Saturday, November 26, 2016

This Week in Transportation: November 26, 2016

This week in transportation, the FRA released draft regulations for high-speed rail and buzz grew for President-Elect Donald Trump's transportation infrastructure plan. Here are the most important and interesting transportation stories from the past week:

The Feds finally make safety rules for high-speed rail
WIRED reports, "Today, it’s back to good news: The Federal Railroad Administration is releasing new draft regulations that could make it a lot easier to build the speedier transport option right here in the US of A. They lay out clear safety standards for the trains, the product of 10 years of back-and-forth with industry."

Stephen Bannon has a grand plan to secure Trumpism’s future. Will Democrats cooperate?Greg Sargent writes for the Washington Post, "One of the most consequential decisions at the outset of the Trump presidency will be this: How far will Democrats go in cooperating with Donald Trump’s vow of a big boost in infrastructure spending? At first Democrats sounded very accommodating on this front, signaling that they were eager to work with Trump to pass a big package. But in an interview with me, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi laid down a harder line. She suggested Democrats should reject any infrastructure scheme that amounts to a privatization plan fueled by tax breaks, which it increasingly looks like Trump’s plan will be."

Five things to know about Trump's infrastructure plan
The Hill writes, "Buzz is growing around President-elect Donald Trump's plans for a massive infrastructure package. Republican and Democratic lawmakers frustrated by the lack of significant federal transportation spending are hopeful they can work with Trump on a bill, making it one of the few bipartisan issues that could see action next year... While the final details of Trump’s plan are still in flux, the real estate mogul has offered clues on the campaign trail about how he would work to repair the nation’s ailing transportation system. Here are five things to know about Trump’s infrastructure ideas."

Railroads push for inclusion in Trump infrastructure plan
The Hill reports, "A trade group representing major freight railroads and Amtrak is urging President-elect Donald Trump to include the rail industry in any infrastructure proposals. In a letter to the transition team on Monday, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) called for a number of specific policy reforms that affect the freight rail industry."

Be Wary of a Trump-Led Infrastructure Bank
Laura Bliss writes for The Atlantic's CityLab, "Still, if it was seeded adequately and guided by strategic policy objectives, a national infrastructure bank could serve a new and meaningful purpose, as an addition to the federal government’s existing suite of financing tools. Now, whether that means Congress should rally to support a Trump-backed infrastructure bank—or any part of a Trumpian infrastructure plan—is a separate question. Prominent Democrats have announced their willingness to partner with Trump on his public works proposals. Yet Trump’s plan to privatize infrastructure projects, insofar as his advisors have explained it, is profoundly unviable. And it’s entirely unclear what the national objectives of Trump’s infrastructure build-out would be, beyond jobs, jobs, jobs."

Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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