reengage on that and to bring the 

15          appropriate people back to the table so we 

16          can take a fresh look at that.  So I'm 

17          willing to help to the extent that I can with 

18          you on that.

19                 SENATOR RITCHIE:  And I just, in 

20          return, would like to say that this is 

21          exactly what I talked about at the beginning, 

22          that -- your willingness to take a look at 

23          the issue.  You know, this has been going on 

24          for a number of years, something that we have 


 1          to have resolution to.  But I'm hopeful that 

 2          given the fact that you've been able to solve 

 3          the other problems very quickly, that we'll 

 4          be able to get to where we need to on this 

 5          also.  So thank you.  

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We will reach 

 7          out to you and work to coordinate our 

 8          schedules.

 9                 SENATOR RITCHIE:  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

11                 Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Thank you, 

13          Mr. Chairman.  

14                 Good morning still, Commissioner.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Good morning.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  My questions 

17          deal with the non-MTA downstate system 

18          fundings.  I represent the City of Yonkers.  

19          And I have some questions.  

20                 It appears that the operating budget 

21          for the Westchester portion of the budget has 

22          increased by 5.92 percent.  Am I correct 

23          about that?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, about 


 1          $157 million.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  I actually think 

 3          it's more than that.  But my question is in 

 4          determining the percentage increase for the 

 5          non-MTA downstate regions, is the same 

 6          percentage increase applied to each of the 

 7          communities?  In other words, Nassau got the 

 8          same percentage increase, Suffolk same 

 9          percentage increase?

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I don't know 

11          the answer to that.  But the answer is yes.  

12                 (Laughter.)

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  So your 

14          understanding is it is yes.  

15                 So my question is, did the department 

16          do any independent analysis of the ridership 

17          trends in these counties?  Not pitting myself 

18          against the others, but did you do any 

19          independent analysis to say, for example, 

20          Westchester's percentage increase may be 

21          greater than another county's?

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  We did.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Okay.  I'd be 

24          interested in seeing what your data shows.  


 1          Would you be willing to share that?

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.  Sure.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Did you do any 

 4          analysis of whether the county's 

 5          contributions resulted in service loss?  Just 

 6          for example, in Westchester over the past I 

 7          would say eight years, there's been a 

 8          substantial diminution in service of the B 

 9          Line because the county contributed less.  

10          Which I understand is not the state's 

11          problem, but it is my constituents' problem 

12          because there is a reduction in bus service 

13          and bus routes.  

14                 Did you look at the actual usage and 

15          what the county's contributions have been?  

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, I know 

17          ridership counts and usage are part of that.  

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Okay.  Again, 

19          I'd be interested in seeing that.  

20                 With respect to the capital 

21          contributions for the downstate suburban 

22          operators, I understand that the distribution 

23          is not confirmed or there's not an exact 

24          understanding of where there will be capital 


 1          and where it will be allocated.

 2                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  I just would 

 4          like to make clear that for systems like 

 5          ours, which is, as the other suburban 

 6          districts, historically underfunded in my 

 7          opinion, based on the needs of an urban 

 8          suburban community that is extremely 

 9          dependent on public transportation, that the 

10          need for capital should be based on an 

11          independent evaluation of the need of the 

12          system.  

13                 And I don't know, have you had an 

14          opportunity to meet with the B Line service 

15          as you went around?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I have not 

17          yet.  I know we are -- I am.

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  You are planning 

19          to meet with them?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Mm-hmm.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Again, I would 

22          urge that there be an independent analysis of 

23          the needs of that system.

24                 And the other question I have is with 


 1          respect to capital, has DOT looked at the 

 2          safety needs of bus drivers and bus operators 

 3          in these public transit systems and whether 

 4          there should be dividers between the driver 

 5          and the passengers as I believe they have in 

 6          the City of New York?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, 

 8          certainly training, safety training is a part 

 9          of what we also provide as part of the 

10          funding package.  

11                 In terms of dividers between -- 

12          segmenting where the driver is versus the 

13          riders, I don't know that that's an actual 

14          part of it.  I don't believe it is.  But 

15          that's a conversation that we could have with 

16          our federal partners.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  I just would 

18          urge you to do that in light of some of the 

19          issues that have occurred in the last year 

20          within the non-MTA systems in Westchester.

21                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Thank you very 

23          much.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 2                 Senator?  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 4                 I would like to take this time to talk 

 5          with you, Commissioner, about a very 

 6          important local project that's in Western 

 7          New York.  And I know since you took office 

 8          as commissioner on July 2nd of 2015, you have 

 9          traveled the state and you are very familiar 

10          with upstate, and I want to thank you for 

11          that.

12                 I know you also know that the Governor 

13          has prioritized Western New York.  And as a 

14          result of the Governor's efforts, we have had 

15          a real rebirth, we've had a renewal, new 

16          hope, new vitality.  Our economy is growing 

17          in Erie County again.  We've seen progress 

18          along the Southern Tier.  

19                 And one of the projects that is very 

20          important that community leaders, business 

21          leaders, labor leaders have gotten behind is 

22          finishing Route 219.  This is a project --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Say the name 

24          again?


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Route 219.  It's a 

 2          project that has been ongoing for many, many 

 3          years -- for decades, as a matter of fact.  

 4          And up until 2010, we were making great 

 5          progress.  And it's been stalled, 

 6          unfortunately, ever since then.

 7                 I know you've been busy today getting 

 8          ready, but I wanted to point out in the 

 9          Buffalo News this morning there was an 

10          excellent editorial about completing 219.  

11          And the Buffalo News is calling on the state 

12          and the Governor to seek funds through the 

13          FAST Act that you pointed out earlier, the 

14          federal Fixing America's Surface 

15          Transportation Act, and that there will be 

16          funds available.  

17                 And what the Buffalo News is hoping, 

18          what leaders in Western New York are hoping, 

19          what I'm hoping, what our Assemblymen are 

20          hoping is that we can finally start to make 

21          progress again on Route 219.

22                 In 2010 there was -- it was a 

23          technological marvel.  Zoar Valley is 

24          500 feet deep in some spots, and there was a 


 1          bridge, as part of the new construction of 

 2          219, that was completed, a double bridge.  

 3          And during that construction, unfortunately, 

 4          the state, the state administration at that 

 5          time tried to divert $86 million away from 

 6          that project.  Because of outcry, we were 

 7          able to restore that, the bridge was 

 8          completed.  So now the roadway goes down to 

 9          Ashford.

10                 But we'd like to get it started again.  

11          And what the Buffalo News points out -- and 

12          by the way, this is a 1500-mile binational 

13          interstate that would open up new 

14          opportunities for Western New York as far as 

15          trade, as far as commerce, as far as 

16          logistics.  And it would provide many, many, 

17          many good-paying construction jobs.  And it 

18          would only add to and enhance what the 

19          Governor's been able to achieve for Western 

20          New York.

21                 So what we're hoping is that we can 

22          finally get this jump-started.  The other 

23          states have made great progress.  Maryland, 

24          for example, just approved funding for a 


 1          2 1/2 mile interchange in Maryland.  There 

 2          are 200 miles left in Pennsylvania that need 

 3          to be completed, but the great news is that 

 4          Pennsylvania has committed dollars for the 

 5          study process on 219.  

 6                 So if we can get this Toronto to Miami 

 7          route open, I think it would bode well.  And 

 8          it would actually enhance -- because as you 

 9          know, we have the Thruway system that runs 

10          from east to west, or west to east, if you're 

11          from Western New York, and we have 

12          Interstate 86 that also runs from west to 

13          east.  And so this would provide us with a 

14          strategic placement on the map, really put 

15          Western New York on the map.  And as we 

16          continue to grow our economy, continue to 

17          focus on growing manufacturing jobs, this 

18          would be enormous for Western New York.  

19                 So what we're hoping is that the 

20          Governor, you, will work with the President, 

21          with the federal government, to secure the 

22          funds.  And what we're looking at is Section 

23          12.  We've been coming from the north down to 

24          the south, but what we'd like to do is 


 1          complete Section 12, which is a couple-mile 

 2          stretch.  And it would go from Interstate 86 

 3          to just north of Salamanca.  

 4                 There are a few reasons why that's 

 5          important.  One is Dresser-Rand is one of the 

 6          largest employers in the region, in the 

 7          Southern Tier, certainly the largest employer 

 8          in the City of Olean.  They manufacture huge 

 9          compressors.  And transporting those huge 

10          compressors is always a challenge.  If we are 

11          able to finish the 219 where they've run into 

12          some snags now, they would be better able to 

13          ship these compressors, going up to the port 

14          up in Buffalo and ship them that way.  And 

15          that would actually help the company 

16          enormously.

17                 So what we're hoping for, we're 

18          pushing for, and what I'd like to work with 

19          you on is finding a way to work to get 219 

20          going again.  I think this is an enormous 

21          opportunity that has presented itself for the 

22          state, for Western New York, through this 

23          FAST funding.  And I know that there's 

24          $16 billion available for New York State.  


 1          And I also know Senator Chuck Schumer has 

 2          prioritized having money available for our 

 3          state's highways and bridges through those 

 4          funds.  So hopefully we can work together 

 5          with leaders from Western New York to come to 

 6          a conclusion.  And I just wanted to put that 

 7          on your radar screen, and hopefully we can 

 8          get the funding put in place, the 

 9          environmental studies completed, work with 

10          the Seneca Nation of Indians, because this 

11          section would actually go through their 

12          territory.  But I also think this would be 

13          something that would be quite beneficial for 

14          the Nation also.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I will 

16          circle up with my folks and then I will call 

17          you when I can figure out a process.  

18                 But do you -- is there an issue with 

19          going through the Nation on that?  Or are 

20          they open to this type of --

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I've met with the 

22          Nation several times, and in fact met with 

23          them this morning.  And I can't speak on 

24          behalf of the president of the Tribal 


 1          Council, Councilors, but I will say there are 

 2          discussions that could be had.  Certainly 

 3          it's beneficial for the Nation and certainly 

 4          it's beneficial for the state.  And they seem 

 5          to be open to having that discussion with the 

 6          state.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay.  I'll 

 8          take a look at it and I'll give your office a 

 9          call.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

11          Commissioner.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

13                 Assemblyman Skoufis.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  Thank you, 

15          Chairman.  

16                 Thank you, Commissioner.  

17                 And I want to first thank your 

18          Region 8 team for their exemplary work.  

19          They've been real true partners with my 

20          office over the past three years.

21                 You know, I'm all for parity.  I do 

22          have a major concern with the debate on 

23          parity, though, that has evolved or I guess 

24          actually devolved into this upstate/downstate 


 1          divide.  And I say that because there are 

 2          some areas of the state that don't fit nicely 

 3          into upstate or downstate here in New York, 

 4          and in particular the Hudson Valley.  

 5                 I represent Orange and Rockland 

 6          Counties.  You know, if you ask someone from 

 7          the five boroughs, anything north of 

 8          Riverdale is upstate.  If you ask someone 

 9          from the North Country, they'll laugh at you 

10          if you try and say Orange and Rockland County 

11          is in upstate.

12                 So one of my concerns is that as part 

13          of this DOT capital program and how the money 

14          is divvied up into each of the DOT regions, 

15          those in the Hudson Valley, particularly 

16          Orange and Rockland Counties west of the 

17          Hudson, we will somehow be penalized or be 

18          given a disproportionately less amount of 

19          money that comes through this five-year 

20          capital program, as a result of really the 

21          crumbs that we get from the MTA capital 

22          program.

23                 So I'm hoping that you can respond to 

24          that and perhaps hopefully allay my fears.


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah.  Well, I 

 2          know there's always been a lot of 

 3          conversation about, you know, who gets more, 

 4          who gets less.  You know, DOT historically 

 5          does an assessment of the system across the 

 6          state regardless of where you are and really 

 7          looks at usage, traffic flows, counts, 

 8          conditions, et cetera.  

 9                 So, you know, I say historically DOT 

10          has always been fair in doing that, and I 

11          want to assure you going forward that we will 

12          be as well.  Because again, I recognize when 

13          you have a certain amount of pie and it's got 

14          to do a lot of things, that people -- 

15          rightfully so -- are advocating always for 

16          more.

17                 But we try to take kind of a holistic 

18          view as to how we can meet our 

19          responsibility, which is to keep the system 

20          safe, because that is the most important 

21          element of what we do -- but also to support 

22          the locals so they can keep the system on a 

23          local level safe as well, because that's the 

24          most important thing they can do also.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN SKOUFIS:  I appreciate 

 2          that.  You know, we don't have subways or 

 3          really any kind of massive bus transit in 

 4          Orange and Rockland Counties, so I just hope 

 5          that that is not held against us that we are 

 6          in the MTA region.

 7                 A more specific -- it's not a 

 8          question, because we've had conversations 

 9          about this.  I do want to thank you and your 

10          department for the renewed leadership on a 

11          specific project, that's the Exit 131 

12          interchange adjacent to the Woodbury Commons.  

13          We've spoken about that.  And I just want to 

14          reiterate my strong support for it and desire 

15          to see this funding appropriated as soon as 

16          possible, particularly with the casino about 

17          an hour north up in the Catskills beginning 

18          construction and opening in the near future, 

19          and all that traffic coming through that 

20          interchange, it's even more urgent now than 

21          ever.  

22                 So I just want to reiterate and thank 

23          you for your support with that project.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 2                 Senator?  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 4                 Senator Marc Panepinto.

 5                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  Yes.  

 6                 Commissioner, how are you?

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Hi, Senator.  

 8          Good.

 9                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  First of all, I'm 

10          just incredibly impressed by your ability to 

11          field these questions.  You're being 

12          cross-examined by, you know, a number of 

13          Assemblymen and Senators and doing a great 

14          job.  

15                 I want to echo what Senator Young had 

16          to say about the 219 connector.  It really is 

17          a regional, bipartisan issue that we'd love 

18          the DOT to look at.  And it really opens up 

19          the corridor from Toronto, whether it be, you 

20          know, Miami or Maryland or Pennsylvania, and 

21          it's very important for us.  

22                 In talking about Region 5, which is 

23          Western New York, you know, we've talked 

24          about parity and you're probably sick of 


 1          hearing about it.  But in Region 5 we have 

 2          12.5 percent of the roads and bridges.  And 

 3          in my county, Erie County, we have the most 

 4          road miles of any county in the state by the 

 5          DOT.  And our funding level is at less than 

 6          9 percent.  Probably about 8.5 percent is 

 7          what we're getting in Region 5 right now.

 8                 How are we looking at the parity 

 9          formula?  And I know you've been asked this 

10          in a number of ways, but I'm asking from a 

11          sheer percentage standpoint.  You know, we've 

12          got 12.5 percent of the roads and bridges, 

13          we're getting 8.5 percent of the funding.  

14          That's not parity as I see it.  So how do you 

15          address that?

16                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I think 

17          you have to address it -- you know, you work 

18          with a certain amount, but you have to 

19          address it in terms of what the conditions 

20          are in a given area, Region 5 or elsewhere; 

21          the use, the number of users of a particular 

22          roadway or bridge and what have you.  And I 

23          think that plays a lot into it.  

24                 And again, I mention safety because at 


 1          the end of the day, you know, if a particular 

 2          roadway is unsafe or a particular bridge, we 

 3          want to work, whether it's the state or with 

 4          locals, to ensure that it becomes safe.  

 5                 So that's generally how we view it.  I 

 6          think there is a tendency, perhaps, I've 

 7          heard in the past where people think, Well, 

 8          you know, one particular area gets more money 

 9          because they may have more people or not.  

10          And that's really not the case.  Of course, 

11          you know, dollars in this day and age, 

12          whatever venue you're in, are always very 

13          competitive, as I think we could all agree.  

14                 We have a big system with a lot of 

15          need.  You know, the percentage of our 

16          bridges that are in pretty good shape, both 

17          local and state, probably somewhere about 

18          72 percent in good shape.  There are 

19          challenges in other areas, obviously.  And 

20          our roadways are generally in good shape.  

21          But as we continue to see the climate changes 

22          that we've experienced over the last few 

23          years, you know, that really impacts 

24          conditions as well.  


 1                 So we're not playing favorites, we're 

 2          really trying to take a methodical, 

 3          thoughtful analysis of the system in its 

 4          entirety.  It may not always equate to a 

 5          particular percentage.  But we try to look 

 6          ahead at what the needs are given that 

 7          criteria.

 8                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  And I want you to 

 9          understand, I'm not one of these upstate 

10          Senators who is anti the MTA.  I understand 

11          the economic impact, and I support, you know, 

12          funding of MTA spending and infrastructure 

13          spending.  But in upstate, you know, we have 

14          drivers, we're undergoing a renaissance in 

15          Western New York.  And, you know, as I talk 

16          to building contractors, you know, we're 

17          building Solar City, we've got a medical 

18          campus.  You know, we need the roads and 

19          bridges to improve capacity so that we can 

20          utilize these wonderful facilities we're 

21          building.

22                 So I just want you, as you're looking 

23          at, you know, hopefully a five-year DOT 

24          plan -- I'm not sure if we're going to get a 


 1          five-year plan this year -- but I think it's 

 2          important to look at those percentages in 

 3          dollar values.  And, you know, we want to get 

 4          our fair share.  And it's not to slight the 

 5          MTA; we need to build up the MTA, and I 

 6          support the spending in the City on those 

 7          projects.

 8                 On a separate issue, I was looking at 

 9          the budget and there's a five-year Extreme 

10          Weather Infrastructure Hardening Program 

11          appropriation.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

13                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  We couldn't find 

14          it in your agency's appropriation.  How are 

15          those projects going to be selected and 

16          funded?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Again, it will 

18          be by analysis.  You know, we'll look at 

19          historic data, and there's plenty of that.  

20                 You know, I just mentioned there's 

21          been a significant change in the last several 

22          years of weather patterns.  So whether it's 

23          been these vortexes that we've had -- and 

24          thankfully we haven't experienced that this 


 1          year.  But if you look at Hurricane Irene and 

 2          Tropical Storm Lee or certainly Superstorm 

 3          Sandy, things are changing.  And so with 

 4          those changes -- and in particular, you know, 

 5          location plays a role in that.  If you're in 

 6          the Hudson Valley, as an example, where 

 7          you've got high hills and narrow roadways, 

 8          we've seen impacts that we hadn't seen 

 9          before.  

10                 The Governor smartly, in my opinion, 

11          is placing money now for us to go out and 

12          identify where those particular roadways may 

13          be.  Perhaps there's grading work or other 

14          things that we might be able to do to prevent 

15          flooding of a parkway or how we really look 

16          at culverts.  

17                 You know, I come from, in my previous 

18          work with the state, you know, working with 

19          water and sewer infrastructure.  And that's 

20          something that I've been broaching and 

21          discussing with our people as we think about 

22          the long term.  Stormwater management is 

23          becoming a critically important issue.  It's 

24          really changed, you know, over the last five, 


 1          six years.  And it's an area that I want DOT 

 2          to change with too, because we need to be 

 3          smart about how we also direct waters from 

 4          our systems because likely they could impact 

 5          locals.

 6                 So the short answer is that we are 

 7          going to take a careful look and analysis to 

 8          see historically where these roads have 

 9          largely been impacted because of severe 

10          weather, and we hope to make a difference 

11          with those funds.  There's $500 million that 

12          he's appropriated in this proposed budget to 

13          do so, and I think it's money well spent 

14          based on what we've seen over the course 

15          certainly of the last six years.

16                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  Since you mention 

17          stormwater, I may be the only Senator that 

18          knows what a stormwater protection plan is as 

19          provided by the New York State Department of 

20          Transportation.  I mean, I've looked at specs 

21          and plans and, you know, dealt with 

22          contractors in this regard.

23                 That follows up my next question, and 

24          this goes to what the Assemblyman was asking 


 1          earlier about, you know, where we are in our 

 2          staffing.  And I know I had asked the DOT 

 3          last year to give me some of the economic 

 4          justifications for the so-called cost savings 

 5          on the consultants that we're using and 

 6          really this contracting-out issue of 

 7          engineers and, oh, gosh, you know, people who 

 8          are on-site doing inspections.  Inspections 

 9          and engineers has been a big part of what DOT 

10          does, and I know in Western New York and 

11          Region 5 I think all of our inspection is 

12          contracted out.  

13                 So I'd like to know the economic 

14          analysis that DOT has done to really quantify 

15          whether or not there have been real cost 

16          savings in doing that.

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you 

18          know, the straight answer is I have not seen 

19          that.  I intend to look at it.  It's one of 

20          the historical things that's taken place at 

21          DOT, you know, before my arrival.

22                 But I would say that, again, from kind 

23          of an operational or a business perspective, 

24          you know, we have a strong engineering force 


 1          that as you know does a lot of things, a lot 

 2          of important things, and we augment that with 

 3          consultants, engineers, to support the 

 4          efforts of not only our local folks but to go 

 5          out on case-by-case or special project areas 

 6          and provide resources that perhaps we might 

 7          not have.

 8                 But I think there's a second piece 

 9          here that we should think about, which is 

10          while DOT, in my opinion, has adequate 

11          staffing to continue to deliver, while we 

12          also utilize the private sector for 

13          engineering work, we are also supporting 

14          another economy as well.  These are people 

15          that live in all of our communities, who go 

16          to our local grocery store, who pay our 

17          property taxes, who send their kids to our 

18          school and pay school taxes as well.  

19                 So I look at it in the sense that 

20          while we do utilize contractors or vendors to 

21          support our engineering services, we're also 

22          helping support another sector of the economy 

23          in New York State.

24                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  And I completely 


 1          understand that.  And as I said, Region 5 

 2          DOT, Darrell Kaminski, the director there has 

 3          been incredibly responsive.  

 4                 But, you know, as I talk to 

 5          contractors and labor folks, you know, they 

 6          really ascribe the, you know, lack of 

 7          engineering infrastructure as the reason why, 

 8          you know, we're not getting contracts let in 

 9          an appropriate time frame.  

10                 And as we talked about, we have a 

11          limited construction window to build in 

12          New York State.  It's more limited in Western 

13          New York.  And so when a project goes out to 

14          bid in November and we're not breaking ground 

15          until June, that's a problem.  We're losing 

16          two or three months of the construction 

17          season and it's really, I think, incumbent 

18          upon the DOT to be looking at that to make 

19          those projects work in Region 5 and all of 

20          the upstate regions in a timely fashion.  We 

21          want to get construction workers in the field 

22          in April and not in June.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.  I 

24          agree with you.  I agree with you.  


 1                 And, you know, that's part of the kind 

 2          of evaluation that I've been doing.  I've 

 3          made some changes already operationally, 

 4          administratively, at the Department of 

 5          Transportation policywise.  But that is an 

 6          area that I'm looking at and will be looking 

 7          at.  I hear you.  I mean, I've heard this 

 8          from other people, and I experienced it 

 9          myself years ago.  It's a big ship.  

10                 But, you know, look, we can find ways 

11          that we also can modernize ourselves and be 

12          more efficient.  You know, somebody mentioned 

13          earlier about cross-training.  It's another 

14          area that I'm interested in.  While many 

15          people have specialized areas in DOT, I'm a 

16          big believer in cross-training, you know, so 

17          that people are able to do and function in 

18          more than one capacity.  

19                 And I'm not suggesting that they 

20          can't.  What I'm suggesting is perhaps it's 

21          not utilized to the degree it should be.  

22          That will be part of my evaluation as I 

23          continue forward as well.

24                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  Well, I'm looking 


 1          forward to working with you on that.  And as 

 2          you address that economic analysis, I'd 

 3          really like to be able to share that with the 

 4          Senate and Assembly to see whether or not we 

 5          really have saved money by downsizing from 

 6          our public employees.

 7                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay, good 

 8          enough.  Fair enough.

 9                 SENATOR PANEPINTO:  Thank you.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.  

12          I would like to announce that Senator Phil 

13          Boyle has joined us.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman 

15          Simon.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

17                 Thank you very much, Commissioner.  I 

18          would like to follow up a little bit on 

19          Senator Savino's questions with regard to the 

20          Gowanus Expressway.  

21                 We have, the last decade or so, 

22          200,000 cars and trucks a day on the Gowanus 

23          Expressway, which is bleeding over into local 

24          streets.  And the communities and the State 


 1          DOT worked for a long time together on a 

 2          major environmental impact statement, a major 

 3          investment statement with regard to that, and 

 4          found actually tunnel alternatives that would 

 5          work very well, would add capacity.  It would 

 6          allow you to clean the air as well.  

