Planes, trains and automobiles: The Biden administration is a hub of transportation issues


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Presidents begin their terms with grand visions of how they will uplift Americans with futuristic policy prescriptions, but often get bogged down in the more mundane task of making sure the boring old stuff still works.

For President Biden, there is perhaps no better example of this reality than the historic rise in inflation, which has turned every purchase into a reminder that something is broken in Washington that Biden hasn’t. still fixed.

But the obstacles that prevent people simply from moving from one place to another come next. For several months, Americans have been unhappy with all the major modes of travel and are increasingly filing their complaints with an administration that sometimes has an answer and sometimes does not.

planes

Americans were forced to wear masks on airplanes for more than a year until a U.S. District Court judge ruled the federal government had no authority to impose the requirement. But what should have been a joyful return to air travel has only led to complaints about delays and rescheduled flights.

transportation problems. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)”/>

President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to fix America’s transportation problems. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP2012)

PILOT SHORTAGE, SEVERE TIMES CUTTING AERATOR WINGS

A nationwide pilot shortage is believed to be a major reason for the delays. In some cases, the problem led airlines to end service to certain cities because they did not have the staff to make the trip.

Over the summer, the airline industry said it was 12,000 pilots short and said fewer flights were departing from most airports.

During a Senate hearing in May, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tackled the issue, saying his department was trying to fast-track approval of “workforce development grants” that could be used to increase the supply of available pilots. But Buttigieg had no immediate answers to fix the problem.

“There will be no quick fix, but we must work to strengthen this national aviation workforce,” he told senators. He later told Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., “We’re gathering information on how this needle is moving, and we’d be happy to keep in touch with your office about what we’re seeing and resources. which we need. .”

FILE - Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, center, speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, May 16, 2022, as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, left, and the Administrator of the 'Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan, right, listen.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, center, speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, May 16, 2022, as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, left, and the Administrator of the ‘Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan, right, listen. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

BUTTIGIEG FOCUS ON INFLATION REDUCTION AND NEW FLIGHT PROCEDURES WHILE PROMOTING NEW GRANT

Buttigieg said the problem is similar to the shortage of truckers companies have faced, reminding lawmakers of another mode of transportation that is on shaky ground.

In July, Buttigieg said he had discussed the issue with airlines and would ‘continue to use all the authorities we have as a department’, including working on air traffic control personnel issues. .

But in August, Buttigieg said his department was working on the more achievable goal of ensuring passengers are reimbursed for the cost of their flight when it is cancelled.

The trains

The Biden administration narrowly avoided a railroad strike this week, but not before Amtrak began adjusting its long-distance service. Amtrak said early adjustments needed to be made to ensure trains can reach their destinations ahead of a potential strike looming this week.

AMTRACK CANCEL LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS, ANNOUNCES FURTHER ADJUSTMENTS IN RAIL STRIKE IMAGE

The Amtrak logo is seen on a train at Union Station in Washington, DC on April 22, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP)

The Amtrak logo is seen on a train at Union Station in Washington, DC on April 22, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP)
((Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images))

Biden’s transportation department was able to broker a deal between unions and railroads early Thursday morning, an outcome Biden hailed as a “victory for tens of thousands of railroad workers, and for their dignity and the dignity of their work.” “.

But the deal comes at a cost that could lead to higher costs for travelers in the near future. Railway workers won a 24% raise over the next five years, along with better working conditions and health care coverage, and paid vacations.

The problem is not necessarily solved. The tentative agreement still needs to be accepted by 12 unions, and one of them has already rejected the deal. That union said it would delay a possible strike as other unions consider the deal.

The Biden administration may also face the environmental backlash from its deal. Railroads are the main users of coal, and rolling wagons mean high coal consumption.

Cars

The near doubling of gasoline prices since Biden took office through June 2022 has been a shock felt by everyone, and one that still stings even as prices have fallen from their summer highs. Even non-drivers have felt the side effect of rising prices for groceries and anything trucked to its final destination.

Nancy Pelosi said on "morning joe" Tuesday that high gas prices were mainly due to the war in Ukraine.

Nancy Pelosi told “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that high gas prices were mainly due to the war in Ukraine.
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS ‘STRONGLY HIGH’ AUGUST INFLATION, ‘DESPITE’ GAS PRICES DROP: ‘NEW NOT WELCOME’ FOR BIDEN

Economists blamed much of the rise on the rebound in oil demand following the COVID slowdown, but Biden was quickly seen as a significant headwind to lower prices. His moratorium on new oil and gas drilling leases, the decision to stop accepting oil from Russia, and overall support for environmental protections and increased regulations on energy companies seemed to match. his campaign pledge to eradicate the use of fossil fuels and led to complaints that he was oblivious to people spending more than $5 on a gallon of gas.

As prices soared, Biden’s team blamed Russia and energy companies, then tried to rebrand the expensive new reality for Americans as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy an electric vehicle. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said buying an electric vehicle “will help break our addiction to fossil fuels.”

“The future of electric vehicles is upon us,” Buttigieg tweeted in January. “@USDOT and @ENERGY are working to make sure America is ready.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) speaks with reporters after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, at the United States Capitol, Friday, July 15, 2022.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) speaks with reporters after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, at the United States Capitol, Friday, July 15, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

In California, where the future is looming, Americans feel the future for electric vehicles may be bleak. Days after Newsom made headlines for banning the sale of gas-powered cars, his state was suddenly faced with an energy crisis that prompted Newsom to urge Californians not to charge their electric vehicles as the State was facing power outages.

Day-to-day, the country’s transportation issues seem like headaches for Biden, but there’s something of a silver lining for Democrats in this cloud of desperation. Each issue leads to growing calls for government responses, and Biden seems to be all too happy to provide them.

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This week, Biden announced that his administration had approved funding for a massive electric vehicle charging network across the country, starting with 35 states, all thanks to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that he signed last year.

“We are the United States of America,” Biden said in Detroit as he announced the new funding. “And there literally – I mean honestly – there’s nothing we can’t do – nothing, nothing, nothing – if we do it together.”

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