- San Francisco Chronicle: Judge: Blind passengers can sue Uber for discrimination
- San Francisco Chronicle: California bill would green-light on-demand car pools
- San Francisco Chronicle: Ask voters to invest in BART improvements
- San Francisco Chronicle: Don’t ignore the San Francisco Bay’s needs during the drought
- Los Angeles Times: New bill could legalize paid carpooling
By JENNIFER SCHOLTES, with help from Heather Caygle and Darius Dixon
WHITE HOUSE PROPOSES NEW ENERGY TRANSPORTATION GRANTS: In a national energy review released this morning, the Obama administration is proposing a new DOT grant program aimed at improving connectors of transportation infrastructure used for moving energy products. Federal officials have even thought up a name for this hypothetical program: Actions to Support Shared Energy Transport Systems, or ASSETS. And they are recommending the program dole out $2 billion to $2.5 billion over 10 years.
In the report, the administration urges Congress to fund President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request for the Energy Information Administration to fill gaps in data on energy transportation and to share that information with the STB. The document also suggests the administration continue to look at alternatives for paying for maritime transportation infrastructure, and come up with plans for working with the private sector to finance port and waterway resources.
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE EXAMINES AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION: Lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee will talk today about making changes to the FAA’s certification process for new aircraft designs, looking to speed approvals and the time it takes for U.S. products to get to market. Those on the subcommittee that handles aviation issues will hear from a top FAA official, an aviation expert with GAO and a leader in the aviation manufacturing industry. “We need to make sure the certification process is working well and efficiently so we can get the planes and parts manufactured. Those are good-paying jobs, and obviously there’s a lot of opportunity,” subcommittee Chairwoman Kelly Ayotte told MT. “There are good things about the process. But I think an open, public hearing will bring to light any modifications we need to make it a better process.” Watch the hearing live at 2:30 p.m.: http://1.usa.gov/1DFVNF4
LAWMAKERS DECRY GM VICTIM COMPENSATION PROCESS: Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Bill Nelson plan to gather this afternoon on the Capitol grounds to demand GM provide a fair compensation process for those injured or whose family members were killed in accidents after faulty ignition switches failed to trigger airbag deployment. Blumenthal has been riled up since a federal bankruptcy judge ruled last week that the automotive company is shielded from death and injury claims in crashes that happened before it emerged from bankruptcy protection. The senator called the ruling a “disgraceful defeat for American justice and for victims” and reiterated his calls for the company to extend compensation deadlines, vowing “to hold GM accountable and prevent the reoccurrence of this problem.” The two senators will be joined at the press conference by Mark and Samuel Averill from Connecticut, whose mother died in a car accident in 2003, and a lawyer representing more than 1,000 people suing GM over the defect.
SENATE BANKING LEADERS SEEK TRANSPO FUNDING SUGGESTIONS: Federal Transit Administration acting chief Therese McMillan will testify this morning before the Senate Banking Committee as the panel’s lawmakers consider strategies for reauthorizing surface transportation authority, which is set to expire in less than six weeks. Chairman Richard Shelby told MT that his committee is just beginning to weigh all the options for funding the nation’s transportation infrastructure, mulling additional taxes and tolling. “We’re looking for suggestions,” he said Monday.
American-made: Shelby’s Democratic counterpart on the panel, Sen. Sherrod Brown, is expected during the hearing to encourage his colleagues to strengthen requirements that give preference to American-made materials for taxpayer-funded transportation projects, according to a Democratic aide for the committee. Catch the hearing webcast at 10 a.m.: http://1.usa.gov/1G1G5CD
TALKIN’ BOUT TUESDAY: Good morning and thanks for reading POLITICO’s Morning Transportation, your daily tipsheet on trains, planes, automobiles and ports.
Since you just can’t get enough of our Americana coverage, you’re going to love the just-launched transportation policy section of POLITICO Europe, where trucks aren’t called trucks: http://bit.ly/1D7ISIg. The latest headlines: Latvia has worst road safety record in EU (http://bit.ly/1P7KeM6) | Airlines face fines over failure to compensate passengers (http://bit.ly/1yMu5I6) | Conflict over Germany’s minimum wage plans (http://bit.ly/1HNEg0W).
“From Julie Andrews to Jerry Garcia, life was all fun and games. I was out of my head and underneath my bed, playing with electric trains.” http://bit.ly/1J43Lwm — H/t Marc Scribner.
RED CROSS: ‘DRONES CAN SAVE LIVES’: In partnership with a branch of the 32 Advisors consulting firm, the American Red Cross is set to release a report this morning on how drones can help first responders and improve disaster relief efforts, making several policy recommendations to the FAA on allowing drones for emergency and disaster response. The report recommends that the FAA allow small commercial drones to be flown over populated areas during declared emergencies and within controlled airspace within disaster areas. The report also suggests the FAA ensure it can scale up staff resources to process drone flight requests during disasters. The Red Cross will unveil the report during an event this morning at its headquarters. The full 52 pages: http://bit.ly/1Em9gp6. A six-page summary: http://bit.ly/1QcwGR4.
