**To watch Senator Capito’s questioning, click here or on the image above.**

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD), questioned U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a hearing to review the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 funding request and budget justification for the DOT.

During her questioning, Senator Capito pressed Secretary Buttigieg on the need for proper implementation of the “One Federal Decision” environmental review policy for infrastructure projects at the federal level, as enacted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Senator Capito also asked Secretary Buttigieg about concerns with potential delays in finalizing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) rule for technologies protecting against impaired driving, which are set to be finalized in 2026.

Lastly, Senator Capito voiced her disappointment on grant projects that have been delayed due to lack of funding disbursements from the DOT.



SEN. CAPITO: I am a broken record on my issues as well, and this is ‘One Federal Decision. We put that in the IIJA and one of the key components is a two-year goal for completing the environmental review process. I've been told that these provisions have been implemented. In March, my staff received a list of the Federal Highway Administration of one federal decision projects that are currently underway. There are eight projects on that list. [It’s] [h]ard to believe there's only eight, but there's eight on there. Of these, six are listed as currently extended or delayed, and are expected to have an extension or a delay in the future. Two remaining projects had notices of intent issued in February and their schedules have not been posted on the dashboard. Almost all of these projects have missed, or are expecting to miss, their two-year goal. I find this very frustrating, the point of this is to move projects- not just to get the projects done, but it saves money. You get more projects done if you can do it in a timely fashion. Will you commit to making the relevant staff at the department available to brief my staff on the challenges facing each of these projects and what the agency is doing to address these?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: Yes, we'd be happy to engage with you on that. I can assure you nobody's more impatient about getting projects done than—”

SEN. CAPITO: What do you attribute the delays to?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: Well, each project has, of course, its own characteristics, but we can only certify that permitting has been met if it's actually true. So, a lot of it is a back and forth with the state, but I've directed our team to accept a kind of moral, if not legal, responsibility for how the states are doing, to be side by side with them—”

SEN. CAPITO: Well, but it's not really just meant for the states. It's meant for all of the federal agencies to be cooperating and moving into a one federal decision. What kind of accountability are you asking for EPA, Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: “Yeah, so that's part of why we have the kind of interagency partnerships that were stood up through the White House's leadership on the implementing the bill. And I think that's reflected in the fact that, for example, every schedule posted on the dashboard for an EIS that has been initiated since the Fiscal Responsibility Act passed is shorter than two years, compliant with- with statute in that regard. Obviously, we have some EISs that were initiated as early as a decade ago. So, those- those have gone through a lot before- before we even arrived at this, but when it comes to something we can do, for example, the provisions that you put forward that made it possible for us to adopt a categorical exclusion, working with DOE [Department of Energy] so that something didn't go into that more elaborate process, that can help us on the front end—”

SEN. CAPITO: Are you using that provision?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: “Yes, I believe that—”

SEN. CAPITO: Could we have follow-up on that? Would you follow-up on that?

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: I will try to get you a sense of how it's coming to play in the EV projects.”


SEN. CAPITO: On March 28, with Senator Lujan, we sent a letter to you regarding the NHTSA’s [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] advanced impaired driving prevention technology rulemaking. Safety on the roads, especially in the windy and mountainous roads in my state, scattered across West Virginia is a top priority for me, as it is, I'm sure, for you. I’m eager to see these promising technologies and new cars starting in 2026, as the IIJA [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] has required. I understand that the comments received have been robust, and I hope that this is a top priority for NHTSA as this action will save thousands of lives and make roadway safer. The NTSB’s comments note that NHTSA is over a decade behind on these technologies and automakers note that adding these measures could add to increased costs and consumer backlash. How are you balancing these competing comments, and do you anticipate that such a wide swath of comments could delay the final rule before it's finalized in 2026, what’s the status of that?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: Thank you for your attention to a very important safety issue. Each year, we estimate about a third of all roadway fatalities are related to impaired driving, which is why NHTSA has been energetic in working to comply with the rulemaking provided for them in the infrastructure law. The comment period- period closed on March 5 of this year. As you noted, the comments were robust. Just to put some specificity to that, there were about 18,000 comments that were received. So NHTSA is reviewing those, of course that's both the right thing to do and legally required of us and we do need to make sure that we balance all of the different concerns that are in play, but do it in a way that, at the end of the day, meets our safety mission. So, they will continue to work through those comments and every intention and expectation is of a prompt rulemaking here. Of course, we also need to make sure there's good understanding of how the technologies will be put into play, in practice, knowing that it's one thing to have a technology available or prototyped, and another to mandate it across the U.S.-

SEN. CAPITO: So, do you anticipate it being in on time in 2026?”

SEC. BUTTIGIEG: “I haven't received a definitive timeline for NHTSA, I think, because they're still grappling with the substance of the comments that have come in. But that'll certainly be our aim.”

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