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I am, as you mentioned, Thomas Bliley, mayor of the city of Richmond.
We have a prepared statement which we will submit for the Record. In light of all the testimony today, much of which is contained in this statement, we will just simply try to hit the high spots and summarize in the interest of time.
Senator CANNON. Very well. Your statement will be made a part of the record in full.
Mr. BLILEY. As you know, the National League of Cities consists of and is national spokesman for approximately 15,000 members of municipal governments. The U.S. Conference of Mayors includes virtually all cities with populations in excess of 30,000; member cities are represented by their chief executive, the mayor.
We are particularly concerned about the way in which the President's decision to require local law enforcement officers at airports was made.
You will recall that the President stated emphatically he wanted a close and continuing working relationship between the executive departments and representatives of State and local governments in the development of new policy and program initiatives.
Contrary to these previous commitments, local governments were not consulted in the development of this policy. Clearly this requirement constitutes a major shift of responsibility and of costs from the Federal Government to local governments.
This represents a complete change in an area of interstate commerce that has had a unique and direct Federal role. Local governments will be dealing directly with matters involving interstate commerce, as has been brought out previously today in testimony.
Without consulting local governments or the Congress, the President unilaterally reinterpreted and redirected this relationship. It constitutes a blatant executive assumption of powers traditionally under congressional purview.
The ADAP laws, S. 2280 that passed the Senate during the last Congress, and the airport security measures contained in S. 3755 that passed in the 92d Congress, only to be vetoed by the President, all underscored the position of Congress that the prevention of air piracy is a Federal responsibility and not a local one.
Not only does this action raise a problem in this case, we fear that the President's action will set a precedent for similar action in other areas. For example, it introduces a question concerning procedures for shifting Federal responsibilities and costs of programs to local governments without consultation at all.
If this is allowed to go through by Executive mandate, then local enforcement officers could be required at banks and at post offices, to prevent robberies, or at customs and immigration offices, as brought out earlier in testimony today.
There is a distinction between a local decision to provide a security force or have one available to supplement private forces at an airport, and the President's requirements to have a local law enforcement officer at every active boarding gate at the Nation's 531 airports.
In my city of Richmond, for example, we anticipate annual costs of $57,348 for salaries for seven law enforcement officers. I might add
in compliance with the directive of December 5, we submitted on December 28 an amendment to the airport security master plan to the FAA. The director of the airport, and rightly so, included in there a statement that all of this will be subject to the approval of the city council of Richmond, as required by law, and the appropriation of money by council, which, of course, the council in the city of Richmond is the only one that can appropriate the funds.
For the record, included with this package that we will leave you, is a letter dated January 3 from Mr. Jack L. Birkenstock, air transportation security officer, who said that our plan was not approved, that "this regulation is not contingent" and I am quoting directly from his letter, "upon approval by the city of Richmond Council of a request for funds. It is a requirement to provide law enforcement personnel at each departure of air carrier flights from Byrd International Airport." Then it goes on to say: "Compliance with this effort must be achieved and where not achieved necessary enforcement action will be prompt and result in assessment of a substantial civil penalty for failure to comply."
I assume it would be the case, Senator Hart, with Marquette, if my council doesn't see fit to comply, that we will also be fined $1,000 a day. Or else we have to violate city and State law to comply with the President's dictates.
Senator HART. Mr. Chairman, my friend up in Marquette is not a lawyer.
Mr. BLILEY. Neither am I.
Senator HART. He put it in the affirmative. He said, you know, until we can get squared away here, we can't do it. Your man said this is what we are going to do, and then, postscript, but you know we can't do it unless we have the money, and it is really six of one and half a dozen of the other.
And I hope both Richmond and Marquette will be absolved.
Mr. BLILEY. Well, Senator, being a southern mayor, I am used to, by injunction, having the Federal court tell me to do something I have to do, but I haven't had that from the executive branch before. But I guess I can expect this in the future.
Senator CANNON. Now that you have submitted your plan on time and it has been summarily rejected, have you been notified of a thousand dollars a day fine yet?
Mr. BLILEY. NO. We have a paper before the council and I assume the council will go ahead and appropriate the money at the next meeting.
Senator CANNON. I see.
Senator HART. Where are you going to get the money to buy those buses?
