Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Posts in "Car Sharing"

December 22, 2014

Most Encouraging News of 2014, Part Three

454963848 445x295 Most Encouraging News of 2014, Part Three

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt event on Sept. 8, 2014 in San Francisco. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Here’s the third in our series in which we ask transportation advocates, analysts, and interest group representatives to identify the most encouraging or discouraging transportation developments of the past year….

“One of the most encouraging developments of 2014 was President Obama’s proposal to lift the ban on tolling existing Interstate highways for purposes of reconstruction. While we don’t wish to see the Federal-aid highway program fail, it appears that the strangling of the system is causing people to think outside the box.”

Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO, International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association


“The most discouraging transportation development for me is Bertha [the world's largest tunneling machine] getting stuck in Seattle. In my opinion that [State Route 99 tunnel] project should have never started. New freeway capacity in cities is disappointing. We know so much about how cities create value, and it’s not with more space for cars.

“The most encouraging is the citizen-led push in Dallas to tear down a freeway and to connect neighborhoods that were split by it.”

Jeff Wood, urban planner in the San Francisco Bay area and head of transportation consulting firm The Overhead Wire


“The most encouraging transportation development in 2014 was NHTSA’s decision to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology in new light vehicles.  V2V technology has the potential to dramatically reduce highway fatalities and its safety benefits will be extended beyond auto passengers to include pedestrians and other road users.”

Alice Tornquist, vice president of government affairs, Qualcomm


“The continued booming expansion of transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft, etc…), as well as bike-share and car-share companies, that are transforming metropolitan transportation by providing more viable transportation options and vastly greater mobility. This development is incredibly encouraging because it shows how the disruptive power of technology continues to create competition, innovation, and economic and social benefits in transportation.”

Joshua Schank, president and CEO, Eno Center for Transportation

December 18, 2014

The Most Encouraging Transportation News Of 2014

461200117 11 445x303 The Most Encouraging Transportation News Of 2014

A man walks to catch the street car on Canal Street in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

To give a retrospective of the past year’s events and trends in transportation, we’ve asked a range of analysts, trade association leaders, and advocates to tell us what they think was the most encouraging, or most discouraging, transportation development, trend, or event of 2014.

Here’s the first installment from our respondents…. (and our thanks to all of them!)


“The most encouraging transportation trend in 2014 was voter rejection of several light-rail and streetcar lines. Elections in Florida, Texas, and Virginia showed that voters remain skeptical of putting large amounts of money into transit projects that yield trivial benefits.”

Randal O’Toole, Senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It

Full story

December 16, 2014

Franken Not Satisfied With Uber Privacy Answers

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Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., was elected to a second term on Nov. 4 (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the final episode in the rhetorical skirmish between Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and the fast-expanding car service Uber before Franken, now chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, becomes a member of the Senate minority.

Franken said Monday he’d gotten a reply to his Nov. 19 letter to Uber in which he’d posed 20 questions about its potential misuse of customers’ data.

Franken said he wasn’t satisfied with Uber’s response.

“While I’m pleased that they replied to my letter, I am concerned about the surprising lack of detail in their response,” he said, adding that Uber “did not answer many of the questions I posed directly to them. Most importantly, it still remains unclear how Uber defines legitimate business purposes for accessing, retaining, and sharing customer data. I will continue pressing for answers to these questions.”

Full story

November 17, 2014

Coming Up This Week: Airbags, California’s Electric Vehicle Future, Freight Wish List

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Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will preside at a hearing Thursday on the Takata airbag recalls. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

As the lame duck session of Congress ponders how to pay for government operations after Dec. 11 when the continuing resolution expires, some members are looking ahead to the transportation policy choices they’ll have make in the new Congress.


The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hears from Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, and other witnesses as it looks to its complex task of reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. The current FAA authorization expires in September.

Also on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the Freight Stakeholders Coalition will present its ideas on how next year’s surface transportation bill could help American manufacturing and U.S. workers’ productivity by financing freight rail projects.

The speakers include Robyn Boerstling, the director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, and Kurt Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities.


The R Street Institute, a Washington think tank whose mission is to “promote free markets and limited, effective government,” hosts a panel on how cities, including the nation’s capital, are regulating driver-for-hire services such as Lyft and Uber.

Chris Massey, director of government relations at Lyft and Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute will be among the speakers.

Last week the R Street Institute issued a report grading 50 of the largest U.S. cities on their friendliness to for-hire vehicle services.


The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on the Takata airbag defects and the vehicle recall process.

Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who’ll become ranking Democrat on the committee next year, will chair the hearing. Nelson has been one of several senators to voice his unhappiness with the performance of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency which after 10 months still lacks a permanent head since President Obama hasn’t nominated one.

