New York Times; We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here?
One central fact about the global economy lurks just beneath the year’s remarkable headlines: Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth.
New York Times; Can Clinton or Trump Recapture Robust American Growth?
The party conventions were rightly characterized as either relentlessly downbeat (Republican) or fervently optimistic (Democratic). The Republican view rests in part on poll numbers that show a solid majority of Americans think that the country is headed in the wrong direction. What has caused this malaise?
The Washington Post; Delta Airlines computer systems crash, causing flight delays and cancellations
Tens of thousands of airline travelers worldwide faced long delays Monday after a power outage in Atlanta took down the Delta Airlines computer system, crippling the air carrier’s operations and rippling through much of the global aviation system.
The Washington Post; Metro’s latest missteps and embarrassments
“I DON’T know what to say.” That was the first thing Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said when we called him about the recent derailment on the Silver Line. The loss of words was understandable. How do you explain the serial failures of the system to live up to its most basic safety obligations? Again and again and again, Metro has made a mockery of its claim to put safety first. That should spur officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia to finally enact the legislation needed to establish an effective oversight agency.
USA Today; Paying for roads at critical juncture
The frustration of road construction season in Wisconsin may soon be eclipsed by that of road funding, if it hasn’t been surpassed already.
The Wall Street Journal; Hillary Clinton Makes a Big Push on Infrastructure
Hillary Clinton has made upgrading the nation’s roads, bridges, energy grid and water systems a central part of her pitch to voters, aiming to forge a sweeping agreement if she becomes president in one the few areas where the two parties might be willing to collaborate.
The Wall Street Journal; American Paradox: It’s Never Been Cheaper for Cities and States to Borrow Money…And They Refuse to Do It
Wall Street is urging governments to invest in big-ticket infrastructure projects. Voters and public officials have a different message: not so fast.
Washington Times; The infrastructure illusion
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t agree on much of anything, but there is one area where they have a meeting of the minds: they both want to spend way more on public works programs. Hillary Clinton says that her primary jobs stimulus will be a massive $275 billion-plus infrastructure spending binge.
Investors; Stephen Moore: The Infrastructure Delusion
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don't agree on much of anything, but there is one area where they have a meeting of the minds: They both want to spend way more on public works programs. Hillary Clinton says that her primary jobs stimulus will be a massive $275 billion-plus infrastructure spending binge.
Courant; Study Says Millennials And Better Transportation Critical For Economy
HARTFORD – A new report from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving paints an alarming picture of a regional economy on the decline, with young educated workers and older residents departing, while younger and less educated individuals are moving in
Crains New York; Make architecture great again
It’s been a year since Donald Trump stood in his eponymous midtown tower and declared that he was running for president. Stabbing the carrot stubs he calls fingers in the air, he yelped the phrase that has since seeped into our collective consciousness: “Make America great again!”
New York Times; The Safety of Freight Rail
“Oil Train Hazards Cast Doubt in Northwest” (news article, Aug. 1) doesn’t mention critical facts in the debate over crude-by-rail transportation in the Pacific Northwest.
The Washington Post; Kaine, Warner announce airport funding
RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving $2 million to local airports to improve pavement and safety conditions.
Streetblog; Trash-Sucking ‘Vacuum Trains’ Will Clean Up Tracks Across City, MTA Says
MIDTOWN — The MTA is rolling out a trio of new trash-sucking "vacuum trains" as part of its multi-pronged effort to reduce track fires, the agency announced Friday.
Voices of NY; A Car-Free Zone in K-Town?
K-Town Association, a merchants’ cooperative in Koreatown, hopes to make 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue a car-free area Friday and Saturday nights (from 7 p.m. to midnight).
New York Post; How Bratton’s NYPD saved the subway system
At 10:20 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2, 1990, 22-year-old Utah resident Brian Watkins, accompanied by his parents, brother and sister-in-law, entered the New York City subway system in Midtown, intent on a short D-train trip uptown for dinner at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. They never got there. A group of teenagers surrounded Watkins and his family on the subway platform.
