February 29, 2016
On Saturday, February 27, the DC Streetcar finally opened its 2.2-mile stretch on H Street and Benning Road N.E. Years delayed and for a cost of $200 million, this is what we get. The Economist called it “pointless” and a “folly.” Others were blunter. Most D.C. residents accept that their city has wasted a lot of money, but just how wasteful was this sentimental excursion into the mass transit past?
The DC Streetcar mirrors the H Street-Benning segment of the 5.2-...
February 24, 2016
To date, CEI’s analysis of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441) has largely focused on proposed air traffic control reforms, which CEI strongly supports. But the House’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization plan covers much more than air traffic control corporatization. This series will highlight non-ATC elements of the bill that should either be supported, improved upon, or discarded from a free market, limited-government perspective. The first entry covers the local airport user fee called the passenger facility charge (PFC). This second entry covers unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)....
February 22, 2016
To date, CEI’s analysis of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441) has focused on proposed air traffic control reforms, which CEI strongly supports. But the House’s reauthorization plan covers much more than air traffic control corporatization. This series will highlight non-ATC elements of the bill that should either be supported, improved upon, or discarded from a free market, limited-government perspective. The first entry covers the local airport user fee called the passenger facility charge (PFC).
The AIRR Act shows little love for PFC modernization. This is not surprising, given that House leadership has largely focused on air traffic control corporatization, which is an...
February 15, 2016
To anyone following this policy battle, the Times editorial reads like it was written by Delta Air Lines, the sole airline opposed to the deal, even relying on debunked claims about Nav Canada contained in a recent “study” produced by Delta lobbyists. Linking to a Delta press release...
February 11, 2016
Following three government reports in the 1980s highlighting the low cabin air quality caused by cigarette smoking and the health risks of passive smoke, Congress banned smoking aboard airliners.
This prohibition is currently codified at 49 U.S.C. § 41706, and refers to “smoke” and “smoking,” which are banned on domestic and international flights. A popular new alternative to smoking is the electronic cigarette. Unlike cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not combust tobacco and do not produce smoke. Instead, they heat a liquid that generates vapor containing nicotine and is absorbed by the user’s lungs.
According to the latest scientific research, e-cigarettes are around...
January 14, 2016
Today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced new initiatives on automated vehicles, commonly referred to as driverless cars, self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles. Foxx, joined by representatives from Google, Tesla, the Big 3 automakers, and Tier 1 supplier Delphi, discussed the Obama administration’s plan to pump $4 billion over 10 years to “accelerate” the development and deployment of automated vehicles. How they exactly plan to do so—and to ensure these requested funds won’t be squandered on pet projects or on initiatives that delay development and deployment—remains to be seen.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also...
January 7, 2016
Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration’s two drone rulemakings got a lot of attention: their strange attempt to implement Congress’s airspace integration mandate and their unlawful drone registration mandate. CEI submitted comments in both (see here and here).
With 2016 being the final year of Obama’s presidency, we can expect a flurry of rulemaking activity—some good, but mostly bad....
Automated Vehicles Update: California DMV Releases Draft Rules and Some Notes about that Crash StudyDecember 18, 2015
CALIFORNIA DMV AV OPPS RULES PROPOSED: On December 16, the California Department of Motor Vehicles released its draft licensing and operations rules for consumer automated vehicles, or “autonomous vehicles” as defined in California statute (CA Veh Code § 38750). The draft rules were supposed to have been released in August 2014, so California DMV is more than a year late. California DMV summarizes the rules here. AV consultant Brad Templeton provides a critical summary of the provisions ...
December 15, 2015
On December 16, the FAA will publish its interim final rule (IFR) on Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft in the Federal Register. The prepublication rule can be found here. IFRs take effect immediately upon publication (more on this below).
Here is the FAA’s summary of major provisions to be included under 14 C.F.R. Part 48 (Table 1, p. 6):
December 10, 2015
Last Friday, December 4, President Obama signed into law the FAST Act, which reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs through Fiscal Year 2020 to the tune of $305 billion (about $61 billion annually). AASHTO has a detailed funding table here. You can see how much your state will receive for its highways here.
On funding, CEI has long urged Congress to adhere to the users-pay/users-benefit principle and to reject general fund bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund traditionally funds the lion’s share of surface transportation....