 7                 But the primary reason why we've been 

 8          told for years you couldn't increase capacity 

 9          was the federal Clean Air Act.

10                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Meanwhile, it's 

12          the particulate matter that is -- schools are 

13          along the Gowanus Expressway, and the 

14          children are breathing in all this stuff and 

15          it's costing us more socially.  And now, of 

16          course, the western area of Brooklyn is 

17          undergoing renewed interest, and the idea of 

18          being able to take down this corroding 

19          expressway and open up the waterfront is 

20          tremendously attractive and we think very 

21          economically and environmentally fiscally 

22          responsible.

23                 However, there was a proposal to add 

24          some sort of elevated HOV, which really 


 1          hasn't happened.  So (a) I would like to know 

 2          the status of that and whether that is going 

 3          to happen.  And if not, to encourage a very 

 4          serious second look at the Gowanus Tunnel.  

 5          And I know that the Senator and I would be 

 6          happy to host you in our districts to tour 

 7          this area so you can see firsthand what's 

 8          going on.

 9                 So if you could just tell me a little 

10          bit about what you know about the status of 

11          that other HOV proposal.

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, very 

13          little.  I don't believe that it is slated to 

14          go.  Candidly, I'm sure it's a funding 

15          challenge.

16                 I do want to say, though, that I am a 

17          firm believer in recognizing the importance 

18          of these air-quality issues.  You know, where 

19          I lived many years ago, we had a particular 

20          area in our downtown that was put on a list, 

21          if you will, from the federal government as 

22          being a very dangerous area, and so there was 

23          some mitigation done of that.  

24                 And I guess the point I'm saying is 


 1          that going forward, these are the types of 

 2          things that I think are important that we 

 3          recognize and think about as well, so we just 

 4          don't build something but we do it correctly 

 5          so that we do that in balance with our 

 6          surroundings.  I'm a big believer in kind of 

 7          land use planning.  You know, traffic 

 8          systems, roadways, arterials, they're all 

 9          important to move people and goods.  But to 

10          me, they're also important for quality of 

11          life issues, and so how do we build around 

12          those as well.  And air quality is very 

13          important to that, particularly in these 

14          days, and it will continue to be so going 

15          forward.  So I'm happy to take a look at 

16          that.  

17                 But to answer your question, I do not 

18          believe that the debt program is slated to 

19          go.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Okay.  And you 

21          mean by slated to go, to go forward or just 

22          not --

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  -- to be 

24          built, correct.  Not to my knowledge.  And 


 1          I'm looking to my left; it's not.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  And then another 

 3          question I had is you mentioned earlier about 

 4          the BQE being transferred over to the City 

 5          DOT.  And I know that that is the case with 

 6          regard to the triple cantilever, which goes 

 7          the sort of northern part above the 

 8          connection to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and 

 9          around Brooklyn Heights and on up to the 

10          Kosciuszko.

11                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  My question is, 

13          since we were talking about the Gowanus, 

14          which is part of the BQE, it's the same 

15          interstate, is there a line at which you 

16          would be transferring to the City DOT?  Or am 

17          I to understand that the whole Gowanus 

18          Expressway will then go to the City DOT as 

19          opposed to state?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, the HOV 

21          lane, that's what I was speaking to, would be 

22          transferred for operating and maintenance 

23          purposes to the City.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  I see.


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So we're 

 2          having those conversations.  I had a chance 

 3          to meet Polly Trottenberg, you know, a month 

 4          or so ago, and our staffs are interacting as 

 5          we speak.  I'll continue to meet with the 

 6          commissioner as well, because obviously 

 7          there's lots of challenges there.  And again, 

 8          you know, to the degree that I can, I want to 

 9          make sure that we're on the same page and 

10          coordinate our activities.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you very 

12          much.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

15                 Senator?  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

17                 Senator Krueger has some questions.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much.

19                 So you didn't think there could be any 

20          left.  So I'm going to try to make mine a 

21          lightning round for you.

22                 So several members already raised the 

23          question of the 2015-2016 MOU.  You explained 

24          it hadn't been signed.  You explained that 


 1          you were in negotiations with the Legislature 

 2          still.  Who in the Legislature?  I'd like to 

 3          talk to them.

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, what I 

 5          said, Senator, was that it's my understanding 

 6          that the MOU had not been signed, but DOT is 

 7          committed to the projects that were a part of 

 8          that list nonetheless.

 9                 It's my understanding that that list 

10          is with staff of the legislative bodies.

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:   And have any of 

12          those projects actually begun in 2015-2016?  

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Yes.  So then we 

15          should be able to get a list of the projects 

16          that have actually already started?

17                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I believe the 

18          staff has the list.  I believe.

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Staff to whom?

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  The 

21          Legislature.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So would Cathy 

23          Young's staff have it, as the Finance chair?

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Ways and Means 


 1          and Senate Finance.

 2                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  So I could 

 3          perhaps ask you for it, then.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I will 

 6          ask Cathy Young for that, thank you.

 7                 Jumping back, 2010-2014 capital plan, 

 8          can we get a master list of what was 

 9          completed during that five-year plan?  And 

10          are there projects that are still in the 

11          pipeline from that time period?

12                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, I don't 

13          know if there are, but we can get you the 

14          projects that have been completed, yes.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  One of the issues 

16          that was raised to me was that for the 

17          '10-'14 plan, we got federal stimulus monies, 

18          the old ARRA funding, and that there was 

19          supposed to be a three-year deadline for 

20          completing projects that the reappropriations 

21          in the department's budget still show there's 

22          500 million in reapprops outstanding.

23                 I'm just concerned that, one, if we're 

24          not spending them, we might face actually 


 1          having to give them back.  So I'm wondering 

 2          whether perhaps I am wrong that there are 

 3          still 500 million outstanding yet to be spent 

 4          from the old ARRA money.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yeah, my 

 6          understanding is the ARRA funding is 

 7          complete.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So you think that 

 9          that reapprop money actually has been spent.  

10          So if staff could just double-check, and 

11          we'll try to coordinate why we thought there 

12          was still 500 million left.  Thank you.

13                 Lots of people asked about the PAVE 

14          and BRIDGE funding, but there used to also be 

15          a funding stream, I think on a five-year 

16          level, for something called the 

17          Infrastructure Hardening Fund.  And we 

18          couldn't find the Extreme Weather 

19          Infrastructure Hardening Program 

20          appropriation in this year's budget proposal.  

21          Can you just clarify, does that program still 

22          exist, and is there money for it?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, this is 

24          in the proposed budget.  I can't speak to the 


 1          previous, but we can find that for you.  

 2                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So you think there 

 3          is money for the Infrastructure Hardening 

 4          Program in the proposed budget?

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  And I believe 

 6          that may be rolled into this.  But I'll need 

 7          to clarify that and get back to you.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  Thank you.

 9                 The Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust 

10          Fund.  So the Comptroller's most recent 

11          report found that only 25 percent of that 

12          Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund was 

13          actually disbursed for capital construction.  

14          Can you project for me, in the '15-'19 

15          capital plan, how much of that money is 

16          intended to be used for capital construction 

17          and how much of that money needs to go into 

18          operating expenses and debt service?

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  As I mentioned 

20          earlier when I was asked, I can't, because I 

21          don't know that answer.  I know we are 

22          reprogramming, so that again is more 

23          information that I would need to get to you.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And is it your 


 1          understanding that it will need to actually 

 2          show up in a budget bill at some point but 

 3          the details haven't been worked out yet?

 4                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm saying 

 5          that we are reformatting our budget with the 

 6          proposed budget before you, and so as we go 

 7          through now creating some new criteria for 

 8          programs like PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY, we are 

 9          also reprogramming the portfolio.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                 There's been lots of discussion about 

12          the issue of parity between MTA versus 

13          everything else.  Some people talk about it 

14          as upstate/downstate; I'd prefer to talk 

15          about it as sort of mass transit versus 

16          highways and bridges.

17                 When the state is talking about 

18          calculating the numbers and trying to answer 

19          the questions about parity, parity can mean 

20          lots of different things.  So are we talking 

21          about looking at population or system users, 

22          or what kind of standards are actually used?

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, as I had 

24          mentioned I think previously, systems, 


 1          conditions, use all play into the criteria 

 2          that we look at.  You know, we don't want to 

 3          make decisions just based upon geographic 

 4          location.  That may not be an indicator that 

 5          there may be a particular need.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  The price of oil is 

 7          going down dramatically or has come down 

 8          dramatically.  That has, I think, potentially 

 9          two big impacts for state government.  One, 

10          if in fact the cost of gas and oil have been 

11          used as a basis for seeing skyrocketing costs 

12          in your budgets, are we seeing money savings 

13          because now gas and oil costs so much less?  

14                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  In terms of 

15          the use for us in our operations?

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  For you, for your 

17          contracts, for your operations.

18                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, I have 

19          to assume that we are seeing a savings based 

20          upon the cost of fuel.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Then of course we 

22          also draw revenue from the gas taxes in 

23          New York State.

24                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Right.


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So could you give me 

 2          a sense of what projected loss in revenue we 

 3          think the state might face based on the 

 4          lowered cost of gas, meaning less tax revenue 

 5          into a number of the programs you depend on?

 6                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  No, I 

 7          couldn't.  I couldn't.  Much like it varies 

 8          across counties who count on that tax revenue 

 9          from the sale of petroleum, I don't know what 

10          the number would be and the impact it would 

11          be for New York State.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So you didn't use 

13          any new calculator for determining lost 

14          revenue into your budget for the coming year?  

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Not to my 

16          knowledge, no.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  No.  So it may be a 

18          good question for Tax & Finance when they 

19          testify.

20                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Sure.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much.

22                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.  

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  


 1                 Assemblyman Gantt, second go-round.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  I'll keep it 

 3          short, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you very much.

 4                 Mr. Commissioner, as you know, I'm 

 5          Dave Gantt.  I was -- or at least I offered, 

 6          at the groundbreaking ceremonies at the 

 7          railroad station there in Rochester, I 

 8          offered free consultant services.  And so I'm 

 9          going to offer you the same thing.  I'm going 

10          to offer you my free services.  He's watching 

11          very carefully as to what I say.  But it's 

12          free, because I'm the only one who knows 

13          where the pillar is that goes in front of 

14          that station from back in 1950.  So those 

15          services are still there.  Hopefully you will 

16          give me the opportunity to continue to serve 

17          you free.

18                 However, at that particular meeting 

19          the mayor, who's a young woman in our town, 

20          was not even born yet.  She just got 

21          information from her consultant that it would 

22          cost her probably three times as much for -- 

23          or cost the state probably three times as 

24          much later for a bus station as it would if 


 1          we did that station now.

 2                 So she took me up on my free services 

 3          contract with the state, with the 

 4          commissioner, and she asked if I would go and 

 5          consult for her free on the issue of whether 

 6          or not the state should try and purchase the 

 7          bus station, it's a multimodal station.  So 

 8          she wants you to come in and purchase that at 

 9          $3 million rather than $9 million.  

10                 And so that's what I'm asking today, 

11          that you simply take a look at whether or not 

12          we ought to do the bus station now rather 

13          than later.  My offer still stands that I 

14          will consult on that pillar.  Nobody knows 

15          where that pillar goes but me.  So that's 

16          free.  And this service that I'm providing 

17          for the mayor is free.  So I don't want 

18          anybody to leave out of here saying it's 

19          anything else but free.  

20                 So we'd like to have you do that in 

21          Rochester, it's about the multimodal.  And we 

22          think we could save money.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Okay, thank 

24          you, sir.  And I did meet with the mayor just 


 1          last week on that subject and others, and I'm 

 2          in the process of gathering information.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  So you can tell 

 4          her I did my job, free.

 5                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  You did your 

 6          job.  You're a good consultant.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Well, there are 

 8          some people in here, consultants in here 

 9          looking now, so I wanted to make sure I got 

10          that on the record.  

11                 Thank you very much.  And thank you 

12          for your time.

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

14          Assemblyman.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANTT:  Thanks, Mr. Chair.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

17                 We were just joined by Senator Joseph 

18          Griffo.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  I guess 

20          I've got you, to close.

21                 Of the $22.1 billion five-year capital 

22          plan, is there a priority or any emphasis 

23          given to bicycle and pedestrian 

24          infrastructures?


 1                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Yes, sir, 

 2          there is.  It's actually part of our Complete 

 3          Streets Program.  And in fact we look to 

 4          build those elements into all the projects 

 5          that we look at as to how we can better serve 

 6          the pedestrian and bicycling communities 

 7          throughout New York State.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I hope you're 

 9          putting them in separate divisions.  The 

10          pedestrians aren't walking in between the 

11          bicycles, are they?  

12                 (Laughter.)

13                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Well, you hope 

14          they're looking.  

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That will get me 

16          into the paper again.  

17                 The other question is -- I don't know 

18          if anyone raised this before -- and that's 

19          the fact that the last several enacted 

20          budgets included a $10 million capital 

21          appropriation for rail service preservation, 

22          which included 4 million to upgrade diesel 

23          train engines owned by LIRR to meet higher 

24          federal emissions standards.  Have these 


 1          procurements been completed?  How many more 

 2          LIRR trains could be upgraded in the same 

 3          manner?  Why was the appropriate language 

 4          allowing for this funding removed in the 

 5          Executive Budget proposal?  Why did they 

 6          remove it?  And do you plan to continue this 

 7          program?  

 8                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  So I don't 

 9          know why the language was removed.  Those 

10          appraisals or reviews are being done as we 

11          speak.  And I'm going to follow up on your 

12          question with the appropriate staff at DOT.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Fine.  Very good.  

14          Thank you very much.

15                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thank you, 

16          sir.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  See you next year.  

18          That's it.

19                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  I'm done?  

20          thank you.  

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  You're free at 

22          last.

23                 COMMISSIONER DRISCOLL:  Thanks for 

24          your time.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 2          much, Commissioner, very helpful.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 4                 Next to testify, the New York State 

 5          Department of Motor Vehicles, Theresa Egan, 

 6          executive deputy commissioner.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Good 

 8          afternoon.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Good afternoon.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

11          you, Chairperson Young, Chairperson Farrell, 

12          and other members of the Legislature for 

13          inviting me here today.  I'm Terri Egan, the 

14          executive deputy commissioner for the 

15          Department of Motor Vehicles.  

16                 Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget plan 

17          allows DMV to continue to build upon the 

18          innovations and efficiencies achieved over 

19          the past few years.  It provides $325 million 

20          for DMV, which will enable us to continue our 

21          efforts to improve overall customer service, 

22          promote traffic safety, and protect 

23          consumers.  

24                 At the Governorís direction, our 


 1          efforts to improve customer service started 

 2          with an agencywide Customer Service 

 3          Initiative, which consisted of 11 separate 

 4          projects that added new technologies, 

 5          upgraded equipment, and instituted best 

 6          practices in customer service in all of our 

 7          call centers and 27 state-operated DMV 

 8          offices.  

 9                 One of the principal goals of the 

10          Customer Service Initiative was to decrease 

11          average office wait times from 72 minutes, 

12          which we saw in 2013, to 30 minutes.  I am 

13          pleased to report that we were successful in 

14          doing so and that in 2015, the average office 

15          wait time in state-operated DMV offices was 

16          maintained below 30 minutes.  

17                 The expansion and improvement of our 

18          website was another important success of the 

19          Customer Service Initiative.  To improve our 

20          service, DMV introduced a new, modern, 

21          dynamic, and easy-to-use website that is also 

22          optimized for access from mobile devices.  

23          Our website now receives more than 30 million 

24          site visits per year and offers more than 50 


 1          online transactions and services.  In 2015, 

 2          customers performed more than 6 million 

 3          internet transactions, many completed through 

 4          MyDMV, DMV's personalized web portal.  

 5                 To connect with our customers that 

 6          utilize social media, DMV has also 

 7          established a strong social media presence on 

 8          the site, including Facebook, Twitter, 

 9          Flickr, Instagram and YouTube.  DMV recently 

10          won the 2015 Pinnacle Award from the National 

11          Association of Government Web Professionals, 

12          the second national accolade that we have 

13          received this year for the design, ease of 

14          use, and scope of services of our website.  

15                 Along with the expanded use of the 

16          website, we are fully embracing new 

17          technologies such as electronic notifications 

18          that allow us to reduce our environmental 

19          footprint.  Currently more than 1 million 

20          New Yorkers are enrolled in our electronic 

21          registration renewal and inspection reminders 

22          program, which will eliminate hundreds of 

23          thousands of mailings in 2016.  

24                 In total, these improvements have 


 1          helped us to move closer to achieving the 

 2          long-term goal of 50 percent of customers 

 3          using alternative service channels, including 

 4          the web, mail and kiosks.  Currently, 

 5          approximately 45 percent of our customers 

 6          transact their business through an 

 7          alternative service channel, rather than 

 8          having to be served at the counter by a 

 9          customer service representative in an office.  

10                 DMV is not only focused on improving 

11          service to our customers, we also continue to 

12          increase partnerships with other agencies and 

13          to improve services, create efficiencies and 

14          promote enforcement.  In 2015, DMV partnered 

15          with the State Liquor Authority on "Operation 

16          Prevent," to target underage drinking, which 

17          resulted in nearly 760 arrests and the 

18          seizure of more than 750 fraudulent 

19          identification documents.  

20                 In addition, we continue to offer 

21          in-office and online options for customers to 

22          register to vote or sign up for organ 

23          donation, furthering the missions of the 

24          Board of Elections and the Department of 


 1          Health.  DMV also recently partnered with DOH 

 2          to produce medical marijuana cards for 

 3          patients and caregivers.  And further, should 

 4          the legislation pass, we are also ready to 

 5          partner with the Board of Elections to 

 6          implement the Governorís Executive Budget 

 7          proposal to increase voter enrollment.  

 8                 Partnering with 14 state agencies 

 9          through the Governorís Traffic Safety 

10          Committee, DMV will continue its outstanding 

11          work that has made New Yorkís roadways among 

12          the safest in the nation.  GTSC distributes 

13          approximately $32 million in federal funding 

14          annually to support traffic safety 

15          initiatives, including enforcement efforts by 

16          state and local law enforcement agencies to 

17          combat impaired driving and distracted 

18          driving as well as other dangerous driving 

19          behaviors.  GTSC was also instrumental in 

20          securing an $805,000 National Highway Traffic 

21          Safety Administration grant to improve 

22          pedestrian safety, one of only three grants 

23          awarded nationally.  

24                 In 2015, seat belt use reached an 


 1          all-time high of 92 percent, and New York 

 2          State has become a national leader in an 

 3          innovative program aimed at detecting drugged 

 4          driving by training and certifying Drug 

 5          Recognition Experts across the state.  As a 

 6          result of these efforts and more, over the 

 7          past 10 years crash fatalities have decreased 

 8          by 27 percent.  

 9                 To support our ongoing traffic safety 

10          efforts, last year, our administrative law 

11          judges adjudicated close to 10,500 cases, 

12          including those involving chemical test 

13          refusals, fatal crashes, excess speeds, and 

14          persistent violators.  These administrative 

15          law judges also provide support for DMV's 

16          mission to protect consumers.  Last year they 

17          also adjudicated more than 1,000 repair shop 

18          dealer complaints and inspection station 

19          violations, resulting in nearly $1.2 million 

20          being returned to consumers as a result of 

21          cases involving fraudulent repair, inspection 

22          and dealer transactions.  

23                 Looking forward, DMV will continue our 

24          commitment to improve traffic safety, protect 


 1          consumers, innovate and improve our 

 2          procedures, maintain a high level of customer 

 3          service, and provide convenient options for 

 4          our customers to complete transactions.  We 

 5          remain strongly committed to our core mission 

 6          to serve the citizens of New York.  

 7                 Once again, thank you for this 

 8          opportunity to speak with you today.  I 

 9          welcome any questions you might have about 

10          DMV and our plans for serving the people of 

11          New York.  Thank you.  

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

13                 Assemblyman Cusick.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Thank you, 

15          Mr. Chairman.  

16                 Thank you, Commissioner.  Thank you 

17          for testifying.  I just have a couple of 

18          quick questions.

19                 I know that there -- and correct me if 

20          I'm wrong.  Is there a decrease in the 

21          workforce at all at DMV?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  There is 

23          a decrease this year, sir.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  My concern, not 


 1          only as someone who goes to renew his 

 2          license, but representing many constituents 

 3          who do, will that have any effect on the 

 4          customer service on the local level in the 

 5          different areas of New York State?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It will 

 7          not.  This budget contemplates a 10 FTE 

 8          reduction this year.  We will be able to 

 9          absorb that.  

10                 We've made some great strides in 

11          regard to some technological advances in the 

12          way we're approaching our in-office 

13          experience and, most importantly, really 

14          trying to move as many transactions as 

15          possible to the website so that -- as I'm 

16          sure most of you have heard, people would 

17          like to do it from the comfort of their home 

18          or, you know, from the subway using their 

19          mobile devices.  

20                 So there will be no impact, sir.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  So we don't need 

22          to expect having constituents call our 

23          offices saying that they're having unusual 

24          waits at DMV due to this budget?


 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I would 

 2          certainly not anticipate that, sir.  We 

 3          again, for this year, have been able to 

 4          maintain the statewide average below 

 5          30 minutes in our state-run offices.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Great.  I want to 

 7          put on my hat as chair of the Election Law.  

 8          You had mentioned and the Governor had 

 9          mentioned the voter registration.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And currently DMV 

12          is the only agency that has that online, is 

13          that correct?

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

15          correct.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  And that's due to 

17          mainly because DMV has access to a web 

18          signature that other agencies do not have, 

19          correct?  

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  That is 

21          correct.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Could you just 

23          tell me, the plan that was put forth by the 

24          Governor in the budget announcement last 


 1          week, what is the plan to join with other 

 2          agencies?  Because I know our committee has 

 3          been looking into this and we had hearings on 

 4          this this past winter, and we're very 

 5          interested in the Assembly in moving forward 

 6          on voter registration online.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

 8          Again, we haven't seen any of the proposed 

 9          legislation.  And I think what -- as we are 

10          aware at this point, the process as far as 

11          DMV is concerned will remain in essence the 

12          same as it has been since the mid-90s when we 

13          implemented Motor Voter.  The only difference 

14          is where currently right now it is an 

15          affirmative opt-in, it's just going to change 

16          to an opt-out.  The rest of the process will 

17          remain exactly the same.

18                 In regard to expanding that with other 

19          agencies, I'm not sure what those plans are.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay.  But there 

21          are -- there will be discussions on possibly 

22          expanding it, correct?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I would 

24          believe so.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN CUSICK:  Okay, thank you.  

 2          Thank you, Commissioner.  

 3                 Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 5          much.  

 6                 I'd like to welcome and thank you 

 7          today, Deputy Commissioner.  And I did have a 

 8          couple of questions for you.

 9                 You know, the background is in the 

10          Executive Budget proposal it provides 

11          $302.3 million for DMV, as you know.  And 

12          that's $2.8 million less, it has been pointed 

13          out, than -- based on continuing 

14          administrative and operational efficiencies, 

15          including more than 4 million online 

16          transactions per year.  

17                 And that leads into a question that I 

18          have.  I've heard from local governments 

19          across the state, especially county clerks, 

20          about the online transactions and the impact 

21          that it has on their locations across the 

22          state.  So could you address that, please?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

24          Certainly.  Again, county clerks serve, in 


 1          essence, the same constituency as our 

 2          state-operated offices.  And I think one of 

 3          the things that we believe one of our primary 

 4          missions is to provide exemplary customer 

 5          service, and that is a result of listening to 

 6          our customers.  

 7                 We hear over and over again, Can't I 

 8          do more transactions from home?  Why do I 

 9          have to come into an office?  Can't we do it 

10          on mobile, because we're doing everything 

11          else on mobile?  So we at DMV have attempted 

12          to implement many of those things that we 

13          think are meeting our customers' demands.  

14                 This year the county clerks shared 

15          about $43.8 million in retention, with about 

16          $750,000 coming from web.  As many of you may 

17          recall, back in 2012 legislation was passed 

18          to provide county clerks a sharing of those 

19          revenues derived from online transactions.  

20          There was about $750,000 shared by the clerks 

21          coming from that this year, and our 

22          projections indicate that those revenues will 

23          increase to over a million dollars next year.

24                 In addition, as a result of our 


 1          natural cycle of increase of license renewal 

 2          volumes over the next four years, where the 

 3          county clerks shared about 43.8 million in 

 4          normal retentions this year, our projections 

 5          indicate in the years '18-'19, at the height 

 6          of the cycle, their revenues will be 

 7          exceeding $51 million.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And I 

 9          appreciate that answer.

