Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

July 25, 2014

Chief Truck and Bus Regulator Ferro to Leave Obama Administration

CQ’s John Boyd reports that Anne Ferro, the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is leaving her job to become president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4:31 p.m.
Trucking

‘Seamless Mobility’: Not There Yet, But Will Pay Off Once We Arrive

Step off your flight, walk a short distance, and board a rail system that takes you to a downtown hotel to start your vacation or your business meeting. That’s an ideal that some American cities, such as Seattle and Chicago, attain but others, such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando, do not.

Full story

Debut Saturday for Historic Expansion of Washington’s Metro Rail System

Saturday is a historic day for mass transit in the United States: it marks the opening of a $3 billion, 11.7 mile-stretch of rail called the Silver Line which will serve the nation’s capital and its suburbs, the first new stations in the 106-mile Metro system since 2004.

Full story

Toomey Would Skip Most Environmental Reviews in Post-Disaster Rebuilding

When the Senate takes up a bill next week to refill the Highway Trust Fund, it will get a chance to debate an amendment offered by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that would speed up construction of transportation infrastructure after natural disasters.

Full story

July 24, 2014

Assaults on Public Transit Bus Drivers Prompt DOT Summit

This week, with the FAA’s ban on flights to Tel Aviv and with another plane crash Thursday, this one over Mali, it’s been hard to avoid thinking about transportation risks.

Ground-based transport can be hazardous too, as a driver on a Washington, D.C., bus learned this week when a passenger slashed him across the face in a dispute over paying a fare.

Full story

Cruise Ship Passengers Recount ‘Horrific’ Incidents (Video)

Passengers gave harrowing testimony about illness and crime aboard cruise ships at a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Security guards “did everything wrong” and “waited at least 10 minutes to even call for someone to come down and look at my mother’s body to see if she was breathing or not,” said Amanda Butler, whose mother collapsed while on a Carnival cruise while the ship was docked at Grand Cayman Island.

The woman, Violet Butler, later died.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:06 a.m.
Shipping

FAA Lifts Ban on U.S. Flights to Israel’s Main Airport

The Federal Aviation Administration late Wednesday night cancelled its restrictions on U.S. airline flights into and out of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

The agency said it had consulted with other federal agencies “to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation.”

Full story

July 23, 2014

Much-Anticipated Rail Shipping Rule for Oil Is Unveiled

Ending months of waiting by industry groups and local officials, the Department of Transportation on Wednesday issued its proposed rulemaking on rail shipments of flammable materials, including crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale.

Among other steps, the department would phase out within two years older tank cars for the shipment of certain types of flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars were retrofitted to comply with new design standards.

Full story

Ted Cruz Sees Obama ‘Economic Boycott’ of Israel as FAA Extends Tel Aviv Flight Ban

judiciary007 052114 445x291 Ted Cruz Sees Obama ‘Economic Boycott’ of Israel as FAA Extends Tel Aviv Flight Ban

Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday extended its prohibition on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport for up to an additional 24 hours, following the ban it announced Tuesday.

The FAA announcement drew immediate criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said in statement, “President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.”

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 2:30 p.m.
Airports, Security

Boeing, Delta CEOs Clash Over Future of Ex-Im Bank Subsidies

The corporate clash over congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank was on display Wednesday in separate interviews with CEOs of two of America’s biggest transportation companies, Delta Airlines and Boeing.

Congress faces a decision this summer on whether to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank which provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and credit insurance to foreign companies to subsidize purchases of U.S goods and services.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 1:32 p.m.
Aviation

Kerry Arrives at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport Despite FAA Ban on U.S. Flights (Video)

A flight carrying Secretary of State John Kerry landed Wednesday at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport to negotiate a cease-fire agreement to halt fighting between Hamas and Israel in which more than 600 people have been killed.

Kerry made the trip despite a ban imposed Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration on flights by U.S. airlines to Ben Gurion, Israel’s only international airport. The FAA order, which came after a rocket landed within about a mile of  the airport, has caused an awkward political rift between the United States and Israel.

Full story

July 22, 2014

Greg Saxton of the Greenbrier Companies on the Need for Safer Rail Tank Cars

In an opinion piece for Roll Call, Greg Saxton, chief engineer for The Greenbrier Companies, a leading railroad industry supplier, argues that the Transportation Department ought to require more robust tank car designs given the risks of explosions and oil spills as newly abundant domestic crude oil is shipped around the country to refineries and terminals.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4 p.m.
Environment, Rail

FAA Bans Flights to Main Airport in Israel for Up to 24 Hours After Rocket Strike (Video)

The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday on is prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for a period of up to 24 hours.

The FAA notice came after a rocket strike Tuesday morning which landed about one mile from the airport.

Full story

House to Vote on Tourism Promotion Effort — With Deficit Reduction Bonus

452399014 445x296 House to Vote on Tourism Promotion Effort    With Deficit Reduction Bonus

Tourists look at a map outside the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington on July 19. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The next time you overhear French tourists visiting your city or town, don’t forget to say “Merci beaucoup”  to them for doing their part in deficit reduction.

On Tuesday the House will vote on a bill that in effect taxes certain visitors to the United States to pay for a marketing effort to encourage other foreigners to come visit. The Congressional Budget Office says the bill will reduce cumulative deficits over 10 years by $231 million, since the revenues would exceed the money to be spent on marketing.

Full story

LUST Trust Fund is Useful Piggy Bank for Congress to Tap for Highway Funding

When you’re in a pinch, it’s comforting to have an extra $1 billion or $3 billion sitting on the shelf. That’s essentially what the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund is when Congress needs money to help refill the Highway Trust Fund.

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...