Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

Posts in "Trucking"

October 31, 2014

A Look Back: Threats to Aviation, Violent Passengers & the Gasoline Tax

457251104 445x295 A Look Back: Threats to Aviation, Violent Passengers & the Gasoline Tax

Wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Rassipnoe in eastern Ukraine. The flight was shot down on July 17, 2014. (Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) aviation security conference in Washington this week offered insights on the “insider” threat to aviation from people who work for airlines, airports, contractors, and vendors.

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, launched the conference by sounding the alarm about the insider threat and aviation security experts then filled in the details of past and present insider risks.

Full story

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

TSpencer 261x335 Friday Q & A With Todd Spencer of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers

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 28, 2014

NTSB Cites Sleep Apnea in Fatal Train Accident

452759101 445x296 NTSB Cites Sleep Apnea in Fatal Train Accident

Four passengers were killed when a Metro-North train commuter derailed in The Bronx on Dec. 1, 2013. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday the probable cause of a commuter rail accident that killed four people in New York City last year was the engineer having fallen asleep “due to undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea.”

The engineer’s sleep apnea was made worse by a recent schedule change, which had him starting work at 4 or 5 a.m.

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October 24, 2014

‘Catastrophic’ Distracted Driving, And Not By a Teenager

169601728 445x295 ‘Catastrophic’ Distracted Driving, And Not By a Teenager

Smoke from a May 28, 2013 truck-train collision in Rosedale, Md. caused by a truck driver’s distracted driving. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

We’re just concluding Operation Safe Driver Week, a joint effort of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

FMCSA notes that nearly 4,000 people are killed annually in large truck and bus crashes.

This week also happens to be National Teen Driver Safety Week, with the familiar warnings to teenage drivers to not text when driving.

Full story

October 9, 2014

Minnesota Governor Wants New Tax For Infrastructure

119043301 445x293 Minnesota Governor Wants New Tax For Infrastructure

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is running for a second term (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

In a debate Wednesday night, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, proposed a wholesale state sales tax on gasoline to raise revenue to pay for transportation infrastructure. He said the tax would raise close to the $6.5 billion the state needs for infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

The state already has a 28.6 cents per gallon tax on gasoline.

Full story

September 26, 2014

When Hedging Goes Awry, On The Road And Aloft

455739138 2 445x295 When Hedging Goes Awry, On The Road And Aloft

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

Investors and firms use hedging strategies to try to protect themselves against movements in interest rates or commodity prices.

But hedging sometimes brings grief, as two documents this week showed. 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.

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September 8, 2014

The Case Against Tolling Interstate Lanes

4701597351 445x297 The Case Against Tolling Interstate Lanes

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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With Transportation Investment Summit Set to Meet, Here’s the Case for Tolling

152366339 445x303 With Transportation Investment Summit Set to Meet, Here’s the Case for Tolling

Toll lane cameras at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx convene an infrastructure investment summit with private-sector investors.

One topic of discussion is likely to be the use of tolls to help pay for bond issues and as part of private equity deals to build bridges, highways, and tunnels.

Here’s a case for tolling, from our interview with Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. Later today, we’ll run an opposing view. Full story

August 21, 2014

As North Carolina Prepares for New Tolls, Opponent Decries ‘Caste System’

Tolling may soon become a routine method of paying for new highway construction even in traditional non-toll states, and drivers may just have to get used to it.

But some drivers are waging a battle to prevent tolling on a congested 26-mile stretch of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

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August 6, 2014

Missouri Voters Reject Tax Increase to Pay for Transportation Projects

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an increase in the state’s sales tax to pay for highways, roads, and bridges.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution was defeated 59 percent to 41 percent – even though it included elements designed to make it more palatable to voters: it would have explicitly banned tolling on state highways and would have prevented an increase in the state’s tax on gasoline and other motor fuels.

The constitutional amendment would have been a three-quarters of one percent increase to the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax.

Full story

July 31, 2014

Driving While Stoned Risky, but No Federal Standard Yet

More stoned drivers on the road because of marijuana legalization could be a serious risk, at least according to some lawmakers.

At a hearing Thursday on driving and operating other vehicles while impaired by marijuana, House Subcommittee on Government Operations chairman Rep. John L. Mica, R- Fla., said “we’re going to have more people stoned on the highways and there will be consequences.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official Dr. Jeff Michael told the subcommittee that right now there’s too little data to devise a federal impairment standard. His agency is working with the state of Washington to assess the change in marijuana use by drivers before and after the state’s legalization of the drug.

Full story

July 30, 2014

On Two Transportation Fronts, a Republican Pushback on Executive Power

A familiar Republican argument — that President Barack Obama’s appointees are using executive branch power to hurt states and businesses — was heard almost simultaneously late Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor and across the street from the Capitol at a hearing in the Russell Senate Office building from two GOP senators on two different topics, both involving transportation.

Full story

July 28, 2014

Week’s Transportation Highlight Will Be Senate Passage of Highway Funding Bill

Months of hand-wringing, anguished warnings, and legislative maneuvering culminate in the next five days, as the Senate prepares to pass a bill to refill the Highway Trust Fund and avert what Democratic leaders were calling “the transportation equivalent of a government shutdown.”

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