Eno Transportation Weekly

Category: Rail

FAA, STB Nominees Advanced in Senate

July 11, 2019 – Stephen Dickson, nominee for the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), had his nomination advanced from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Wednesday, July 10. The vote was 14-12 on party lines in favor of advancing the nomination to the full Senate. The committee also approved Michelle Schultz for an open seat on the Surface Transportation Board by voice vote.

House Hearing Examines Rail Workforce Issues

June 27, 2019 – At the June 20 hearing of the House Railroads Subcommittee on “The State of the Rail Workforce,” witnesses and Democratic members expressed that over the past decade, railroading has changed dramatically in this country.

FRA Cancels $929M California High Speed Rail Grant

May 17, 2019 – Yesterday, the Federal Railroad Administration formally notified the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) that FRA is canceling an $929 million grant agreement signed by the Obama Administration eight years ago and will not be giving CHSRA the money.

Newsom Team Releases Revised California High Speed Rail Plan

May 2, 2019 – The new chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) yesterday released a project status update that fleshes out the plan outlined by new Governor Gavin Newsom to focus on completing and implementing high-speed rail service on a 171-mile corridor from Merced in the north to Bakersfield in the south, at a cost of $20.4 billion.

The FY20 Budget: Transportation Security

March 20, 2019 – The President’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security includes proposals for a small cut in Transportation Security Administration operational funding, a large cut in Coast Guard procurement, and a two-thirds cut in Federal Emergency Management Agency transportation security grants.

Amtrak Requests $141 Million Cut in Its Own Budget

March 21, 2019 – Amtrak sent its fiscal 2020 budget request to Congress yesterday and asked for $141 million less than Congress actually appropriated for fiscal year 2019. The 2020 request of $1.80 billion is the amount authorized by Congress in the FAST Act of 2015, but Congressional appropriations for Amtrak and other railroad programs in 2018 and 2019 have exceeded the authorized amounts significantly.

Key Senators Introduce Bill Banning Transit Agencies From Procuring Rolling Stock from China-Based Manufacturers

March 14, 2019 – Today, a bipartisan group of Senators, including the chairman and ranking minority member of the committee with jurisdiction over mass transit issues, introduced a bill that would ban U.S. transit agencies from buying rail cars or buses made by any company that is “owned or controlled by, is a subsidiary of, or is otherwise related legally or financially to a corporation” located in the People’s Republic of China.

Schumer Will Seek To Force Gateway Funding in Next “Must-Pass” Spending Bill

March 8, 2019 – This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told an Association for Better New York breakfast meeting that he wants to attach legislation forcing the federal government to start funding a $13.6 billion project to build new passenger rail tunnels under the Hudson River to the next “must-pass” spending bill. But it’s hard to see Schumer getting what he wants without either violating Congress’s ban on earmarks, or else fundamentally restructuring the mass transit Capital Investment Grant program.

California HSR Authority Responds to FRA Attempt to Cancel Their Grant

March 8, 2019 – On March 4, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) issued a formal response to the Federal Railroad Administration’s February 19 notice that it intended to cancel the $929 million grant of fiscal year 2010 appropriations promised by the Obama Administration for the Golden State’s troubled high-speed rail project.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of March 11, 2019

Tuesday, March 12 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Aviation – subcommittee hearing entitled “Looking Forward: Aviation 2050” (witness list here) – 10:00 a.m., HVC-210 The Capitol.

Homeland Panel Examines Cyber Threats to Surface Transportation

March 1, 2019 – On February 26, the House Homeland Security Committee held a joint hearing to look at ways to secure the U.S. surface transportation system from cyber attacks, including potential threats posted by Chinese manufacture of rail cars.

Grassley, Wyden Push Railroad, Alternative Fuel Tax Break Extensions

March 1, 2019 – Yesterday, the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), jointly introduced legislation that would provide temporary extensions of numerous targeted tax breaks that expired at the end of 2017 or 2018.

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