Transportation & Infrastructure

Trump Advisers’ Infrastructure Plan Has Big Risks
Could reward investors in projects

President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross worked on Trump's proposal for infrastructure (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo).

An infrastructure plan put together by two advisers of President Donald Trump could carry potential risks, economists and transportation experts say.

The plan is based on a paper by Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro, who is director of the National Trade Council, and Wilbur Ross, Trump's pick for Commerce Secretary that was set before the election.

Chao Drives Toward Quick Confirmation
Transportation designee wins bipartisan praise at Commerce Committee

Transportation Secretary-designee Elaine Chao testifies as her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, looks on during her Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On Wednesday morning, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s most important title in the Senate wasn’t majority leader. It was husband.

“I regret that I have but one wife to give for my country’s infrastructure,” the Kentucky Republican quipped at the confirmation hearing for his spouse, Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine L. Chao. The line was borrowed from former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, whose wife, Elizabeth, once held the same Cabinet post.

Lawmakers Push to Include Digital in Infrastructure Plans
We need firewalls, not physical walls, says Rep. Ted Lieu

California Rep. Ted Lieu said the country is better protected by firewalls than the physical wall President-elect Donald Trump has proposed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As rebuilding the country’s infrastructure looks to be an area President-elect Donald Trump and Democrats can agree on, lawmakers from both parties are trying to make sure the conversation includes digital infrastructure. 

California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said digital infrastructure is as vital to the country as roads and bridges.

Michigan Lawmakers Laud Long-Awaited Flint Aid
Congress has approved $170 million in assistance

Michigan Democratic lawmakers, from left, Sen. Gary Peters, Rep. Dan Kildee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rep. John Conyers Jr. attend a news conference on Capitol Hill in September on aid for the Flint water crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress has approved aid for the city of Flint, Michigan, which has been grappling with a water contamination crisis since late 2014.

Michigan lawmakers have been working for nearly a year to secure funds to replace water pipes that poisoned the city’s water with lead.

Harry Reid Might Yet Get McCarran’s Name Off Las Vegas Airport
Democrats in Nevada want to rename it after Reid

Retiring Sen. Harry Reid would still like to see former Sen. Patrick McCarran’s name taken off Las Vegas’ airport. (iStock)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid mentioned one piece of unfinished business in his farewell floor speech that could eventually be accomplished thanks to his work electing Democrats in Nevada.

Speaking about his efforts to improve transportation in his home state, Reid spoke of his crusade to take former Sen. Patrick McCarran’s name off McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Elaine Chao Expected to Lead Transportation Department
Former Labor secretary is wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Former Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao, right, campaigned frequently with her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate former Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao to run the Transportation Department, according to multiple media reports.

Chao served as Labor secretary during the entire administration of George W. Bush, and was deputy Transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush.

Sanders Calls Trump’s Infrastructure Plan a ‘Scam’
Says it’s ‘corporate welfare’ for Wall Street

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he plans to reintroduce his Rebuild America Act next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders has denounced President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal as “a scam.” 

Some Democrats have signaled that updating the nation’s infrastructure might be something they could work with the incoming president on.

Trump Eyes a Bipartisan Idea to Pay for Rebuilt Roads, Bridges
Republicans and Democrats have pitched a national infrastructure bank

Workers oversee heavy machinery in April as they move earth on the National Mall near 7th St. Northwest. President-elect Donald Trump wants to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are mulling ways to finance a massive infrastructure-rebuilding project, floating an idea championed by some Democrats as one option to get a legislative package to his desk.

During their bitter presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had championed an infrastructure investment bank while Trump proposed paying for projects by “repatriating” profits U.S. corporations held overseas with a one-time 10 percent tax.

Metro Bypasses Congress, Looks to States to Plug Funding Gap
Fare hikes, service cuts ruled out to address $275 million shortfall

A man waits for a Metro train at the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro is facing a $275 million shortfall in its operating budget and will likely look to the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to fill that hole before asking for more federal government assistance.

