Transportation News for February 9, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on February 9, 2015

POLITICO Morning Transportation for 2/9/2015


FOXX ON CAPITOL HILL THIS WEEK: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as the House T&I Committee officially kicks off its work on the highway and transit bill. Expect Foxx to talk up the transportation plans in President Barack Obama’s budget and the possibility of a back-and-forth discussion about the merits of using repatriation to fund transportation. Obama’s budget proposes a mandatory tax on company profits stashed overseas, revenue from which would be funneled into the Highway Trust Fund. And while members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees haven’t really warmed up to the plan, other influential lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support the idea of repatriation for highways.

#STUCKINTRAFFIC: But the best reason to tune into the midweek hearing may be for what happens after. Foxx is set to team up with House T&I Chairman Bill Shuster for a transportation Twitter town hall (can you say that three times fast?). And MT is told the official hashtag will be #StuckInTraffic.

Highway hearing, part deux:Wednesday’s hearing isn’t the committee’s only public action on the transportation bill this month. A second hearing on the bill is planned for Feb. 26.

NEXT HIGHWAY BILL = THE GOOD STUFF: The T&I hearing is not the first time this year that Foxx has been up on the Hill to talk transportation funding. He testified before the Senate EPW Committee on the same topic in late January. MT chatted with EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe about his committee’s work on the bill and how different it will be from the 2012 law. “We’re rapidly working right now with the House. Bill Shuster has his concerns about this as we do and so it’s still No. 1 on the agenda,” he told MT. The Oklahoma lawmaker said they’ve also tossed around the idea of having a joint House-Senate hearing, like the one the two committees held on water issues last week.

So how will this bill be different than MAP-21 in 2012? “I think we’re going to have a little bit more streamlining, some things that will make things faster. It’s going to be more of the good stuff,” he said before being whisked away on a Senate subway train.


Tuesday: Sen. Deb Fischer, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce infrastructure panel, holds her second hearing of the year, this time on the movement of goods, the U.S. supply chain and ports. Maybe by Tuesday, the Dems will have settled their leadership slots and Fischer will have an official ranking member by her side.

Thursday: The House Transportation Committee will mark up the passenger rail bill it introduced last week. The bipartisan bill is basically the same legislation the committee approved last year, avoids partisan landmines and is expected to easily get a thumbs-up from both sides.

Friday: A House Oversight panel holds a hearing on last month’s deadly Metro smoke incident and whether there’s a safety gap within the agency. The end-of-week hearing kicks off at 9 a.m.

-Related read: Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski wants more transparency from Metro after January’s fatal smoke accident. The Washington Post:

TESLA BLOCKERS EARN LUDDITE AWARD: The states of Arizona, Michigan, Texas and New Jersey earned the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s 2014 Luddite Awards for taking “action last year to prevent Tesla from opening stores in their states to sell cars directly to consumers.” The states earned 34 percent of a public vote, beating out the NRA’s opposition to smart guns, which earned 27 percent of the vote.


-New report out today from Sen. Ed Markey shows serious security gaps in cars’ wireless technology. The New York Times:

-West Coast ports to reopen after shuttering over the weekend. USA Today:

-Opinion: Public must be wary of P3s. The Wall Street Journal:

-TransAsia grounds part of its fleet after new details surface in fatal crash. The Wall Street Journal:

-High-speed rail op-ed: “150 years of working on the railroad.” The New York Times:

-Is the car of the future actually an electric tricycle? CityLab:

-Uber wins award for best startup in 2014. TechCrunch:

THE COUNTDOWN: Highway and transit policy expires in 111 days. DOT appropriations run out and the FAA reauthorization expires in 233 days. The 2016 presidential election is in 638 days.

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