Washington Post; For lawmakers, Metro’s recent woes mean tougher prospects on the Hill
Metro’s recent safety problems have lawmakers and local leaders concerned that they will not be able to successfully lobby Congress and state legislatures for the additional funding that the transit system so desperately seeks.
By Brianna Gurciullo and Lauren Gardner | 08/08/2016 05:40 AM EDT
With help from Tanya Snyder
ATC OVERHAUL FAILED DESPITE INDUSTRY LOBBYING: While airlines might have entered the new year looking to push forward a proposal for revamping air traffic control, their lobbying wasn't enough to pass the plan contained in a House FAA reauthorization bill.
Interest was building: Airlines spent about $14.8 million on lobbying in the first half of this year, our Brianna Gurciullo reports using data compiled by OpenSecrets.org. Brianna writes, "It's impossible to pinpoint how much money airlines spent to lobby on one particular issue ... But counting the number of times certain phrases are mentioned in disclosure reports can shed some light on how much attention an issue received ... [B]etween 2008 and 2013, no firm representing members of the airline industry mentioned 'air traffic control reform' or 'ATC reform' in disclosure reports ... In 2015, as Shuster was pressing his proposal ahead of a bill to reauthorize the FAA, the phrase appeared in 13 reports. During the first half of this year, it was mentioned in 12."
A look at the numbers: "The top spenders in the first half of 2016 included American Airlines, Airlines for America, United Continental Holdings, Delta and JetBlue - all of which paid lobbyists $1 million or more to represent their interests ... A4A, the trade association that has been much of the public face behind an ATC overhaul, reported $3.5 million in lobbying expenditures for the first two quarters of this year. The notable exception to A4A's advocacy is Delta Air Lines, which left the association in part because Delta disagreed with its stance on overhauling air traffic control, an action that arguably affected the group's clout."
To be continued: "Though the airline industry spent money only to lose on a key issue this time around, the fight isn't over yet. 'We believe the length of the recent FAA extension gives Congress the time it needs to address meaningful air traffic control reform,' A4A spokesman Vaughn Jennings said. 'A4A and our members remain committed to working with the administration, Congress and all stakeholders on the benefits of transforming the system.'"
HAPPY MONDAY: Good morning and thanks for tuning in to POLITICO's Morning Transportation, your daily tipsheet on all things trains, planes, automobiles and ports.
HITTING THE ROAD: Our Lauren Gardner will be on the road the rest of this week, checking out FRA and Amtrak's attempt to revitalize rail travel along the Gulf Coast. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to say hello if you're in the area or are otherwise interested in all things rail.
TEXAS HOT AIR BALLOON PILOT TRIED TO DIVE UNDER CLOUDS: The pilot of the hot air ballon that crashed in Texas a little more than a week ago was trying to dip under clouds before hitting a power line, sources "familiar with the details" of the investigation told the Wall Street Journal. None of the 15 passengers nor the pilot survived the crash. Investigators are reportedly using a cellphone photo that a person on the ground received from a passenger before the accident as evidence. Hot air balloons are only supposed to take off when pilots can see at least a mile away, and they must avoid clouds.
GHSA: DRIVING WHILE DROWSY IS LIKE DRIVING DRUNK: Every year, as many as 6,400 people die in crashes related to drowsiness, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. More than half of those crashes involve drivers age 25 or younger. Our Tanya Snyder reports : "It's tricky to precisely quantify the problem, and even trickier to solve it. 'Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside,' said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. 'And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties.'"
REMEMBERING THE PORT OF BALTIMORE'S BEST-KNOWN ADVOCATE: Helen Delich Bentley, a former Republican lawmaker and longtime supporter of Baltimore's port, died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. The 92-year-old worked as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun before chairing the Federal Maritime Commission in the late '60s and early '70s. She was elected to Congress in 1984 and served on the House Appropriations Committee. Bentley then ran for governor of Maryland, but lost in the Republican primary. After that, she lobbied for the maritime industry, and a decade ago, the current governor renamed Baltimore's port after her. The Baltimore Sun's obituary: http://bsun.md/2aYGOA7.