10                 I do want to stress, however, that I 

11          know that you're focused on customer service, 

12          and that's something that I and the 

13          Legislature also support.  But it is crucial 

14          to make sure that our DMV locations are 

15          continued and are operating.  

16                 And the reason I say that is that 

17          going online is a great thing for people who 

18          choose to use that method to deal with the 

19          DMV.  However, I'm sure you know that in 

20          upstate New York there are wide, vast 

21          geographic regions that do not have access to 

22          broadband, no access to Internet.  People may 

23          not even be able to afford computers.  And as 

24          a result of that, they need to have that 


 1          local customer service at the DMV office 

 2          through the clerks' offices.  

 3                 So I just want to point that out, and 

 4          I'm sure you're aware of that.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 6          Absolutely.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Also I wanted to 

 8          ask a question about the federal Real ID Act 

 9          of 2005 that establishes minimum standards 

10          for the production and issuance of 

11          state-issued driver's licenses and 

12          identification cards.  And as you know, it 

13          was found that the DMV licenses that were put 

14          forward do not meet the standards of that 

15          act.  

16                 So could you please provide the 

17          Legislature with any details on the measure 

18          that DMV has taken in order to be in 

19          compliance?  Because as you know, there's a 

20          one-year extension period, the clock is 

21          ticking.  And could you please give us an 

22          update on where that is at?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I'll be 

24          happy to, Senator.  Thank you for asking.


 1                 Again, there's a couple of things that 

 2          I know that in the press actually has been 

 3          misrepresented.  So if we could start, 

 4          New York has since 2008 offered a Real 

 5          ID-compliant document.  It's the enhanced 

 6          driver's license.  So we have provided a 

 7          license that is Real ID-compliant for several 

 8          years.  

 9                 Most recently, I think what you're 

10          referring to is in October, New York received 

11          a one-year extension till October of 2016.  

12          And much of what we have done over the last 

13          decade is to work with DHS and wait to see 

14          how it is that they were going to implement 

15          the act, particularly as it references air 

16          travel, which I think is the thing that most 

17          New Yorkers are concerned about.  

18                 It was only less than two weeks ago 

19          that DHS actually announced what its 

20          implementation plan was, and that plan in 

21          essence says -- and there's lot of 

22          technicalities -- but as it pertains to 

23          New York is that New York documents will 

24          continue to be good, effective, will let you 


 1          get on a plane through 2020, as long as we 

 2          stay either on extension or become compliant.  

 3          And we have every intention to be on 

 4          extension or compliant through that time 

 5          frame.  So all of New York State documents 

 6          will be good through October of 2020.  

 7                 Inasmuch as they just made this 

 8          announcement less than two weeks ago, we will 

 9          continue to work with DHS at this point as 

10          well as with DOB and our ITS people here in 

11          the state to come up with the most 

12          cost-effective and efficient plan to ensure 

13          that all New Yorkers will not suffer any 

14          negative impact from this federal rule.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.  

16          Thank you very much for that answer.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  You're 

18          welcome.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

20                 Assemblyman Ra.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chairman.  

22                 I just had a quick question.  You 

23          touched on the organ donor sign-up program.

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  And I know that there 

 2          was that piece of legislation last year that 

 3          made some slight changes to the wording of 

 4          that on the form and the effect of not 

 5          filling out that question on the online form.  

 6                 Has that been implemented yet?  

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It has, 

 8          sir.  And as recently as November we moved it 

 9          to another one of our electronic formats, and 

10          we are seeing an uptick.  

11                 Last year we had over 385,000 

12          applications to join the registry transmitted 

13          through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

14          And historically it still looks like 

15          88 percent of the organ donor registry 

16          participants are coming through DMV.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  So that's 

18          been smooth, in your view, so far?

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It has.  

20          We continue to look for other ways that we 

21          can improve participation.  We're working 

22          closely with DOH.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  Thank you 

24          very much.


 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  You're 

 2          welcome.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 4                 Senator?

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 6          much.  

 7                 Senator Marty Dilan.

 8                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you very much.  

 9                 I just have one quick question.  In 

10          your testimony you mentioned that seat belt 

11          use is up to 92 percent.  In previous years 

12          when I chaired the Transportation Committee, 

13          the Department of Motor Vehicles did provide 

14          to me a study, and as a result there's 

15          legislation for the use of seat belts in the 

16          back seat.

17                 I just wanted to know if the 

18          department still supports that legislation.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  We would 

20          support back seat belts, yes, sir.

21                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Very efficient.  

23          Thank you very much.

24                 Assemblyman? 


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  The state fiscal 

 2          year 2013-2014 budget included $4.5 million 

 3          to fund a DMV Customer Service Initiative 

 4          which was continued in the 2014-2015 budget 

 5          with an additional $1.4 million in funding.  

 6          Had these initiatives been fully implemented?  

 7          Were they successful?  Is the DMV currently 

 8          offering Saturday hours?

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.  

10          Yes.  And yes.  

11                 (Laughter.)

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes, they 

13          have been -- the money has been expended.  We 

14          have continued to expand on what we started 

15          back in 2012-2013.  We have maximized or are 

16          maximizing the use of our kiosks by 

17          continuing to add transactions that can be 

18          done in an office.  We continue to optimize 

19          our website so it is not only easy to use 

20          from home, but it's easier to use with all of 

21          our mobile devices.  So we have continued to 

22          do that.

23                 We continue, again, to work on our 

24          reservation systems within the state-run 


 1          offices so that you can make a reservation 

 2          now and come in and be served.  We've had 

 3          over 900,000 reservations actually made 

 4          within the state-run offices.  

 5                 So yes, I think it's been very 

 6          successful.  And as we've been able to keep 

 7          our wait times down as well as I think 

 8          provide exemplary customer service, I think 

 9          it was money well spent and well used.  

10                 So thank you.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  The Executive 

12          proposal reduces the DMV workforce by 10 

13          full-time-equivalent employees.  Will this 

14          have any impact on customer service at the 

15          DMV?  The DMV workforce has been reduced by 

16          24 percent over the past 10 years.  What 

17          impact has this had on DMV operations and 

18          customer services?

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

20          you.  

21                 Yes, we have incurred a 10 FTE for 

22          this year, but we still have 2,149 staff.  I 

23          do not believe there will be an impact on 

24          customer service.  We have made some 


 1          tremendous strides in the use of technology, 

 2          as we've spoken about.

 3                 In addition, we are actively engaged 

 4          in lean management, which is one of the 

 5          recommendations that came out of the Sage 

 6          Commission, in that we're trying -- you know, 

 7          with each lean project we're finding 

 8          efficiencies so that we then can deploy 

 9          resources to those areas that may need 

10          attention.

11                 And we continue to be very creative 

12          with how we are using the workforce that we 

13          currently have.  So no, I do not believe 

14          there will be any negative impact by this 

15          reduction.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  The compliance 

17          deadline for the federal Real ID Act was 

18          recently extended to January 2018.  Is 

19          New York in compliance?  What has the DMV 

20          done so far toward achieving compliance?  

21          What additional action is required to achieve 

22          compliance?  Is DMV planning to meet the new 

23          compliance deadline, January 2018?  

24                 That's four different ways to ask the 


 1          same question.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 3          Certainly.  And actually, as long as the 

 4          state remains on extension or is Real 

 5          ID-compliant, that deadline goes really to 

 6          2020.  

 7                 So we believe we have plenty of time 

 8          to implement and do what we need to do, after 

 9          speaking with DHS, talking to DOB, talking to 

10          ITS, to provide a document and a process that 

11          will allow New Yorkers to continue to fly 

12          during that time.  

13                 And again, the footnote to that always 

14          is we've had a Real ID-compliant document 

15          since 2008, and we'll continue that also.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

17          much.  

18                 Any further questions?  

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes, we have 

20          several Senators.

21                 We'll start with Senator Joseph 

22          Griffo.

23                 SENATOR GRIFFO:   Thank you, Madam 

24          Chairwoman.  


 1                 Thank you, Commissioner.  Appreciate 

 2          that.  I just want to echo what the 

 3          chairwoman said earlier about it's important 

 4          to have that ongoing dialogue with county 

 5          clerks too, because your constituents are 

 6          their constituents, and they're all of our 

 7          constituents.  So customer service I think is 

 8          in the best interests of everybody.  

 9                 So I hope you would continue to at 

10          least listen and involve them in that 

11          conversation and discussion.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

13          Absolutely.  And in fact we're meeting with 

14          them next week, Senator.

15                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  I'm going to follow 

16          up on the Real ID Act because I do have some 

17          questions on that.  

18                 You say that we have been compliant.  

19          What do you consider compliant?  The enhanced 

20          driver's license that we offer?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  We have 

22          provided -- and DHS has certainly recognized 

23          that our EDL is a Real ID-compliant document.  

24          So that has been in existence since 2008.  


 1  ***START HERE***

 2                 There are a series of technical 

 3          requirements to become fully Real ID- 

 4          compliant, but at this time we have provided 

 5          and received an extension from DHS.  And, you 

 6          know, inasmuch as DHS has taken 10 years, 

 7          really, to announce its implementation, now 

 8          that they finally have, we will be working 

 9          closely with them moving forward to make sure 

10          that anything we do will not have a negative 

11          impact on New York's ability to fly.

12                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So the document that 

13          you indicate was compliant actually comes at 

14          an additional cost to all of the customers 

15          and constituents that we represent, correct?  

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  As a 

17          result of legislation that was passed, yes, 

18          there's an additional fee charged for the 

19          EDL.

20                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So we are one of the 

21          last if not the last states that was 

22          noncompliant, correct?  

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  In regard 

24          to a listing on the DHS website, it would 


 1          look so.  As we have had conversations with 

 2          DHS, we think that was an unfair listing, if 

 3          you will, because there were many states that 

 4          were even on the extension category that had 

 5          legislation in place at the time that said 

 6          they could not become Real ID-compliant.  But 

 7          in any event, having worked through that in 

 8          the fall, DHS has granted us an extension 

 9          through October of 2016.

10                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  And we have sought 

11          other extensions.  So this could potentially 

12          be the last extension, even though you've 

13          talked about how they've given more -- 

14          they've delineated some of their requirements 

15          now.  

16                 So the question then would be if we 

17          know the enhanced driver's license -- my 

18          concern, and it should be all of our 

19          concerns, is we want to ensure that any 

20          New Yorker that is trying to engage in travel 

21          or access to a federal building will have the 

22          appropriate identification necessary to do so 

23          to conduct business or to travel.  And if the 

24          enhanced license can do that, and it will be 


 1          recognized accordingly, what are we going to 

 2          do to allow that opportunity without that 

 3          additional cost to all New Yorkers?  Because 

 4          to impose an additional cost on something 

 5          that the federal government is requiring 

 6          seems to be very onerous.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I 

 8          absolutely understand your concern, Senator.  

 9          In regard to the $30 fee, because it was 

10          legislatively mandated, there's not something 

11          that DMV can do in regard to that.

12                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So you would 

13          support -- if there were legislation, we 

14          could expect that the DMV would support any 

15          legislation that would eliminate that fee, 

16          then?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, we 

18          would certainly review any proposal that was 

19          given to us.  In addition, we will continue 

20          to work with DHS as well as our own DOB and 

21          ITS to see if there are other alternatives 

22          that might be available.

23                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  What are we doing to 

24          inform the public, too, about the 


 1          responsibilities and obligations?  Because I 

 2          think it's been deficient to date because 

 3          many people are very confused and unaware of 

 4          the requirements.  Granted, again, it's a 

 5          federal law, but handed to DMV.  

 6                 So what have you or more importantly 

 7          what will you do to ensure that people 

 8          understand what will be required?

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

10          Absolutely.  And as I think you appropriately 

11          point out, the message from DHS and TSA has 

12          been complicated at best.  Part of the 

13          announcement that was made less than two 

14          weeks ago was an educational marketing 

15          program that the feds intend to pursue, so we 

16          will strongly -- we will be working with them 

17          to come up with a marketing and education 

18          plan that will mirror what it is so that we 

19          are all saying the same thing to all of our 

20          constituents.

21                 So now that we do have some time 

22          frames and it is more concrete, we will have 

23          that ability to put that plan together.

24                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  And you'll have that 


 1          plan which we can be able to access and know 

 2          how you're going to communicate with the 

 3          general public?

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 5          Absolutely.  As soon as we have that plan 

 6          available, we'd be happy to share it.

 7                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  Thank you.  

 8                 Thank you, Chairwoman.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

10          much, Senator.

11                 Next I'd like to call on Senator Diane 

12          Savino.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

14          Young.

15                 Thank you for your testimony.  I 

16          wanted to ask you a question about the 

17          issuance of the medical marijuana cards for 

18          patients and caregivers.  I'm happy to hear 

19          that DMV is issuing them.  I have a question, 

20          though, about how many have been issued, if 

21          you know, and what the turnaround is from the 

22          request for the card.

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I do 

24          know, as of this morning, it was 117 cards 


 1          have been issued.  We issued the first one on 

 2          January 4th.  The turnaround time I think is 

 3          very short.  I don't know exactly what that 

 4          is, but I can get that to you, Senator.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yeah, I would be 

 6          interested in hearing that.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN: 

 8          Absolutely.

 9                 SENATOR SAVINO:  And the other 

10          question is, just briefly, I know that 

11          everyone is concerned about distracted 

12          driving and obviously reducing the incidence 

13          of driving under the influence.  In the 

14          Legislature, I believe two years ago we 

15          increased the penalties for texting while 

16          driving and in fact made actually having the 

17          phone in your hand a primary offense so the 

18          police could pull you over.  

19                 Do you have any idea how many 

20          summonses have been issued statewide with 

21          respect to texting while driving?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I don't 

23          have that offhand, but I certainly can get 

24          that.  That is a metric that we keep and we 


 1          report on it regularly.  We do -- we're happy 

 2          to report, actually, in 2014, which is the 

 3          last year of full reporting on this, that in 

 4          regard to impaired driving our fatalities 

 5          were at the lowest ever that had alcohol as a 

 6          factor, which we were very pleased with.  

 7                 And as a result of many of the 

 8          initiatives the Governor has directed not 

 9          only us to take but also legislation that has 

10          been passed, we were really happy to see 

11          those numbers start to come down.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Are we tracking the 

13          number of accidents due to distracted 

14          driving, particularly from texting?

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes, we 

16          have an ability -- the Governor's Traffic 

17          Safety Committee website actually has these 

18          reports that are done, they're available on 

19          their website.  It's a little difficult to 

20          track because, again, we don't say anything 

21          is a particular cause.  The way that police 

22          and law enforcement report, it's a factor.  

23                 But certainly if you go to the charts 

24          that are there, you can look at factors from 


 1          cellphones to texting to distracted driving, 

 2          and I think there's even one for eating while 

 3          driving.  So those numbers are all set out.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  

 5                 And another issue that has been of 

 6          concern to myself, Assemblyman Cusick and I 

 7          have been carrying a bill for several years 

 8          now with respect to creating a crime of 

 9          intruding into the work zone.  The number of 

10          work zone fatalities across the state 

11          continues to go up, despite us increasing 

12          fines.  Everyone -- you drive down the 

13          Thruway, you see a sign that says, you know, 

14          the penalties are doubled for speeding 

15          through the work zone.  But it has had very 

16          little impact on changing people's behavior.  

17                 So we have been pushing the idea of 

18          creating a felony, creating the crime of 

19          vehicular law homicide for intentionally 

20          intruding into the work zone.  The Senate has 

21          passed this bill many times.  But we're kind 

22          of running into problems convincing others 

23          that this is necessary, because they don't 

24          see the number of summonses.  


 1                 So I'm not sure if you know the answer 

 2          to that question or if you can point me in a 

 3          direction where I can obtain the information 

 4          to justify our position that we need to 

 5          increase these penalties, because intrusions 

 6          into the work zone are creating not just a 

 7          hazard for the workers in the work zone, but 

 8          it actually creates a big problem for 

 9          drivers.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  I 

11          mean, we certainly can work with DOT as well 

12          as our Governor's Traffic Safety Committee 

13          and some of our other data people to provide 

14          whatever data you think you need.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Those tickets are 

16          adjudicated by your ALJs, aren't they?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It 

18          depends on where -- it depends on where the 

19          infraction happens.  Some could be our ALJs, 

20          some could be local town judges and 

21          magistrates.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay, thank you.

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  You're 

24          welcome.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 2          much, Senator.  

 3                 Next I would call on Senator Kathy 

 4          Marchione.

 5                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  Thank you.  Thank 

 6          you.  Hi, how are you?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Good to 

 8          see you, Senator.  

 9                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  That's good.  Nice 

10          to see you too.  

11                 Recently it has come to my attention 

12          that State DMV has put out for bid the 

13          ability of a private company to process 

14          commercial or dealer work, as known by county 

15          clerks.  Can you tell me whether that is true 

16          or not?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I do not 

18          believe that's true.

19                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  Okay, I had a 

20          gentleman in my office who -- actually, the 

21          company is in my district -- told me that he 

22          put a bid in for work with the Department of 

23          Motor Vehicles.  

24                 So you're confirming that at this time 


 1          you have not put work out?

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I am not 

 3          aware of what that would be.  We certainly 

 4          could, if you would like, after this, get us 

 5          the information and we can track it down and 

 6          more specifically discuss it.  But I am not 

 7          aware of any bid that's going out for dealer 

 8          work.

 9                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  Okay, that was my 

10          second question.  

11                 I know that you've done a great deal 

12          of work for online, and it's very easy to 

13          use.  County clerks hate it, of course, as 

14          you know.  But certainly it's terrific for 

15          people to be able to get their DMV work done 

16          quickly.  

17                 Have you secured an online program for 

18          dealers as of this time so that dealers -- I 

19          know that they have been able to for years 

20          but have not.  Have you streamlined and 

21          looked at programs where dealers are now 

22          going to start going online?

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, 

24          the partnering program has been available at 


 1          DMV for several years.  As far as any new 

 2          initiative in regard to that, the answer 

 3          would be no.  

 4                 The only thing -- and again, trying to 

 5          figure out exactly what your constituent may 

 6          be referring to -- we are getting ready to 

 7          put out an RFP for an online EMV system.  

 8          It's basically called -- it's to allow the 

 9          transfer and the inventory of new cars, used 

10          cars, for dealers to be done electronically 

11          as opposed to on paper.  But that has to do 

12          with really more, again, just the inventory 

13          and the transfer.  That RFP we would expect 

14          to go out hopefully next month.

15                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  Okay.  And that 

16          might be what he was talking about.  He 

17          wasn't explaining it well.

18                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It could 

19          be, but we'd be happy to follow up with you 

20          if you would like.

21                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  Thank you.  

22                 One other question.  You have a 

23          program, it's COMPASS?  

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.


 1                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  But within COMPASS 

 2          there's a function called Tickets in COMPASS.

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes.

 4                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  My local district 

 5          attorney has been in contact with me because 

 6          in her office they're able to access that.  

 7          The problem that they're experiencing is they 

 8          would love to see that program expanded to 

 9          local justice courts.  

10                 In any given day in just one of my 

11          counties, in Saratoga, they process about 200 

12          cases a day.  They can't possibly look at 

13          everything when it's in a local justice 

14          court; they don't have time.  But the local 

15          justice court, even with limited access, a 

16          certain individual, someone within there to 

17          be able to look at Tickets in COMPASS -- let 

18          me tell you the situation that occurred, that 

19          we actually went to DMV and asked if we could 

20          hook onto Tickets in COMPASS.  We had an 

21          accident in my district with four young high 

22          school students, and the young man who was 

23          responsible for the accident had 22 

24          violations stockpiled that no one knew about 


 1          because they weren't able to access what he 

 2          hadn't taken care of.

 3                 And so at that point we went to DMV 

 4          and we asked if we could hook in.  And you 

 5          were running a pilot, and thank you, you put 

 6          Saratoga on that pilot.

 7                 Well, now they know it works so well 

 8          and local courts have access, of course, to 

 9          all criminal records through DCJS.  They 

10          really need to have access to COMPASS in 

11          order for them not only in a plea agreement, 

12          but in any decision that the judge is 

13          rendering, to know what is out there and what 

14          may still be outstanding in order to be able 

15          to know what they really need to do with that 

16          person in front of them.

17                 So I'm here today hoping that access 

18          can be given to our mobile justice courts.

19                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Yes, 

20          Senator, we're aware of that.  

21                 And again, for those who may not be 

22          familiar with this, here in New York, local 

23          courts as well as DAs can receive an 

24          abstract, which is what we talk about as a 


 1          driver's driving record.  And it lists out 

 2          convictions.  

 3                 There is a program that we started a 

 4          couple of years ago called Tickets in 

 5          COMPASS, which allows certain people to have 

 6          access not only to the driver conviction but 

 7          to what the original charges were.  

 8                 There was a decision at the time that 

 9          the program was instituted that that access 

10          would be given to district attorneys so that 

11          they can make a determination whether or not 

12          they could even want to make an offer for a 

13          plea bargain for a particular matter.  There 

14          was a decision also at that time that town 

15          judges and courts would not have that same 

16          access, mostly because, again, judges as an 

17          objective neutral arbiter, the idea being 

18          seeing the original charge prior to the time 

19          that they may be called upon to actually have 

20          a trial to make a determination of guilt or 

21          innocence, we would not want anybody to be 

22          unfairly biased, and we would certainly want 

23          the motorist to feel that there was fairness 

24          going on at all levels with the DA as well as 


 1          their defense attorney as well as the town 

 2          judge.  

 3                 So that is really the theory behind 

 4          doing it this way.  And town judges can 

 5          absolutely get access to this at the 

 6          appropriate time through their district 

 7          attorney.

 8                 So I'm familiar with the case on the 

 9          Northway.  And I would just say that while 

10          the town judge may not have had access to 

11          this document and this information, the 

12          district attorney certainly did.  And if it 

13          was any time within the last three years or 

14          so, they would have had any sort of 

15          information in regard to the priors on this.  

16                 So I understand the concern and we 

17          understand the request, but at this time, 

18          again, balancing what we believe to be the 

19          fairness to the motorist as well as the 

20          objectivity and the unbiased nature of the 

21          judicial system, that's our policy as we sit 

22          here.

23                 SENATOR MARCHIONE:  My request is just 

24          to hope that you'll revisit that policy.  But 


 1          thank you for your explanation.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank 

 3          you, Senator.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman 

 5          Malliotakis.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Thank you 

 7          very much.  

 8                 Thank you, Commissioner, for being 

 9          here.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Good 

11          afternoon.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  I just 

13          wanted to follow up on some of the drunk 

14          driving stuff.  

15                 One of the first bills that I had 

16          introduced when I came to the Legislature was 

17          to strip licenses from individuals after a 

18          third conviction.  It was sort of like a 

19          "three strikes, you're out."  A similar law, 

20          Vince's Law, went into effect I think in 

21          2014.  I just wanted to ask you if you could 

22          provide a little bit of an update on how 

23          that's been working.  

24                 At the time that this law went into 


 1          effect, there were about 47,000 individuals, 

 2          I think, in the database that had three 

 3          convictions of drunk driving, and I wanted to 

 4          know what your perspective is on how this law 

 5          is working and if it goes really far enough.

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  

 7          Certainly.  It may be a little premature to 

 8          make a determination on how well it's 

 9          working.  I do believe, I think we just read 

10          about a month and a half ago that we had our 

11          first either arrest and/or conviction under 

12          the new law.  And it takes a little bit of 

13          time to really compile all of that 

14          information.  And even though somebody may be 

15          getting charged with that new law, as a 

16          judicial system works, it may take several 

17          months if not in excess of a year before it 

18          works its way through the judicial system.  

19          So it's something that we will continue to 

20          work on.

21                 And as you know, too, we try to the -- 

22          you know, the best of our authority is take a 

23          very strong look at not only these impaired 

24          drivers -- and again, we're looking not only 


 1          at alcohol now, but we're also looking at 

 2          drug-impaired and seeing what we can do 

 3          within our own authority.  And certainly as 

 4          proposals come in from the Legislature, we 

 5          review those also.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  The first 

 7          case, the conviction that you mentioned, was 

 8          that a license that was suspended or was it 

 9          just someone who, you know, was sentenced to 

10          seven years, which was the maximum?  

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I 

12          thinking it had to do with the arrest and not 

13          the sentence.  

