Eno Transportation Weekly

Articles by Jeff Davis
House T&I Committee, Infrastructure
Shuster May Unveil Infrastructure Bill by July 31

July 13, 2018 – The infrastructure legislation that House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has quietly been working on for weeks could be unveiled by the end of this month.

Appropriations, FY19
FY19 Appropriations Process Slows

July 13, 2018 – The appropriations process for 2019 has slowed. A two-bill package that includes funding for EPA water grants is scheduled for next week, but there is still no schedule for the Transportation-HUD or Homeland Security bills.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of July 16, 2018

Wednesday, July 18 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on  Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management – subcommittee hearing on recovery from natural disasters of 2017 and preparedness for the 2018 hurricane season (witness list to be posted here) – 10:00 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.

Aviation, FAA
Senate Action on Modified FAA Bill Still Possible in July-August

July 13, 2018 – It is still possible – but by no means certain – that the U.S. Senate could consider the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (S. 1405) in the next two or three weeks. But the bill will only come up if the leaders of the committee can winnow any potential amendments down to the point that the consideration of the bill can be completed in one or two days of floor time.

Highway Trust Fund, Highways, HTF
Highway “Devolution” Bill Introduced in Senate (Again)

July 13, 2018 – The latest variant of legislation to turn responsibility for most highway funding back to states, eliminate most federal mass transit spending, and reduce federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes was introduced in the Senate. S. 3190, the “Transportation Empowerment Act,” was introduced on July 10 by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Rail, STB
White House Nominates Third STB Member

July 6, 2018 – The White House announced last night that President Trump will nominate Martin Oberman of Chicago to be a member of the railroad-regulating Surface Transportation Board.

FTA, Mass Transit, Transit
FTA Formalizes New Local Funding Evaluation Criteria for New Starts

July 6, 2018 – Last Friday (after ETW went to press), the Federal Transit Administration sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to transit agencies around the country formalizing the Trump Administration’s new approach to evaluating the local financial contribution to new mass transit projects.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of July 9, 2018

Wednesday, July 11 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Aviation – subcommittee roundtable discussion on counter-UAS issues (witness list here) – 10:00 a.m., 2167 Rayburn. Wednesday, July 11 – Senate Environment and Public Works – full committee hearing on the long-term value to U.S.

Mass Transit, Transit
What’s the Purpose of Mass Transit? – Part 2

July 6, 2018 – Continues the story of the federal role in mass transit from January 1963 through the law establishing a Department of Transportation – without a role in mass transit – in late 1966.

Mass Transit, Senate Banking Committee
Senate Banking Leaders Introduce Rail Transit Inspection Bill

June 27, 2018 – On June 26, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee introduced a bill clarifying that state transit safety oversight agencies should conduct safety inspections of the local mass transit agencies they are overseeing.

Amtrak, FRA, FTA, Gateway, Mass Transit
New Jersey Submits Final (?) Portal North Bridge Funding Plan; Port Authority Takes Over Hudson Tunnel Sponsorship

June 29, 2018 – Today, the group of New York and New Jersey entities responsible for the Gateway Program (the $30+ billion portfolio of rail projects in those two states used by Amtrak and local transit agencies) submitted a revised plan for the first project in the portfolio and a status update on the second project (which is by far the biggest project in the portfolio, or indeed the country, at least as far as projects trying to get federal mass transit dollars goes).

NHTSA, Senate Commerce Committee
Divided Commerce Panel Advances NHTSA Nominee

June 28, 2018 – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has approved the nomination of Heidi King to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by a party-line vote of 14 to 13.

Mass Transit
What’s the Purpose of Mass Transit? – Part 1

June 29, 2018 – In light of the 50th anniversary of the move of federal mass transit programs from HUD to DOT, we look at the history of the debate on whether or not mass transit is more about urban development or more about transportation.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of June 25, 2018

Tuesday, June 26 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Aviation – subcommittee hearing on stakeholder views on commercial space transportation regulatory reform (witness list to be posted here) – 10:00 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.

Amtrak, Nominations, Rail
Trump Administration Tries to Reshape Amtrak Board

June 21, 2018 – This week, President Trump made his third nomination for the Amtrak Board of Directors. And closer analysis reveals that a combination of past inaction and luck of the draw means that Trump could fill seven of the eight slots on the Amtrak Board by next year – if the Senate plays along.

FTA, Gateway, New Starts, Transit
Will the Third Time Be the Charm for the Portal North Bridge?

June 21, 2018 – New Jersey Transit (and Amtrak) face a July 14 deadline for getting the Federal Transit Administration to approve their latest revised financial plan for the replacement of the Portal North Bridge, the first project of the $30+ billion Gateway Program of passenger rail projects in New York and New Jersey. The revised financial plan will take advantage of $600 million in state bonds approved by the state Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors last week.

Senate Kills White House Spending Cut Package

June 22, 2018 – A $14.7 billion package of spending cuts died in the Senate this week when the chamber voted, 48 yeas to 50 nays, against discharging the bill from the Appropriations Committee. The House-passed bill (H.R. 3) now remains in the Appropriations Committee, almost certain to languish until it dies at the end of the Congress.

Appropriations, FY19, Transportation Security
Senate Panel Approves FY19 Homeland Budget

June 22, 2018 – Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019. The bill provides a net $55.2 billion in discretionary appropriations and another $1.7 billion in mandatory appropriations for Coast Guard pensions.

NHTSA, Senate Commerce Committee
Senate Panel Reschedules Vote on NHTSA Nominee

June 22, 2018 – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has schedule a June 27 vote on approving the nomination of Heidi King to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Her nomination had been scheduled for a vote on May 22 but was pulled at the last minute because Democratic opposition to the nomination was solidifying and because  not all Republicans might have ben able to attend due to a schedule conflict.