Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "Autos"

September 26, 2014

A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG-Powered Ships

470901883 445x279 A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG Powered Ships

A Las Vegas highway interchange (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

This week on The Container, we reported on the role of toll lanes in the North Carolina Senate race where donors to the campaign of Republican Thom Tillis could benefit from a new exit being built as part of a project near Charlotte.

Tillis is challenging first-term Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan, as the GOP aims for at least 51 seats.

Full story

September 24, 2014

Toll Lanes May Become Issue In North Carolina Race

NCPOL14 069 050614 445x284 Toll Lanes May Become Issue In North Carolina Race

North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis during May 6 primary election (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Charlotte, N.C., TV station WCNC is reporting that donors to Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis’s campaign could profit from a new exit on Interstate 77, which will serve a property called Augustalee in Cornelius, N.C.

The exit will be part of a project, which Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, supports to add toll lanes to I-77 to reduce traffic congestion.

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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.

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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.

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September 19, 2014

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

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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

September 18, 2014

Nelson Sees Potential Risk From Defective Chinese Cars

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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

September 16, 2014

Highway Safety Agency Under Bipartisan Fire for GM Defects Response

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Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo., in a 2010 photo (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found few allies on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

A House committee, a Senate committee, and the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office all agreed that the agency does not have the staff it needs to be an effective watchdog over car defects.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4:01 p.m.
Autos, Uncategorized

September 15, 2014

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.

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

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

August 21, 2014

As North Carolina Prepares for New Tolls, Opponent Decries ‘Caste System’

Tolling may soon become a routine method of paying for new highway construction even in traditional non-toll states, and drivers may just have to get used to it.

But some drivers are waging a battle to prevent tolling on a congested 26-mile stretch of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

Full story

August 13, 2014

Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

madd rally001 092712 445x302 Traffic Safety Officials Set Labor Day Crackdown on Driving While Impaired

Barbara and Alan Weatherford of Gulfport, Miss., hold a picture of their daughter, Deanna Tucker, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Since 2004, all states have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 as the legal standard for driving while impaired.

But driving after drinking still imposes massive costs, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminded Americans Wednesday. With the Labor Day holiday two weeks away, NHTSA launched its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign along with local police officials. The enforcement crackdown runs from August 15 through the Labor Day weekend.

Full story

July 31, 2014

Driving While Stoned Risky, but No Federal Standard Yet

More stoned drivers on the road because of marijuana legalization could be a serious risk, at least according to some lawmakers.

At a hearing Thursday on driving and operating other vehicles while impaired by marijuana, House Subcommittee on Government Operations chairman Rep. John L. Mica, R- Fla., said “we’re going to have more people stoned on the highways and there will be consequences.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official Dr. Jeff Michael told the subcommittee that right now there’s too little data to devise a federal impairment standard. His agency is working with the state of Washington to assess the change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state’s legalization of the drug.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Foxx Touts Bicycle Commuting and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

In a wide-ranging appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’d figured out how to bicycle to his office, and he touted vehicle-to-vehicle communications for cars as a technology that will reduce accidents in the future.

But Foxx avoided substantive comment on two of the most pressing current issues: the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last week, and a pending rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on rail shipment of volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota.

Full story

July 15, 2014

Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

452184694 web 445x289 Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

President Barack Obama drives a simulator of a high-tech car as he tours the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., today.

Vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver peaked in the United States in 2007.

Since then, there has been a 0.5 percent annual decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per licensed driver, according to Trisha Hutchins of the Energy Information Administration.

A lot is riding on the question of whether the trend will continue in the decades ahead.

Full story

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