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Okay.  All 

15          right, so hopefully we'll see some progress 

16          with this and getting people off the streets.

17                 I have another question regarding the 

18          state identification cards.  Can you just 

19          talk a little bit about the process for an 

20          individual who is either -- it's only -- 

21          state identification cards are only given to 

22          citizens or legal residents, correct?  

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Well, 

24          citizenship is not an element of our license 


 1          issuance process.  So I'm not sure if you're 

 2          talking about just a regular license or if 

 3          you're talking about what potentially would 

 4          be a Real ID document.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  State ID 

 6          document.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Okay.  

 8          Citizenship is not an element of our 

 9          licensing process.  And again, online we have 

10          a very I think robust website in regard to 

11          what would be needed for someone to come into 

12          an office to receive either a non-driver ID 

13          and/or their license.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  But to 

15          receive an ID, you do need to be a legal 

16          resident of the city and the nation, no?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Again, in 

18          regard to a non-driver ID, not being a 

19          Real ID document, citizenship is not an 

20          element of our license process.


22          Citizenship is not.  But about a legal 

23          resident?  

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  It is not 


 1          either.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  So you can 

 3          be an illegal immigrant and obtain a New York 

 4          State identification card?  

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Residency 

 6          versus citizenship, those are two different 

 7          things, Assemblywoman.  So I'm not --

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  But you're 

 9          either a legal resident or you're not.  You 

10          are either a citizen -- so if you are not a 

11          citizen of the United States and you're not a 

12          legal resident of the United States, so you 

13          are here illegally, you can still obtain a 

14          state identification card?  

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Well, 

16          again, we would have to look at the 

17          documentation that was provided.  We are 

18          provided with all sorts of different types of 

19          passports, citizenship documents, temporary 

20          residents.  And on each one of those things 

21          there's a different process.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Again, but 

23          if you are here without any of those 

24          documents, making you not a legal resident, 


 1          can you obtain an identification card?  I 

 2          think that's a, you know, pretty 

 3          black-and-white question.  If you are not 

 4          legally here, whether it be with a visa or --

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  If you 

 6          cannot provide us with the documentation to 

 7          show that you are legally here and meet the 

 8          checklist that we have in regard to the 

 9          documents that we need, we could not provide 

10          an identification card.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Okay.  So 

12          unlike the City of New York, if you are -- if 

13          you are here illegally, you do not have legal 

14          status to be in the United States, you cannot 

15          obtain a card?  I just want a yes or no.  

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I can't 

17          comment on what New York City does.  We're 

18          not sure what it is that they do.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Okay.  But 

20          in the State of New York, the state does not 

21          give an identification card if you're not a 

22          legal resident?  Just a yes or a no.

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  I believe 

24          the answer is no, we don't.  Although 


 1          citizenship is not an element, again, of our 

 2          licensing process.  It depends on the 

 3          paperwork that's provided to us as well as 

 4          the passport information that -- 

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  But you 

 6          need to show some documentation that you're 

 7          here legally.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  There is 

 9          a series of things that we would look at, 

10          yes.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MALLIOTAKIS:  Thank you 

12          very much.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

14                 Senator?

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

16                 Senator Dilan would like to ask one 

17          more question.

18                 SENATOR DILAN:  Yes.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Or maybe more than 

20          one.

21                 SENATOR DILAN:  No, just one.  

22                 And very quickly, again, I wanted to 

23          understand what enforcement is going on with 

24          unlicensed used car dealers in terms of 


 1          curbstoning where they're just parking their 

 2          vehicles -- uninsured, not registered.  And I 

 3          wonder what enforcement your agency is taking 

 4          upon these unlicensed used car dealers.  And 

 5          I know that New York City Police Department 

 6          is at a loss as to what they do with these 

 7          vehicles that are in residential areas.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Sure.  

 9          Senator, as we receive those complaints, we 

10          will send out our automobile facility 

11          investigators, our AFIs, to look to see if we 

12          can find evidence of an unlawful dealership.

13                 Oftentimes I will say that it is not 

14          something where we can find evidence of a 

15          dealership, and then it does become a law 

16          enforcement issue and we work with NYPD as 

17          best we can on that.

18                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  Thank you.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Further questions?  

20                 Thank you very much.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER EGAN:  Thank you 

23          very much.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  New York State 


 1          Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, 

 2          Maria Lehman, interim executive director, 

 3          Matt Howard, CFO, Gordon Cuffy, counsel.

 4                 Come on up, come on up, Matt.

 5                 (Laughter.)

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  There are chairs.  

 7          Thought we would get you.

 8                 Good afternoon.

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Good 

10          afternoon.  

11                 Chairperson Young, Chairperson 

12          Farrell, and members of the Senate and 

13          Assembly fiscal and Transportation 

14          Committees, thank you for having me here 

15          today.  I am Maria Lehman, the interim 

16          executive director and chief operating 

17          officer for the New York State Thruway 

18          Authority and Canal Corporation.

19                 This is a very important year for the 

20          Thruway Authority.  The Executive Budget 

21          proposes a capital appropriation of 

22          $700 million in the Thruway Stabilization 

23          Program.  This is in addition to the nearly 

24          $1.3 billion approved in 2015.  We are 


 1          grateful to the Governor for this infusion of 

 2          capital from the settlements with banks and 

 3          financial institutions.  These funds will 

 4          allow us to continue the progress we've made 

 5          on the New NY Bridge as well as meet our 

 6          systemwide capital needs, while enabling 

 7          tolls to remain frozen at current levels 

 8          until 2020.  

 9                 The Executive Budget also includes a 

10          tax credit that will cut tolls for frequent 

11          users of the Thruway and eliminate tolls for 

12          agricultural users, benefiting nearly one 

13          million passenger, business and farm 

14          vehicles.  Drivers of passenger vehicles who 

15          spend at least $50 annually, and businesses 

16          and commercial account holders who spend 

17          between $100 and $9,999 annually in Thruway 

18          tolls, would receive a tax credit worth 

19          50 percent of the tolls paid.  Further, 

20          farming vehicles bringing farm goods to 

21          market would have tolls eliminated completely 

22          through a 100 percent tax credit.  

23                 Finally, the Executive Budget proposes 

24          the transfer of the Canal Corporation to the 


 1          New York Power Authority in recognition of 

 2          the natural nexus of missions between Canals 

 3          and the Power Authority.  The 27 

 4          hydroelectric generating facilities along the 

 5          Canal System represent 9 percent of the 

 6          stateís total hydroelectric facilities and 

 7          approximately 2.3 percent of its annual 

 8          hydroelectric power production.  The Power 

 9          Authority currently manages the corporationís 

10          largest reservoir, the Hinckley Reservoir, 

11          and the Corporation routinely performs 

12          maintenance work for the Power Authority at 

13          the Crescent and Vischer Ferry Dams, where 

14          the Power Authority operates hydroelectric 

15          power-generation facilities.  

16                 This transfer allows the Thruway 

17          Authority to reassume roughly $85 million in 

18          operating costs that have been supported by 

19          the state since 2013.  These costs include 

20          approximately $26 million in state support 

21          and approximately $59 million for the 

22          New York State Police Troop T costs that were 

23          assumed by the state, which will now be 

24          returning to the Thruway Authority.  


 1                 The Thruway Authority adopted a 2016 

 2          budget that is balanced and provides the 

 3          necessary resources to maintain the current 

 4          levels of maintenance, safety, and service on 

 5          our system.  The Thruway Authorityís capital 

 6          and operating costs are being effectively and 

 7          efficiently managed, and our 2015 revenue has 

 8          exceeded expectations.  

 9                 Another noteworthy point is that the 

10          Thruway Authority has held annual operating 

11          growth to less than 1 percent since 2011, and 

12          we project that we can continue that trend 

13          into the near future. 

14                 There is significant progress on the 

15          construction of the New NY Bridge, thanks to 

16          the dedicated professionals working on the 

17          project.  The single largest bridge and 

18          highway infrastructure project in 

19          North America, this new crossing is literally 

20          rising from the water and stretching further 

21          across the Hudson every day.  In the past 

22          months the first steel girders have reached 

23          the Rockland landing, and additional progress 

24          includes 55 percent of the concrete piers are 


 1          complete, 46 percent of the steel girders are 

 2          fabricated, and 34 percent of the deck panels 

 3          are fabricated.  

 4                 The Governorís 2016-1017 proposed 

 5          budget recognizes the Thruway's vital role as 

 6          the backbone for commerce, tourism and 

 7          commuters in New York.  It is important to 

 8          reiterate that the funds included in the 

 9          Executive proposal are for capital 

10          improvements, not operating costs.  The 

11          $700 million in assistance will ensure that 

12          all of the necessary capital maintenance and 

13          improvements we have planned can occur 

14          without requiring a toll adjustment.

15                 One final note: We could not do any of 

16          what we do without our dedicated employees 

17          across the state, and I want to take this 

18          opportunity to acknowledge their hard work, 

19          dedication, and ongoing commitment to the 

20          highest standards of safety and reliability 

21          in every area of our operations.  

22                 Thank you for your time. I would be 

23          happy to respond to any questions you may 

24          have.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 2                 Mr. Walter, Assemblyman Walter.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  Thank you, 

 4          Chairman.

 5                 Ms. Lehman, congratulations.  I hope 

 6          we can make it a permanent position, not just 

 7          temporary here.

 8                 But it's nice to have someone with 

 9          some Western New York experience at the 

10          Thruway Authority.  I'd like to talk 

11          specifically in my district, which is the 

12          Williamsville toll barrier.  In previous 

13          years we've approached the Thruway Authority 

14          about eliminating the tolls between Exits 49 

15          and 50 for our commuters who use that passage 

16          frequently.  With this proposal by the 

17          Governor, is that something that is more 

18          achievable today than it was previously?  Or 

19          is that something that's not on the table at 

20          all, or can we talk about it further?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Our current 

22          five-year capital plan does include some 

23          improvements at Williamsville.  As far as 

24          changing out the barriers, that is not in our 


 1          current capital plan.  But what we have done 

 2          as part of the Cleveland Hill road and bridge 

 3          project, we have made improvements there to 

 4          be able to allow better throughput.  We had 

 5          added 20 mile per hour E-ZPass lanes, for 

 6          example, by reconfiguring in the plaza, and 

 7          we'll be adding some lanes this construction 

 8          season.  So it's a little more effective and 

 9          efficient as far as the toll plaza.

10                 We will be looking towards the future 

11          of a plan to be able to do more, but in our 

12          current five-year plan it's not included.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  So specifically, 

14          you know, one of the issues we're looking at 

15          is having high-speed lanes there.  That is 

16          not -- is that in any sort of plans within 

17          the next five years?

18                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  What we are 

19          doing right now is doing the high-speed 

20          all-electronic tolling at the Tappan Zee, at 

21          the New NY Bridge.  And we're hoping that we 

22          can use the lessons learned there.  

23                 There's obviously a lot of changes 

24          that have to happen at Williamsville because 


 1          of the vertical and horizontal curves, and so 

 2          there's a lot of -- it's capital-intensive to 

 3          change that barrier.  So we want to be able 

 4          to make sure we kind of understand 

 5          all-electronic tolls and then start working 

 6          on a plan for the Thruway.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  Even with the 

 8          improvements there, there still continues to 

 9          be, you know, failures at the toll at 

10          high-volume, peak times, you know, with 

11          traffic backing up all the way to Cayuga Road 

12          and beyond in many instances.  You know, 

13          obviously high-speed tolls will, you know, 

14          alleviate some of that.  

15                 But back to my original question, you 

16          know, the Governor has proposed this tax 

17          credit to reduce the cost of anybody who 

18          spends more than $50 a year on the Thruway.  

19          I think it's a 50 percent tax credit that 

20          he's proposed.  Is there any way that we can 

21          use that as a way to eliminate that 15-cent 

22          toll between Exit 49 and 50?

23                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I mean, I 

24          think it's something we're going to have to 


 1          look at with the financial plan and how 

 2          things shake out.  We're hopeful that we're 

 3          going to see -- right now we see about 

 4          70 percent E-ZPass usage across the system.  

 5          In Williamsville it's about 70 percent, where 

 6          it's 80 percent at the New NY Bridge site.  

 7          So if we get more E-ZPass, then we're more 

 8          efficient and so we can, you know, use the 

 9          information we glean from when we have a tax 

10          credit to make decisions for strategies for 

11          the future.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  Access to the 

13          E-ZPass lane there, though, is very 

14          difficult.  I mean, you're all the way on the 

15          left, you go from -- you don't get to three 

16          lanes or four lanes or whatever, however many 

17          it is, nine or 10 lanes, until after the 

18          bottleneck occurs.  So there needs to be some 

19          sort of a long-term plan, I think.  You know, 

20          obviously removing the Williamsville toll 

21          barrier has been an issue for going on 20 

22          years now and was certainly part of the plan 

23          long ago, you know, that shouldn't be 

24          abandoned.  I mean, we need to get back to, 


 1          you know -- start putting plans together to 

 2          finally eliminate that toll barrier.  I mean, 

 3          it's not conducive for the economic comeback 

 4          that's happening in Western New York right 

 5          now.  It's hurting us.

 6                 So anything we can do to keep that on 

 7          the priority list would be good, and I would 

 8          encourage you to advocate for that in your 

 9          new role here.

10                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Yeah, I'm 

11          happy to say that, you know, there was a lot 

12          of talk for a long time and we are making 

13          incremental improvements in the interim so 

14          that we're not just waiting till we have the 

15          whole answer.  So hopefully some of the 

16          interim improvements will help.  And we 

17          certainly will look at a long-term strategy.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  Obviously you 

19          know the issue is a lot of that traffic gets 

20          diverted right down in the middle of the 

21          village of Williamsville, 40,000 cars a day 

22          down Route 5 right in the middle of the 

23          village.  Anything we can do to help 

24          alleviate some of that congestion would be 


 1          good.

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Yup.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALTER:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 5                 Senator?

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 7                 So great to see you again, Executive 

 8          Director Lehman, and I thank you for being 

 9          here.  And I do have a few questions 

10          regarding the Executive Budget proposal.

11                 So as you pointed out, there's 

12          $700 million in financial settlement monies 

13          to help fund the Tappan Zee Bridge and the 

14          Authority's capital program, building on the 

15          $1.3 billion, approximately, included in the 

16          2016 enacted budget.  So according to the 

17          Governor, this additional support would bring 

18          the Authority's two-year total of settlement 

19          funds to $2 billion and enable the Thruway 

20          Authority to avoid a toll increase until at 

21          least 2020.

22                 The Executive Budget for this year 

23          also includes legislation for a three-year 

24          Thruway toll reduction and protection plan of 


 1          $340 million that would issue tax credits to 

 2          residents and small businesses, reducing 

 3          their tolls by 50 percent, as well as a full 

 4          toll reduction for farmers, which is welcome 

 5          news for rural areas across New York.

 6                 I was wondering, can the Thruway 

 7          confirm that the cost of the new Tappan Zee 

 8          Bridge will not lead to a systemwide toll 

 9          increase?  Because you have this plan for the 

10          next four years to have basically a freeze, 

11          but what happens after then?  And there are a 

12          lot of questions about how we're going to 

13          continue to pay for the construction of the 

14          Tappan Zee Bridge, and people across the 

15          state are concerned about where that funding 

16          is coming from and whether it would be put as 

17          a burden on the entire system.

18                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Well, the 

19          first part of the question is that we have a 

20          strategy on the funding of the New NY Bridge.  

21          It has been evolving.  When we started down 

22          that road several years ago, we didn't 

23          anticipate that we would have a TIFIA loan 

24          from U.S. DOT for $1.6 billion towards that 


 1          project.  We saw the $1.285 billion last 

 2          year; about $750 million of that is going 

 3          towards the Tappan Zee.  And we are yet 

 4          determining what part of the $700 million 

 5          that's proposed here that would come towards 

 6          the TZ.  So we do have this framework that 

 7          we're looking at.  

 8                 I think the other thing that's 

 9          important is that the Governor has named a 

10          Toll Task Force, and that task force is 

11          focusing only on the tolls at the New NY 

12          Bridge.  It was named back in November, and 

13          they will be working on what we will be 

14          looking at moving forward.  So it's about 

15          what the tolls will look like once we get 

16          through this period, and what other things -- 

17          for example, do we have commuter discounts, 

18          do we have resident discounts.  You know, do 

19          we continue -- we have a Green Card discount.  

20          So those kinds of things and issues is really 

21          what that task force is going to be charged 

22          with.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So you cannot 

24          confirm that there would not be a systemwide 


 1          increase, that that's a possibility in the 

 2          future?

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  We will have 

 4          to see where we are at the end of this 

 5          period.  We are looking at a very aggressive 

 6          capital program upstate, it's $1.5 billion 

 7          over the next five years.  And so, you know, 

 8          there's no plan to increase tolls at the 

 9          Thruway in 2016, and hopefully with this 

10          Executive Budget we'll go through 2020 and 

11          we'll be working with our constituencies on 

12          what our next steps are.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

14                 When does the Thruway Authority 

15          anticipate you'll be able to release a 

16          financial plan for the new Tappan Zee Bridge 

17          project?  So we have some details on it, but 

18          we don't have a financial plan.  You just 

19          referenced it a little bit.  But, you know, 

20          when do you think we'll have more details 

21          moving forward?

22                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I think 

23          moving through the budget process, again, we 

24          will look at what portion of the $700 million 


 1          we will be allocating.  And then we need to 

 2          look at other new, potential, innovative 

 3          financial mechanisms.  You know, as I stated, 

 4          there's a lot of things that we've 

 5          incorporated that at the beginning of this 

 6          journey were not even possibilities.  It was 

 7          all going to be tolls at the New NY Bridge.

 8                 So I think there's been fluidity to be 

 9          able to be responsive to the financial 

10          markets and whatever new tools we have in the 

11          toolbox to be able to keep those toll rates 

12          as low as possible.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And I think you 

14          especially, hailing from western New York, 

15          know that increased tolls is a major drag on 

16          the Thruway, a major drag on our economy and 

17          the traveling public.  And oftentimes, as you 

18          also know, that big trucks and so on may try 

19          to bypass the Thruway and go on our local 

20          roads and tear those up.  So it's a major 

21          issue for people, and it's an affordability 

22          issue also.

23                 I was hoping that you could comment on 

24          the operational savings and financial 


 1          improvements that the Thruway has undertaken 

 2          in the last couple of years.  If you could 

 3          give us some more information on those, 

 4          please.

 5                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Sure.

 6                 First I'd really like to thank our 

 7          executive director up till last Friday.  

 8          Bob Megna has been a real godsend to the 

 9          Thruway as far as looking at it from a 

10          financial standpoint, in all the places that 

11          we really could look, to come up with some 

12          changes.

13                 But I think, you know, one of the 

14          things, you know, being in operations and 

15          maintenance for the last year, I actually 

16          started December 28th in operations and 

17          maintenance of '14, three days before we had 

18          our first big snow event --

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Lucky you.

20                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  -- and I was 

21          there.  I'm a Buffalonian, I can handle it.

22                 Anyway, I think we looked at a lot of 

23          things from a more global perspective, but 

24          we're now drilling down.  One of the things 


 1          that I like to tell folks is this isn't your 

 2          grandfather's Thruway, it's your daughter's 

 3          Thruway.  There's a lot of new means and 

 4          methods for how we organize, how we regroup, 

 5          how we use our resources more wisely across 

 6          the system.  

 7                 And so we're looking at that, looking 

 8          from the ground up at the core issues, from 

 9          the bottom up.  So we did this kind of 

10          top-down review of all the things we can 

11          change, and now we're trying to realign our 

12          resources into core businesses and how we 

13          deliver those businesses.

14                 So moving forward, you know, we'll be 

15          working with our board on various different 

16          initiatives to be able to streamline 

17          back-office operations, for example, and put 

18          the money where we need it as far as 

19          maintaining and operating the roadway system 

20          and the bridge system.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

22                 So your assessment is that the 

23          Authority's financial condition is stronger 

24          today than it has been?  That's number one.  


 1                 And what is your opinion of the bond 

 2          rating agencies -- or what is the opinion of 

 3          the bond rating agencies regarding the 

 4          Thruway Authority?

 5                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Well, I can 

 6          speak to the first question.  I think we're 

 7          in much more stable financial footing than we 

 8          were.  I mean, we have a budget that is 

 9          maintaining less than 1 percent growth.  Our 

10          revenue last year, we did much better than we 

11          anticipated, even after adjusting it.

12                 As far as the bond ratings, I can 

13          either get back to you with that or I can ask 

14          Matt, who's our chief financial officer, to 

15          answer that question.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

17                 There's discussion of parity, and I'm 

18          sure you heard it earlier as you sat through 

19          the testimony of Commissioner Driscoll, in 

20          the highway and bridge funding program.  And 

21          so now there's $2 billion, right, with the 

22          Thruway that is being counted toward that 

23          parity.  In your recollection, has that ever 

24          happened before?  Because it's our 


 1          understanding that it hasn't been counted 

 2          toward parity in the past.

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I can't 

 4          speak to the parity issue.  It's not 

 5          something that I've looked at, nor do I know 

 6          the history of the Thruway.  But I do know 

 7          that that $700 million is really integral to 

 8          us being able to deliver that capital program 

 9          and keep our tolls flat, which is really what 

10          we want to be able to do to help continue the 

11          momentum that upstate is seeing on the 

12          upswing.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Will the new Tappan 

14          Zee Bridge, as has been promised, include a 

15          bus service being put in place?

16                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  The New NY 

17          Bridge has allowances for both the potential 

18          for rail, for commuter rail, and bus rapid 

19          transit.  

20                 Our understanding -- our 

21          recommendation is that bus rapid transit be 

22          available on the bridge when the bridge opens 

23          in 2018.  I believe BRT is fully funded for 

24          that phase, to be able to do that, which is 


 1          $91 million.  And that is in this budget, I 

 2          believe, in DOT.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 4                 As you also pointed out in your 

 5          testimony, there is language in the Executive 

 6          proposal that would move funding for the 

 7          Canal Corporation from DOT over to the 

 8          New York Power Authority.  So I was wondering 

 9          about that.  That's been in place since 1992.  

10          What are the benefits of making that move?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  First of 

12          all, it's revenue-neutral.  And it's, again, 

13          realigning under our core businesses.  

14                 I think the Canal Corporation really 

15          does have a natural nexus with the Power 

16          Authority.  They do operate hydroelectric 

17          facilities along the Canal Corporation.  Both 

18          organizations, their core business is water 

19          resources, it is hydroelectric power, and 

20          it's tourism, because the Power Authority has 

21          its visitor center.  So that's part of their 

22          focus.  Once upon a time the canal was about 

23          commercial vehicles; now it's more about 

24          recreational vehicles and tourism.  


 1                 And again, I think there's great 

 2          opportunity, with the Governor's goals of 

 3          going to 50 percent from green power, there's 

 4          great opportunity that the Canal Authority, 

 5          as a function of what they do, can take 

 6          advantage of to increase the amount of 

 7          hydroelectric power along the canal system, 

 8          as well as increasing tourism.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  I have 

10          a couple of follow-up questions.  

11                 Now, under the Governor's proposal 

12          he's recommending that the Thruway reassume 

13          the cost of State Police Troop T.

14                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And also he 

16          recommends the elimination of current cost 

17          waivers by the state.  And that would 

18          increase the Thruway's operating budget by 

19          about $85 million, I believe -- is that 

20          correct?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And so you believe 

23          that the Power Authority would be able to 

24          absorb or pay for those increased costs?


 1                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  So I think 

 2          it's revenue-neutral.  I think they will -- 

 3          and you can talk to the Power Authority 

 4          specifically, but that will come from the 

 5          budget to the Power Authority, and then we 

 6          will take back Troop T, which again is very 

 7          core to our business.  And, you know, having 

 8          had events just last week and this week and 

 9          working with them across the state, we are 

10          working closely with Troop T on a very 

11          regular basis.  So again, I think that 

12          realigns our core businesses very well.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

14                 And I do have one final question, and 

15          it's related to the Canal Corporation.  As 

16          you know very well -- again, Western New 

17          Yorker -- there are several historical canal 

18          bridges that are in need of repair, and most 

19          of them would be in Senator Ortt's district.

20                 So DOT has been maintaining those 

21          bridges in the past.  And how would that be 

22          paid for in the future, and would the Power 

23          Authority be the source of funding to make 

24          sure that those historic bridges are 


 1          maintained, and also they're important from 

 2          an economic and tourism sense also?

