Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

A Crowded Week Ahead for Transportation Advocates and Policymakers

The nation’s capital will be busy with transportation events this week:

On Monday, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Agency starts its annual conference. Among the speakers will be the head of a company controversially involved in rail shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, Global Partners president and CEO Eric Slifka.

His company owns a terminal on the Columbia River near Clatskanie, Ore., a major transshipment point for Bakken crude shipped by rail from North Dakota.

The state of Oregon charges that the terminal may be receiving more crude oil than its existing permit allows and has assessed a penalty on the company, which said it will  “vigorously contest” such state actions.

On Monday at 5 p.m. the House Rules Committee meets to consider the rule for debate of the bill reported by the Ways and Means Committee which would transfer about $9.8 billion from the general fund of the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund to allow federal money to keep flowing to state highway and transit projects.

The Rules Committee action will set the stage for a House vote on the bill later this week.

Also on Monday, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in Charleston, W.Va., for a news conference at the Yeager Airport Bridge Replacement Project. (The bridge was named for a West Virginia native who traveled pretty fast in his day.)

Outside of this country, the Farnborough International Airshow in England begins Monday. It is the venue for Boeing, Airbus and other aviation companies to show off their products and negotiate deals with airlines.

On Tuesday President Barack Obama will give a speech on infrastructure innovation at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va.

Also Tuesday the EIA’s Energy conference continues, with topics such as The Future of Biofuels and Emerging Trends in U.S. Vehicle Travel Demand on the agenda. Representatives from Airlines for America, Monsanto and Daimler will speak.

On Wednesday Obama confers with state, local, and tribal leaders on “resilience” — how to withstand another Sandy or Katrina and the damage they’d bring to transportation systems and other infrastructure.

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hears testimony on the General Motors recalls from GM’s CEO Mary Barra.

Also on Thursday Obama plans to visit Delaware to announce an initiative to increase private sector investment in infrastructure.

On Thursday and continuing on Friday will be the American Road & Transportation Builders Association conference on public-private partnerships in infrastructure. A large contingent of state transportation department officials from Florida, Texas, and other states will be on hand, as will be executives from private-sector companies such as Kiewit and Parsons Brinckerhoff and policy pioneers such as Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation.

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