Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Posts in "Interstate System"

December 15, 2014

High-Profile Toll Project Opens in D.C. Suburbs

One of the nation’s most prominent public-private toll road partnerships opened Sunday in Virginia with a Yuletide two-week free sample period before tolls begin on a 29-mile stretch of Interstate 95 south of Washington, D.C.

There’s been some backlash against highway tolling in Texas and other states, and a separate and highly contentious P3 project, U.S. 460 in the Hampton Roads area, has been halted by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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December 11, 2014

Senate Names Highway In Honor of Oberstar

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At a 1997 House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting, chairman Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., left and ranking Democrat, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., right (Congressional Quarterly photo by Scott J. Ferrell)

After a few more election cycles and a few more waves of retirements, there will be few House members who will have served with Rep. James Oberstar, D- Minn., former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who died last May. He lost his House seat in the 2010 Republican wave after 36 years in office. 

Oberstar’s portrait looked down benignly on the hearing on drones Wednesday in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing room in the Rayburn House Building.

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December 3, 2014

Eno Report: Consider Scrapping Trust Fund

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Chicago highway traffic (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Why not scrap the beleaguered Highway Trust Fund and the concept of dedicated user fees (gasoline taxes) going into it?

Instead, why not rely entirely on general tax revenues to pay for highways and mass transit?

That’s one possibility raised by a report issued Wednesday by the Eno Center for Transportation, a Washington think tank.

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November 11, 2014

Crumbling Infrastructure Creates Opening For Railroads

95832292 445x296 Crumbling Infrastructure Creates Opening For Railroads

A Union Pacific freight train in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In one sense, the deteriorating highway infrastructure that road builders and members of Congress complain about is good news for freight railroads.

In a presentation at the Stephens Fall Investment Conference in New York Tuesday, Rob Knight, the chief financial officer of Union Pacific, said the trucking industry “faces continued challenges from regulations, highway congestion, and a deteriorating infrastructure.”

One reason that highway infrastructure is deteriorating, of course, is that Congress and most states haven’t been willing or able to raise new revenue to fix and expand it.

By contrast, Knight said, rail traffic moves “over a right of way privately owned and maintained.”

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November 3, 2014

Voters Get Their Say On Indexing Gasoline Tax

martha 445x235 Voters Get Their Say On Indexing Gasoline Tax

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker debate indexing the gasoline tax.

Massachusetts voters Tuesday get a chance to rescind the decision their state legislators made last year to peg the state’s gasoline tax to the inflation rate.

But voters’ apparent confusion about the wording of the ballot measure, listed as Question 1 on the ballot, may skew the outcome.

A poll released by Suffolk University last Thursday found that more than three out of five voters think that the state’s gasoline tax increases should not automatically be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

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Friday Q & A: Todd Spencer Of The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers, Part Two

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Kevin Roper, the truck driver accused of causing the New Jersey Turnpike accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another man, arrives for a court appearance at the Middlesex County Courthouse in June. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

We continued our conversation with OOIDA’s Todd Spencer about the June accident on the New Jersey Turnpike and what options the driver of the Walmart truck had…..

How about him getting off at an exit and resting?

Getting off at an exit is not too easy to do and, again, understand what I’m talking about is the impact of the regulations themselves.

And, of course, the delivery schedules that he doesn’t set; they laid out for him.

These are all things that should be considered as part of the investigation.

Every day we have shippers and receivers that tie truckers up, oftentimes putting them in situations where they can’t be in compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

Full story

October 31, 2014

Friday Q & A With Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers

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Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drovers Association (Photo: OOIDA)

This week, Todd Spencer, the executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents 150,000 truckers, gave us his views on federal regulation of the industry.

We started by talking about last week’s National Transportation Safety Board report on the collision between a trucker and a CSX train at a grade crossing in Rosedale, Md., on May 28, 2013. The NTSB cited as a principal cause the driver being distracted by a conversation he was having on a hands-free cell phone.

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October 30, 2014

New Hampshire Election Gives Read On Gasoline Tax

New Hampshire is one case where we’ll get a reading on Election Day on voters’ preferences on raising taxes to pay for infrastructure.

The increase in the state gasoline tax, which Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law last May is an issue in ads which the Republican Governors Association is running against her.

It was also a focus of the televised debate Wednesday night between Hassan and her Republican opponent Walt Havenstein.

The bill Hassan signed increased the state’s excise tax on both gasoline and diesel from 18 cents to 22.2 cents per gallon.

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October 17, 2014

The Container’s Friday Q&A: ARTBA’s Peter Ruane, Part One

3064307 445x299 The Containers Friday Q&A: ARTBAs Peter Ruane, Part One

Congress is facing the need to come up with new revenue sources for highway funding. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Peter Ruane, president of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, is one of Washington’s most forceful advocates for infrastructure spending.

We discussed with him whether Congress can devise a long-term solution to the nation’s infrastructure funding dilemma. Full story

September 23, 2014

Lessons of the Indiana Toll Road Bankruptcy

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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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Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

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The giant drill nicknamed “Harriet” bores a section of the Port of Miami tunnel last year. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The National Association of Manufacturers renewed its call Tuesday for more infrastructure spending, issuing a report saying that “infrastructure spending has been on a decade-long decline” and that “when measured in proportion to GDP, the downward trajectory of infrastructure investment becomes even more stark and worrisome.”

Full story

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 17, 2014

Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

1duncan022702 258x335 Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., headed a special House panel on public-private partnerships.

There was bipartisan House agreement Wednesday that public-private investment partnerships, which combine state and federal grant money and bonds with Wall Street equity and debt financing, should be an important part of paying for new transportation infrastructure.

But there was partisan disagreement among members of a special P3 panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on how large a percentage of infrastructure funding will come from the P3.

Full story

September 9, 2014

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

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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

September 8, 2014

The Case Against Tolling Interstate Lanes

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Traffic moves along Interstate 80 in California (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates is a coalition of state trucking associations and companies including FedEx and UPS that is trying to stop tolls from being imposed on currently toll-free parts of the interstate highway system.

Alliance spokesman Julian Walker gave us the group’s views.

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