 3                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Mm-hmm.

 4                 Last year we actually did sign an 

 5          agreement with DOT relative to the DOT being 

 6          responsible for the capital investments on 

 7          those bridges, and that the Thruway was 

 8          responsible for the operation and the 

 9          maintenance.  And so it's envisioned, with 

10          the transition with Canal Corporation, that 

11          that contract would just be novated.  And so 

12          our responsibilities would go to Power 

13          Authority, and the DOT would remain with the 

14          responsibilities they have in the memorandum 

15          and the agreement we have now.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you, Senator.

18                 Commissioner, the mass transit force 

19          made recommendations for the bus rapid 

20          transit across the Tappan Zee Bridge 

21          replacement.  Is there a funding in the 

22          budget proposal for this purpose?

23                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  My 

24          understanding, there is.  It is not in the 


 1          Thruway's budget proposal.  We have a small 

 2          amount allocated towards that project, but it 

 3          is in the budget proposal.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And so you don't 

 5          know if it's -- is Phase 1 fully funded?

 6                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Phase 1 is 

 7          fully funded.  It's my understanding that 

 8          it's fully funded.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And when will the 

10          service, then, the new BRT system begin?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  We are 

12          recommending that they begin when we open the 

13          bridge in 2018.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Give me that date 

15          again?

16                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  2018.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  2018, okay.

18                 The 2015-2016 enacted budget included 

19          Article 7 legislation that authorized shared 

20          service agreements between the Thruway 

21          Authority and DOT in emergency situations.  

22          Has that shared service authorization been 

23          utilized?

24                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Yes, it has.  


 1          And it's probably being utilized as I speak 

 2          right now, with the potential Nor'easter 

 3          coming to New York.

 4                 We are regularly sharing resources.  

 5          With the two lake-effect storms we've had in 

 6          the past two weeks, we've actually been able 

 7          to utilize some of the new equipment that DOT 

 8          had in big snowblowers, to be able to 

 9          preposition them in areas where we had very 

10          heavy lake-effect snow bands in the 4 to 

11          5 inches an hour, and were able to keep the 

12          road open.  

13                 So we've been using them.  We've been 

14          working together on our plans and how we 

15          coordinate better.  They've been kicking the 

16          tires on some of our plans; we've been 

17          helping them with some of theirs.  And so 

18          there's regular meetings, there's regular 

19          sharing of information and actually people  

20          and equipment.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  The Executive also 

22          has additional Article 7 legislation that 

23          would create two new tax credits which would 

24          reimburse half the cost of tolls paid by the 


 1          frequent travelers of the Thruway and all of 

 2          the cost of tolls paid by the farm vehicles.  

 3          Does the Thruway anticipate traffic growth 

 4          related to these tax credits?

 5                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  We are 

 6          actually having one of our traffic 

 7          consultants that do our revenue work for us 

 8          look at that very issue.  We believe that it 

 9          probably will drive more traffic to the 

10          Thruway.  And we also believe it will drive 

11          more traffic to E-ZPass, which makes it more 

12          cost-effective for us to be able to handle 

13          that.  So I do believe that it is going to 

14          drive traffic some; we still do not have the 

15          results from the traffic modeling based on 

16          this type of activity in other parts of the 

17          country.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  And the program 

19          would only work -- you have to have E-ZPass 

20          to take it?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, that will 

23          raise it.

24                 Questions?  Any other questions?  


 1                 Senator.  

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.  Senator 

 3          Joseph Griffo.

 4                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  Thank you, 

 5          Chairwoman. 

 6                 Director Lehman, thank you for being 

 7          here today.

 8                 Canal Corporation when it was under 

 9          the Thruway, what was the subsidy, the 

10          complete subsidy, to have that housed under 

11          the Thruway?

12                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Going back 

13          again to what we were talking about, we were 

14          talking about $85 million was the cost, both 

15          from an operations and maintenance standpoint 

16          of the canal as well as the capital that was 

17          spent on an annual basis.  So that's about 

18          what we were spending.

19                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So it was costing you 

20          $85 million to have the responsibility of the 

21          Canal Corp., correct?

22                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

23                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  And then the state 

24          was assuming $85 million in cost to State 


 1          Police and other support services?

 2                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  State Police 

 3          and the operating subsidy to the Thruway, 

 4          correct.

 5                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So that's where 

 6          you're seeing that offset right now?

 7                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

 8                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So then the new cost 

 9          of that $85 million will basically be borne 

10          by the Power Authority?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  It's our 

12          understanding that what this will do is it 

13          will basically just be a budgetary 

14          transfer of --

15                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  But how?  If those 

16          costs were being actually incurred, how could 

17          they not incur significant costs themselves, 

18          having now the responsibility and authority 

19          over the Canal Corporation and everything, 

20          maintenance and other responsibilities that 

21          go along with that?

22                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Well, I 

23          believe they will be getting -- it's a 

24          revenue-neutral transaction three ways.  So I 


 1          believe the budget will support the Power 

 2          Authority for that amount.

 3                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  So based on the idea 

 4          of long-term stability, using the one-time 

 5          surplus, now the bank settlement, you're 

 6          projecting that by 2020 the rates can stay 

 7          the same.  Was there ever any consideration 

 8          given -- and you're doing this in tier 

 9          approaches, apparently.  Was there any 

10          thought given to just a across-the-board 

11          reduction or freeze, rather than having all 

12          these tiers with tax credits and things of 

13          that nature?

14                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I think 

15          we're always looking at the financial -- the 

16          whole financial planning of what we do at the 

17          Thruway.  And we have -- the Thruway was 

18          built in the 1950s.  It's more than 60 years 

19          old.  It sees 250 million vehicles a year and 

20          8 billion miles traveled on it.  It is 

21          getting old, it is being much more 

22          capital-intensive as far as being able to 

23          maintain it at a state of good repair.  And 

24          it is the backbone, so we need to be able to 


 1          maintain it.

 2                 So I think we're always looking at 

 3          ways of cost cutting, but we do have a 

 4          570-mile-long asset that needs a lot of 

 5          tender, loving care.

 6                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  And when you compare 

 7          that to other states across the country, have 

 8          you done those type of analyses, other states 

 9          that operate similar highways, and what their 

10          tolls are compared to ours?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Yes, we have 

12          done that.  And even in the peer states in 

13          the region, our tolls average, I believe, 

14          4.7 cents a mile, and that's much lower than 

15          all our peers.  I mean, significantly 

16          lower -- in a lot of cases, a half or a third 

17          of what our peer states are.

18                 So we're doing everything we can to 

19          keep the toll rates low and to maintain the 

20          infrastructure.

21                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  And could you just -- 

22          and just two quick questions.  Who 

23          recommended this removal of the Canal Corp. 

24          from the Thruway to the -- was that something 


 1          you recommended, the Thruway suggested that?  

 2          Or did that come from -- can you share the 

 3          thinking behind how this change was made?

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I think 

 5          there's been a lot of discussion over the 

 6          years on that.  And I wasn't privy to a lot 

 7          of those conversations.  I'm pretty new to 

 8          this seat, it's a few days old.  But I think 

 9          there's been a lot of discussion over the 

10          years about where it would make the most 

11          sense from a core-business standpoint.  

12                 And I do know that our director, Brian 

13          Stratton, is very supportive of this, because 

14          he sees the synergy of the move.

15                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  Now, beyond the 

16          upkeep, the capital costs, beyond upkeep, you 

17          may be looking at new initiatives.  Is there 

18          any consideration being given to adding 

19          additional exits using E-ZPass only as a 

20          possibility?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I think that 

22          is in our longer-term plan.  I believe the 

23          lessons we learned from the all-electronic 

24          tolling at the New NY Bridge, at the Tappan 


 1          Zee, really is going to help us formulate 

 2          better plans.  There's a lot of improvements, 

 3          I know in the past there's been studies done 

 4          and, you know, it was multi-billions to be 

 5          able to do that, simply because the way the 

 6          geometry of the road works, to be able -- you 

 7          have to go slow where the toll plazas are, 

 8          because they're narrow and you have curves, 

 9          both horizontal and vertical.

10                 So I think it's an expensive 

11          undertaking, and we need to make sure that it 

12          is the best, we get our best return on 

13          investment before we do that.  So we have 

14          this next five-year capital plan to really 

15          understand the issues and how much cost 

16          savings we have and how effective and 

17          efficient the system is, and then work on the 

18          plan and how we do this in a more broad-based 

19          system.

20                 All-electronic tolling is the tolling 

21          of the future.  There's a lot of states that 

22          have really embraced it.  We have one of the 

23          oldest, you know, backbones and interstate 

24          systems in the country, and so that 


 1          modernization, we want to take it slow and 

 2          careful so we do get a good return on 

 3          investment.

 4                 SENATOR GRIFFO:  Hundreds of millions 

 5          of dollars are being given to you this year 

 6          just to hold the line, basically, for four 

 7          years.  When you know and recognize how 

 8          important this is economically as well as a 

 9          transportation network, I would hope that 

10          we're looking now, under your direction with 

11          your staff, at a much longer-term approach 

12          for stability than just to say that hundreds 

13          of millions of dollars which could be 

14          invested in capital and free up other money 

15          for you -- I can hear Daniel Patrick 

16          Moynihan, his words ringing in our ears.  

17                 But we really need to provide much 

18          more long-term stability costwise than just 

19          four years, after spending hundreds of 

20          millions of dollars.  And I hope under your 

21          leadership that will happen.  

22                 Thank you.

23                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I totally 

24          concur.  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

 2                 Next, any Assembly members?

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Then we also have 

 5          Senator Marty Dilan.

 6                 SENATOR DILAN:  Yes, thank you again, 

 7          Madam Chairperson.  

 8                 My question is with regard to the tax 

 9          credit for E-ZPass riders you mentioned in 

10          your testimony.  I would like you to 

11          elaborate a little more as to how this tax 

12          credit will work, where is the money coming 

13          from to pay for it, and what effect will this 

14          have on your system?  And then also presuming 

15          that this tax credit modifies drivers' 

16          behavior, and there is more use of the 

17          system, what effect will that have on 

18          maintenance of your system?

19                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Mm-hmm.  

20          Okay.  I think -- as far as details on the 

21          tax proposal, I think that the budget is 

22          looking to the Department of Taxation, that 

23          they will have money in the budget to be able 

24          to handle that.


 1                 As we're looking at it, if you look at 

 2          the breakdown, passenger vehicles paying $50 

 3          or more in annual tolls, when we look at 

 4          that, that will impact about 900,000 drivers.  

 5          And there will be an annual savings to those 

 6          drivers of about $97.

 7                 I think if you look at businesses and 

 8          commercial vehicles, there's more than 26,000 

 9          businesses that will benefit under that, and 

10          they'll see about just under $700 of average 

11          savings.

12                 And then the commercial trucks, based 

13          on looking at all our records, there's just 

14          under a thousand commercial trucking 

15          companies that we feel will see a benefit, 

16          and that benefit will average out at about 

17          $1800 per.

18                 So it's providing to refocus on 

19          getting people back on the main arterial, the 

20          main backbone.  It's also going to drive 

21          E-ZPass usage.  And from our perspective, we 

22          have much higher percentages of E-ZPass usage 

23          in the City and close to New York City.  It's 

24          much lower as we get more into upstate 


 1          New York.  It's more effective for us and 

 2          more cost-effective to be able to run the 

 3          system with the E-ZPass, and so we're hoping 

 4          that that will help on the operational side.

 5                 From a maintenance side, as I told 

 6          you, we have a lot, a lot of miles traveled 

 7          on the system.  I don't think you're going to 

 8          see a great bump in traffic.  I do see that 

 9          we are going to have some bump in traffic.  

10          And hopefully here in the next few months 

11          we'll have more data of what that looks like.  

12                 And where we have our capital program, 

13          our full five-year program detailed down to 

14          the individual projects is on our webpage 

15          right now.  

16                 We do look at that quarterly to see 

17          what changes we have to make and, you 

18          know, on an annual basis what changes we have 

19          to make based on issues that we're seeing.  

20          So over the past two winters where we've had 

21          a tough spring, spring comes after a deep 

22          thaw and we have issues with the roadway, 

23          we've reprogrammed some things, basically 

24          because we had to.  


 1                 So I think we will be looking at all 

 2          that very carefully as we are looking at our 

 3          2017 element of our capital program to make 

 4          sure that in places that we're seeing more 

 5          wear and tear, that we can address it.

 6                 SENATOR DILAN:  And this is a tax 

 7          credit that's being proposed for three years.  

 8          What happens after that?

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I don't know 

10          what we're going to do beyond that, and I 

11          think we're going to be looking at our models 

12          to see what makes the most sense as the next 

13          proposal.

14                 SENATOR DILAN:  Okay.  You know, I 

15          just see that in New York City we're talking 

16          about congestion pricing and Move NY, and it 

17          just seems strange that you're using taxpayer 

18          dollars to invite more congestion on your 

19          system.  So I'm just concerned about that.  

20                 How do you react to that?

21                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  I think 

22          there's some concerns, but I think 

23          realistically we still offer a really good 

24          roadway network for a lot of that.  And while 


 1          we do have some areas where we have capacity 

 2          issues, by and large they're a lot -- they're 

 3          not as challenging as some of the other 

 4          roadways.  And so we really do want to drive 

 5          traffic -- I think, moving forward, we should 

 6          be looking at things like congestion pricing, 

 7          which we do at the Tappan Zee Bridge, and do 

 8          that more extensively across the system so 

 9          that we can kind of flatten out the peaks and 

10          valleys on the roadway.

11                 So I think as we're looking towards 

12          the future, we'll be looking towards those 

13          kinds of items.

14                 SENATOR DILAN:  Thank you very much.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That's it?  Thank 

17          you very much.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Krueger.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  I'm sorry.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do not forget about 

21          Senator Krueger.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I always like to try 

23          to be the last.

24                 So I appreciated very much the answers 


 1          to the question earlier, which was actually 

 2          news to me, that our toll costs per mile are 

 3          less than any other state's, because I think 

 4          sometimes in the rhetorical discussions that 

 5          take place, there's some perception that it's 

 6          just the opposite.  So that was actually very 

 7          helpful.

 8                 Following through on the concerns 

 9          about the state now investing from the 

10          General Fund in the Thruway Authority -- 

11          although we are arguably using the settlement 

12          money -- the Governor is proposing a 

13          four-year freeze on toll increases.  But is 

14          there anywhere in the budget that he's making 

15          a multi-year commitment of state revenue 

16          continuing to go into the Thruway Authority 

17          beyond just this one year?

18                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  No.  I think 

19          the intent is that based on what we need from 

20          a cash flow and a capital to be able to 

21          deliver that five-year program, that that 

22          infusion from settlement funds this year will 

23          work through those years so that it does 

24          cover us till 2020.


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So it's your 

 2          projection that based on the money coming in 

 3          this year, as the Governor proposed it, for 

 4          the following three years after that the 

 5          Thruway Authority will not need an infusion 

 6          of non-Thruway money to continue on your 

 7          commitment not to need a toll increase -- 

 8          even though we're continuing the new tax 

 9          credit, which will actually lower your 

10          revenue?

11                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  The tax 

12          credit will not lower the revenue.  The 

13          revenue will still be coming to the Thruway.

14                 And so, again, we feel that based on 

15          all the projections, that that is the intent.  

16          It's our intent that that will hold us 

17          through till 2020.  And now it gives us the 

18          opportunity to look to the future to see what 

19          we do beyond 2020.

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And you were right, 

21          the tax credit doesn't come from your budget, 

22          it comes from General Fund.

23                 So what's the estimated cost to the 

24          state of these two new tax credits?


 1                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Three 

 2          hundred and forty million.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Per year?

 4                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Over three 

 5          years.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Over three years.

 7                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Correct.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 9                 Jumping to the Canal Authority being 

10          moved to the Power Authority, and your 

11          discussion of the fact that the Canal 

12          Authority actually does generate electricity 

13          through -- just double-checking the number -- 

14          quite a few small plants on the authority.  

15          Do you believe that if the canal is moved to 

16          the Power Authority it opens up new 

17          opportunities for the State of New York to 

18          increase the amount of hydroelectric power 

19          produced on the Canal Authority?

20                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Absolutely.  

21                 I'm a real proponent of green energy.  

22          My husband and I built a passive solar house 

23          35 years ago, so I live this, and I'm a very 

24          big proponent of green energy.  


 1                 The technology in the last decade has 

 2          really improved to be able to do low-head 

 3          hydropower.  Once upon a time you needed to 

 4          have big dams, like you have in Niagara or 

 5          like you have on the St. Lawrence, to be able 

 6          to really be effectively producing 

 7          electricity.  Technology has come forward to 

 8          the point that you can use smaller, shorter 

 9          dams.

10                 And so I believe they have great 

11          opportunity to be able to take advantage of 

12          that and provide a lot more.  Right now they 

13          generate about $7 million worth of power from 

14          what they do on the canal, and I think 

15          there's great opportunity to be able to do a 

16          lot more than that.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I agree with you 

18          that it would be a very good thing.  Every 

19          opportunity we have for new green energy in 

20          this state is a win for us.

21                 We asked the Department of 

22          Transportation commissioner what the actual 

23          costs for the new bridge in Westchester -- I 

24          don't know that there's an official name --


 1                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  The New NY 

 2          Bridge.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  The New NY Bridge, 

 4          thank you.  I keep forgetting that 

 5          terminology.

 6                 So he said that that's not his budget, 

 7          so he didn't know.  Do you have an estimated 

 8          full cost for the build of the New NY Bridge?

 9                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Yes, I do.  

10          It is $3.98 billion.  It is what it is since 

11          we've accepted the bid for the project.  And 

12          we are on target for opening it in 2018 and 

13          staying within that budget.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And is there an 

15          estimate of the debt costs and what that will 

16          be for the state over time, from this 

17          project?

18                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  At this 

19          point we have the TIFIA loan, which is a 

20          federal loan, a low-interest, long-term loan.  

21                 We have what we received in the budget 

22          allocation last year, which was about 750.  

23                 We will have some amount from this 

24          year's 700 that is yet to be determined on 


 1          how much we'll go off for the system.  

 2                 And then the remainder, we are still 

 3          looking for innovative financing.  We always 

 4          have the ability to go back to how the 

 5          Thruway does and do our revenue bonds.  But 

 6          we want to be able to keep -- and those are 

 7          paid with future tolls, so we want to keep 

 8          those down.  So every innovative opportunity 

 9          we have, those -- if we do have the debt, it 

10          will come on to the Thruway Authority, in our 

11          bonding program.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Thank 

13          you for your testimony.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Thanks, 

15          Executive Director.

16                 INTERIM EX. DIR. LEHMAN:  Thanks.

17                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

18          much.  

19                 Good afternoon.  New York Public 

20          Transit Association, Capital District 

21          Transportation Authority, Carm -- here in 

22          front, you're not Mr. Basile.

23                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  I'm not that 

24          good-looking, no, Mr. Chairman.  


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  All righty.  Bill 

 2          Carpenter.  How are you?

 3                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  Very good.  

 4                 Thank you, Chairman Farrell, 

 5          Chairwoman Young, for giving NYPTA, the 

 6          New York Public Transit Association, the 

 7          opportunity to testify today about the 

 8          Governor's proposed 2016-2017 Executive 

 9          Budget.  

10                 My name is Bill Carpenter.  I am the 

11          chief executive officer for the Rochester 

12          Genesee Regional Transportation Authority and 

13          vice president for NYPTA.  NYPTA members 

14          include transit systems, private-sector 

15          manufacturers and suppliers, state agencies 

16          and community advocates.  

17                 Communities throughout New York 

18          benefit from the services provided from more 

19          than 100 public transit systems.  Our members 

20          serve urban and rural areas, enabling 

21          mobility and connections that keep our state 

22          moving.  We know that the metropolitan 

23          New York City area cannot function without 

24          the high-quality transit services provided by 


 1          the MTA, and the same is true for cities and 

 2          towns in upstate New York and throughout the 

 3          state.  Today more than ever, we need 

 4          high-quality transit to allow our citizens to 

 5          fully participate in economic opportunities.  

 6                 Mobility choices provided by transit 

 7          systems support many of the stateís important 

 8          programs -- economic development, job growth, 

 9          anti-poverty, housing, energy conservation, 

10          and environmental protection.  Well-planned 

11          and thoughtful transit services are essential 

12          to moving people to jobs in cities and 

13          expanding suburban and rural areas, while 

14          also providing access to healthcare, to 

15          schools, to colleges and universities. 

16          Transit provides our growing senior 

17          population and people with disabilities the 

18          freedom and choices they need to live their 

19          lives and participate in society.  

20                 Transit ridership is growing in many 

21          communities, and systems are responding by 

22          making services easier to use and understand. 

23          Innovative technologies are making fare 

24          payment easier.  Real-time information 


 1          applications are in many of our systems, 

 2          along with customer features that make using 

 3          the bus and trains inviting and appealing. 

 4          Our growing popularity is why we're asking 

 5          for an appropriate investment in transit so 

 6          we can provide more and better services to 

 7          our communities.  

 8                 The Governorís Executive Budget 

 9          includes increases to transit operating aid. 

10          This level of funding will allow transit 

11          systems to maintain current services, but it 

12          will not allow us to expand and meet customer 

13          expectations that support the stateís 

14          economic development initiatives.  

15                 To allow transit systems to fully 

16          support the economic opportunities that 

17          citizens deserve, NYPTA recommends an 

18          additional $15 million in operating aid for 

19          upstate transit systems and $5 million for 

20          downstate suburban county transit systems.  

21          And a structural fix to upstate funding is 

22          still needed so that future growth is not 

23          constrained.  

24                 There's also a need for a multi-year 


 1          statewide transit capital program.  For far 

 2          too long, the capital needs of upstate and 

 3          downstate suburban transit systems have been 

 4          an afterthought.  All of us have diverted 

 5          federal capital funding to subsidize 

 6          operations.  In essence, we're borrowing from 

 7          tomorrow to pay for services today.  It's not 

 8          sustainable, and we're at a critical 

 9          crossroad.  The time to fix this and to 

10          invest in transit is now.  

11                 New York transit systems across the 

12          state lack the consistent capital investment 

13          needed that's led to worsening infrastructure 

14          conditions and unnecessary maintenance 

15          expenses. Let me give a couple of examples.  

16                 In Buffalo, where buses are supposed 

17          to last 12 years, 46 percent of the buses are 

18          beyond their useful life.  Here in Albany, 

19          20 percent of the buses are beyond their 

20          useful life.  They're twice as expensive to 

21          maintain as newer buses.  

22                 In Rochester, our campus facility 

23          where buses are maintained and washed, 

24          fueled, the campus is 40 years old and we 


 1          lack the capital to renovate and expand the 

 2          campus.  

 3                 In Syracuse and Nassau County, they 

 4          have 20-year-old CNG facilities for fueling 

 5          their buses that need to be replaced.  

 6                 The Governor has committed $8.3 

 7          billion to fund the MTA five-year capital 

 8          plan.  His goal is to "transform the 

 9          Metropolitan Transportation Authority and to 

10          dramatically improve the travel experience 

11          for millions of New Yorkers and visitors to 

12          the metropolitan region."  We support this 

13          initiative and the money to accomplish it.  

14                 But transit customers in upstate and 

15          downstate communities deserve the same 

16          transformation, and we're asking for the same 

17          fully funded, multiyear capital program.  In 

18          total, our systems operate 3,000 buses and 

19          serve over 170 million customers every year.  

20          Three thousand buses, 170 million customers 

21          outside the MTA.  Collectively, we would be 

22          the seventh-largest transit system in the 

23          United States.  

24                 The Executive Budget proposed a $295 


 1          million capital program for non-MTA transit 

 2          systems as part of the $22 billion DOT 

 3          five-year program.  We thank the Governor for 

 4          recognizing our work, but the proposed 

 5          funding is not enough to address the backlog 

 6          of infrastructure needs of our systems.  

 7                 NYPTA recommends a state capital 

 8          investment of at least $100 million per year 

 9          in upstate and suburban downstate systems, to 

10          allow them to modernize their aging 

11          infrastructure.  To achieve this level and 

12          provide funding to these systems in 

13          proportion to state capital being provided to 

14          the MTA, we're looking for the $295 million 

15          to be increased to $545 million.  

