Obama taps Roy Kienitz as U.S. Department of Transportation’s undersecretary for policy

March 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm

(Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

President Obama has nominated one of Gov. Rendell’s top policy advisers to a leading post in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Roy Kienitz, a deputy chief of staff for Rendell, has been nominated as the department’s undersecretary for policy.

The White House, in a news release issued late Friday, credited Kienitz with directing a number of major capital projects during his tenure with the commonwealth, including the expansion of the Convention Center and the Port of Philadelphia.

Kienitz was appointed by Rendell as his chief adviser on transportation, energy and environmental policy shortly after Rendell took office in 2003.

“He is one of the brightest, [most] hardworking, talented members of the administration. His defection to the Obama administration will be a loss,” said Rendell’s spokesman Chuck Ardo.

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Transportation would get $72.5 billion – UPI.com

February 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

 

The Transportation Department also received $48.1 billion in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for shovel-ready infrastructure construction projects.

The proposed 2010 budget includes a five-year, $5 billion state grant program for high-speed rail projects, which is above $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail projects in the stimulus package.

USDOT’s FY 2010 Transportation budget proposes $800 million for the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

February 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

(Source: Business First)

The U.S. Department of Transportation budget, within the framework of the federal government’s Fiscal 2010 budget outlined Thursday by President Obama, calls for the federal government to provide $800 million for the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

The system, which has been beta tested by Louisville-based UPS Airlines since 1996, is an effort to improve the nation’s air traffic control system by using a satellite based surveillance system rather than the current radar surveillance system.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in November approved the deployment of the system, also known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B.

UPS Airlines, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS), tested ADS-B on 107 Boeing B-757 and 767 aircraft, Business First reported in August 2006.

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DOT will take back seat to White House advisers on climate — LaHood

February 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm

(Source: ClimateWire via NYTimes)

LaHood told a group of state transportation officials that while he has already taken part in a number of meetings to discuss climate change legislation with Obama, DOT would likely take a back seat in the climate debate.

“We’ve really taken all of our cues from Carol Browner,” he said, referring to the White House coordinator for energy and climate issues.

LaHood said Browner and U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson would most likely do the heavy lifting when it comes to meeting Obama’s climate goals. DOT is “in the room, we’re at the table, but we probably have less of a role than perhaps some of these other agencies do,” he said at the Washington forum.

DOT instead will focus on finalizing new corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards for the auto industry.

LaHood said his agency was working to finish the rulemaking for model year 2011 by this April’s deadline. “We’re going to move that out the door,” he said. “We’re going with what the president asked us to do with respect to CAFE standards.”

Under the proposed rulemaking issued by DOT last year, carmakers would have to raise their fuel economy by 25 percent by 2015. The proposal would push automakers more than halfway to the minimum goal set by Congress of an average of 35 mpg by 2020.

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FedEx Chief Opposes Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT)

February 24, 2009 at 12:15 am

(Source:  trafficworldonline.com)

The CEO of one of the largest U.S. transportation companies opposes replacing the gas tax with a vehicle mileage tax, claiming it would be unfair to many motorists.

Replacing the federal fuels tax with a tax on vehicle miles traveled would be “ill-advised,” said Fred Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx, Memphis, Tenn.

Such a levy would “unfairly penalize parts of the country – Montana, North Dakota -where people” have to travel long distances, Smith said Feb. 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where he promoted the use of electric vehicles.

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Tax-by-the-mile rejected by Arizona transportation experts

February 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm

(Source: KTAR.com)

Taxing motorists on how many miles they drive instead of how much gas they buy is an idea that wouldn’t fly in Arizona, according to transportation experts.

The idea was floated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week, but quickly rejected by President Barack Obama.

LaHood said gas taxes can no longer be expected to fund highway and bridge construction.

Linda Gorman of AAA Arizona said she doubts the idea would have much support in Arizona.

“For Arizona, I would be very surprised, because while, in many instances the country has gone more liberal, Arizona has stayed a little bit more conservative, so it’s typically not a discussion that bodes well in this environment.”

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On-time Performance Soars for U.S. Airlines

February 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

(Source: stltoday.com)

Believe it or not, you had a better chance of reaching your flight destination on time last year than in 2007 because major airlines are cutting back their schedules.

Passengers flying in and out of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport benefited as well, according to annual numbers published this month by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Slightly more than 77 percent of inbound flights reached Lambert on time in 2008, compared to just under 75 percent in 2007. Nationally, about 76 percent of flights operated by the 19 largest airlines landed on time last year.

Slightly less than 70 percent of flights left St. Louis on time in both years — with a slight improvement in 2008.

Flight cancellations also dropped last year compared to 2007.

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GPS-Monitored Vehicle Fees: Change You Can’t Believe In

February 22, 2009 at 12:07 am

(Source: InsideGNSS.com)

One change that apparently won’t happen under the Obama administration is replacing the federal gasoline tax with a GPS-monitored mileage fee.

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Ray LaHood had suggested that his agency should look at a “vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled.”

 

It was one of the shortest flights of a trial balloon so far this year.

When asked at his February 20 news briefing about the mileage fee concept and whether President Obama had “weighed in” on the subject, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, “I don’t believe the President has. I can weigh in on it and say that it is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration.”

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Breaking News: Obama nixes plan to tax motorists on mileage

February 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm

(Source: Associated Press via Yahoo.com)

President Barack Obama on Friday rejected his transportation secretary’s suggestion that the administration consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive instead of how much gasoline they buy. “It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, when asked for the president’s thoughts about Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s suggestion, raised in an interview with The Associated Press a daily earlier.

Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation’s transportation system moving, LaHood told the AP.

“We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled,” the former Illinois Republican lawmaker said in the AP interview.

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