Washington CNN) – With less than two weeks before federal money runs out for transportation projects across the country, a partisan showdown is developing between Senate Democrats and House Republicans over passing a new bill.
The standoff, based on sharply differing views about the overall expense of the bill and how to pay for it, jeopardizes thousands of road and bridge construction projects.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - A new rule requiring airlines to include government taxes and fees in their advertised price is continuing to cause turbulence in the travel industry - and a congressman said Monday he'll introduce a bill to overturn it.
Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, said Monday he will introduce a bill to cancel the U.S. Department of Transportation rule, which took effect last week. The rule requires airlines to roll mandatory per-passenger taxes and fees into the advertised fare, but allows them to break down the costs elsewhere in the advertisement.FULL STORY
(CNN) - In some post-election hardball between the Obama administration and newly-elected Republicans, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is threatening to take back stimulus funds from states if they do not follow through on proposed rail projects.
CNN obtained copies of letters LaHood sent to incoming Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin who have stated their opposition to rail projects already underway in their states. In the letters, LaHood said a rail link between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati in Ohio, and a high-speed rail connection between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are vital to economic growth in both regions.
New York (CNNMoney.com) – Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood on Monday blamed a senator's filibuster for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs while shutting down highway construction projects nationwide.
"As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country," wrote LaHood, in a press release. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed."
LaHood was referring to the one-man filibuster of Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., who has blocked a bill that would, among other things, provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which is a federal fund set up to pay for transportation projects around the country.
Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard did not speak directly about the job disruptions cited by LaHood, when asked about it by CNNMoney.com, but he reiterated Bunning's belief that if 100 senators support the bill, they should come up with the $10 billion to fund it on a pay-as-you-go basis.
"Sen. Bunning supports this bill," said Reynard. "He believes it's essential, and he believes we should pass it. But he believes we should pay for it. "
Washington (CNN) - Taking action against air travel nightmares, the Department of Transportation ordered airlines on Monday to allow passengers stranded on airport tarmacs to deplane after three hours.
After a series of horror stories, including one in which passengers were stranded overnight on a plane in Rochester, Minnesota last summer, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that in the future, passengers will be allowed to disembark after three hours.
"Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly," LaHood said in a statement.
This rule will apply to domestic flights, with exceptions only for safety or security issues, or if air traffic control advises the pilot that returning to the terminal would disrupt operations. U.S. airlines operating international flights will have to specify their time limits for deplaning passengers in advance.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Cash for Clunkers is just about at the end of the road.
The government-funded rebate program, popular with consumers, comes to its official completion on Monday.
Dealers have until 8 p.m. to file claims for any deals. The government will not extend the deadline for filing claims, the Department of
Transportation said Monday morning.
The U.S. Department of Transportation had received 625,000 applications from dealers for Cash for Clunkers vouchers totaling $2.58 billion as of Monday morning, the DOT said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the country is already "seeing shovels hit the ground" on the first infrastructure repair project funded through the Transportation Department's share of the $787 billion stimulus bill.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added, "The work begins today in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a work crew is starting on a project to resurface Maryland State Highway 650 - a very busy road that has not been fully repaired in 17 years."
Obama and LaHood made the announcement during an appearance before federal workers at the Transportation Department.
(CNN) – Michelle Obama continued her listening tour Friday, stopping at the Department of Transportation "simply to say thank you" to government employees and to push the president's $787 billion dollar stimulus plan. The DOT visit is the first lady's fifth and latest stop in her series of visits to government agencies.
The first lady, touting the stimulus bill as, “the largest investment in our nations' infrastructure since the interstate highways were created,” claimed the plan would “repair and re-build highways, expand access to public transportation which we all need, invest in high-speed railways which we all need, and improve our nations' airports.”
Mrs. Obama also told employees that not a day goes by that the work of the DOT "doesn't touch the lives of every single person in America."
"We rely on the airlines, the trains, the buses that are under your supervision to reach loved ones and to conduct business in distant places all over this country because of your work," the first lady said. "We can buy the products that make life comfortable and conduct the commerce that's the engine of our economy."
“Just know that we value you, America values you, and together we can get this country moving again," Obama said in closing. "We're going to need one another."