ROLLING OUT ‘FREIGHT CAN’T WAIT’: The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors is releasing an 81-page document (http://bit.ly/1bn0Zof) this morning called “Freight Can’t Wait,” urging Congress and the Obama administration to ensure passage of transportation policy that includes dedicated funding for multimodal freight projects. The group will unveil the report during a Capitol Hill press conference hosted by Reps. Alan Lowenthal and Brenda Lawrence, who plan to call for more investment in freight infrastructure. Watch the event live at 10 a.m.: http://1.usa.gov/1aMgvs.
FLOUNDERING PHMSA FAILS ITS MANDATE: More than 15 years after the fiery and fatal gas leak in northern Washington that prompted tighter pipeline regulations, there is little evidence of meaningful improvements, Pro’s Elana Schor and Andrew Restuccia explain in their latest story about the struggles of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. After digging through more than a decade of federal data and talking to more than 15 federal experts on pipeline safety, “the picture that emerges is of an agency that lacks the manpower to inspect the nation’s 2.6 million miles of oil and gas lines, that grants the industry it regulates significant power to influence the rulemaking process, and that has stubbornly failed to take a more aggressive regulatory role, even when ordered by Congress to do so.” More from Pro: http://politico.pro/1ElYAqy
DHS STEPS UP SCREENING OF AVIATION WORKERS: The security screening perks of being an airline or airport employee have just diminished substantially. DHS announced this week that it is handing down new screening rules requiring those workers to go through TSA security screening when flying as passengers and is now going to screen aviation employees more often, including randomly throughout the workday. Our Katherine A. Wolfe explains that the new rules come after a three-month review triggered by allegations of gun-smuggling by airline employees last year. http://politico.pro/1D83m4Z
LAWMAKERS EYE SPECTRUM BAND DOT USES: House Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers plan to talk with federal officials about freeing up high-frequency airwaves for consumer use on the 5 GHz band of radio spectrum DOT uses for its Intelligent Transportation Systems program for vehicle-to-vehicle communications. The goal is to increase unlicensed access to the spectrum band “without harming the existing work being done to improve auto safety.” The details from Pro’s Kate Tummarello: http://politico.pro/1yKFqrZ
MT MAILBAG: Siding with U.S. airline interests in their fight with Gulf carriers, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin is calling on DOT and the State Department to “carefully review” allegations that the foreign airlines are getting unfair government subsidies and “consider appropriate action to uphold the legacy of our Open Skies agreements.” Our Kathryn A. Wolfe explains that Durbin stops short of calling on federal officials to reopen Open Skies with the UAE and Qatar, but he does say in his letter that “government subsidies by the Gulf states have disrupted the playing field, … [which] puts the foundation of our Open Skies agreements at risk and has the potential to render the agreements meaningless.” The letter: http://politico.pro/1Em20tx
THE AUTOBAHN (SPEED READ):
— Millennials embrace cars, defying predictions of sales implosion. Bloomberg Business: http://bloom.bg/1aL9msD
— The sad ubiquity of sexual harassment on public transit. CityLab: http://bit.ly/1GevEAY
— Uber must face lawsuit claiming bias against blind riders. Reuters: http://reut.rs/1IyKaRG
— Pilots fault Allegiant on safety as talks stall. The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1HLP1AG
— World’s fastest train records speed of 603 kilometers per hour. Bloomberg Business: http://bloom.bg/1yMRysJ
— Trucking group urges government to move on speed limiters. AP: http://abcn.ws/1IA1LbL
— Europe’s used jets luring U.S. bargain buyers with strong dollar. Bloomberg Business: http://bloom.bg/1P8HzSd
— Aston Martin turns to China to soup up supercars. The Wall Street Journal: http://on.wsj.com/1aJ8pRp
— AirAsia plans share sale of Indonesia subsidiary early next year. Bloomberg Business: http://bloom.bg/1E4RzIC
— New California bill could legalize paid carpooling. LA Times: http://lat.ms/1O8ETa9
— With Purple Line decision looming, Maryland county officials tout economic benefits. The Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1yKNSY1
— U.S. airlines say gulf carriers rushing expansion amid probe. Bloomberg Business: http://bloom.bg/1E4Rq8d
— With a May 31 Transportation Deadline Ticking, State Officials Wait for Congress to Act. Route Fifty: http://bit.ly/1P4kqk5
THE COUNTDOWN: Highway and transit policy expires in 40 days. DOT appropriations run out and the FAA reauthorization expires in 162 days. The 2016 presidential election is in 568 days.Tags: transportation