Transportation Report

DOT chief touts Louisiana highway on bus tour

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx touted on Friday a highway project in Shreveport, La., that has received $42 million from the federal government as example of why Congress should approve a new transportation funding bill. 

The highway, a 10-mile extension of U.S. Interstate 49, is scheduled to open in May. 

Foxx said in a blog post on the Department of Transportation’s website that the Louisiana project was an example of types of infrastructure projects that could be completed if Congress were to approve a new round of transportation funding this summer. 

“By 2020, 37,000 vehicles will travel this highway every day, reducing traffic on other roads,” Foxx wrote about the I-49 extension. 

The current transportation funding bill is scheduled to expire in September. 

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LA airport evacuated after bomb threat

Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 7 was evacuated this week after receiving a bomb threat, The Associated Press reported

The LAX terminal was closed for an hour on Thursday morning after a passenger said he had a bomb in his luggage, but it reopened after officials discovered no explosive device, according to the report.

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DC Metro Silver Line director resigning

The director of Washington, D.C.’s Silver Line Metrorail extension is resigning, The Washington Post reports

The announcement comes as the first phase of the Metro extension is nearing completion. The line will run 11.5 miles in northern Virginia through Tysons Corner to Reston. Another 11.5 miles is scheduled to be built later to connect the D.C. Metro system to Washington’s Dulles International Airport. 

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which is building the Silver Line and operates Dulles, announced this week that its rail director, Pat Nowakowski, is resigning to take another transportation-related job, according to the report. 

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NPR affiliate disturbed by Minneapolis light rail

Minneapolis’s National Public Radio affiliate is complaining about being disturbed by noise from trains on the city’s light railway, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports

The offending trains are on the city’s Metro Transit Green Line extension, which is scheduled to open this summer. 

Minnesota Public Radio said the noise from test trains on the track is rattling windows in its studio, according to the report. 

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Airbag maker added to GM lawsuit

Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against General Motors for its handling of widespread recalls are adding the maker of airbags that were found to be defective to their list of defendants they are seeking compensation from. 

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, alleges that Auburn Hills, Mich., based Continental Automotive Systems US Inc. was aware its airbags were not deploying properly in the GM cars that have been recalled. 

GM is facing litigation for accidents involving recalled vehicles made between 2004 and 2010 that have been found to have a dangerous ignition switch flaw that caused cars to abruptly shut off or have their airbags disabled. The company is being accused of delaying issuing the recall, which has been linked to 13 deaths, until February of this year to avoid paying for repairs. 

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CBO: Highway fund will face shortfall under Obama budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Thursday that the Department of Transportation’s  Highway Trust Fund will not have enough money under President Obama’s proposed 2015 budget, despite an infusion of cash that has been suggested by the president. 

Obama has called for Congress to approve a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation bill before the federal government’s current road and transit funding measure expires in September. The money would be used to plug a hole in the Highway Trust Fund, which is normally used to pay for federal transportation projects. 

But the CBO said Thursday that Obama’s budget would still leave the Highway Trust Fund with a shortfall because the DOT needs to have at least $4 billion in the account to keep pace with infrastructure obligations. 

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Travel website adds Amtrak reservations

A popular travel website is adding Amtrak reservations alongside its flight options, USA Today reports

The website, CheapAir.com, will allow travelers who are going to east coast cities like Washington, D.C., Boston and New York to compare Amtrak trips with flights. 

The company says it is the first travel website that is primarily geared toward flights to offer Amtrak options, according to the report. 

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Co-pilot of flight that landed at wrong airport retires

The co-pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight that landed at the wrong airport in January has retired, the Associated Press reports

The pilot had been serving a suspension since working on a flight from Chicago’s Midway Airport that landed at the Taney County, Mo., airport instead of its intended destination in Branson. 

The two airports are about seven miles apart. The captain of the errant Southwest flight has resumed flying, according to the report. 

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DOT chief touts Atlanta Beltline project

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx touted a proposed multi-use transportation project in Atlanta known as the Beltline after touring part of the planned development Wednesday. 

Foxx was visiting Atlanta on the third day of his bus tour to push Congress to approve new road and transit projects this year. 

He said the Georgia capital's Beltline, which is a mixture of public transit such as streetcars and bike and walking trails, is the kind of project that can be built if Congress reauthorizes an expiring surface transportation bill before funding runs out in the fall. 

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