Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the RPA Blog.

Hotline #691

The House Public Works Committee approved a revised surface transportation bill (now designated H.R.3566) on October 15, 52-3. The revised bill follows upon the September 18 decision by House leadership to drop the proposed five-cent hike in the federal gas tax on which the original bill's funding was premised. The revised bill authorizes $151 billion over six years, with $119 billion for highways and $32 billion for transit. The bill was supposed to come to the House floor yesterday, but was p

Hotline #690

The House approved the fiscal 1991 transportation appropriations conference bill, 374-49, on October 9. The Senate is expected to approve it on October 16. The House Public Works Transportation Subcommittee yesterday released a new version of H.R.2950, the surface transportation bill. The full Committee will consider it on October 8, then it goes to Ways and Means for discussion of the gas-tax extension on October 9. The full House may vote on it on October 10, then it would go to conference to

Hotline #689

For the federal government, fiscal 1992 began October 1, but transportation programs technically remain unfunded, though there is a continuing resolution to fund programs at their 1991 levels through October 29. House Public Works leaders are now struggling with how to allocate highway dollars by state, the same problem that threatened the Senate bill in June. House leaders hope to have a bill on the floor October 17-18. Preliminary information is that until a new authorization is law, transit

Hotline #688

The present highway and transit authorization comes to an end on September 30. Of course, it will be impossible to finish new legislation by then -- it may take until Thanksgiving. Everything depends on the House, because the Senate passed its bill in mid-June. However, House Public Works staff are not worried about the expiration of the current program, saying there is "enough money in the pipeline" for another 60 days. Speaker Tom Foley (D.-Wash.) has told Public Works that he wants a bill on

Hotline #687

Finally, there is some news to report on H.R.2950, the House surface transportation bill. In the colorful words of the Washington Post, on September 18 Speaker Foley (D.-Wash.) performed "last rites on a seven-week-old corpse" by announcing that the controversial five-cent gas tax increase would be taken out of the bill and the bill itself would be rewritten. However, there is not likely to be major, structural changes made to H.R.2950. It is thought that as many of the pork-barrel highway proje

Hotline #686

Congress returned on September 11. Everyone wants to know what is happening with H.R.2950, the House surface transportation bill, but all that can be said is that, officially, it is in limbo while House leadership continue to discuss what is to be done with it. The Senate 1992 DOT appropriations bill was approved yesterday at both the subcommittee and committee levels. The Amtrak numbers compare very favorably with those approved by the full House on July 24 and published in our August newslett

Hotline #685

There is still no progress on the conversion of the Hotline to a 900 number, so it will be at least another two weeks yet. Congress returns on September 11. We expect the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee to mark up its DOT funding bill on September 11 or 12. The fate of the House surface transportation bill is still very dicey. House and Public Works leadership will be discussing what, if any, changes should be made to the bill, especially whether to keep the controversial gas

Hotline #684

The earliest that this Hotline service will be converted to a 900 number now is Hotline #686 of September 13. We regret any confusion that may be resulting from the numerous postponements of this service change. Five people were killed in a New York City subway crash the morning of August 28, just after midnight. The southbound #4 IRT night-time Lexington Avenue local was crossing over from an express track to a local track entering the 14th Street-Union Square Station and derailed, causing the

Hotline #683

The earliest that this Hotline service will be converted to a 900 number is now Hotline #685 of September 6. We regret any confusion that may be resulting from the numerous postponements of this service change. Hurricane Bob battered New England on August 19, affecting the operations of several railroads. Several Amtrak corridor trains were diverted to the Inland route via Worcester, causing delays. Trains that did run via Providence experienced delays of up to six and seven hours, because of e

Hotline #682

The conversion of this Hotline service to a 900 number is being postponed by another week, until Hotline #684 of August 30, to give callers a chance to call next week's message to hear what the new phone number will be. A tri-weekly extension of the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Miami may happen in 1993, after recent negotiations between Amtrak and the states along that route. Using the Federal Railroad Administration study as a base, Amtrak has offered to pick up the $1 million annual ope