Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 2, 2014

Posts in "Rail"

October 1, 2014

With New DOT Ruling, Millions Hang In The Balance

81931675 445x289 With New DOT Ruling, Millions Hang In The Balance

Railroad oil tanker cars (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

One-eighth of an inch could determine how many millions of dollars crude oil shippers will have to pay in order to comply with a potential new rule change.

Shippers of Bakken crude oil have long argued that rail is the future of shipping and that rails “offer flexibility, optionality, rapid transit, market penetration, all the while requiring low levels of capital.” But due to several high-profile disasters related to rail shipping of Bakken crude, the Department of Transportation has published a proposed rule change (the Enhanced Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains) that it hopes will reduce much of the risk associated with rail shipping.

Full story

The Container Interviews Foxx on Paying for Transportation, Part One

491338703 2 445x310 The Container Interviews Foxx on Paying for Transportation, Part One

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has been traveling across the country to announce grants for state and local projects and to make the case for the Obama administration’s transportation bill, the Grow America Act.

We had an exclusive interview with Foxx on Tuesday. He spoke with us from Los Angeles where he was taking part in the groundbreaking of the Los Angeles Regional Connector, a light rail transit project connecting three existing lines.

Full story

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 25, 2014

Top Oil Train Regulator Is Stepping Down

dw110616 energy013 445x318 Top Oil Train Regulator Is Stepping Down

PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, left, during House testimony (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

The top regulator for oil by rail shipments is stepping down.

Cynthia Quarterman, the administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has been on the job since November of 2009.

Her agency has come under intense scrutiny with the boom in shipments of Bakken crude oil by rail from North Dakota and a series of accidents, which raised fears about safety of the cities and towns through that the oil shipments are passing.

Full story

September 24, 2014

After Surge in Fatal Accidents, NTSB Urges Better Railroad Worker Briefings

155941314 414x335 After Surge in Fatal Accidents, NTSB Urges Better Railroad Worker Briefings

Long Island Railroad workers repairing tracks after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The National Transportation Safety Board Wednesday recommended more thorough safety briefings after an increase in the number of railroad and mass transit maintenance workers killed in accidents in the last four years. There were 15 such fatalities last year.

In one case last year, a worker was electrocuted in Harpursville, N.Y., when a non-insulated aerial lift came in contact with electrical lines. Other maintenance workers were killed by passing trains, one was killed by a mudslide and another died of heat stroke on a hot summer day.

Full story

September 22, 2014

Week Ahead: Foxx In New York For ‘Resiliency’ & NTSB Meets on Rail Worker Safety

Starting off the week in transportation news, on Monday morning Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in front of the ferry terminal at the foot of Manhattan at Peter Minuit Plaza – where the Dutch started the colony of New Amsterdam 388 years ago — to announce new funding to make New York City’s transit system better able to endure catastrophic storms.

Full story

September 15, 2014

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

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

September 11, 2014

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

September 5, 2014

Export-Import Bank, Rail Congestion, and Pilot Drug Use on Week’s Agenda

mccarthy 092 030612 326x240 Export Import Bank, Rail Congestion, and Pilot Drug Use on Weeks Agenda

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks at a 2012 press conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress return to the Capitol this week but will sprint through the next three weeks of legislative maneuvering before they head home for the 2014 campaign finale.

Two transportation-related issues await action: a stopgap funding bill to keep agencies running past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and a decision on what to do about the expiring charter of the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes foreigners’ purchases of U.S. goods such as Boeing aircraft. Full story

August 1, 2014

Lame-Duck Transportation Bargaining Scenario Fades

On Thursday night the Senate passed by a vote of 81-13 the House bill to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent until next spring. Score it as a win for beleaguered House Republican leaders who were coping with a fiasco after they couldn’t find the votes to pass their version of an emergency spending bill to respond to the southern border crisis.

Full story

July 30, 2014

Tighter Scrutiny Needed for Railroad Disability Claims, GAO Says

The Railroad Retirement Board, which administers the retirement and disability system for railroad workers and dates back to the 1930s, paid $276 million in disability benefits to nearly 13,000 beneficiaries in fiscal 2012. But the Government Accountability Office said this week that the RRB needs to tighten its scrutiny of disability claims.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 5:19 p.m.
Rail

July 29, 2014

Streetcars Keep Winning Scramble for Federal Mass Transit Project Funding

In the competition for urban transit funding, light rail and streetcars are winning and buses remain runners up.

Last week the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) celebrated the opening of the $196.5 million Sun Link Streetcar line in Tucson, Ariz., paid for in part by a $63 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant – a legacy of the 2009 stimulus act, and $19.7 million in other Department of Transportation money.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 1:49 p.m.
Rail, Transit

July 25, 2014

‘Seamless Mobility’: Not There Yet, But Will Pay Off Once We Arrive

Step off your flight, walk a short distance, and board a rail system that takes you to a downtown hotel to start your vacation or your business meeting. That’s an ideal that some American cities, such as Seattle and Chicago, attain but others, such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando, do not.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...