Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 24, 2014

September 23, 2014

Lessons of the Indiana Toll Road Bankruptcy

wr02012429 218x335 Lessons of the Indiana Toll Road Bankruptcy

As governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels signed the Indiana Toll Road deal (Congressional Quarterly photo by Scott J. Ferrell)

Since we’ve written frequently about the contentious issue of toll roads, we can’t let pass without notice Monday’s news that the company operating the Indiana Toll Road has filed for bankruptcy.

Full story

Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

168153183 1 445x296 Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

The giant drill nicknamed “Harriet” bores a section of the Port of Miami tunnel last year. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The National Association of Manufacturers renewed its call Tuesday for more infrastructure spending, issuing a report saying that “infrastructure spending has been on a decade-long decline” and that “when measured in proportion to GDP, the downward trajectory of infrastructure investment becomes even more stark and worrisome.”

Full story

LNG-Powered Ships Get $324.6M Loan Guarantee

143087510 445x301 LNG Powered Ships Get $324.6M Loan Guarantee

Workers change pipes at gas drilling rig exploring the Marcellus Shale outside Waynesburg, Pa. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

With a natural gas boom underway in shale formations such as the Marcellus in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, the Energy Information Administration projects a 56 percent increase in domestic natural gas production from 2012 to 2040.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants to use some of that abundant and relatively cheap natural gas to power container ships.

Full story

Jihadists with European Passports Spur Closer Look at Visa Waiver Program

gabbard002 091112 445x300 Jihadists with European Passports Spur Closer Look at Visa Waiver Program

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama will lead a UN Security Council meeting Thursday to discuss what UN member nations can do to track and deter the growing number of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Some of those fighters carry European passports and therefore, under the visa waiver program (VWP), could board a commercial flight from Paris, for example, and enter the United States without the interview and scrutiny required to obtain a visa. Full story

September 22, 2014

Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back

JulyVMT Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back The number of miles Americans traveled on the nation’s highways and roads increased in July by 1.5 percent, compared to last July, according to the Traffic Volume Trends monthly report issued by the Federal Highway Administration.

But July’s total miles driven, estimated to be 266.8 billion vehicle miles, still falls short of the miles driven in July of 2007.

Full story

Week Ahead: Foxx In New York For ‘Resiliency’ & NTSB Meets on Rail Worker Safety

Starting off the week in transportation news, on Monday morning Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in front of the ferry terminal at the foot of Manhattan at Peter Minuit Plaza – where the Dutch started the colony of New Amsterdam 388 years ago — to announce new funding to make New York City’s transit system better able to endure catastrophic storms.

Full story

September 19, 2014

A Look Back: Foreign Air Carrier Competition, Drones & Defective Cars

shuster graves 018 020212 445x315 A Look Back: Foreign Air Carrier Competition, Drones & Defective Cars

We heard from both Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., (left) and Sam Graves, R-Mo., this week on aviation policy. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This week on The Container, we spent lot of time reporting on aviation but with some focus on highways and the vehicles that travel on them.

We told you that U.S. airlines, while making good profits recently, still haven’t gotten back to pre-recession passenger levels.

Full story

The Container’s Friday Q & A: Rep. Sam Graves

ford011 031913 330x215 The Container’s Friday Q & A: Rep. Sam Graves

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., left, with actor and pilot Harrison Ford at a forum of the House General Aviation Caucus. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We spoke with Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., co-chairman of the House General Aviation Caucus and a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week after he told an aviation industry conference in Washington about some of his misgivings about drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles.

Full story

Analyst Decries ‘A Sense of Entitlement’ in Air Travelers

Hunter Keay Analyst Decries ‘A Sense of Entitlement’ in Air Travelers

Hunter Keay (Photo: Wolfe Research)

The most amusing analysis this week of how the airline business works or ought to work came from Wolfe Research investment analyst Hunter Keay who explained that travelers must be re-educated out of expecting something for nothing.

“Airlines have really struggled with managing down a sense of entitlement from the consumer, which is still a problem and that’s really going to take decades to go away,” Keay told an aviation conference in Washington.

Full story

Mark Sanford Spars With TSA Official Over Those Lists

sanford 108 061413 1 445x302 Mark Sanford Spars With TSA Official Over Those Lists

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., spoke for those Americans Thursday who are exasperated with all those lists that the Transportation Security Administration and other federal agencies keep to check up on airline passengers.

Sanford tussled with TSA Assistant Administrator Stephen Sadler at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation Security Subcommittee.

Full story

September 18, 2014

Nelson Sees Potential Risk From Defective Chinese Cars

nelson 9 0501810 445x295 Nelson Sees Potential Risk From Defective Chinese Cars

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Just as some members of Congress are concerned about competition from state-supported Persian Gulf airlines and from Chinese airplane manufacturers, there may be a new potential threat in ground transportation, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said this week.

Nelson (Twitter: @SenBillNelson ) cited BYD, a Chinese automaker, at the hearing of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, displaying a photo of one of BYD’s vehicles.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 3:08 p.m.
Autos, Uncategorized

Allies Home to Fast-Growing Rivals for U.S. Air Carriers

AmericanAvEmir2 Allies Home to Fast Growing Rivals for U.S. Air CarriersSome United States allies in its struggle against the Islamic State are home to fast-growing airlines such as Etihad and Emirates competing with U.S. carriers. And that worries U.S. airlines.

A 1999 Open Skies agreement between the United States and the United Arab Emirates gives Etihad and Emirates access to U.S. airports.

Full story

House Unanimously Votes To Cut TSA Security Fees

Richard Hudson 3 020812 222x335 House Unanimously Votes To Cut TSA Security Fees

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., sponsored the fee rollback legislation (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call)

Travel industry leaders are applauding a unanimous House vote Wednesday to roll back Transportation Security Administration fees.

The 2013 budget accord had increased the security-related fees to $5.60 per one-way trip. Previously, the fee had been $2.50 per enplanement (boarding a flight) with a cap of $10.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Aviation, Budget, Travel

September 17, 2014

Earmark Nostalgia Still Strong Among Some Members

capuano002 041608 1 445x298 Earmark Nostalgia Still Strong Among Some Members

Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass.

Nostalgia for earmarks — voiced in May by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and in July by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Tom Cole, R-Okla. — was heard again Wednesday at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee press conference.

Regretting the ban, which House Republican leaders imposed on appropriations earmarks in 2011, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., said, “That was one of the biggest mistakes that we ever made. We didn’t save any money; we just put more power in the bureaucracy.”

Full story

Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

1duncan022702 258x335 Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., headed a special House panel on public-private partnerships.

There was bipartisan House agreement Wednesday that public-private investment partnerships, which combine state and federal grant money and bonds with Wall Street equity and debt financing, should be an important part of paying for new transportation infrastructure.

But there was partisan disagreement among members of a special P3 panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on how large a percentage of infrastructure funding will come from the P3.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...