That was the assessment of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board Chairman Jack Evans at a Thursday board meeting. Evans categorically rejected any plan to cover the shortfall by reducing services, increasing fares or shifting funds from Federal Transit Administration grants. Instead, Evans said, local jurisdictions — the District of Columbia and its two adjacent states — must cover the gap with a subsidy.

Metro to Nats Fans: You're Out!
Transit system won't lift late-night moratorium for playoff baseball

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority issued its “SafeTrack” plan to improve reliability and safety in Washington’s public transit system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro can take Washington Nationals fans out to the ball game Thursday night, but leaving may be another matter. The agency is sticking to its plan not to provide late-night service as part of its 10-month maintenance overhaul.

Despite pressure from the District of Columbia Council, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said Wednesday it will not lift its late-night service moratorium to accommodate fans attending the Nationals playoff game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Games have tended to last close to four hours. Metro says most service will cease by 11:45 p.m. and one southbound train will be available after midnight.

Water Bill a Better Vehicle to Help Flint, Ryan Says
Contamination in Michigan city 'more of local government issue'

Immanuel Stinson, right, and Aaron Hoskin, stock bottled water in the basement of the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan, in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(First appeared in CQ News on Sept. 22, 2016.)

Money to help Flint, Mich., address its drinking water disaster would be more appropriate as part of a water resources authorization bill than a continuing resolution to keep the government operating this fall, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said during his weekly press conference.

Water Bill With Flint Aid Passes Senate
Momentum grows for House action

Virginia Mitchell, right, and her daughter-in-law Tiara Williams leave the the Sylvester Broome Center in Flint, Mich., after receiving cases of bottled water in February. Legislation to renew the Water Resources Development Act, which included aid for Flint, passed the Senate Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A $10.6 billion water projects authorization bill — including $220 million in loans and grants to help Flint, Michigan, rebuild and recover from its lead-tainted drinking water system — passed the Senate Thursday, 95-3.

The legislation to renew the Water Resources Development Act authorizes 30 water projects, including watershed restoration efforts, repairs and improvements to waterways and flood-control systems, and EPA drinking-water infrastructure programs.

Metro Prepared for Longest Maintenance Surge
42 days of single tracking on edge of Orange line

The longest phase of the Washington Metro’s 10-month maintenance overhaul is on schedule to begin Thursday, marking the start of 42 days of continuous single tracking on the western edge of the Orange line, the agency said Monday.

The ninth out of the 15 phases of the SafeTrack program, as Metro has dubbed its maintenance effort, will affect service between the West Falls Church station and the Orange Line’s end at the Vienna station. In a departure from previous phases, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as Metro is formally known, will run a “shuttle train” during the project. Officials said they hope the shuttle train will help keep the rest of the line running smoothly while work is going on.

Metro Adds Weekend Shutdowns to Maintenance Plan
Updates to the existing overhaul include more station closures

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority continues its "Safe Track" plan to improve reliability and safety in Washington's public transit system into 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro will close rail stations over eight upcoming weekends as it expands its maintenance overhaul after federal authorities criticized the agency for a July derailment, Metro said Tuesday.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as Metro is formally known, extended the current Red Line surge, originally scheduled to end Thursday, through the weekend. While weekday service has been reduced by single-tracking, four stations on the western end of the line — White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove — will close Saturday and Sunday, Metro said in a news release.

Senators Want Passengers Compensated for Canceled Flights
Blumenthal, Markey seek information on airline policies when IT systems fail

An airliner passes the Lincoln Memorial as it approaches Ronald Reagan National Airport. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democratic senators are pressing airlines to do more to help passengers who get stuck as a result of computer breakdowns like those experienced by Delta and Southwest in recent weeks.

"We believe that, in the event of flight delays and cancellations caused by airlines, airlines should rebook interested passengers on another airline or on a different mode of transportation without charging consumers additional costs or fees and should provide passengers with full reimbursement and compensation," Sens. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote to 13 major airlines Tuesday.