Public Transit

Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa is not Duncan Hunter’s only problem in California primary
Radio host Carl DeMaio is also a factor in GOP battle for San Diego-area seat

Republican House candidate Carl DeMaio of California during a September interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One’s a six-term congressman whose father held the seat for 28 years before him. Another served nine terms one district over. But a gay conservative talk radio host who doesn’t even live in the district is giving both a run for their money among Republicans in Southern California’s 50th District.

Former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio may have an early lead on incumbent GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is under indictment on corruption charges, and former Republican House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who announced a comeback bid just nine months after retiring from the neighboring 49th District.

Rayburn evacuated after alarms sound throughout building
The exact cause of the alarm and evacuation is not yet known

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. holds a meeting in between Rayburn and Longworth after alarms sounded throughout the Rayburn House Office Building causing an evacuation Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Katherine Tully-McManus/ CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers, staff and visitors were evacuated for almost two hours on Tuesday afternoon after fire alarms sounded throughout the Rayburn House Office Building.

Capitol Police and Architect of the Capitol staff were on the scene, including a fire marshal and emergency management personnel. Staff was evacuated at about 1:30 p.m. and allowed to return after 3:15 p.m. 

Washington goes slow on self-driving cars, and states don’t mind
State-level policymakers were among those who sank bills in Congress last year

An Uber self-driving car navigates the streets of San Francisco last year. California was one of the first states to enact rules of the road for vehicles using automation, and others have followed suit. Meanwhile, federal lawmakers have failed to act. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Electronic chimes sounded as the self-driving minibus halted its crawl through the parking lot of an upscale office park here. There was no obvious reason for the stop, so its operator made a note to report it, then used a touch screen to restart the shuttle’s test drive.

The bright red, 12-passenger vehicle, which maxes out at 12 mph and was designed by French firm EasyMile, is part of an effort to use autonomous technology to improve access to transit stations in the area. But first, as the unscheduled stop on a breezy April day showed, the shuttle needs extensive testing to make sure it’s safe for public roads.

Schumer: Gas tax hike should be tied to 2017 tax cut rollback
Democrats seek a plan going beyond highways, tackling clean energy and making infrastructure resilient to climate change

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrive for a new conference in the Capitol about a continuing resolution to re-open the government on January 25, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:50 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants President Donald Trump to consider rolling back parts of his signature 2017 tax cuts as a condition for advancing legislation to raise the federal fuel tax, according to a person close to the New York Democrat, a demand that will complicate efforts to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill before the 2020 elections.

“Unless President Trump considers undoing some of the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy,” the person said, “Schumer won’t even consider a proposal from the president to raise the gas tax, of which the poor and working people would bear the brunt.”

Pelosi, Schumer head to the White House for infrastructure talks
Pelosi said in a letter the meeting will focus on advancing bipartisan action on a bill to grow the economy and create jobs

The Washington Monument can be seen as traffic travels over the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge also known as the South Capitol Street bridge April 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. The bridge is one of 61,000 bridges across America that the Department of Transportation said were structurally deficient and in need of repair. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are expected to meet with the president at the White House on Tuesday to try to set a path to passage of a public works package as the 2020 elections draw nearer.

In a Friday letter to fellow lawmakers, Pelosi said the meeting will focus on advancing “bipartisan action on a bold infrastructure bill to create jobs and grow our economy in a green and modern way.”

Chao defends delayed 737 Max decision, to House appropriators
The FAA’s handling of the crash raises questions about how the agency operates

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao arrives for the Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the proposed Transportation Department budget for FY2020 on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao defended to House appropriators the administration’s decision not to immediately ground the Boeing 737 Max after an Ethiopian Airlines crash last month, even as other countries did so right away.

While Chao was appearing before the House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee to defend the administration’s budget request for her agency, Chairman David E. Price, D-N.C., and ranking member Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., both said they wanted to understand more about the Federal Aviation Administration's process for certifying the model of the Boeing plane.

The ABCs of the Green New Deal
If climate change is the fulcrum propping up the plan, economic inequality is the foot stomping down on the raised end of the seesaw

For supporters of the Green New Deal resolution — sponsored by Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the threat of climate change is a fulcrum to tackle the country’s social, economic, racial and historical ills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since the dangers of greenhouse gases became clear, American politicians have whittled away at climate change in incremental steps: energy-efficiency policies, U.N. climate treaties, basic research, fuel-consumption standards.

But they have not enacted a comprehensive plan to address climate change at the scale and with the speed climate scientists say is required to insulate humanity from what is to come.

Atlanta fears shutdown impact on Super Bowl travelers
About 120,000 partiers are expected to depart on “Mass Exodus Monday”

Stranded passengers relax near baggage claim at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Dec. 18, 2017, as hundreds of flights were canceled after a power outage at the airport. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

Worried about “Mass Exodus Monday” when an estimated 120,000 Super Bowl partiers will leave Atlanta en masse, the city is taking matters into its own hands to help keep unpaid airport screeners on the job.

An Atlanta credit union will be offering zero interest loans to Transportation Security Administration employees to try to prevent them from calling in sick after the game, said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat.

Metro Seeks Stable Federal Funding as States Set to Pony Up
Plan could hit a stumbling block in President Donald Trump, who has proposed deep cuts

A WMATA Metro Red Line Metro train pulls into Metro Center in Washington in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After years of inconsistent funding and budget shortfalls, the Washington Metro is finally on track to get a boost in funding in fiscal 2019 from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, which would clear the way for the transit system to pursue federal dollars.

The District and its two neighbors would increase the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s fiscal 2019 funding by $126 million over the current $374 million if legislation is enacted in all three jurisdictions. Once those funds are approved, WMATA will also look to continue current federal funding at $150 million per year for the next 10 years, spokeswoman Sherri Ly confirmed Thursday. 

Whiplashed Planners Fear GOP Swerve on Infrastructure
After close call on public-private financing tool, all eyes on 2018

Private activity bonds, or PABs, are fueling a multibillion-dollar expansion of Los Angeles International Airport. (Courtesy LAXDevelopment.org)

Los Angeles has gained national notice for a series of ambitious projects affecting all facets of southern California’s transportation network, from the city’s light rail system to Los Angeles International Airport.

Many of the projects — a multibillion dollar expansion of the airport, work on roads leading to and from the busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and a new light rail line, among others — were or will be financed with a tool called private activity bonds.