16                 In rural transit service, transit 

17          systems in the rural parts of the upstate 

18          region are suffering from severe ridership 

19          loss as a result of the stateís change in the 

20          way Medicaid transportation is arranged.  The 

21          decline in riders and revenue on rural 

22          upstate systems has resulted in service 

23          reductions to the general public and is 

24          threatening the viability of services to 


 1          those who need them most.  NYPTA recommends 

 2          the state provide additional funding to rural 

 3          transit systems so essential services can be 

 4          retained.  

 5                 In conclusion, transit service 

 6          provides mobility for a growing customer 

 7          base.  It allows everyone to participate in 

 8          the economic rebirth of our communities.  

 9          NYPTA members appreciate the funding and 

10          support we receive.  We ask for consideration 

11          of the capital and operating needs of our 

12          systems so we can do more.  Increased 

13          investments in transit will result in better 

14          service and more cost-effective delivery of 

15          that service.  This investment will also 

16          ensure thousands of jobs for state transit 

17          manufacturers and suppliers.  A fully funded 

18          transit capital and operating plan helps all 

19          New Yorkers have the mobility choices they 

20          want and need.  

21                 On behalf of NYPTA and RGRTA, I urge 

22          Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to support 

23          a better network of transit systems in 

24          New York State that can contribute to 


 1          economic growth.  NYPTA is committed to 

 2          working with the Governor and all of you so 

 3          transit can continue to be a strong partner. 

 4                 Thank you very much.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Questions?

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very much 

 7          for being here today.  

 8                 And you may have heard me question 

 9          Commissioner Driscoll earlier about upstate 

10          transit and the fact that there does seem to 

11          be a structural problem that needs to be 

12          addressed and, in addition, the capital needs 

13          that you have spoken of.  He countered with 

14          the Governor's proposal of $5 million in an 

15          increase.  Could you give us your thoughts  

16          in a more in-depth way about what that 

17          $5 million would do?  Is that enough, what 

18          other needs are there, and how can the 

19          Legislature be helpful in this regard?

20                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  Thank you for 

21          the question, Chairwoman Young.

22                 We were, as an industry -- since 2009, 

23          funding was essentially held flat for a good 

24          number of years.  First a reduction in 2009, 


 1          and then slow increases to where we had flat 

 2          funding a number of years ago.

 3                 As the state economy has improved and 

 4          the poverty levels have also increased, the 

 5          urban transit systems are experiencing a 

 6          tremendous interest in services.  Jobs are 

 7          being located in the outer suburban areas.  

 8          So where everyone would like to do more with 

 9          less, the fact of the matter is public 

10          transit is being asked to do more to serve 

11          our communities, to be the mobility 

12          infrastructure.  

13                 The $5 million increase proposed in 

14          the Executive Budget does provide kind of a 

15          baseline funding where we could continue to 

16          maintain the services we have.  But I've 

17          received calls -- I'll just speak for RGRTA.  

18          I receive calls on a regular basis from 

19          places like Xerox in Webster that are adding 

20          hundreds of jobs at a call center that we 

21          don't serve right now.  We didn't serve it 

22          when they opened it.  They're repurposing 

23          manufacturing facilities to add jobs.  These 

24          are good-paying jobs for people who live in 


 1          the center of our community; how do we get 

 2          them there?  

 3                 Those are the kinds of opportunities 

 4          we're looking for.  Jobs are being expanded  

 5          where the factories are, where the land is.  

 6          We need to connect individuals.  

 7                 The anti-poverty initiatives as well, 

 8          we're being asked to redesign how we do 

 9          systems.  Rochester was the first community 

10          to start an anti-poverty initiative, this 

11          time last year.  We're being challenged to -- 

12          you need to do things not just differently, 

13          but you need to do different things.  You 

14          need to keep connecting people where they're 

15          going to, so don't stop doing that, but we 

16          have a need for additional services.  

17                 So that's where the increased ask 

18          comes from, is for us to be able to be 

19          partners in the success of economic 

20          development.  

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

22          much.  

23                 Senator Krueger has a question, or 

24          more.  


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  Thank you 

 2          very much.  

 3                 I didn't really leave during your 

 4          testimony, I just hid behind you to drink my 

 5          soup.

 6                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  It's a better 

 7          side.

 8                 (Laughter.)

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I agree with you on 

10          the importance of mass transit as an economic 

11          development tool in every region.  I'm from 

12          New York City.  We wouldn't be the city we 

13          are without our mass transit, even though 

14          we're constantly struggling to get it to 

15          function better and more.  Your demands every 

16          year don't seem unreasonable to me at all.

17                 I'm curious, because this state has 

18          been putting so much money into its Regional 

19          Economic Development Councils -- and now 

20          these competitive regional economic I guess 

21          contests, so recently the Governor awarded 

22          $500 million each to three regions.

23                 Is money coming into mass transit in 

24          your territory through either of these two 


 1          big-bucket economic development programs?  

 2                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  Thank you, 

 3          Senator, for the question.  

 4                 The short answer is no.  And when we 

 5          talk about that, what we're told is the 

 6          pockets of money that these come from, from 

 7          different economic development pots or energy 

 8          conservation pots, they're not mass transit 

 9          pots, they're not Department of 

10          Transportation pots.  So what the Governor 

11          has done is collect different economic 

12          development and other program pots.  

13                 I serve as the cochair for one of the 

14          subcommittees for the Finger Lakes Regional 

15          Economic Development Council.  So I work well 

16          in prioritizing the projects, I do include 

17          projects that would benefit RGRTA if the 

18          projects have scored well.  But I've been 

19          told the pots of money that go into the 

20          Regional Economic Development Councils are 

21          not pots that would help build bus facilities 

22          or provide operating aid.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I appreciate the 

24          answer.  I guess this is more a rhetorical 


 1          statement than a question for you.  

 2                 I have been fairly outspoken with my 

 3          concerns about how the New York State 

 4          government divvies up its budget money for 

 5          things we call economic development and have 

 6          been a bit cynical about ignoring certain 

 7          priority areas but having, seemingly every 

 8          year, new money for new competitions.

 9                 I think it's a shame that the State of 

10          New York doesn't recognize the importance of 

11          public transit, mass transit statewide as a 

12          fundamental economic development tool.  You 

13          know, if you don't have the infrastructure, 

14          they don't stay and they don't come.  And 

15          transportation infrastructure, for me, is a 

16          no-brainer.  

17                 So I hope that whoever is listening, 

18          that the State of New York as it defines what 

19          we call economic development and when we 

20          continue to do these Regional Economic 

21          Council contests every year -- and perhaps 

22          we'll see more, I guess, contests in general 

23          for regions -- that please, please, please 

24          recognize that mass transit/public 


 1          transportation has to be an allowable 

 2          activity within those funds.  Because, you 

 3          know, you are here representing a very broad 

 4          universe of public and mass transit efforts, 

 5          and they all do need the money and deserve 

 6          the money.  

 7                 And before, I asked the Thruway 

 8          Authority or I complimented the Thruway 

 9          Authority for knowing how little we actually 

10          spend per mile or demand from people per 

11          mile.  Do you ever do any analysis of 

12          New York State's investment in public 

13          transportation compared to other states?  

14          Because I feel that we probably are lagging 

15          behind.  Do you know?

16                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  First of all, it 

17          was a very good rhetorical question on 

18          whether money from the economic pots should 

19          come to mass transit.  I'll just leave it at 

20          that.

21                 As far as how New York State compares 

22          with public transportation, I serve not just 

23          as vice president for NYPTA but also serve on 

24          the board of directors for the American 


 1          Public Transportation Association.  The 

 2          funding mechanisms across the 50 states are 

 3          very different, with some county non-property 

 4          tax, some on sales tax, some on income tax 

 5          and some on state funding.

 6                 So I don't know that as an association 

 7          we've ever been able to identify -- Ohio, as 

 8          an example, which passes sales tax 

 9          referendums to pay for their public transit, 

10          would have much less public funding than 

11          New York State.  But other states that do a 

12          heavy state funding, because of the MTA, New 

13          York State does pretty well.  Many other 

14          systems have some local control of funding.  

15          But it's really very different state to 

16          state.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Thank 

18          you for your testimony.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman Oaks.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, thank you.  

22                 Just your last point in your 

23          presentation talked about the rural 

24          transportation and the issues of the changes 


 1          in Medicaid.  And I think Senator O'Mara, in 

 2          an earlier part of today's discussion, 

 3          actually brought up this issue.  

 4                 Could you just quickly explain what's 

 5          changed and what needs to happen to -- you 

 6          know, my interest is getting people to where 

 7          they need to be and also doing it in the most 

 8          efficient, cost-effective way, but ... 

 9                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  I don't think 

10          there's a simple answer to that, Assemblyman.  

11          The Department of Health has some specific 

12          guidelines they're trying to follow.  The 

13          consequences of those guidelines are public 

14          transit is not getting the same opportunities 

15          to provide transportation to Medicaid 

16          recipients.

17                 The loss of those rides -- because the 

18          formula funding in many of these counties is 

19          based on the miles and customers you carry, 

20          you lose not just the Medicaid ride, but you 

21          lose that other funding.  So that in some 

22          counties we're reaching the point where a 

23          person can get a cab ride from home to the 

24          doctor and back again, but when they want to 


 1          buy some food or get their prescription 

 2          filled, there's no longer public transit 

 3          access to get them where else they need to 

 4          go.

 5                 So that it needs to be looked at with 

 6          the full consequences that -- the change the 

 7          Department of Health made is one broker is 

 8          deciding who gets the -- who's the provider 

 9          for the transportation.  And public 

10          transportation is not getting as favorable a 

11          treatment as it had prior to that change a 

12          few years ago.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

16                 RGRTA CEO CARPENTER:  Thank you very 

17          much.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Associated General 

19          Contractors of New York State, Mike 

20          Elmendorf, president.  12:15.  

21                 MR. ELMENDORF:  Good afternoon, 

22          Chairwoman Young, Chairman Farrell, members 

23          of the Legislature.  Thank you for the 

24          opportunity to be here today.  


 1                 Thank you for your patience.  It's 

 2          been a long day already, and out of 

 3          consideration for that I will dispense with 

 4          my formal testimony, which you have, and I 

 5          will summarize it and try to hit on some of 

 6          the key points for our industry.  

 7                 I'm Mike Elmendorf, president and CEO 

 8          of the Associated General Contractors of 

 9          New York State.  We're New York State's 

10          leading statewide construction industry 

11          association.  We represent the vertical 

12          building construction industry and the heavy 

13          highway and civil contractors that build the 

14          majority of the state's public and private 

15          building infrastructure, our transportation- 

16          heavy civil and environmental infrastructure 

17          in every region of New York.  

18                 And as we look at Governor Cuomo's 

19          proposed Executive Budget, there are 

20          certainly a lot of good things there for our 

21          industry.  For the economy, there are some 

22          things that I think we can improve upon and 

23          there are some things that I think we have 

24          some real concerns about.  


 1                 Very broadly, I'll hit three areas, so 

 2          hopefully there's time for some questions and 

 3          time for me to get on my way and you all in 

 4          your collective ways, because again, we've 

 5          been sitting here for a while.  

 6                 Starting with the MTA, we strongly 

 7          support the Governor's historic commitment to 

 8          help meet the really significant, real 

 9          documented capital needs of the MTA.  He's 

10          committed an additional $8.3 billion to meet 

11          the MTA's capital needs over the next five 

12          years, and it just makes good sense to do 

13          that.  The MTA is critical to the New York 

14          City and the broader New York City metro 

15          region's economy, but more than that, it's 

16          critical to the whole state's economy.  And 

17          I'll get to a broader discussion of this when 

18          we talk about DOT and parity.  

19                 But New York City's economy drives the 

20          state's economy to a significant degree, and 

21          investing in the MTA creates economic 

22          activity well beyond the MTA metro region, if 

23          train cars are being built up in the far end 

24          of the North Country and there's other impact 


 1          around the state.  So you can't think about 

 2          these issues as upstate/downstate, and that's 

 3          why we strongly support the MTA investment.  

 4          And our contractors in that region who will 

 5          do that work, support it, and our contractors 

 6          elsewhere in the state support it as well.  

 7                 Moving on to the Thruway Authority, 

 8          we're glad to see the Governor's commitment 

 9          to the Thruway.  The Thruway is a vital 

10          network for the state and for our economy.  I 

11          think it's fair to say, as we did last year, 

12          that we have some concerns about what appears 

13          to be a growing pattern of state subsidy of 

14          what should really be and always was a 

15          toll-supported system, and I think that that 

16          is something that we're going to need to look 

17          at.  Because it's not really new money, when 

18          you look at what the Thruway is getting, it's 

19          dollars -- whether they're settlement dollars 

20          or state dollars -- that are supplanting what 

21          would be toll revenues within the Thruway 

22          that have always supported their system.  

23                 And their system has real, substantial 

24          needs.  The Thruway is somewhat unique in 


 1          terms of their infrastructure because it was 

 2          all built at about the same time, and as a 

 3          result it's all coming of age at about the 

 4          same time and it has significant needs 

 5          developing at about the same time.  And the 

 6          fact is if you go to Western New York, 

 7          there's now a stretch of the Thruway where 

 8          you actually have a reduced speed limit 

 9          because the conditions have gotten so bad, 

10          because, due to a variety of reasons which 

11          really are beyond the Thruway Authority's 

12          control, there's been a delay of a 

13          reconstruction project.  

14                 But I think that shows you what the 

15          future of the Thruway is if they don't have 

16          the resources to make the investments that 

17          they need to in their system.  And, although 

18          nobody likes tolls, I think you have to 

19          wonder what happens in 2020 when the cap 

20          comes off the tolls.  And realistically, we 

21          may well be looking at a significant toll 

22          increase, which is probably worse in the long 

23          term for the economy and for motorists than 

24          if you have reasonable incremental increases 


 1          that can meet the Thruway's needs.  

 2                 One last point on the Thruway.  We've 

 3          for a long time have been advocating for the 

 4          transfer of the Canal Corporation out of the 

 5          Thruway to somewhere else, and to the 

 6          Power Authority.  We think it makes sense.  

 7          As Executive Director Lehman testified, it is 

 8          closer to the core function of the 

 9          Power Authority than it is to the 

10          Thruway Authority, and it really should free 

11          up resources for the Thruway Authority.  

12                 We're a little concerned that with 

13          that transfer, the transfer of the costs for 

14          Troop T that were effected last year are 

15          being undone, which makes that 

16          revenue-neutral.  We'd like to see both of 

17          those changes remain so that the Thruway has 

18          additional toll revenue to invest into their 

19          system.  

20                 And finally, I want to talk about DOT 

21          and then have a conversation about parity.  

22          Commissioner Driscoll testified this morning 

23          that the Governor's proposed a $20.1 billion, 

24          five-year DOT capital plan.  And he's 


 1          correct, it's the biggest DOT capital plan 

 2          that's been proposed yet, and that's a very 

 3          good thing.  It's also a very good thing that 

 4          it's a five-year plan, because we haven't 

 5          actually seen one of those proposed since I 

 6          think the end of the last bond act in 2009 or 

 7          so.  

 8                 So that's positive, and certainly the 

 9          action in Washington that has resulted in, 

10          finally, the 10-year-overdue passage of a 

11          surface transportation bill has helped make 

12          that long-term planning possible.  So we 

13          thank our congressional delegation for that 

14          as well.

15                 But there's two things to look at.  It 

16          being the biggest program ever doesn't mean 

17          that it meets the needs of DOT, and in fact 

18          it's been since 2009 that we've had a public 

19          needs assessment from DOT.  And in 2009 they 

20          said their five-year needs were $25 billion, 

21          and as you know, they got nowhere near those 

22          resources.  So those needs have only 

23          increased because there's been deterioration 

24          in the system since they didn't have the 


 1          resources necessary to meet those needs.  So 

 2          that's number one.  

 3                 Number two is the issue of parity.  

 4          And we were very glad to hear so many 

 5          questions and comments and so much discussion 

 6          earlier about parity.  And I think it's 

 7          important to clarify a couple of things -- 

 8          chiefly, what is parity and what isn't 

 9          parity.  

10                 Parity is a defined word.  It's not a 

11          term of art that was created to describe 

12          something here, it's the state of being 

13          equal.  And in fact, that's what the DOT and 

14          MTA capital plans were until 2009-2010, when 

15          parity was broken.  And you can see that, if 

16          you look at the written testimony; there's a 

17          chart in there.  

18                 And why is that important?  Well, it's 

19          important because both systems have needs.  

20          The MTA's been out talking about their needs, 

21          but DOT has significant needs too.  Think 

22          about the Tappan Zee Bridge.  The Tappan Zee 

23          Bridge gets a lot of attention.  The Governor 

24          deserves a lot of credit for advancing that 


 1          project.  The bridge is in horrible shape, it 

 2          needs to be replaced, needed to be replaced a 

 3          long time ago.  

 4                 The Governor tells a pretty amusing 

 5          story about driving over the Tappan Zee 

 6          Bridge and wondering if you should crack your 

 7          window or undo your seat belt or get ready to 

 8          swim because the condition was so bad.  And 

 9          certainly it's half in jest, but the reality 

10          is that bridge was in very poor condition and 

11          something needed to be done.  

12                 What you may not realize is that 

13          there's about six hundred bridges across 

14          New York in the State DOT system, local 

15          systems, and other authorities, that are in 

16          as-bad or worse condition than the Tappan Zee 

17          Bridge.  So the needs for DOT are very clear 

18          as well.  They're as important as the MTA's 

19          needs.  

20                 Now there's the issue of what number 

21          is parity.  Well, the DOT plan is 

22          $20.1 billion.  The $2 billion in Thruway 

23          stabilization -- the $1.3 billion from last 

24          year and the $700 million from this year -- 


 1          has never been part of that calculation.  It 

 2          is not part of the DOT capital plan, and it 

 3          should not be part of the parity discussion.  

 4          That's a separate issue.  

 5                 So when you're talking about straight 

 6          parity, if the MTA capital plan is 

 7          $26.1 billion over the next five years, 

 8          that's what the DOT capital plan should be.  

 9          And there is great documentation in both 

10          systems to indicate that that need is there, 

11          it should be funded.  Both systems are 

12          critical to our economy.  

13                 The other thing that parity isn't is 

14          an upstate/downstate issue.  It drives me 

15          crazy when I hear people talk about it that 

16          way, and I appreciate, Senator Krueger, your 

17          comments and others' earlier about that.  The 

18          whole state relies on our statewide system of 

19          roads and bridges.  I go to New York City 

20          regularly, I see roads and bridges.  There 

21          are needs.  And in fact, if you look at the 

22          DOT system, the biggest DOT project right now 

23          in New York State is the K Bridge in New York 

24          City.  


 1                 I talked about the statewide impact of 

 2          the MTA system -- this is not an 

 3          upstate/downstate issue, it's not 

 4          upstate/downstate parity, it's not an upstate 

 5          road and bridge program, it is DOT/MTA 

 6          parity.  It's what we always had.  We have an 

 7          historic opportunity to restore it this year 

 8          and do the right thing for all the people of 

 9          the state and meet our infrastructure needs.  

10          Our economies rely on it.  Our economies 

11          don't work if our infrastructure is failing.  

12          We can't be open for business if our roads 

13          and bridges are closed.  We can't be open for 

14          business if our transit systems are failing.  

15                 And so this is an opportunity for the 

16          Legislature and the Executive to right the 

17          wrong that occurred several years ago, due to 

18          a variety of fiscal and other circumstances, 

19          when parity was broken.  Restore it, invest 

20          in our infrastructure, and put people back to 

21          work.  

22                 And so we were glad to hear the 

23          Governor commit to achieving parity.  It's 

24          clear we've got some more work to do there, 


 1          we're not there in the Executive Budget, but 

 2          we're hopeful that with your support, and 

 3          ongoing conversations, that we can get there.  

 4                 And if you look at the end of the 

 5          testimony, we have an incredibly broad 

 6          coalition of organizations that are 

 7          supporting parity.  It's really pretty 

 8          extraordinary, because it's a lot of groups 

 9          and individuals that generally get paid to 

10          argue with each other.  Right?  It's the 

11          whole of the business community, the whole of 

12          the construction industry, local governments, 

13          the mayors, counties, farmers, organized 

14          labor across the state, and the environmental 

15          community, who all agree we need to fund the 

16          MTA system and fund the DOT system equitably.  

17                 And so too do the people of New York.  

18          Because there was a Siena College poll 

19          recently that showed that 71 percent of 

20          people, which is a big number on any issue, 

21          agreed that both systems should be funded 

22          equitably.  

23                 So that's a priority for us.  We think 

24          the budget is a good starting point in many 


 1          ways, but we think there's some room for 

 2          improvement.  

 3                 And one last point.  One thing I would 

 4          encourage you to look at, the budget proposes 

 5          the creation of a New York State Design and 

 6          Construction Office under the Dormitory 

 7          Authority, and we look forward to learning 

 8          more about exactly what the scope of that 

 9          would be.  But if what it's going to do is 

10          take control and management of construction 

11          projects away from agencies like DOT, OGS, 

12          State University Construction Fund and 

13          others, I think we'd have some real concern 

14          about that, because there's a long history of 

15          our industry and our public partners in those 

16          agencies delivering quality successful 

17          projects, and we should be able to continue 

18          to do that.  

19                 We can improve the process, certainly, 

20          and we'd like to have those conversations 

21          too, but we'd be concerned about the 

22          authority for those projects shifting to this 

23          new entity.  

24                 And with that, I will welcome any 


 1          questions.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 3                 Senator?

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very much 

 5          for making excellent points regarding parity 

 6          and other issues, but especially parity and 

 7          the fact that we need to invest as a state in 

 8          our roads and bridges.  We need to make sure 

 9          that we restore a five-year plan and that 

10          there's parity in the process and the plan 

11          and transparency also as far as what those 

12          projects will entail.  

13                 So thank you for your input.

14                 MR. ELMENDORF:  Thank you, Senator.  

15          Thank you.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Associated Builders 

17          and Contractors, Joshua Reap, Director of 

18          Government Affairs.  

19                 Josh?

20                 MR. NOONAN:  It's not Josh.  Brian.  

21           Josh couldn't make it this afternoon.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Somebody on my 

23          staff's going to have a broken finger.

24                 MR. NOONAN:  Thank you, Chairwoman 


 1          Young.  Thank you, Chairman Farrell.  I know 

 2          you guys have been here a long time today, so 

 3          I'll try to keep our comments brief.  

 4                 My name is Brian Noonan.  I'm with 

 5          Associated Builders and Contractors.  Our 

 6          organization represents nearly 400 merit shop 

 7          contractors throughout New York State.  

 8                 I am here to express our support for 

 9          the Governor's ambitious plan to fix our 

10          crumbling infrastructure.  These improvements 

11          include critical upgrades to everything from 

12          roads, bridges and sewers to utilities and 

13          waste water systems.  Simply put, they add to 

14          the quality of life to New Yorkers on a daily 

15          basis.  

16                 Few here would disagree in saying that 

17          these upgrades are badly needed, and have 

18          been for a number of years.  

19                 The Governor's proposal is pegged at 

20          roughly $100 billion over five years.  Given 

21          that New York is close to its debt cap -- 

22          some estimates are we are within $800 

23          million -- it's clear that agencies and 

24          authorities will be issuing bonds to cover 


 1          the cost of construction.  While this is not 

 2          ideal, infrastructure improvements are a good 

 3          use of bonds.  

 4                 So if we are going to bond this work, 

 5          then you have an obligation to ensure that 

 6          the taxpayers of this great state get the 

 7          maximum value for their investment. That 

 8          means putting these projects out to bid 

 9          without costly gimmicks like Project Labor 

10          Agreements, otherwise known in the industry 

11          as PLAs.  

12                 I will assume that most of you here 

13          are familiar with PLAs.  For those who are 

14          not, these costly provisions are agreements 

15          made between the owner of a project and the 

16          building trades unions.  They mandate that 

17          the vast majority of workers on a job site 

18          are from the union halls.  Typically, this 

19          means three out of every four workers.  This 

20          excludes workers who choose not to join a 

21          union from working on the project.  

22                 They have also been proven to drive up 

23          costs on a project upwards of 30 percent.  

24          This comes from the diminished competition 


 1          that they create, along with antiquated 

 2          jurisdictional work rules that accompany 

 3          PLAs.  You don't need to look far to see the 

 4          failure of a PLA on a publicly-funded 

 5          infrastructure project.  

