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Highlights of Fairfax, Virginia TEA-21 National listening Session


George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia
September 18, 1998

OVERALL: This session included five panel discussions: 1) highway-rail grade crossing, 2) highway traffic and bicycle and pedestrian safety, 3) road construction safety and hazard elimination, 4) commercial motor carrier safety and, 5) safety planning, data and technology. There was general support for the fact that TEA-21 retains the basic ISTEA safety provisions.

Rep. Bob Franks (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Rail Subcommittee, indicated that he did not know when Congress would consider the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA)Reauthorization and that the discussions have been complicated by several controversial issues. However, Chairman Franks praised the rail provisions in TEA-21, including the safety items. Also, he indicated his support for the "one call" notification language to help reduce damage to underground facilities.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety:

Speakers noted that the Railways, State Agencies, and Local Agencies must all work together to improve grade-crossing safety. Possible roles for the railroads include: donating property, improvement of frontage roads, installing concrete crossings, and enforcing trespassing programs.

Specific Suggestions:

Highway Traffic and Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

There was overall support for the advanced air bags schedule, incentive program to improve safety belt use, air bag technology research, repeat offender laws, open container laws, and Reauthorization of NHTSA. The TEA-21 truck safety exemptions and lobbying restrictions were cited as losses to federal safety provisions.

Specific Suggestions:

Road Construction Safety & Hazard Elimination

Commercial Motor Carrier Safety

There was general support for: pilot programs, carrier shutdown provisions due to failure to pass safety fitness guidelines, programs established to regularly check truck maintenance and driver regulation and, the provision allowing background investigations on prospective drivers.

Safety, Planning, Data and Technology

The AASHTO speaker indicated that safety is the primary responsibility of state DOT's.

SEPTEMBER 18, 1998
8:00-8:45 am REGISTRATION and COFFEE
8:45 - 9:15 GMU Welcome, Dr. Kingsley Haynes, GMU Institute for Public Policy
DOT Welcome by Jolene Molitoris, FRA Administrator and Chair of DOT Safety Council
NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez
FHWA Administrator Kenneth Wykle
9:15-10:15 Congressional Speakers - Congressman James L. Oberstar, Minnesota;
Congressman Bob Franks, New Jersey;
Congressman James Moran, Virginia;
Congressman Tom Davis, Virginia;
Congressman Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin (Invited)
10:15 - 10:30 Break
10:30 - 10:40 Mort Downey, Deputy Secretary of Transportation
10:40 - 11:30 Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Panelists: Hon. Elizabeth Flores, Mayor of Laredo, Texas Thomas M. O'Leary, Executive Director, Ohio Rail Commission Brent Boggs, Political Affairs Coordinator, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Cliff Shoemaker, Director, Industry and Public Projects, Union Pacific Railroad
11:30 - 12:30 Highway Traffic Safety; Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

Judith Lee Stone, President, Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety
Barbara Harsha, Executive Director, National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives
Harry Teter, Executive Director, American Trauma Society
Captain Stephen Sellers, Fairfax County Police Department
Lauren Marchetti, Manager, Public Relations Programs, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

12:30-1:15 Lunch Break
1:15 - 2:00 Road Construction Safety and Hazard Elimination Panelists:
Richard Retting, Senior Transportation Engineer
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Kathy Hoffman, Executive Director, Road Safety Foundation
William R. Buechner, Director of Economics & Research
American Road & Transportation Builders' Association
2:00-3:00 Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Panelists:
John A. McQuaid, Executive Director, National Private Truck Council
Steven Izer, Parents Against Tired Truckers
Norm Littler, Vice President, United Motorcoach Association
Richard Henderson, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
3:00-4:00 Safety Planning, Data and Technology Panelists:
David J. Hensing, Deputy Executive Director for Policy & Planning, AASHTO
Richard D. Paddock, PE, Traffic Safety Analysis Systems & Services
Dr. Azim Eskandarian, Director, National Crash Analysis Center
Andrew Meese, Senior Transportation Engineer, Metropolitan Council of Governments
4:00-4:45 Audience Questions and Answers
4:45 pm Adjourn

A docket has been opened to accept comments on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in conjunction with a series of outreach sessions being conducted by the USDOT to consult with its partners and customers prior to implementation of the act. Send comments to Docket OST-98-4146, Walter Finch, Office of the Secretary, S-3, Room 10126, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century-Summary Report is available from the U.S. Department of Transportation Web Site (http://www.dot.gov/). To obtain a printed copy, call the Federal Highway Administration voice message center, telephone number (AC-202) 366-9899 or 1-800-240-5674, FAX number (AC-202) 366-3297.

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