Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Posts in "Travel"

October 20, 2014

With Gasoline Under $3 A Gallon, Drivers Are Thriving

146224083 1 445x304 With Gasoline Under $3 A Gallon, Drivers Are Thriving

American drivers are enjoying an autumn windfall of lower gasoline prices (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sometimes the bit of data that makes transportation news is staring you right in the face. So it was this weekend when I drove from Washington, D.C., to Princeton, N.J., and back.

I was driving a rental car and normally don’t pay too much attention to the price of gasoline.

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The Week Ahead: Distracted Teen Drivers, Earnings Reports & Another Ebola Hearing

170795739 273x335 The Week Ahead: Distracted Teen Drivers, Earnings Reports & Another Ebola Hearing

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney will discuss his company’s third quarter earnings on Wednesday. (Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

This week we’ll be watching the Ebola effect on commercial aviation as tighter screening proceeds at five U.S. airports and as the political debate continues over a ban on issuing visas to would-be visitors from three Ebola-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Some earnings reports out this week will also give an indication of the health of the transportation sector.

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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

October 16, 2014

‘Pets on Trains’ Plan Set in Motion

Rail passengers traveling along Amtrak’s busy Northeast corridor could someday bring along a furry, four-legged companion, if a group of Capitol Hill lawmakers get their way.

Tucked away in a passenger rail measure that sailed through a House panel last month is language that would create a pilot program for riders to carry pets aboard some trains, including those running between Boston and Washington. On Sept. 17, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee easily advanced the bill in a voice vote less than a week after it was introduced.

The pet proposal calls on Amtrak to let its customers ditch the pet-sitter and instead travel with their cat or dog in tow. Traveling animal-lovers would have to abide by a few rules of the rails, though, including paying a fee and keeping their pets stowed in carriers as either cargo or carry-on luggage.

The measure closely mirrors the “Pets on Trains Act” introduced last year by Rail subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham, a California Republican. That bill has the backing of The Humane Society, boasts nearly 40 cosponsors and inspired a Senate companion from Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

But Amtrak passengers shouldn’t prep their pets for travel just yet. Lawmakers’ quick work on the rail measure in September was designed to tee up a broader bicameral debate in the next Congress. In the meantime, riders will have to make do with Amtrak’s own test program that allows pets to ride certain rail routes in Illinois.

Chief Touts FAA Competence In Recovery from Fire

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Administrator Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid public concerns about the federal government’s competence in handling emergencies sparked by the Ebola outbreak, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday touted his agency’s success in recovering from the September 26 fire that disabled the air tariff control center near Chicago.

The facility, which manages the airspace over seven Midwest states, was back in full operation on Monday.

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In Debate, Roberts Dings Obama on Aviation Taxes

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Three-term Sen. Pat Roberts faces a tough re-election battle in Kansas. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

General aviation, the civil flight industry that relies on small planes and business jets for everything from skydiving trips to corporate travel, is a big job creator in Wichita, Kansas.

So it was not a surprise that in Wednesday night’s debate between three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and his Democrat-turned-independent opponent Greg Orman, Wichita Eagle reporter Bryan Lowry asked the candidates what the federal government should do for Wichita’s ailing general aviation sector. Full story

October 15, 2014

With Autonomous Cars, A World Without Red Lights?

144473561 445x295 With Autonomous Cars, A World Without Red Lights?

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.”

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October 14, 2014

The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Delta’s Assessment, Ebola Hearing

457060106 445x289 The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Deltas Assessment, Ebola Hearing

A plane about to land at JFK airport in New York City, where new Ebola screening began Sunday. (Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

This week’s transportation events range from a big House hearing on the Ebola outbreak to an Oklahoma event pairing conservative Sen. James M. Inhofe with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Full story

October 9, 2014

Ebola Response: Economics As Well as Epidemiology

144530415 445x310 Ebola Response: Economics As Well as Epidemiology

Lufthansa crew members walk through Hong Kong’s airport in 2003 wearing masks to protect against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

A couple of times during his Ebola briefing for reporters Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded as much like an economist as an epidemiologist.

Frieden noted that the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which hit China and neighboring countries “cost the world more than $40 billion, but it wasn’t to control the outbreak. Those were costs from unnecessary and ineffective travel restrictions and trade changes that could have been avoided.”

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October 8, 2014

Airports Await Details on Tighter Screening

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Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

U.S. airport operators hope to get the details Wednesday of the Obama administration’s proposal for tighter screening of arriving passengers with Ebola symptoms.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will address an Airports Council International – North America conference this morning in Arlington, Va. Full story

October 6, 2014

Efficacy Of Screening At Center Of Ebola Travel Debate

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The debate continued through the weekend on whether the Obama administration needs to do more to keep people infected with the Ebola virus from flying to the United States or to stop them at U.S. ports of entry.

Late Friday afternoon, Deputy National Security Adviser Lisa Monaco said the administration had already taken steps to ensure that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) workers “are trained to identify symptomatic individuals” who arrive at ports of entry.

Full story

October 3, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

453306488 1 445x310 A Look Back: Ebola, Aftermath of An ATC Fire, Industry Reacts to Oil Tanker Car Rules

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to reassure travelers this week about the Ebola virus (Photo: Jewel SamadAFP/Getty Images)

This week the Ebola virus dominated the news — including transportation news — as one case of a person infected with Ebola was reported in Dallas.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to assure travelers that the man who flew to Dallas from Liberia had not been infectious while on board the airplanes he took.   Full story

October 1, 2014

CDC Chief Says ‘Zero Risk’ To Those on Flight Ebola Victim Took

453304178 247x335 CDC Chief Says Zero Risk To Those on Flight Ebola Victim Took

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Briefing reporters Tuesday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would not identify the flight on which a man now critically ill with the Ebola virus came to the United States.

Frieden repeatedly emphasized that the unidentified man, now at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was not infectious when he was flying to the United States.

Therefore he posed no risk to his fellow passengers, Frieden said.

Full story

September 29, 2014

This Week’s Transportation Agenda: Air Traffic Control Conference & Foxx Road Trip

167200362 1 445x296 This Weeks Transportation Agenda: Air Traffic Control Conference & Foxx Road Trip

An Alaska Airlines jet passes the air traffic control tower at Los Angles International Airport (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This week, by strange coincidence, the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) holds its 59th annual conference at the National Harbor center near Washington just after the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control center in Aurora, Ill., was shut by a fire set by a technician working for a FAA contractor. 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.

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