Mr. BLILEY. You know, you kept mentioning buses earlier today, Senator, and I was a little nervous in coming up here. I know you were not referring to the yellow kind, but we have already bought those earlier, under some pressure from the district court.
We go on to say about costs, but I wouldn't go into that.
Senator CANNON. Just recite that total. What is it going to cost you in your city?
Mr. BLILEY. It is going to cost $61,898 for salary and equipment for seven law enforcement officers. In recurring costs, $57,348 of the total is the salary cost for the seven positions that we will have to fund.
Now, we are going to hire these people, but they wouldn't be trained. You know, we will have a man and he will be armed and he will be there and whatnot, but he will not have the training that should be required and that I believe the committee is very insistent-and very rightfully so that all of the people around the country will know what to do in a crisis.
I mean, most of the time, you don't need anybody, but when you need them, you need somebody that knows what they are doing, so you don't have a holocaust on your hands. Sixty days is too short a time, unless we pull policemen off the streets.
Senator CANNON. Well, you get down to a total figure, though, for security purposes, of $639,018.
Mr. BLILEY. Yes; I will break that down.
For airport security under part 107.3, which was promulgated in March of last year, we had to provide $133,000 for security fencing. We are not questioning this at all. We also, under 139.49, have to provide two crash crew trucks, and 20 men to man the trucks. The total for equipment will cost $444,000.
When you add them all up, you get the $639,018 figure. The annual recurring cost to the city for manpower will be $203,468. To answer Senator Hart on where you get the money, we have currently in Richmond a boarding fee of $1, which raises $27,000 a month.
Secretary Volpe did not mention this point of user fees, or "head taxes" at all in his testimony nor did anyone else. You may want to provide the money for airport security, $350 million a year to fund this program, and you can provide it, and even if it is vetoed, you can override the President. But still, OMB can impound the money, as we found out with water pollution funds and housing moneys. So what we would say is that until we can be guaranteed that we are going to get the money to pay for the President's requirement of local policemen, if we have to provide them, and apparently there is no question about it that we will under the face of fine, then allow us to keep the boarding fees so at least we can pay for it. Renegotiation of landing fees won't assure us a prompt and equitable payment from the airlines. Cities are intimidated by Congress, with a prohibition on head taxes hanging over our heads. We hope you will not take away what may be our only
Senator CANNON. How long has your head tax been in effect?
Senator CANNON. Revenues have been running about $27,000 a month?
Mr. BLILEY. $27,000 a month.
Senator CANNON. You may proceed.
Mr. BLILEY. And, of course, we have already had a $335,000 annual deficit at our airport, and without boarding fee, even without the added expense that we have had to come up with the security measures, still the airport would not be in the black. But it would be pretty close. For that reason, we certainly would hope that our boarding fee would continue in the future.
Senator CANNON. Did the National League of Cities and U.S. Conference of Mayors go on record as, on this particular issue, as to whether the Federal Government ought to furnish the security forces? Mr. BLILEY. Yes; they did. Policy positions are summarized at the next to last page of our statement. We did pass resolutions, we do feel this is a Federal responsibility to prevent air piracy and hijacking. Since it is a Federal responsibility, it should be federally funded. But what I am also saying on the other hand, is that if we are not going to get the Federal funds, don't deny the local carriers the means of funding it, including user fees.
Now, the Secretary talked about the CAB granting fare increases and then you can renegotiate the contracts.
Virginia is very specific that when you enter into a contract, you just don't arbitrarily break it, and I can't foresee airlines that have a hard enough time making budgets meet, almost as hard as mayors do, voluntarily kicking in the money if they have a contract with my city to run for 5 years, of saying, well, we will renegotiate to give you this
Senator CANNON. What is the normal term of the contracts you have?
Mr. BLILEY. They vary, but it is about 5 years, and they don't all come due at the same time, plus, when you have several carriers coming in, how do you assess each one and what not. And in addition to all of that, we don't have the leverage that Chicago or New York or Houston or some of the major cities would have. Airlines could very well say, "Richmond, we think that your rate structure is arbitrary and capricious and we will cut back on the number of flights coming in" and the Secretary has said, "Well, curtail service, this is a legitimate thing." Mr. SNOWHITE. If I may, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors communicated their concern, both to Vice President Agnew in his capacity as liaison with local governments and with Secretary Volpe, on the lack of participation and involvement of local governments in the development of this airport security regulation. We received a response dated December 29 from Secretary Volpe, emphasizing that in the Secretary's opinion, this is a purely local responsibility, and a matter of local law enforcement.
