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Eno Transportation Weekly

Category: Railroads

Tax Package Passes House but Looks Dead in Senate

December 21, 2018 – A $99.2 billion package of year-end tax reductions passed the House of Representatives last night by a party-line roll call vote of 220 to 183. But the legislation (text here) does not appear to be close to the votes needed for Senate consideration, especially this late in the session, so elements of the proposal will have to be brought up again after the 116th Congress takes office on January 3.

DOT Announces $1.5 Billion in BUILD Surface Transportation Grants

December 11, 2018 – Today, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the full list of recipients of $1.475 billion in fiscal year 2018 funding for 91 individual grants under the Department’s BUILD surface transportation grant program (formerly known as TIGER grants).

Op-Ed: Remembering George H.W. Bush and the ADA

December 5, 2018 – As the nation paused for the funeral of President George Herbert Walker Bush, his lasting mark on our transportation system shows through every time a bus kneels and deploys a ramp. Making transportation accessible to everyone is vitally important and has dramatically improved since his presidency.

Q3 PTC Reports Show Some Railroads Still At Risk of Missing Deadline

November 29, 2018 – According to railroads’ third-quarter 2018 reports released by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), four railroads are at risk of failing to qualify for an alternative schedule to finish implementing positive train control (PTC) by the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline.

Is the Mass Transit CIG Program Sitting on $1.4 Billion? Or Is the Program $5 Billion in the Red?

November 28, 2018 – Is the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program sitting on over a billion dollars of funding provided by Congress instead of providing that money to subway, light rail, and bus rapid transit projects across the country? Or is the CIG program a ticking time bomb with nearly $5 billion in unfunded liabilities that will come due in future years, when future Congresses are not legally bound to make good on those promises?

Agencies Issue Final Rule to Streamline Federal Permitting

November 2, 2018 – The Department of Transportation and three federal agencies issued a final rule this week that changes agency procedures under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 4(f) (now 49 U.S.C. 303 and 23 U.S.C. 138)—a step towards fulfilling provisions in recent federal transportation legislation.

CBO: State-Local Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure Drops for Second Year in a Row

October 19, 2018 – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has updated its massively useful study of total federal, state and local spending on transportation and water infrastructure since 1956 to cover fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 (the previous report cut off at FY 2014). The study shows that combined state and local spending in these areas peaked in 2015, in real dollars, and actually declined in both years since.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of October 2, 2018

Wednesday, October 3 – Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation – full committee hearing on positive train control implementation status (witness list here) – 10:00 a.m., SR-253 Russell.

4-Bill “Minibus” Including DOT Appropriations Slips as CR Drama Unfolds

September 21, 2018 – Hopes that another four-bill package of appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2019, including the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill, could be signed into law before the elections are fading, despite more meetings of Appropriations Committee staffers to be held next week.

As PTC Deadline Approaches, Focus Turns to Interoperability

September 14, 2018 – As the Dec. 31 deadline to fully implement positive train control (PTC) or else qualify for an alternative schedule approaches, railroads and regulators are already turning towards challenges that will remain after 2018.

Mending or Ending the Highway Trust Fund – the Great Debate of 1978

The Highway Trust Fund ran out of money 10 years ago this month, but this month is also the 40th anniversary of the first attempt by the House transportation committee to “spend down” Trust Fund balances to zero, and of a competing plan to ensure that annual Trust Fund spending commitments could never exceed annual revenues (which would, of course, have prevented the Trust Fund from ever going broke).

Capitol Hill Events – Week of September 10, 2018

Thursday, September 13 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials – subcommittee hearing on positive train control (PTC) implementation (witness list here) – 10:00 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.

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