Entries in Transportation (5)


Billion Dollar Losses Likely from Hurricane Sandy

Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Aaron Donovan(NEW YORK) -- The multi-billion dollar insurance losses from Hurricane Sandy could be larger than anyone expected before the massive storm blew ashore, and it may take weeks to assess the damage from widespread flooding and destruction in the east.

Preliminary estimates are that Sandy will be a lot more expensive than last year’s Hurricane Irene, which according to one finding cost nearly $16 billion with more than ten states directly affected. The National Flood Insurance Program will step in to pay for some of the damage. 

Stock trading is closed for a second straight day. Bond trading will also be closed. It is the first time since 1888 that the exchange will have been closed for two consecutive days because of weather.

Transportation is at a standstill in the Northeast. Airlines grounded thousands more flights on Tuesday, stranding travelers as far away as Europe and Asia. Amtrak says it’s canceled all service on Tuesday in the Northeast because of high winds and heavy rains. Cargo container operations were suspended in the normally busy ports of New York and northern New Jersey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DOT Delays Mandating Rearview Cameras…Again

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Mandating rearview cameras in all passenger vehicles would be the first government mandate designed to protect someone outside the car, but despite three letters from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood notifying Congress it anticipated action by Wednesday and a prominent media report, ABC News has learned the Department of Transportation has decided to again delay what critics say is a life-saving measure.

“While the Department has made progress toward a final rule to improve rearward visibility, it has decided that further study and data analysis -- including of a wider range of vehicles and drivers -- is important to ensure the most protective and efficient rule possible,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement. “The Department remains committed to improving rearview visibility for the nation’s fleet and we expect to complete our work and issue a final rule by December 31, 2012.”

This is the second delay by the DOT, a year-long postponement in all that, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the safety of motor vehicles for children, says could cost 100 additional deaths.

The surprisingly terrible statistics are that 50 children a week are backed over by a moving vehicle, resulting in two deaths, with the majority of fatalities being toddlers one to two years of age.

Sixty percent of these tragedies happen in larger vehicles, which have larger blind zones -- the area behind the vehicle that cannot be seen. The blind spot for a pickup truck is 30 feet, while the average SUV or minivan has a blind zone of 15 feet and a family sedan has a blind zone 12 feet deep.

Fixing this problem would cost $200 a vehicle and $2.7 billion overall, according to Bloomberg. That is $18.5 million for every life saved, a cost-benefit ratio advocates say they hope is not too steep for government regulators.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fewer Americans Expected to Travel on Labor Day Weekend

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(AURORA, Ill.) -- As Labor Day weekend approaches, fewer Americans appear to be planning on hitting the road for one last trip to celebrate the unofficial end of summer.

AAA estimates that 31.5 million Americans will travel during this year's holiday weekend, which begins on Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 5.  The latest projection is down 2.4 percent from the 32.3 million who got behind the wheel in 2010.

AAA's Heather Hunter says "the decrease in expected travelers is a result of a mixed economic outlook.  We've had some recent poor economic news that has come out and also [high] gas prices."

Among those traveling, more will be doing so via automobiles.  According to AAA, 87 percent of holiday travelers -- or close to 27.3 million Americans -- will be hitting the roads, while eight percent will be opting to fly.  The remaining five percent will be reaching their destinations using other modes of transportation, like trains or watercraft.

If they do take to the road, travelers will be staying closer to home this year.  AAA says Americans will travel an average distance of 608 miles, down from 635 miles the year before.  They will, however, spend slightly more than last year despite the shorter distance -- $702 compared to $697 -- mainly due to the rise in fuel and transportation costs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Government Announces $2B for High-Speed Rail Projects

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- High speed rail projects in 15 states are being awarded more than $2 billion in grants from the federal government.

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said Monday that the funding will help create “thousands of quality, middle class manufacturing construction jobs right away.”

"These are tremendous transportation projects and investments that America cannot do without," LaHood said, noting that not only will the projects help create jobs, but also relieve congestion in some of the country's most trafficked areas. The biggest chunk of the money -- nearly $800 million -- will go to improve rail service in the crowded northeast corridor.

"We simply cannot build enough highways and airports to accommodate this growth," LaHood said. "If we settle for the status quo, our children and grandchildren will fight paralyzing congestion, remain dependent on foreign oil, and suffer from an economy stuck in neutral."

LaHood said there were $10 billion in requests for the $2 billion of available money.

"Once built, it will spur economic development along its corridors, and over the long run it will restore America's economic competitiveness by complementing our highways and airways with world class railways."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Delta Air Lines Assessed Largest Non-Safety Related Penalty

Photo Courtesy - Delta Air Lines(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has handed down the largest penalty ever assessed against an airline in a non-safety related case, it announced in a press release Thursday.

Delta Air Lines has been fined a $2 million civil penalty by the DOT for violating rules ensured to protect travelers with disabilities.

An investigation by the Department of Transportation's Aviation Enforcement Office cited three major violations in its complaint with Delta: Failure to provide assistance to passengers with disabilities in getting on and off the airplane; failure to respond to passengers' complaints over treatment within 30 days; and not filling passengers' complaints with the Department.

Under the guidelines of the penalty, Delta must pay $750,000 in fines while allotting up to $1,250,000 to improve its service to passengers with disabilities above and beyond what is required by law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio