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.
Eno Transportation Weekly
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).
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.
December 6, 2018 – President Trump on December 4 announced his intent to nominate two persons to fill slots on the three-member Railroad Retirement Board.
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.
November 30, 2018 – The House of Representatives was supposed to consider a $54 billion tax bill today, and even adopted a special rule from the Rules Committee yesterday allowing the bill to come forward, but late last night the bill was pulled from the House schedule.
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?
November 27, 2018 – Last night, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee released the text of the much-anticipated year-end tax extenders package. The text of the bill is here.
November 16, 2018 – Yesterday, the California State Auditor released a new report critical of the state’s high-speed rail project.
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.
October 25, 2018 – Public transportation will remain an essential part of our economies and transportation system, but it must leverage its strengths and evolve to meet today’s challenges.
October 22, 2018 – Chinese-backed companies are targeting U.S. freight rail car manufacturing, and their market dominance would threaten America’s economic and national security, according to a report released Monday.
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.
October 3, 2018 – Three months from the Dec. 31 deadline, New Jersey Transit told the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing yesterday that it is “working diligently” to catch up on installation and qualify for an alternative schedule under the positive train control (PTC) law.
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.
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.
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.
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).
September 5, 2018 – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved Wednesday two transportation-related nominees and a bill to streamline Department of Transportation reporting requirements.
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.