The Secretary went on to say that the administration felt the air passengers should be bearing the brunt of the cost: Quoting from the letter:
Financial arrangements may vary among the operators' cities and states depending on local conditions, but generally, the airport operators will pass the cost of law enforcement support on to their tenants at airlines as another item of doing business. The airlines then have the option of absorbing the increased costs by streamlining their operations or by taking necessary steps to increase revenue by increasing the price of transportation. (Emphasis added.)
And it is our feeling that not only is this a national responsibility, but this should not be used as an excuse by airlines hard pressed for funds to withdraw services to the many communities that desperately need, as in Marquette, the few flights that they get a day.
Senator CANNON. Senator Hart?
Senator HART. Thank you very much for the testimony.
Mr. BLILEY. Thank you, sir. (The statements follow:)
STATEMENT BY THOMAS J. BLILEY, JR., MAYOR OF RICHMOND, VA., On Behalf of THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES AND THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, my name is Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. I am the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia. I am here today speaking on behalf of the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors.
The National League of Cities consists of, and is the national spokesman for, approximately 15,000 municipal governments in all fifty states and Puerto Rico. The United States Conference of Mayors includes virtually all cities with a population in excess of 30,000. Member cities are represented by their elected chief executives-the Mayor.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss S. 39 and the President's changes in the airport security provisions of Federal Aviation Agency Regulation Part 107. The cities agree on the urgency of an effective solution to the problem. We shall continue making good faith efforts to comply with the President's orders. However, the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors are greatly concerned about this unilateral action of the Executive Branch in devising and effecting these rules without any prior consultation with Congress or representatives of local governments. Yet it is local governments who will bear the most immediate impact of these changes.
We have three major concerns. First, we are particularly concerned about the way in which this decision was made. You will recall that the President has stated emphatically that he wanted a close and continuing working relationship between the Executive Departments and the representatives of state and local governments in the development of new policy and program initiatives. Contrary to these previous commitments, local governments were not consulted in the development of this policy. Clearly this requirement constitutes a major shift of responsibility and of costs from the Federal government to local governments. This represents a complete change in an area of interstate commerce that has had a unique and direct Federal role. Local governments will be dealing with matters involving interstate commerce, and international and national safety and security. Without consulting local governments or the Congress, the President unilaterally reinterpreted and redirected this relationship. It constitutes a blatant executive assumption of powers traditionally under Congressional purview. The ADAP laws, S. 2280 that passed the Senate during the last Congress, and the airport security measures contained in S. 3755 that passed in the 92nd Congress, only to be vetoed by the President, all underscored the position of Congress that the prevention of air piracy is a Federal responsibility, not a local one. The President's security requirements do not deal exclusively with international trade, commerce and travel. That is, they are not restricted to the major international airports. Thus foreign policy prerogatives of the President clearly do not apply.
Not only does this action raise a problem in this case, we fear that the President's action will set a precedent for similar action in other areas. This introduces new questions concerning the procedures for shifting Federal responsibilities and costly programs to local governments, without consultation either with the local governments or with the Congress.
Secondly, FAA security and safety requirements have dealt mainly with airport operating facilities (including runways and towers) and their perimeters. As a condition of engaging in interstate commerce, fire-fighting equipment is a reasonable requirement of local operators, as is other safety equipment. Those deal exclusively with the protection of the airport facility and aircraft and are necessary for the continuation of interstate commerce. Airport security, in the person of an armed law enforcement officer, is quite another matter. Most airports have a limited security force or none at all. They may not have general police powers. They may have a limited security force or be able to call upon that of surrounding jurisdictions. The existing security force may be on call, but not at every active boarding gate or other point of potential trouble. Now, the FAA will require armed local law officers to enforce a presumably contractual agreement between the passenger and the airline, or a Federal requirement on the airlines, that is, that the passenger will not carry a weapon on board. Pre