 6                 The Exit 122 rehabilitation project 

 7          along Route 17 had issued its bid when the 

 8          New York State DOT rescinded it and issued a 

 9          new one with a mandated PLA attached.  The 

10          project was delayed more than a year.  While 

11          New York received an initial low bid of 

12          approximately $65 million, this bid was put 

13          aside in favor of one with the inclusion of a 

14          PLA.  When all was said and done, the total 

15          project cost approached $100 million -- over 

16          $30 million higher than the bid without the 

17          attachment of a PLA.  This is just one 

18          example.  There are, in fact, dozens more 

19          just like it.  

20                 With the numbers being discussed here 

21          today, the amount being wasted would 

22          skyrocket from tens of millions to hundreds 

23          of millions.  The taxpayers of New York State 

24          deserve the best value at the best price.  


 1          While we desperately need these investments, 

 2          we also need them done the right way.  To 

 3          attach PLAs simply to appease certain groups 

 4          while excluding others is not good for 

 5          anyone.  

 6                 By allowing for a free, open, 

 7          transparent bidding process, everyone has a 

 8          chance at work.  This does not hurt anyone 

 9          the way that PLAs do, and everyone has the 

10          same fair chance.  Most importantly, 

11          taxpayers will see their money go further and 

12          more of these crucial upgrades can take 

13          place.  

14                 While I am here, I would be remiss if 

15          I did not also speak briefly on the Wicks Law 

16          and the Scaffold Law.  These regulations 

17          drive up the costs of construction to the 

18          detriment of taxpayers and customers across 

19          the state, and have made New York one of the 

20          most costly states in which to build.  

21          Serious reform needs to be looked at in both 

22          cases, and our organization would always be 

23          willing to sit down with you and discuss 

24          real, practical, common-sense solutions to 


 1          resolving some of the issues most prevalent 

 2          and problematic to the contractors of 

 3          New York State.  

 4                 Thank you once again for your time.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you 

 6          very much.  

 7                 Anybody have any questions?  

 8                 Okay.  Very articulate.  Thank you 

 9          very much.

10                 MR. NOONAN:  Thank you very much.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thanks.  

12                 Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 

13          Nadine Lemmon, director, New York/federal 

14          policy.  

15                 MS. LEMMON:  Good afternoon.  Thank 

16          you for the opportunity to allow us to 

17          testify today.  

18                 My name is Nadine Lemmon, and I am the 

19          New York and federal policy director for 

20          Tri-State Transportation Campaign.  We're a 

21          policy and advocacy organization working on a 

22          sustainable transportation future.  

23                 As transportation advocates, we of 

24          course were thrilled to hear about the bold 


 1          plans the Governor has laid on the table for 

 2          infrastructure in this state.  Many of the 

 3          proposals, like Third Track on Long Island, 

 4          revamping Penn Station, and the Hudson Links 

 5          transit system on the New NY Bridge, have 

 6          been on our wish list for years.  

 7                 Unfortunately, as they say, the devil 

 8          is in the details, or in this case, the lack 

 9          of details in this Executive Budget.  The 

10          Executive Budget reveals that Governor 

11          Cuomo's plan for funding the MTA's capital 

12          needs is nothing but smoke and mirrors.  This 

13          budget contains no appropriation for the MTA, 

14          not only this year but in any of the outlying 

15          years.  There is only a reappropriation of 

16          the $1 billion from last year's budget.  

17          While we were supportive of the agreement 

18          made this summer between Governor Cuomo and 

19          Mayor de Blasio, we see now that the Governor 

20          has had an entirely different idea of a 

21          "fully funded" MTA capital plan.  

22                 The Executive Budget redefines the 

23          concept of parity.  Drivers will be getting 

24          real dollars in their roads and bridges, 


 1          fixed as part of NYSDOT's capital plan, and 

 2          the New NY Bridge will be receiving $2 

 3          billion total from the bank settlement funds.  

 4          Instead of comparable cash, the MTA will be 

 5          getting an IOU.  This budget leaves the door 

 6          wide open to be funded with an unsustainable 

 7          level of debt financing for the MTA.  

 8                 Drivers will be getting a toll 

 9          reduction worth $340 million, according to 

10          the Thruway Authority, while downstate 

11          transit riders will be saddled with a transit 

12          system facing an uncertain future.  And 

13          upstate transit riders will be getting an 

14          underfunded capital plan as well.  

15                 We understand that every capital plan 

16          has some debt, but the Executive Budget 

17          introduces substantial risk to transit 

18          riders.  As history has shown, unsustainable 

19          debt puts pressure on the MTA's operating 

20          budget, increasing the likelihood of future 

21          fare increases and service cuts, negatively 

22          impacting low-income transit riders.  

23                 There is also the risk that projects 

24          will be slowed down, or fall off the table in 


 1          later years, and the state's promised 

 2          commitment will be pushed off.  The ambiguous 

 3          language in the Article 7 legislation leaves 

 4          the potential for no money to be put into the 

 5          MTA by the state until 2019.  By 2019, as the 

 6          debt bomb explodes, the Governor's term and 

 7          potentially his commitment to this plan will 

 8          be ended.  

 9                 There should be parity between the MTA 

10          and roads and bridges, a different kind of 

11          parity than you've heard today.  The Capital 

12          Plan Review Board needs to approve the MTA's 

13          capital program immediately.  It's a year 

14          late.  And real dollars need to be put into 

15          the 2016-2017 budget, along with a clear 

16          timeline and certainty of funding sources for 

17          the plan.  

18                 We support NYPTA's testimony 

19          concerning the non-MTA transit.  Multiyear 

20          capital funding is the key for establishing 

21          stable transit systems, both upstate and 

22          down.  We applaud the Executive Budget for 

23          including a five-year capital plan for 

24          upstate transit, but that capital plan is not 


 1          fully funded.  That's a $1 billion capital 

 2          plan, it has a $500 million gap, and the 

 3          Executive Budget only puts $295 million into 

 4          that.  

 5                 We are particularly concerned that 

 6          there is no capital funding for downstate 

 7          transit, suburban transit systems such as 

 8          Westchester's Beeline service and Nassau 

 9          County's NICE systems.  Just this past 

10          Sunday, 11 bus routes were cut, eliminated in 

11          Nassau County, in part because there's a 

12          $7.5 million deficit in NICEís budget.  

13                 So in order to prevent similar cuts to 

14          transit across the state, we urge you to 

15          fully fund the $500 million gap in NYPTA's 

16          proposed five-year capital plan.  

17                 I really want to thank all of the 

18          legislators today for hammering on the fact 

19          that there is no list of projects coming out 

20          of New York State DOT.  If you'll allow me a 

21          moment of being candid, it's ridiculous that 

22          you have not gotten a list of projects, and 

23          you haven't gotten it for the last several 

24          years since I've been here.  You've had a 


 1          list out of the MTA for their capital plan 

 2          since October of 2014.  And Commissioner 

 3          Driscoll said today that you're not going to 

 4          see anything until the budget deal is done.  

 5          You shouldn't let that stand.  

 6                 In March of 2015, the Legislature also 

 7          approved a two-year capital plan for New York 

 8          State DOT in your budget, the last budget 

 9          cycle, and we still haven't see the list of 

10          projects for that.  And the MOU that was 

11          negotiated with the Governor's office has not 

12          been signed, has not been released to the 

13          public.  

14                 Details are sorely lacking in this 

15          Executive Budget.  There was mention that the 

16          Hudson Links Transit across the New NY Bridge 

17          is fully funded.  There's a $31 million gap 

18          and we could not find the appropriation in 

19          the budget.  So this is problematic.  It's a 

20          new bus system that is expected to be 

21          launched in 23 months.  There should be an 

22          appropriation.  There should be a list of 

23          projects.  

24                 A press release that came out of the 


 1          Governor's office on January 5th mentions 

 2          that New York State DOT's "Complete Streets" 

 3          funding will be used to partially fund the 

 4          $100 million Downtown Revitalization 

 5          Initiative.  To our knowledge, there is no 

 6          so-called "Complete Streets" funding unless 

 7          the Governor is referring to the dedicated 

 8          federal dollars that are coming out of D.C. 

 9                 And if that's the case, if it's the 

10          Governor's plan to siphon off these 

11          much-needed dollars for downtown Hunger 

12          Games, we would definitely encourage you 

13          instead to have a dedicated fund of state 

14          dollars for bicycle and pedestrian 

15          infrastructure that is on top of what is 

16          already being spent to the tune of $20 

17          million a year.  

18                 And thank you, Chairman Farrell, for 

19          your question earlier to the commissioner as 

20          to whether there was bicycle and pedestrian 

21          funding in this budget.  

22                 And for the past several years the 

23          Bronx community has been calling for the 

24          inclusion of $3 million in New York State 


 1          DOT's capital plan to fund the environmental 

 2          review of the reconfiguration of the Sheridan 

 3          Expressway.  Again, without a detailed list 

 4          of capital projects, there is no way to tell 

 5          if this funding has been included in this 

 6          Executive Budget.  

 7                 In conclusion, the opaque and 

 8          unregulated process for developing the 

 9          New York State DOT capital plan must change.  

10          The State Legislature must statutorily 

11          require the Department of Transportation to 

12          submit a five-year capital plan, with defined 

13          projects, that is subject to public review 

14          prior to passage of the state budget and 

15          require DOT to report on the progress of that 

16          plan.  The MTA does it; DOT can do it as 

17          well.  

18                 New York needs its capital planning to 

19          be done transparently, comprehensively, and 

20          in a coordinated, long-term manner.  The MTA 

21          and DOT capital plans need to be submitted 

22          for consideration at the same time, every 

23          five years, based on a 20-year needs 

24          assessment.  Given that the MOU process has 


 1          clearly broken down, this needs to be a 

 2          statutory requirement.  It is the only way 

 3          that we're going to be able to assure parity 

 4          in this system.  

 5                 Thank you for your time.  

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Railroads of 

 9          New York, Incorporated, Scott Wigger, 

10          executive director.  

11                 MR. WIGGER:  Good afternoon.  Thanks 

12          for the opportunity to testify here today.  

13                 My name is Scott Wigger, and I am the 

14          executive director for Railroads of New York.  

15          We're an organization that represents the 

16          freight rail industry here in New York State.  

17          It's comprised of four Class I railroads -- 

18          cSX, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and 

19          Norfolk Southern -- and 34 short-line and 

20          regional railroads here in the state.  Our 

21          members directly employ over 3,700 

22          individuals, and we allow our customers 

23          access to the nationwide 140,000-mile rail 

24          network, which gives access to both coasts 


 1          and all U.S. ports and shipment of goods.  

 2                 Besides a substantial competitive 

 3          advantage that businesses enjoy that have 

 4          rail access and thus access to this network, 

 5          there's many environmental benefits that we 

 6          provide, such as reduced pollution, better 

 7          fuel efficiency, reduced highway congestion, 

 8          and less wear and tear on the roads.  

 9                 In regards to the Governor's Executive 

10          Budget proposal, in it is contained a 

11          $10 million allocation for freight rail 

12          projects and another $10 million allocation 

13          for a mix of freight, passenger, and port 

14          projects -- freight rail, passenger rail, and 

15          port projects.  We appreciate the work that 

16          was done to reestablish this program three 

17          years ago by the Legislature and the 

18          Governor's office, but this has been at the 

19          same funding level for those last three 

20          years, the same $20 million level since it 

21          was reestablished.  

22                 RONY believes this budget year 

23          provides a unique opportunity for us to fully 

24          fund this program at a $50 million level, 


 1          which is the level it was at during the 

 2          2005-2010 Bond Act years.  We see increased 

 3          attention these days on transportation 

 4          infrastructure, and we appreciate that that's 

 5          a focus these days that we feel is very 

 6          important.  However, when we look at the rest 

 7          of DOT's budget funding, we see all the other 

 8          modes -- roads, bridges, transit, airports -- 

 9          all getting proposed increased funding 

10          allocations, while the freight rail 

11          allocations proposed remain flat.  

12                 So it's a little disconcerting for us, 

13          but we still look forward to working with the 

14          Legislature and the Governor's office to work 

15          to build this up to the aforementioned 

16          $50 million level.  

17                 Just as with all modes of 

18          transportation infrastructure, freight rail 

19          infrastructure gradually deteriorates due to 

20          time, wear and tear, and whatnot, and at the 

21          same time it's project that freight rail 

22          volumes are going to increase.  Last year, 

23          U.S. DOT put out a report saying they expect 

24          freight rail volume to increase by 49 percent 


 1          by the year 2040, which just means putting 

 2          more strain on the system.  

 3                 Our railroads invest heavily in 

 4          capital repair, maintenance, expansion 

 5          projects.  There's direct economic benefits 

 6          when we do expansion projects, whether 

 7          providing enhanced services to existing 

 8          customers, providing rail access to 

 9          businesses currently without rail service, or 

10          just locating a rail infrastructure in areas 

11          of the state that currently lack access to 

12          the rail network, so that when prospective 

13          businesses are looking at the state to locate 

14          their operations, like a manufacturing 

15          facility requesting rail access, it's 

16          certainly an incentive to locate here in New 

17          York.  

18                 We certainly need help with state 

19          funding to help with projects we can't 

20          finance ourselves.  You know, with the repair 

21          projects, obviously, we have to do those 

22          first, because the safety of our system is of 

23          foremost importance.  So as more and more 

24          funding has to go for repair and maintenance 


 1          projects, that's less and less we have for 

 2          economic development projects.  

 3                 So as such, we support the development 

 4          of this DOT five-year capital plan.  We 

 5          support funding it at the same $50 million 

 6          per year level, totaling $250 million over 

 7          the five-year period.  This long-term 

 8          investment planning would allow our railroads 

 9          to undertake more innovative capital projects 

10          to expand economic development efforts and 

11          also allow us time for better collaboration 

12          with local businesses and economic 

13          development organizations for better planning 

14          and cost-effectiveness.  

15                 As far as the scoring, since we 

16          reestablished this program, it's been scored 

17          through the DOT scoring process and not the 

18          Regional Council scoring process, which we 

19          appreciate and certainly support.  We 

20          appreciate the efforts by the Legislature and 

21          the Governor to keep it that way.  

22                 Just as with transportation 

23          infrastructure investments in general, it's 

24          hard to localize on a regional basis the 


 1          benefits any one project would have on the 

 2          entire statewide network.  And the jobs is 

 3          often, you know, are you creative with our 

 4          customers, not necessarily with railroads 

 5          themselves, so that's hard to quantify as 

 6          well.  Except for DOT, they are properly 

 7          positioned to keep scoring in this way.  

 8                 As far as the needs of the system, 

 9          I've said this in past years before, the 2009 

10          DOT rail plan puts the needs of the freight 

11          rail network at about $390 million per year 

12          over a five-year period, totaling nearly 

13          $2 billion.  About half of those identified 

14          needs are just to keep the existing system in 

15          safe condition and to bring it up to a state 

16          of good repair.  

17                 What you'll see is what we did 

18          recently, attached to my testimony, is we did 

19          a survey of our own members just asking for 

20          projects you can't do without state 

21          assistance.  And as you'll see, there's over 

22          $350 million worth of projects listed there.  

23          They show short- and long-term needs, and 

24          there's a variety of projects -- repair, 


 1          maintenance, economic development, and 

 2          expansion -- in all corners of the state.  So 

 3          we hope this helps to illustrate the needs of 

 4          the system.  

 5                 I appreciate the time today to come up 

 6          here and testify, and I am happy to answer 

 7          any questions you may have.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 9                 Any questions?  Senator.  

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.  I know 

11          Assemblyman Farrell reacted at first to the 

12          thickness of your packet.  He was worried you 

13          were going to read every page.  But I want to 

14          thank you for the detail on the $350 million 

15          of shovel-ready projects that could be 

16          undertaken across the state.  It's very 

17          helpful to the legislators to see what the 

18          potential could be.  So I just want to give 

19          my thanks to you for that.  

20                 I'm glad to see there are projects for 

21          Allegheny, Cattaragus, Chataqua, and 

22          Livingston Counties in the mix, and I look 

23          forward to working with you in the future.  

24                 MR. WIGGER:  Great.  Thanks.  


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Hi.  I don't know if 

 4          you heard me when I asked the earlier 

 5          testifier whether public transit, mass 

 6          transit was defined as economic development 

 7          for the various economic development funds we 

 8          distribute throughout the state.  

 9                 So I have the same question for you.  

10          Is freight rail eligible to participate in 

11          the regional economic councils or in the 

12          regional $500 million competitions that 

13          have -- has rail freight gotten any money?  

14                 MR. WIGGER:  Sure.  Technically, yes, 

15          we're eligible.  But on a practical basis, it 

16          just doesn't work.  

17                 Like I said, when you go through the 

18          Regional Council process, they're looking at 

19          their regions alone.  Whereas when we do a 

20          project, say the Portersville Bridge, for 

21          example -- it's out in the western Southern 

22          Tier area of the state -- that's really to 

23          allow us to go from Buffalo to Albany more 

24          consistently, instead of having to dip 


 1          through Pennsylvania.  So if you're just 

 2          looking at it on that localized basis, you 

 3          won't see the benefits all around.  

 4                 And also the fact that we're not 

 5          creating direct jobs with a maintenance 

 6          project or a repair project, that's not going 

 7          to score well at all.  So unless we're 

 8          talking about like a manufacturer who wants 

 9          to come to this state and they want direct 

10          rail access -- that's a project that would 

11          score well, because those are some direct 

12          jobs that would score.  But otherwise, we're 

13          just not competitive there.  

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

15                 So I come from New York City, and I 

16          spend a lot of time talking to people 

17          throughout the state about how we do a better 

18          job of bringing New York State agriculture 

19          down into New York City.  I always describe 

20          how I have a city of 9 million people who 

21          want to eat what New York State produces, but 

22          there's the constant struggles of the 

23          trucking patterns of trying to truck so much 

24          food into New York City and the lack of 


 1          competition with the costs because of that.  

 2                 Are there specific efforts in rail 

 3          freight that would expand the ability, if you 

 4          were funded, to Ensure better access for 

 5          upstate agricultural producers to move their 

 6          food downstate?

 7                 MR. WIGGER:  Well, the projects would 

 8          rest with the direct -- the rail companies 

 9          themselves, you know, the ones that serve 

10          that area and that go from upstate to 

11          downstate, because some are just 

12          regionalized, some just go east-west.  So it 

13          rests with those companies.

14                 But of course any good business is 

15          going to look to expand their business, so 

16          that's definitely an opportunity we see 

17          there.  You know, if we shifted from trucks 

18          to rail, we're certainly available for that.  

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But none of these 

20          projects specifically in this giant package 

21          are specific to agricultural freight, or you 

22          don't know what ratio of your rail freight is 

23          agricultural?  

24                 MR. WIGGER:  Off the top of my head -- 


 1          yeah, I'm not sure, I'd have to look through 

 2          it again.  

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 4                 MR. WIGGER:  Sure.  

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 7                 MR. WIGGER:  Thanks.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  New York State 

 9          Association of Town Superintendents of 

10          Highways, Jeff Griswold, president; New York 

11          State County Highway Superintendents 

12          Association, Kevin O'Brien, president.  

13                 And the next person is Jeremy 

14          Martelle.  If you would come down now, it 

15          would make it go quicker.  

16                 Good afternoon.  

17                 MR. GRISWOLD:  Good afternoon, 

18          Senator Young, Assemblyman Farrell, and other 

19          members of the Legislature.  I am Jeffrey 

20          Griswold, president of the New York State 

21          Association of Town Superintendents of 

22          Highways, and I'm the Town of Preble highway 

23          superintendent.  With me, representing the 

24          Town of Palmyra, also my first vice 


 1          president, is Michael Boesel.  

 2                 We apologize, but at the same time 

 3          this is happening, County Highway 

 4          Superintendents President Kevin O'Brien is at 

 5          a swearing-in ceremony for their association.  

 6                 We appreciate this opportunity to 

 7          submit testimony for your consideration as 

 8          you review the Governor's 2016-2017 budget.  

 9          We'd like to begin by thanking you, the 

10          members of the Legislature, for your 

11          steadfast support of local roads and bridges.  

12          As you know, our collective membership is 

13          responsible for ensuring the safe operation 

14          of 87 percent of the state's public roads, 

15          half of its bridges, and plowing not only our 

16          huge system but over a quarter of the New 

17          York State DOT's roads.  Every time there is 

18          a winter weather event, the hardworking men 

19          and women of our local crews ensure New 

20          York's drivers get to and from schools, 

21          hospitals, work, and other destinations 

22          safely.

23                 We are pleased to see Governor Cuomo 

24          propose increased funding levels in the 


 1          Executive Budget for the New York State DOT 

 2          capital plan and the new additional programs 

 3          for local and state bridges and roads.  As 

 4          part of this proposed capital plan is a 

 5          $1 billion PAVE-NY program to be split evenly 

 6          between the state and locals.  Another new 

 7          program is the $1 billion BRIDGE-NY to 

 8          replace and rehabilitate bridges.  Like 

 9          PAVE-NY, we have been told the monies for 

10          BRIDGE-NY will also be split 50/50 between 

11          the state and the localities.  

12                 However, it is imperative to note that 

13          this $20.1 billion proposed five-year New 

14          York State DOT capital plan funding level is 

15          not enough to prevent the further 

16          deterioration of New York's highways and 

17          bridge system.  The Governor's proposal 

18          maintains the CHIPS funding level at $438 

19          million and $39.7 million for Marchiselli, 

20          but does not include the $50 million extreme 

21          winter recovery money we received last year.  

22          There is also $500 million for an Extreme 

23          Weather Infrastructure Hardening Program for 

24          investments in roadways statewide that are 


 1          susceptible to flooding, but it is not clear 

 2          how this funding would be distributed or if 

 3          local roads are eligible for a fair share.  

 4                 Our associations support a five-year 

 5          allocation of $3.7 billion, $742 million 

 6          annually, in CHIPS/Marchiselli funding and 

 7          $750 million, or $150 million annually, for a 

 8          local bridge and culvert program.  

 9                 The Executive Budget includes a 

10          five-year, $1 billion BRIDGE-NY program split 

11          between the state and localities.  This 

12          proposal appears to be an improvement over 

13          the current state and local initiative that 

14          is part of the current budget.  When the 

15          first two years of the five-year $750 million 

16          program was allocated, New York State DOT, 

17          who chose the projects without local input, 

18          split the number of state and local projects 

19          equally:  23 are locals, 23 state-owned.  

20                 However, the state bridge projects 

21          total 55 percent of the funds, and just two 

22          locally owned bridges in New York City 

23          accounted for 66 percent of the local bridge 

24          funding allocation.  We're hoping that the 


 1          new BRIDGE-NY program is more effective in 

 2          achieving regional balance and maximizing 

 3          local decision making and flexibility, which 

 4          is why we are requesting the local BRIDGE-NY 

 5          funding be distributed through CHIPS.  

 6                 We cannot emphasize enough the 

 7          importance that both local portions of the 

 8          PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY programs be distributed 

 9          through the CHIPS formula and be funded with 

10          state dollars, not federal funds.  By using 

11          CHIPS as the funding mechanism for the local 

12          side of the program, every municipality 

13          across New York State will benefit.  The 

14          CHIPS formula is based on local highway 

15          mileage for all municipalities and motor 

16          vehicle registrations for counties and New 

17          York City.  This formula allows the local 

18          highway superintendents and commissioners of 

19          public works, the experts in their 

20          localities, to make decisions on what road, 

21          bridge and culvert rehabilitation and 

22          reconstruction is most important.  

23                 We are also pleased that the Executive 

24          Budget includes a five-year DOT capital plan 


 1          which will allow long-term predictable 

 2          funding levels and more effective planning.  

 3          This fall, for the first time, the 

 4          administration did not release a DOT 

 5          five-year capital needs analysis, which we 

 6          believe to be in excess of $28 billion.  

 7          Traditionally, the funding levels for both 

 8          the DOT and MTA systems were based on 

 9          multiyear needs analysis and were released in 

10          advance of the adoption of the five-year 

11          capital programs.  

12                 Mike?  

13                 MR. BOESEL:  I'm going to take over 

14          from here.  

15                 In the fall, Governor Cuomo and Mayor 

16          de Blasio announced an agreement to jointly 

17          subsidize the MTA's nearly $11 billion 

18          funding gap for its proposed $26.1 billion 

19          2015-2019 five-year capital program.  While 

20          we are not clear on where the funding for 

21          this state commitment of $8.3 billion will 

22          come from, we certainly appreciate this vital 

23          investment in downstate transit.  