From The Washington Post's obit: "In 1968, President Richard M. Nixon offered her a seat on the Federal Maritime Commission. In an oral history with Pennsylvania State University, Mrs. Bentley recalled her ire when she learned that a man 'who had never been on a ship, who knew nothing from a bow and a stern,' was to be offered the chairmanship as a political favor. She told a Nixon representative that she would take 'the chairmanship or nothing' and that if the administration preferred otherwise, they could 'shove it.'" http://wapo.st/2b226yE
NATCA'S WITH HER: The National Air Traffic Controllers Association endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Friday after its National Executive Board voted unanimously to back the Democratic ticket. Union President Paul Rinaldi said in a statement that Clinton is "a strong advocate for working families who shares our commitment to ensuring that the National Airspace System (NAS) remains the safest, most efficient, most complex, and most diverse in the world."
In case you forgot: President Bill Clinton proposed an ATC spinoff plan in 1994 similar to House T&I Chairman Bill Shuster's, which NATCA ended up supporting. Where the former Secretary of State would fall on the issue is unclear.
Tuesday - The RTCA Special Committee 225, Rechargeable Lithium Battery and Battery Systems has its 24th meeting to review and approve a multi-cell thermal runaway test. And the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration holds a meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, where committee members will discussenforcement efforts, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thursday - The Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office holds a meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee to consider possible advice topics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration holds a meeting via teleconference of the Unified Carrier Registration Plan board of directors to work on the UCR Plan. And Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, will hold a field hearing called "Freight Rail Reform: Implementation of the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015."
Saturday - Academy of Model Aeronautics clubs across the country hold events for National Model Aviation Day.
THEY SAID IT: Vice presidential contender Tim Kaine spoke at a rally in Milwaukee on Friday at the Lakefront Brewery. Under a highway bridge by the Milwaukee River, he promised that a Hillary Clinton administration would invest in "infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our ports, our airports, rail infrastructure, broadband, our electricity grid. I was a mayor and governor. We like to invest, we like to build. And when you do, you hire people right away. And then after you've built, people take advantage of it for 50 years."
GOOD MONTH FOR TRANSPO, CONSTRUCTION JOBS: The construction industry added14,000 jobs last month and pay rose at the fastest rate in seven years, our Tanya Snyder reports for Pros. The pool of unemployed, experienced workers shrank to the lowest level for the month of July since 2000. Meanwhile, transportation added 9,100 jobs after losing 10,200 the previous month. The biggest increase went to transit and ground transportation, which added 4,400 jobs.
OVERSIGHT DEMS DEMAND INFO ON MTPD VETTING: A group of House Oversight Committee Democrats fired off a letter to Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld Friday asking for a briefing this week on the agency's background check procedures for Metro Transit Police officers. Their request came just days after an MTPD officer was charged in federal court with aiding the Islamic State.
UBER FOR GOLD STAR FAMILIES: After the controversy between the Khan family and Donald Trump, Uber is donating $20,000 in free rides to Gold Star Families going to Arlington National Cemetary, Pro Technology's Nancy Scola reports. Uber said the donation is inspired by Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died serving in Iraq in 2004.
WINTER IS COMING: And so is appropriations season (which is just about every season anymore), so that means Pro Budget and Appropriations Brief's Ben Weyl has an overview of what to expect when you're expecting ... the federal government to eventually be funded.
You know nothing: Having too much fun in the sun to remember the ins and outs of the two chambers' THUD bills? Here's Ben's breakdown: "The Department of Transportation would get $19.2 billion in the House bill and $16.9 billion in the Senate bill, with the House providing $450 million for TIGER infrastructure grants and the Senate providing $525 million. Amtrak would get $1.4 billion in both bills. ... Language regarding safety rules for how long truckers can drive and how to rectify a drafting error from last year's omnibus could be the thorniest THUD issue this year. ... The House bill also includes other provisions that Democrats objected to, including a prohibition on funds for high-speed rail in California; a preemption of state laws that provide meal and rest breaks for truckers; and a prohibition on Amtrak funds if food and beverage service revenues do not equal the cost of offering the services."
MT GOES AWW: Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) became the first Uber passenger in Bozeman, Mont. Thursday night. His driver was state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov. Check out the video of Daines surprising his wife, Cindy Daines, with flowers and tickets to a Keith Urban concert for her birthday: http://bit.ly/2azBscm. The couple also went home in an Uber.
