Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Posts by Tom Curry

145 Posts

September 15, 2014

U.S. Airlines Still Not Quite Recovered To Their Pre-Recession Passenger Levels

emplanechart 445x322 U.S. Airlines Still Not Quite Recovered To Their Pre Recession Passenger Levels

Even with a recovering U.S. economy, domestic air travel has still not quite gotten back to its pre-recession levels.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (Twitter: @TransportStatsreported Monday that U.S. airlines carried 59.2 million passengers on domestic flights. That compares to nearly 61.5 million domestic passengers in June of 2007. Full story

A Cautionary Tale About The Difficulty of Bringing Anti-Texting Technology To Market

In case you missed it, the New York Times on Sunday had a detailed account by Matt Richtel (Twitter: @mrichtel) of an entrepreneur and engineer named Scott Tibbitts who has spent five years devising a technology called Groove to prevent texting while driving — and thus save the lives of pedestrians and others killed by texting drivers.

Tibbitts and his company, Katasi, worked with Sprint and with American Family Insurance to make his technology available.

The story is a cautionary tale about the difficulty of bringing new technology to market. One impediment that has kept Katasi’s potentially life-saving device off the market: the companies’ potential legal liability if the technology weren’t 100 percent effective in blocking every single text.

Traffic Safety Administration, FedEx Earnings & Privacy During Airport Screening On Week’s Agenda

mccaskill 188 052313 1 445x296 Traffic Safety Administration, FedEx Earnings & Privacy During Airport Screening On Weeks Agenda

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo., will chair a hearing Tuesday examining the performance of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A busy week for transportation policy in Washington starts Tuesday with a hearing by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, headed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo., (Twitter: @clairecmc) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been accused of slow reaction to the GM recalls of 27.5 million cars this summer.

Full story

September 12, 2014

Thirteen Years After 9/11, A New Attempt To Screen 100 Percent of Cargo Containers

166779106 445x275 Thirteen Years After 9/11, A New Attempt To Screen 100 Percent of Cargo Containers

Cranes at the Port of Los Angeles ( Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In 2007, to avert the danger of a terrorist attack on an American port, Congress required that all containers coming to the United States be scanned by non-intrusive inspection and radiation detection equipment before being loaded onto U.S.-bound ships in foreign ports.

It set July 1, 2012 as the deadline for achieving this goal.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4:21 p.m.
Ports, Security, Shipping

Sidewalks, Rail & Highway Projects On the Winners List As Foxx Awards $600M

57396410 445x286 Sidewalks, Rail & Highway Projects On the Winners List As Foxx Awards $600M

The 2006 Tour de Georgia bicycle race as it passed through Dahlonega, Ga.

It was Christmas in September on Friday for state and local transportation officials in 46 states as Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced $600 million in grants for projects ranging from a new streetcar in Providence, R.I., to building on-ramps and off-ramps at a key freight chokepoint in City of Industry, Calif.

Full story

Big Issues on the Horizon for Small Plane Manufacturers

citation longitude 005 1280x1024 418x335 Big Issues on the Horizon for Small Plane Manufacturers

The new Cessna Longitude is scheduled for first delivery in 2017. (Image courtesy of Cessna)

Next year Congress must pass a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. One industry with a lot at stake is general aviation, the companies that manufacture aircraft other than those flown by the military and scheduled commercial airlines.

Full story

September 11, 2014

Transportation Policy Guru Poole Voices Skepticism About Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology

Robert Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation, has worked on transportation policy for more than three decades and is an influential voice on tolling, congestion pricing and infrastructure finance.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology may some day allow cars to communicate with each other and with traffic infrastructure to avoid collisions.

Poole’s skepticism about this technology, which he explains in his monthly newsletter published this week, is worth reading.

Full story

How Global Business Travelers Are Coping In An Increasingly Perilous World

455040786 445x295 How Global Business Travelers Are Coping In An Increasingly Perilous World

Part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 which was shot down over Ukraine on July 17. (Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)

We recently asked Global Business Travel Association (Twitter: @GlobalBTA ) executive director Michael W. McCormick for his views on how the last several month’s world events have affected business travelers.