24                 We are hopeful that you and your 


 1          fellow legislators can work with us to ensure 

 2          that funding parity is restored between the 

 3          DOT's highway and bridge five-year capital 

 4          program and the MTA's capital program, with 

 5          each program receiving an equal funding level 

 6          of $26.1 billion.  

 7                 As you can see from the chart included 

 8          in our testimony, three of the last four 

 9          DOT/MTA five-year capital programs were 

10          virtually identical in size.  In the early 

11          1990s, the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust 

12          Fund was created to pay for New York State 

13          DOT's capital program and the Dedicated Mass 

14          Transit Trust Fund was created to assist the 

15          MTA and other transit system capital 

16          programs.  

17                 At that time, drivers statewide were 

18          asked to have a portion of their gas taxes 

19          and auto fees directed toward the Dedicated 

20          Mass Transit Fund.  Today, New York's drivers 

21          pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually 

22          to mass transit, about 90 percent of which 

23          goes to the MTA. In return for drivers' 

24          financial assistance to transit, it was 


 1          originally agreed that the DOT and MTA's 

 2          five-year capital programs would be similar 

 3          in size and would be negotiated 

 4          simultaneously.  

 5                 Having a five-year highway and bridge 

 6          capital program that truly meets the needs of 

 7          our state's residents is our top priority.  

 8          We believe it is essential the MTA and the 

 9          DOT capital programs are equal and that a 

10          significant portion of the resulting 

11          additional funding be allocated directly to 

12          local highway departments throughout the 

13          state.  To meet a greater portion of the 

14          critical needs of the local transportation 

15          system, we request a five-year allocation of 

16          $3.7 billion, or $742 million annually, for 

17          CHIPS/Marchiselli funding and $750 million, 

18          or $150 million annually, for a local bridge 

19          and culvert program.  

20                 The local systems' needs are great and 

21          well documented.  The New York State 

22          Comptroller's studies indicate that a large 

23          number of road mileage is deteriorating and 

24          many bridges in the state are rated 


 1          structurally deficient and functionally 

 2          obsolete.  According to the 2014 

 3          Comptroller's report, 34 percent of bridges 

 4          are deficient and 48 percent of road 

 5          pavements are rated fair or poor or getting 

 6          worse.  The Comptroller estimates that there 

 7          will be $89 billion in unmet local 

 8          infrastructure needs over the next 20 years, 

 9          with much of this shortfall on the already 

10          deteriorating local transportation system.  

11                 In November of 2013, our New York 

12          State Association of Town Highway 

13          Superintendents conducted our own needs study 

14          of the local transportation system.  Our 

15          analysis determined that, on average, local 

16          governments outside New York City should be 

17          spending $2.32 billion annually on their 

18          highways and bridges.  Currently these 

19          municipalities spend only about $1 billion 

20          annually, leaving an annual shortfall of 

21          $1.32 billion.  

22                 So what is needed now?  In previous 

23          years, even in tough economic times, the 

24          Legislature has responded to the dire 


 1          conditions of the state's transportation 

 2          systems and augmented CHIPS and other local 

 3          transportation funding but more is required.  

 4          MTA/DOT parity will help provide the funding 

 5          needed to reverse the deteriorating 

 6          conditions of our local transportation 

 7          systems and make significant progress in its 

 8          rehabilitation.  

 9                 We are urging support for a 

10          significant increase for the CHIPS program to 

11          help all municipalities in the state extend 

12          the life of our assets and maintain our vast 

13          system and an adequately funded local bridge 

14          and culvert program that will provide direct 

15          funding to local governments and add 

16          flexibility needed to address local 

17          conditions.  

18                 Our associations and the mutual 

19          constituencies and communities we serve 

20          appreciate the support of our state elected 

21          officials who partner with us to insure we 

22          all get the job done when it comes to 

23          providing the public with a safe and 

24          functional statewide transportation system, 


 1          one that supports jobs and economic growth 

 2          for our communities.  We request that you and 

 3          your legislative colleagues make the same 

 4          state funding commitment of $26.1 billion to 

 5          our roads, bridges and culverts as the 

 6          Governor has pledged to mass transit.  

 7                 We look forward to continuing working 

 8          with you to make more state funding and 

 9          resources available to meet the critical 

10          needs of our local transportation systems.  

11                 Thank you very much.  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

13          gentlemen.  

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

15          much.  

16                 Question?  

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, just a couple 

18          of quick things.  

19                 Both, thank you very much for the 

20          presentation and giving the perspective -- I 

21          know you mentioned -- I think CHIPS in this 

22          budget is at $438 million, which would be the 

23          same as what we had last year but without the 

24          winter recovery monies.  So in essence, 


 1          that's a reduction from what local 

 2          governments are going to receive.  

 3                 But you lay out some of what we need 

 4          really need.  Are we getting -- is your 

 5          message -- are we geting further behind in 

 6          maintaining our local roads because of 

 7          funding levels of where we are?  

 8                 MR. GRISWOLD:  In my small town just 

 9          south of Syracuse, we're holding our own if 

10          we don't have another winter like we did last 

11          year.  

12                 Due to the wisdom of the Legislature 

13          last year, we did have the Winter Recovery 

14          Fund two years in a row.  This winter we've 

15          been blessed with a lighter winter.  I'm just 

16          hoping in the spring I don't have something 

17          that goes awry.  It's going year to year; 

18          there's no long term.  

19                 My big hope, with the energy prices 

20          coming down -- for years they were 

21          skyrocketing, double digits -- and I'm really 

22          hoping that with some increased funding, 

23          along with lower oil prices, aggregate prices 

24          may hold off, we can get more work done to 


 1          make up for these years of not being able to 

 2          keep up.  I mean, we have a golden 

 3          opportunity right now to be able to really 

 4          get some real work done that your 

 5          constituents and mine can really appreciate.  

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  You talked about 

 7          the recommendation that the PAVE-NY program 

 8          as well as the BRIDGE-NY program be 

 9          distributed, those resources, by a CHIPS kind 

10          of formula.  We heard from the commissioner 

11          today, one, that the bridges she didn't 

12          allude to, that that would be considered, and 

13          said that the other formula was being 

14          determined for the PAVE -- your 

15          recommendation would be to do the PAVE along 

16          the -- using the CHIPS formula.  

17                 MR. GRISWOLD:  Well, instead of using 

18          specific projects, which, depending on how 

19          this is laid out -- there are no details at 

20          this time -- CHIPS statewide, whether you're 

21          talking transportation or any other -- 

22          education or anything else -- CHIPS by and 

23          large is very fair money.  It's not an 

24          upstate/downstate issue.  


 1                 A lot of CHIPS money goes to New York 

 2          City -- we have no problem with that -- and 

 3          Long Island.  It's equitable.  And here we 

 4          keep talking parity, we talked equality -- I 

 5          think it's important that you understand that 

 6          this CHIPS formula is complicated as it can 

 7          be.  I mean, we just hit the points -- is 

 8          what we generally believe, the county 

 9          associations would agree, I believe -- it's 

10          fair.  

11                 And I think that's what we're asking.  

12          We're not -- it's not a competition, 

13          upstate/downstate.  It's a fair, equitable 

14          way of putting a program forward.  

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  I think in your 

16          presentation you also said that this last 

17          year there was some of the choosing of 

18          projects and whatever without input from 

19          localities.  The commissioner did mention 

20          today that they would be looking for input 

21          from local governments.  Is there a best way 

22          to do that, to give that input?  

23          Recommendations, to be part of negotiations 

24          or a part of recommendations to the Executive 


 1          of how that should happen?  

 2                 MR. GRISWOLD:  I can tell you that in 

 3          our testimony we said that it's very 

 4          frustrating and anybody sitting in our shoes 

 5          or outside of the metropolitan area would be 

 6          frustrated that while most of that local 

 7          funding that was deemed and said to be local, 

 8          62 percent of it went to New York City 

 9          bridges.  And that's frustrating -- I 

10          honestly don't know an actual formula or a 

11          way of doing it.  

12                 I mean, you're basically going to 

13          spread this money fairly as CHIPS, which is 

14          our first choice.  If you make it 

15          competitive, you have your bigger departments 

16          and bigger towns and like that that have 

17          grant-writer-type people that can do it.  And 

18          myself, I am my own secretary of my small 

19          highway department, so I do everything, soup 

20          to nuts.  So I would be relying on myself 

21          to -- if it was a competitive basis, I 

22          probably would have a tough time with it, to 

23          be honest with you.  

24                 I hope that answered your question.  


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you, and 

 2          thank you also for the work you do in your 

 3          local communities, but those you represent 

 4          across our state, in keeping our local roads 

 5          passable and in the best condition they can 

 6          within the restraints that you have.  And 

 7          hopefully as part of this budget we can move 

 8          to giving you the resources to get us in a 

 9          better position.  

10                 Thank you.  

11                 MR. GRISWOLD:  Thank you, Assemblyman.  

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

13                 Senator?  

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  No questions.  

15                 Thank you.  

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  To close, New York 

17          Aviation Management Association, Jeremy 

18          Martelle, president.  

19                 MR. MARTELLE:  Good afternoon.  Thank 

20          you, Chairwoman Young, Chairman Farrell, and 

21          members of the committees.  

22                 I am Jeremy Martelle, president of the 

23          New York Aviation Management Association and 

24          regional manager for CHA Companies, our 


 1          aviation division.  NYAMA appreciates this 

 2          opportunity to testify on the 2016-2017 

 3          Executive Budget proposal as it relates to 

 4          the support of airports within the state.  

 5                 NYAMA represents over 13,000 members 

 6          and affiliate members, 120 commercial service 

 7          and general aviation airports, fixed based 

 8          operators, consultants, engineers and other 

 9          aviation industries and professionals who 

10          believe that serious economic development 

11          efforts at the state and regional level 

12          necessitates strong public investment in our 

13          aviation assets and our facilities.  

14                 I would like to take this moment to 

15          thank you and the members of the Legislature 

16          for enacting significant aviation tax reform 

17          last year as part of the final budget.  This 

18          action to restore our competitiveness with 

19          our neighboring states is already yielding 

20          tangible results, as a number of airports 

21          have reported increased business developments 

22          and business jet locations at their 

23          facilities.  

24                 Airports are economic engines fueling 


 1          growth in the communities they serve. 

 2          According to the New York State Department of 

 3          Transportation's Aviation Bureau, the 

 4          aviation industry contributes over 

 5          $50 billion in annual economic activity in 

 6          New York State and almost 400,000 state 

 7          residents work in aviation or 

 8          aviation-related industries.  The economic 

 9          benefits of New York State airports are 

10          impressive.  As a whole, aviation generates 

11          $18 billion in payroll and $4.5 billion in 

12          state and local tax revenue annually.  

13                 This powerful economic engine and its 

14          benefits to New York's citizens are 

15          restrained by a critical lack of state 

16          infrastructure investment, competition from 

17          other states, and a sluggish state and 

18          national economy.  

19                 The state's Airport Capital Program 

20          for fiscal years 2010 through 2013 included 

21          no capital improvement funding.  This period 

22          with no funding followed five years where the 

23          airport capital program was funded at a level 

24          of $15 to $17 million per year.  It was only 


 1          starting with the 2013-2014 budget that the 

 2          State Aviation Capital Grant Program, 

 3          formally the AIR99 program, began being 

 4          funded at a level of less than $10 million 

 5          annually.  

 6                 While this reduced funding level has 

 7          provided some valuable financial assistance 

 8          for infrastructure projects at airports 

 9          across the state -- for example, funding 

10          airport security improvements, repair of 

11          existing facilities, and safety 

12          enhancements -- it represents only half of 

13          the traditional budget allocation which has 

14          been set aside during previous years.  

15          Additionally, over 130 public-use airports 

16          across the state compete for a portion of 

17          this lower level of funding, creating large 

18          gaps in much needed infrastructure funding.  

19                 The Executive Budget continues 

20          underfunding the capital grant program at 

21          this level for the fourth consecutive year.  

22                 The Airport Improvement Program 

23          Funding Transfer.  The funding level in the 

24          State Aviation Capital Grant Program is 


 1          further eroded due to the underfunding of the 

 2          state matching program for federal airport 

 3          capital improvement dollars.  The Federal 

 4          Aviation Administration's Airport Capital 

 5          Improvement Program typically funded 

 6          95 percent of all eligible projects.  

 7                 Recently, a change in the program now 

 8          provides only 90 percent federal funding 

 9          under the Airport Improvement Program to most 

10          airports, instead of the 95 percent as in 

11          previous years.  What this has done is 

12          doubled the required state portion of that 

13          total grant.  The federal funding that is 

14          received by New York airports varies but is 

15          typically between $80 million to $100 million 

16          annually.  Based on experience and recent 

17          program data, it is anticipated that the 

18          $4 million budget allocation by the state to 

19          cover its share of the federally funded 

20          airport projects will likely be insufficient 

21          and will be far short of what is needed.  

22                 This creates an uncertainty that all 

23          available federal funding will be utilized by 

24          New York going forward.  New York can ill 


 1          afford to jeopardize receiving any of these 

 2          federal funds and seeing them diverted to 

 3          neighboring states that compete directly with 

 4          New York State's airports.  

 5                 In the last three fiscal years, an 

 6          additional $1 million to $3 million has been 

 7          necessary to meet the state share match.  

 8          Regrettably, this AIP funding shortfall has 

 9          been made up by reducing the scarce capital 

10          funds through the State Aviation Capital 

11          Grant Program.  Unless AIP is fully funded, 

12          this funding gap in AIP is expected to 

13          continue next year and beyond, siphoning 

14          millions of scarce dollars from an already 

15          financially marginalized state airport 

16          capital funding program.  

17                 NYAMA urges the Legislature to fully 

18          fund the airport improvement program match at 

19          a minimum of $6 million in the next fiscal 

20          year budget.  This will ensure that the full 

21          amount of airport capital improvement funding 

22          appropriated to the State Aviation Capital 

23          Grant Program can be used for the important 

24          purposes of that program and not to make up 


 1          the shortfall in the AIP match.  

 2                 Perhaps the most significant aviation 

 3          initiative in the Executive Budget is the 

 4          Upstate Airport Initiative.  Last year, 

 5          Governor Cuomo unveiled a comprehensive plan 

 6          to modernize and revitalize LaGuardia, 

 7          JFK International, Republic, and Stewart 

 8          International Airports, bringing them up to 

 9          21st-century standards for service, access 

10          and amenities.  The plan includes a massive 

11          investment in these downstate airports.  

12                 NYAMA believes that there are other 

13          airports in the state that should be 

14          considered for targeted investments as has 

15          been proposed for the downstate airports.  

16          New York has a significant interest in the 

17          continued vitality of general aviation and 

18          community airports.  Business aviation is a 

19          critical tool for companies in New York to 

20          conduct business, improve operational 

21          efficiency, save money, and open 

22          opportunities for areas not served by 

23          commercial aviation.  The success of business 

24          aviation will encourage new business 


 1          opportunities and continued investment by 

 2          companies as well as bringing much-needed 

 3          jobs to all areas of the state.  

 4                 This is why NYAMA is pleased that the 

 5          Executive Budget attempts to address this 

 6          need.  The Governor is proposing $200 million 

 7          for an Upstate Airport Economic Development 

 8          and Revitalization competition to accelerate 

 9          investments in commercial, passenger, and 

10          cargo service airports resulting in the 

11          creation of jobs and stimulating economic 

12          development.  The state will award five 

13          airports approximately $40 million each.  

14          Grants will fund projects to enhance safety, 

15          improve operations and access, reduce 

16          environmental impacts, and create a better 

17          passenger experience and leverage private 

18          investments.  

19                 Although welcomed, NYAMA is concerned 

20          that many of the over 120 airports we 

21          represent will not have a legitimate 

22          opportunity to fairly compete for this 

23          funding, and we await the additional details 

24          on the rules of this competition.  NYAMA is 


 1          anxious to work with you and the Governor to 

 2          assure this significant infrastructure 

 3          funding reaches airports that establish the 

 4          need for support, enhances aviation business 

 5          development, creates new and permanent jobs, 

 6          and improves the state's economy as a whole.  

 7                 As you are aware, many upstate 

 8          airports are constantly seeking to preserve 

 9          access to commercial service and connections 

10          to major cities across the state and nation.  

11          Over the last 10 years, these smaller 

12          airports have seen their passenger boardings 

13          decrease at a slow but relatively constant 

14          rate.  General aviation airports with no 

15          scheduled airline service play a key role in 

16          regional business and rely more heavily on 

17          state funding for revenue-producing projects 

18          like hangars and fuel farms.  Many of these 

19          aviation facilities face a daily struggle 

20          just to continue.  

21                 For example, in 2014 New York State 

22          DOT received a total of nearly $30 million in 

23          funding requests by 73 airports for critical 

24          infrastructure projects.  Out of the 


 1          73 airports, only 26 were awarded a total of 

 2          $9 million under the State Aviation Capital 

 3          Grant Program.  This demonstrates the huge 

 4          gap between what is required for airport 

 5          development projects and what is ultimately 

 6          available through the state budget.  

 7                 As a result of the small number of 

 8          projects funded under the program, we know 

 9          the number of funding applications submitted 

10          is artificially small.  Many airports cannot 

11          devote scarce resources to design and 

12          engineer projects and go through the expense 

13          of the application process if there is little 

14          chance they will be awarded due to a lack of 

15          significant program funding.  

16                 Based on the analysis of the 

17          FAA-approved documents such as Airport 

18          Capital Improvement Plans, Airport Master 

19          Plans, and Airport Layout Plans, the New York 

20          State Department of Transportation has 

21          estimated that the state will need 

22          $4.3 billion to support its aviation goals 

23          for the next 20-year period between 2010 and 

24          2030, an average of $215 million per year.  


 1          This investment is necessary to properly 

 2          maintain the system and allow airports to 

 3          attract passenger, cargo, and general 

 4          aviation services, therefore supporting the 

 5          Governor's economic development goals.  

 6                 Although the federal Airport 

 7          Improvement Program grants provide some level 

 8          of funding, they average a total of less than 

 9          $100 million per year and are limited to 

10          certain types of projects with a large 

11          allocation traditionally going to the 

12          Port Authority airports.  Ultimately, this 

13          leaves us with an enormous funding shortfall 

14          for airport development needs statewide.  

15                 Consequently, in order to meet ongoing 

16          critical needs of airport infrastructure 

17          improvements and developments and to address 

18          growing needs going forward, NYAMA is seeking 

19          State Aviation Capital Grant Program funding 

20          of $200 million, or $40 million per year, 

21          over the course of the next five years.  We 

22          are also calling for a fully funded state AIP 

23          program at a level to match historical 

24          federal funding under the FAA Airport 


 1          Improvement Program without the need to 

 2          divert funds from the State Aviation Capital 

 3          Grant Program.  We believe a projected state 

 4          budget surplus heading into the next fiscal 

 5          year and a call by many for parity between 

 6          the New York State DOT and the MTA capital 

 7          plans will help make this level of funding 

 8          possible.  

 9                 The cost of addressing the growing 

10          needs of the overall transportation system is 

11          great, but will only increase if we delay 

12          action.  New York State must invest now in 

13          effective aviation infrastructure programs or 

14          face much higher, perhaps prohibitive, prices 

15          later when the decay has made the challenges 

16          far worse.  

17                 The long-standing policy on federal 

18          requirements for the use of proceeds from 

19          taxes on aviation fuel was recently clarified 

20          by the FAA.  The FAA rule mandates that all 

21          aviation fuel tax revenue collected by states 

22          or local units of government, either an 

23          airport sponsor or a non-sponsor, must be 

24          spent on airports for aviation-related 


 1          programs.  

 2                 The Governor's Executive Budget -- in 

 3          Part Z of the revenue bill -- proposes to 

 4          address the FAA fuel tax clarification that 

 5          such fuel tax revenues generated at airports 

 6          go for aviation purposes.  The budget 

 7          proposal also appears to exclude sales of 

 8          fuel for use in commercial and general 

 9          aviation aircraft from local sales taxes and 

10          from the prepayment of sales tax on motor 

11          fuels.  Because of the complex nature of this 

12          issue and the questions it raises about the 

13          financial impacts on airports, NYAMA is 

14          seeking more details in order to formulate an 

15          informed recommendation on this provision.  

16                 So I conclude that NYAMA and its 

17          members across New York State support your 

18          efforts to ensure that the state pursues 

19          policies that are pro-growth and pro-job 

20          creation.  Strong state investment in our 

21          airports is one of these winning strategies.  

22                 We look forward to continuing to work 

23          with you and all our elected officials to 

24          enhance our airports and aviation assets in 


 1          ways that create new jobs, increase economic 

 2          development, and improve airport services so 

 3          that all regions of New York can compete 

 4          effectively with other states for business 

 5          aviation, scheduled commercial service, and 

 6          to benefit all New York State's residents.  

 7                 Thank you for your time.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 9          much.  

10                 Any questions?  Yes, Senator.  

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much 

12          for your testimony, and I know you're the 

13          last one.  Just two very different questions.  

14                 Your testimony talks about 120 

15          airports, but earlier in discussions about 

16          the competition where five could get money, 

17          the number was more like 73, 74.  How come 

18          you have so many more airports than previous 

19          testifiers?  

20                 MR. MARTELLE:  We have 120 members, 

21          and 73 -- if I understand your question 

22          correctly, the 73 airports were the number of 

23          airports that actually submitted for projects 

24          under the Airport Capital Improvement 


 1          Program.  

 2                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So that 73 number 

 3          was just entities that have applied in the 

 4          past for the state money?  

 5                 MR. MARTELLE:  That is correct.  Not 

 6          everybody will apply, so that was part of our 

 7          concern.  Not everybody is encouraged to 

 8          apply, because of the process and the amount 

 9          of money that is available for awarding these 

10          projects under the capital program.  

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But it's your 

12          understanding that for the proposed five 

13          $40 million projects, all 120 could apply?  

14          Or only that subset of the 70-something?  

15                 MR. MARTELLE:  All 120 airports could 

16          apply.  Whether or not they would be able to 

17          rise to the level of being able to be 

18          funded -- there are a lot of small GA 

19          facilities that would find it probably 

20          difficult to spend $40 million.  They would 

21          be much more beneficial to be awarded a 

22          $100,000 or $200,000 grant and be able to 

23          meet their needs and invest that under that 

24          type of program.  


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And then 

 2          the final section of your testimony related 

 3          to Part Z of the revenue bill that -- I 

 4          hadn't gotten to Part Z yet, so thank you.  

 5          So apparently the feds changed the rules of 

 6          how fuel tax revenues can be used and that it 

 7          will have to be applied to aviation and the 

 8          airports.  

 9                 I assume you think that's a good 

10          thing, it will keep this revenue money at the 

11          airports.  Is that correct?  

12                 MR. MARTELLE:  We would think that 

13          that would be a good thing, but also we're 

14          interested in how it can be -- all of our 

15          member airports would be able to effectively 

16          keep track of that and ensure that it's 

17          tracked efficiently.  I'm sure there's going 

18          to be additional details that would have to 

19          be ironed out as far as how it would be kept 

20          track of.  

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And so we don't know 

22          yet an estimate of how much money that would 

23          be newly available to the airports, do we?  

24                 MR. MARTELLE:  No.  Not at this time.  


 1          I am not aware of that number.  

 2                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  And I gather 

 3          that you're concerned about the details; we 

 4          don't know how that would be divvied up.  

 5          Would it be based on the estimated volume per 

 6          airport, of planes coming in and out, or some 

 7          other formula?  

 8                 MR. MARTELLE:  That money -- the money 

 9          that's collected at the airport needs to be 

10          reinvested in that airport.  

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So if you fuel up at 

12          that airport, that share of the tax money has 

13          to stay there?  

14                 MR. MARTELLE:  For the local share, 

15          yes.  

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  And when we 

17          talk about local, we're meaning local and 

18          county versus the state share?  Because in 

19          some places you have state sales tax, county 

20          sales tax, and even local.  

21                 MR. MARTELLE:  Yes.  I'm speaking of 

22          the local, county -- and local tax.  Not 

23          necessarily the state tax.  

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Right, but 


 1          potentially the county and the local.  

 2                 MR. MARTELLE:  Correct.  

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  Thank you 

 4          very much.  

 5                 MR. MARTELLE:  Thank you.  

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  Thank 

 9          you very much.  

10                 MR. MARTELLE:  Thank you.  

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We'll adjourn until 

12          Monday at 9:30 a.m., when the hearing on 

13          Health issues will be held.  Thank you.

14                 (Whereupon, the budget hearing 

15          concluded at 3:13 p.m.)