Two weeks ago. two members of the committee, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., urged the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Takata.

The New York Times has reported that ex-employees of Takata said the company knew as far back as 2004 that some of its airbags were defective, but executives didn’t alert regulators.

Also on Thursday, from the land of Tesla, the California Institute for Federal Policy Research holds a briefing on Capitol Hill on the progress of electric vehicles in California and efforts by utilities to invest in infrastructure and support electric fleets.

Executives from PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric will brief and field questions.

October 27, 2014

The Week Ahead: Aviation Security Meeting, Ebola Quarantine Debate

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will address a major aviation security conference in Washington this week. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A big aviation security conference takes place in Washington this week, sponsored by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Meanwhile, the debate on air travel and the Ebola outbreak will likely intensify as four states have split with the Obama administration by imposing their own quarantines on doctors, nurses and anyone else in direct contact with those who may be infected with Ebola.

Full story

October 15, 2014

With Autonomous Cars, A World Without Red Lights?

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A Google self-driving car maneuvers through Washington, D.C. in a 2012 test drive. (Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP/GettyImages)

While full deployment of autonomous vehicles is years, if not decades, in the future, free-market-oriented transportation experts are welcoming the vehicles’ potential to reduce government intervention in Americans’ travel decisions.

At a Cato Institute panel discussion Tuesday, Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the think tank, speculated that when nearly all American cars are automated, “I can see in the long run that things like stop signs and possibly even traffic lights, [and] speed limits, are going to be redundant.”

Full story

October 14, 2014

In Smart Vehicle World, Less Need For Mass Transit?

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A Google self-driving car (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Picture a brave new world in which commuting to work will be faster and safer and in which traditional mass transit systems will wither away in many cities.

That was the future as sketched by one free-market-oriented transportation expert Tuesday at a panel on autonomous vehicles at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“I think autonomous vehicles will just about completely replace the need for mass transit” in all but the six biggest U.S. cities, said Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at Cato.

Full story

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 19, 2014

Uber Hires Former Obama Strategist Plouffe To Run Its PR Efforts (Video)

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(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Uber, the company with the popular car-hailing app that has spawned taxi driver protests in cities from Milan to San Francisco, has hired President Barack Obama’s former political strategist David Plouffe to run its political and public relations operations.

Full story

July 30, 2014

In Fight for Urban Street and Curbside Space, Can Pricing Create Peace?

175796612 445x292 In Fight for Urban Street and Curbside Space, Can Pricing Create Peace?

People order food from the BBQ Bus food truck during lunch at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., in August 2013. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A thriving city with new restaurants and other businesses has a healthy surge of revenue, but there’s one constraint the transportation manager or mayor can do little about: space on the roads and at curbsides.

“Our biggest challenge would certainly be use of right of way or space,” said Larry Marcus, the Transportation and Engineering Bureau Chief for Arlington County, Va., at a transportation data panel this week sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Full story

July 28, 2014

RideScout CEO Sees a ‘Right-Pricing’ Transportation Revolution

At Monday’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation panel discussion on using data to expedite transportation, RideScout co-founder and CEO Joseph Kopser played the role of visionary and crusader.

His company has an app allowing travelers in more than 60 cities in the United States and Canada to figure out the quickest way of getting from one point to another, whether’s it’s a taxi, a bus, or their own car.

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

July 11, 2014

Airports Become Battleground for Taxi And Shuttle Operators’ Struggle Against Uber

Another front in the car service battle has opened at the nation’s airports

The Airport Ground Transportation Association – which includes SuperShuttle and similar airport shuttle services — issued a warning this week that Uber and Lyft are exposing airport authorities to liability risk.

Full story

June 25, 2014

From Milwaukee to Milan, Uber’s Battles Are Mostly Local

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London black-cab drivers protest against Uber on June 11. Thousands of cabs filled the roads around Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Parliament. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

The regulatory battles over Uber — the taxi-hailing service that has sparked protests from established taxi drivers in London, Paris, Milan, and San Francisco — may have global significance as an indicator of how regulated markets with high barriers to entry cope with disruptive competition. But the regulatory ruckus is being fought on the state and municipal level, not in the halls of Congress.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 9:35 a.m.
Airports, Car Sharing, Taxis

June 24, 2014

Bill Shuster: Generational Shift Will Smooth Acceptance of Driverless Cars

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster touted the virtues of driverless vehicles Tuesday morning in front of the Capitol, offering fellow House members rides in Carnegie Mellon University’s prototype autonomous car.

Although not commenting on attempts to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, Shuster promised that “we’re going to do a long-term surface transportation bill here in the near future” and that bill, he said, must include a title dealing with innovation and technology.

Full story

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