THE AUTOBAHN (SPEED READ):
- Amazon unveils cargo plane as it expands delivery network. The Associated Press.
- Latest to quit Google's self-driving car unit: top roboticist. The New York Times.
- Delta Air Lines investigates Muslim couple's profiling claim. The Associated Press.
- American paradox: It's never been cheaper for cities and states to borrow money ... And they refuse to do it. The Wall Street Journal.
- Tesla-loving Danish CEO sees driverless trucks within decade. Bloomberg.
- Iran plans to buy 20 regional jets from Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy. Reuters.
THE COUNTDOWN: DOT appropriations run out in 52 days. The FAA reauthorization expires in 417 days. The 2016 presidential election is in 91 days. Highway and transit policy is up for renewal in 1,517 days.
THE DAY AHEAD:
4 p.m. - Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, will talk about the uses of drones in responding to emergencies with Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. Office of Emergency Management, 285 Campgaw Road, Mahwah, NJ.
Did we miss an event? Let MT know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view online:
Stories from POLITICO Pro
Despite airline lobbying, air traffic control changes elusive Back
By Brianna Gurciullo | 08/08/2016 05:06 AM EDT
Airlines went into 2016 hoping to advance a plan for shifting air traffic control away from the FAA, and poured money into the effort - a proposition that, at least for now, has been shelved despite their influence blitz and backing from a key lawmaker.
Ultimately the plan, housed in an FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 4441) spearheaded by House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), collapsed under the weight of opposition from segments of the aviation industry and members of both parties in both chambers. But it wasn't for lack of trying on the part of the industry - with the exception of Delta Air Lines, which opposes the shift.
While arguing that overhauling air traffic control is vital to keep up with the growth of the industry, airlines spent about $14.8 million on lobbying in the first half of this year, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org. Airlines spent almost $25 million in all of 2015 and $26.5 million the previous year.
It's impossible to pinpoint how much money airlines spent to lobby on one particular issue - like changes to the ATC system. But counting the number of times certain phrases are mentioned in disclosure reports can shed some light on how much attention an issue received.
According to data provided by OpenSecrets, between 2008 and 2013, no firm representing members of the airline industry mentioned "air traffic control reform" or "ATC reform" in disclosure reports. But interest started to build in 2014, when efforts to push a change through became active. In 2015, as Shuster was pressing his proposal ahead of a bill to reauthorize the FAA, the phrase appeared in 13 reports. During the first half of this year, it was mentioned in 12.
The top spenders in the first half of 2016 included American Airlines, Airlines for America, United Continental Holdings, Delta and JetBlue - all of which paid lobbyists $1 million or more to represent their interests. American Airlines was the biggest spender, with nearly $4 million in expenditures, at least some of which is likely due to items related to their merger with US Airways.
Close to three dozen lobbyists represented American, including former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). Dorgan's firm, Arent Fox, reported $60,000 in income from American in both the first and second quarters of 2016. Dorgan, the only lobbyist listed on either report, advocated for the airline on ATC restructuring and the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill (S. 2658).
As a senator, Dorgan chaired the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation. During his congressional tenure he was hesitant to support removing air traffic control from the FAA. But after he co-chaired an Eno Center for Transportation working group, Dorgan got behind the idea.
American's lobbying expenditures have dropped since 2013, when the airline spent over $10 million as it looked to merge with US Airways. Merger "activities" and "issues" were still listed on lobbying disclosure reports this year.
A4A, the trade association that has been much of the public face behind an ATC overhaul, reported $3.5 million in lobbying expenditures for the first two quarters of this year. The notable exception to A4A's advocacy is Delta Air Lines, which left the association in part because Delta disagreed with its stance on overhauling air traffic control, an action that arguably affected the group's clout.
Meanwhile, Delta spent $1.16 million during the first half of the year to lobby on a host of issues, including "air traffic control reform."
Though the airline industry spent money only to lose on a key issue this time around, the fight isn't over yet.
"We believe the length of the recent FAA extension gives Congress the time it needs to address meaningful air traffic control reform," A4A spokesman Vaughn Jennings said. "A4A and our members remain committed to working with the administration, Congress and all stakeholders on the benefits of transforming the system."