Here’s the first part of that interview…. Full story

As Grain Harvest Faces Freight Rail Backlog, Thune Asks Railroads To Bring In Help

Thune4 022504 218x335 As Grain Harvest Faces Freight Rail Backlog, Thune Asks Railroads To Bring In Help

Sen. John Thune, R- S.D.

Freight rail delays are hurting not only farmers trying to get their grain to market, but Minnesota taconite miners with inventories they can’t ship, according to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., and apple and cherry marketers in Washington state, as Sen. Maria Cantwell, D- Wash., reported at Wednesday’s Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing which we reported on. Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 10:14 a.m.
Autos, Rail, Uncategorized

September 10, 2014

N.D. Senators: Farmers Are Being Hurt By Freight Rail Backlog

InternetSalesTax 06 042313 445x295 N.D. Senators: Farmers Are Being Hurt By Freight Rail Backlog

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D – N.D. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Farm state senators sounded the alarm about delayed crop shipments and ruined crops at a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing Wednesday on a U.S. freight rail system that has been overwhelmed by a massive increase in rail shipments of crude oil.

The hearing opened with statements from the two senators from the state enjoying the benefits of the Bakken crude oil boom – North Dakota. But it is that state’s farmers – as well as farmers in neighboring states — who are also suffering from freight rail backlogs.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 3:54 p.m.
Rail, Uncategorized

Hudson Urges TSA To Move Faster on Expedited Screening For Low-Risk Frequent Flyers

hudson 136 061814 1 445x296 Hudson Urges TSA To Move Faster on Expedited Screening For Low Risk Frequent Flyers

Rep. Richard Hudson, R- N.C. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Richard Hudson, R- N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security, said Wednesday he was frustrated that the Transportation Security Administration hasn’t moved faster to implement its Pre-Check program.

The program allows low-risk frequent travelers to get through airport screening on an expedited basis — without removing their shoes and taking their laptops out of carrying cases, for example.

Full story

General Aviation Pilots Group Criticizes NTSB Study on Pilots’ Drug Use

144991527 445x289 General Aviation Pilots Group Criticizes NTSB Study on Pilots’ Drug Use

An investigator examines a single-engine plane which crashed in Glendale, Calif. in 2012. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)

The group representing general aviation pilots is criticizing the National Transportation Safety Board’s new study of pilots’ drug use. We reported on that study yesterday.

“There are just far too many gaps and unknowns in this [NTSB] study for us to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions about aviation safety,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). “Overall the number of general aviation accidents has declined significantly over the past decade, and continuing that trend should be our focus.” Full story

September 9, 2014

With Drug Use Increasing, NTSB Probes Effects on Aviation Accidents

104515127 445x305 With Drug Use Increasing, NTSB Probes Effects on Aviation Accidents

NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart ( Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A National Transportation Safety Board (Twitter: @NTSB) study released Tuesday found evidence of wider drug use in general aviation compared to 25 years ago, but the safety board does not yet have data to show whether a significant percentage of weekend and recreational pilots who are involved in accidents are drug-impaired.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 3:57 p.m.
Aviation

DOT Makes $950M Loan To Help Expand I-4 in Florida

4913387651 445x308 DOT Makes $950M Loan To Help Expand I 4 in Florida

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a press conference last May (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday that the Obama administration is making a $950 million loan to help rebuild and widen 21 miles of Interstate 4 in the Orlando, Fla., area.

My CQ Roll Call colleague John Boyd has the details here.

Full story

In Report on UPS Crash, Safety Board Urges Steps to Deter Pilot Fatigue On Overnight Cargo Flights

176509965 445x335 In Report on UPS Crash, Safety Board Urges Steps to Deter Pilot Fatigue On Overnight Cargo Flights

NTSB workers inspect the wreckage of a UPS cargo plane that crashed in Birmingham, Ala. on Aug. 14, 2013 (NTSB via Getty Images)

The National Transportation Safety Board ( Twitter: @NTSB) found Tuesday that the probable cause of the crash of a UPS Airbus A300 cargo plane on approach to the Birmingham, Ala. airport last summer was the flight crew’s errors during the approach, including their failure to monitor the aircraft’s altitude.

Full story

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