Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "Travel"

October 24, 2014

A Look Back: Congestion Pricing, Fuel-Efficient Planes & Sand For Fracking

452912796 445x317 A Look Back: Congestion Pricing, Fuel Efficient Planes & Sand For Fracking

Falling prices for jet fuel won’t hurt demand for Boeing’s new fuel-efficient 787 airplanes, CEO Jim McNerney said this week. (Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

This week we took a look at congestion pricing, tolls that vary with the amount of traffic on a particular stretch of highway.

Can that market-based strategy reduce gridlock in some cities where it is most needed?

The problem: older highways such as the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia, one of America’s most congested roads, have no adjacent space to add a new toll lane.

Full story

October 23, 2014

United Airlines Sees No Ebola Effect

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United Airlines jets sit at gates at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

United Airlines bookings haven’t been affected by the Ebola outbreak, United’s chief revenue officer Jim Compton said Thursday.

He told investment analysts that the airline’s transatlantic business has “experienced several recent pressures, including Middle East unrest, the Ukrainian conflict, and more recently, concerns about Ebola” but “we have not seen any meaningful impact on bookings to date.”

Full story

October 22, 2014

Boeing: Oil Price Won’t Hurt Demand for Fuel-Efficiency

453149592 445x286 Boeing: Oil Price Won’t Hurt Demand for Fuel Efficiency

Boeing is counting on sustained demand for its fuel-efficient 787 aircraft (Photo credit should read Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing reported healthy profits Wednesday as Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney assured investors that declining oil prices won’t crimp airlines’ desire to buy more fuel-efficient planes.

McNerney seemed to allude to events such as the shooting down of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine in July when he said, “Notwithstanding a somewhat richer mix of global economic and geopolitical developments throughout this year, which we are monitoring very carefully, global passenger traffic trends are strong and air cargo traffic continues to gradually improve, although the latter still remains a watch item for us.”

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Infrastructure Loan Fears Misguided, Reader Says

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A Staten Island ferry heads across New York harbor. New ferry terminals were built in 2005 with TIFIA loan backing (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

TIFIA is the federal loan program, which uses Treasury funds to help finance state and local governments’ infrastructure projects: bridges, ferry terminals, toll roads, etc.

Last week I mentioned that the new bridge across the Hudson River in New York is financed partly by a $1.6 billion TIFIA loan. TIFIA, which is run by the Department of Transportation, stands for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

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Bipartisan Accord on Travel Ban? Well, Maybe

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New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There was bipartisan accord in Tuesday night’s New Hampshire Senate debate that barring travelers from three Ebola-affected African countries is, or at least might be, necessary.

And there was bipartisan accord about the need to be bipartisan. And yet Republican candidate Scott Brown repeatedly attacked President Obama’s handling of the Ebola outbreak.

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October 21, 2014

Debate Just Starting on Mandate for ‘Talking Vehicles’

169021616 445x301 Debate Just Starting on Mandate for ‘Talking Vehicles’

The aftermath of a highway accident last year in Brentwood, Calif. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Should the federal government require your new car to be equipped to communicate with other cars on the highway, in order to prevent accidents?

The comment period closed Monday for initial public and interest group response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposal to create a standard requiring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication capability for cars and light trucks.

Full story

Ebola Shift Shows Fine Line Between Reassuring And Deterring Travel

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said she’d support Ebola “travel bans if they would work.” (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

It’s a change that will affect only about nine passengers a day, but Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced Tuesday that all passengers traveling to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone must travel through the five U.S. airports with heightened Ebola screening.

Administration officials had said that 94 percent of the approximately 150 daily arrivals in the United States from the three African countries were already using the five designated airports.

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Steady Travel Industry Nerves Needed Amid Ebola Fears

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Travelers at the international arrivals terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After a plunge in airline stock prices following the first Ebola case in the United States on Sept. 30, those stocks have recovered. Investors in the airline and the hotel industries await the next episode in the Ebola outbreak.

The industries have been understandably guarded in their comments on the outbreak.

Full story

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.

Full story

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.

Full story

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

167320961 445x309 Chief Touts FAA Competence In Recovery from Fire

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?

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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

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