October 9, 2017 4:30 PM, EDT

Capitol Agenda for the Week of Oct. 10: Infrastructure the Wallflower

Sen. Tom Carper Carper by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

If you got caught up in the recent Twitter battles between POTUS and, basically everybody, you may have missed last week’s fleeting mention of infrastructure on Capitol Hill. During a hearing with Paul Trombino, the nominee for the top post at the Federal Highway Administration, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) name-dropped the American Society of Civil Engineers’ quadrennial report card to get his point across.

“Your nomination comes at a critical juncture for the agency, the transportation sector, and the traveling public as we confront the enormous challenge and opportunity to modernize and rebuild our aging infrastructure,” Carper told Trombino. “The condition of America’s infrastructure received a grade of ‘D+’ on the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers’ report card and our nation’s crowded and underfunded roadways got a lower grade of ‘D.’ America’s roads have also become more dangerous.”

Carper’s sentiment was once shared by Candidate Trump, who wouldn’t stop talking about the Third World-status of LaGuardia Airport or the potholes in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tristate region. But President Trump, not so much. The NFL, professional athletes, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to name a few, are the targets of his humongous Twitter rants. For instance, Trump tweeted: “Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!”

Instead of blasting a fellow Republican, he could use his social media talents to remind the country that the freight infrastructure surrounding his golf compound in Jersey is badly in need of an upgrade, traffic congestion remains a massive economic impediment, and some cities and towns recently devastated by hurricanes need access to potable water, electricity, food and housing.

Administration officials met to finalize the infrastructure plan Trump had promised to unveil within his first 100 days in office. Yet, while the world eagerly waits for this splendid funding plan, trucks, cars and cyclists travel across nearly 60,000 structurally deficient bridges. And tweets about Corker dominate the news cycle.

THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):

Oct. 10, noon: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine holds a media availability about the embargoed report, “Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape.” The report’s public release will be Oct. 11 at 11 a.m.

Oct. 11, 8:15 a.m.: The Hill holds a discussion on “Cracking the Tax Code: Prospects for Reform” at the Newseum with Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

Oct. 11, 10 a.m.: Highways and Transit Subcommittee of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Highways and Transit Stakeholders’ Perspectives.”


SAMEDAY CITY: FedEx Office, a provider of same-day deliveries, expanded its FedEx SameDay City service to 1,800 cities within 30 regional markets.

PETERBILT: Peterbilt Motors Co. announced the new 12-speed Endurant transmission is available in the company’s 579 and 567 regional and linehaul models using the Cummins X15 Efficiency series engine in ratings up to 510 horsepower and 1,850 pound feet of torque.

CVSA: Capt. Christopher Turner of the Kansas Highway Patrol has been named the new president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the group representing certified commercial vehicle inspectors throughout North America has announced. 


Senate Democrats’ sleep apnea legislation is not likely to advance this year, sources say.


Public-private partnerships would be viable funding options for infrastructure projects if regulatory hurdlers are minimized, and incentives preserved, argued William Murray in CityLab.


The issues facing a safe development of advanced heavy trucking technology must encapsulate the life and death issues that are specific to that industry, not consider such consequences as an inconvenient after-thought. It must also take into account the livelihoods of the millions of American workers who work in, or around these vehicles.

Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa in response to Senate Commerce Committee passage of the AV Start Act on Oct. 4.


Wall Street Journal tax reporter Richard Rubin works with sacred cows.


It’s times likes these.

Thank you for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish Tuesdays when Congress is in session. E-mail with tips. Follow @eugenemulero and @transporttopics on Twitter.