Some in Congress have grumbled that the reason Congress enacted an extension through Sept. 2017 instead of a full four-year bill is because of Shuster's refusal to drop air traffic control changes from his FAA reauthorization. The idea is that this relatively long extension would give him some breathing room to take another run at the issue next year, no doubt with most of the airline industry's support.
GHSA: Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving Back
By Tanya Snyder | 08/08/2016 12:01 AM EDT
As many as 6,400 people die each year in drowsiness-related crashes on U.S. roadways, according to a new report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Drowsy driving has become a key issue for NHTSA, which now considers drowsiness an impairment on par with distraction, drugs and alcohol. A person who has gone 21 hours without sleep is as impaired as a person whose blood alcohol content is past the legal limit for driving, GHSA says.
It's tricky to precisely quantify the problem, and even trickier to solve it. "Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside," said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. "And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties." As GHSA notes, there is no "sleepalyzer" test.
According to GHSA, more than half of drowsiness-related crashes involve drivers 25 and younger, and 10 to 20 percent involve buses or large trucks.
At the federal level, commercial vehicle operators are subject to hours-of-service restrictions, which aim to reduce fatigued driving.
Only two states have expressly prohibited drowsy driving: New Jersey and Arkansas. Several others have programs in place to combat the problem, from restrictions on driving hours for teens to new driver education initiatives. Safety assist technology in vehicles and roadway engineering designs like rumble strips may hold part of the answer as well.
Transportation, construction industry bounce back in July jobs report Back
By Tanya Snyder | 08/05/2016 02:17 PM EDT
July's White House jobs report showed evidence of better times for the construction industry, which added 14,000 jobs last month; of those, 1,900 are in heavy construction and civil engineering.
Even better, construction industry pay rose at the fastest rate in seven years, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. AGC says that "tight labor market conditions have driven the construction sector's wages up to 10 percent higher than the all-private sector average."
"The shortage of experienced workers is growing ever more acute," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. The pool of unemployed, experienced construction workers shrank to the lowest July level since 2000 and pay is increasing at its fastest rate since 2009.
Transportation also had a good month, gaining 9,100 jobs in July after losing 10,200 in June. Transit and ground transportation saw the biggest jump, gaining 4,400 jobs last month. Earnings in the transportation and warehousing trades stayed essentially flat, increasing by just two cents an hour. There were also 1,000 more dealers of cars and car parts at the end of July than at the beginning.
House Democrats want briefing after WMATA cop terrorism arrest Back
By Lauren Gardner | 08/05/2016 02:25 PM EDT
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asked Metro's chief today for a briefing on the transit system's background check procedures for its police department, days after a member of the force was arrested for allegedly trying to aid the Islamic State.
Nicholas Young had served in the Metro Transit Police Department since 2003, but had been under surveillance by the FBI since 2010. He's been accused of trying to send ISIL fighters phone card codes.
"These reports raise serious questions about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's process for conducting background checks for MTPD officers, what public safety and information security safeguards were in place during the investigation and monitoring of Mr. Young, and what continuing public safety protections are being implemented," the lawmakers wrote to Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld.
The members want a briefing no later than Aug. 12.
Uber donates rides to military cemetery following Trump-Khan dispute Back
By Nancy Scola | 08/05/2016 02:59 PM EDT
Uber will donate $20,000 in free rides to Arlington National Cemetery, the ride-on-demand company announced today in a move inspired by the story of the deceased Army captain at the center of a dispute with Donald Trump.
The rides will be available to "gold star families," the close relatives of members of the U.S. military killed in war. One such family, that of Humayun Khan, a 27-year-old killed in Iraq in 2004, has been feuding with Trump after the Republican presidential nominee criticized Khan's parents' appearance at the Democratic National Convention.
In 2014, the company launched a program called UberMILITARY to "introduce service members, veterans, and military spouses to Uber," including as drivers.
"This is a small gesture," wrote UberMILITARY'S director Todd Bowers in a company news release, "but it is a symbol and a reminder that we all should be doing our part to honor these families who have given so much."