Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Posts in "Rail"

September 15, 2014

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

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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.

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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.

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September 11, 2014

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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July 23, 2014

Much-Anticipated Rail Shipping Rule for Oil Is Unveiled

Ending months of waiting by industry groups and local officials, the Department of Transportation on Wednesday issued its proposed rulemaking on rail shipments of flammable materials, including crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale.

Among other steps, the department would phase out within two years older tank cars for the shipment of certain types of flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars were retrofitted to comply with new design standards.

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July 22, 2014

Greg Saxton of the Greenbrier Companies on the Need for Safer Rail Tank Cars

In an opinion piece for Roll Call, Greg Saxton, chief engineer for The Greenbrier Companies, a leading railroad industry supplier, argues that the Transportation Department ought to require more robust tank car designs given the risks of explosions and oil spills as newly abundant domestic crude oil is shipped around the country to refineries and terminals.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 4 p.m.
Environment, Rail

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 18, 2014

For ‘P3s,’ Still Some Confusion About What’s Public And What’s Private

President Barack Obama tried to focus attention this week on public-private partnerships to build infrastructure. Despite the existence of well-established “P3″ projects — concentrated in Texas, Florida, Virginia, California, and Colorado — the public is still sometimes confused about what’s public and what’s private.

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July 16, 2014

Republicans Blame Obama for Blocking Multi-Year Transportation Bill in 2009 (Video)

House Republicans reached back to recent history yesterday to rebut Democratic critics who blame them for not working on a multi-year transportation authorization bill.

Why, they demanded, did President Barack Obama not push for a multi-year transportation bill at height of his power in 2009 when his party controlled both branches of Congress?

Full story

July 14, 2014

Railroads, Not Pipelines, Are the Future for Crude, Argues Bakken Shipper

The head of one of the biggest rail shippers of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to U.S. refineries made an assertive case Monday for transporting crude by rail, contending that the pipeline system isn’t capable of dealing with today’s complex and rapidly evolving energy markets.

Global Partners CEO Eric Slifka gave one of the keynote addresses at the conference of the Energy Department’s Energy Information Agency.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 12:50 p.m.

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