TODAY'S TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Moodie Report (6/25, Davitt) reports that Reagan National and Dulles International are now host to some 74 new stores and restaurants “since the redevelopment began in 2013, including 27 since January,” including “Michael Kors, Montblanc, Coach, Burberry, Thomas Pink, and The Washington Informer,” at Dulles, while Reagan National “recently opened &pizza, Grille District and Taylor Gourmet to join other names like Legal Sea Foods, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Vineyard Vines.”
The Eater (6/24, Frederick, 539K) also reports on the new restaurant options at the two airports.
Meanwhile, in another article, the Moodie Report (6/24, Davitt) highlights a new bar option at Reagan, opened by OTG, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and MarketPlace Development this week. “We are thrilled to bring travellers this new pre-security experience. The modern space offers a great place for guests to spend time with family and friends before flight,” said OTG CEO Rick Blatstein. “It also serves as a wonderful first impression upon arriving to the terminal. Fresh food, sleek design and the latest technology create a sense that something new and exciting is taking place,” he said.
Airport World (6/24, Bates, 85) reports that the new bar, opened in conjunction with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, “is part of an ongoing transformation of the terminal.”
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (6/24, 1K) also issued a press release.
In an editorial, the Baltimore Sun (6/25, 802K) makes the case for building a hotel attached to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Later, the paper says that BWI “doesn’t need to be the most luxurious or glamorous airport” in the nation, “it only has to be a notch more convenient than Reagan National and Dulles.” It adds that an in-terminal hotel “is another step in that direction.”
Time Out (6/24, Guse, 374K) reports that some nine out of ten delayed flights in the US end up being delayed if they include a stopover, departure or arrival in Chicago. Meanwhile, “flights from Washington Dulles International Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport were late nearly 40 percent of the time, which puts it at the 33rd most delayed route, and the most delayed route among flights in or out of New York City,” the article reports.
Citing a report from the Washington Business Journal, the McLean (VA) Patch (6/25, Levine, 1K) says that a new 15-screen movie theater will open in Tysons. According to the article, The Meridian Group, a Bethesda-based developer, said that Kerasotes Showplace Theaters LLC “signed a lease to open a new luxury theater in The Boro, Meridian’s redevelopment of SAIC’s corporate campus in Tysons.” The report notes that the Boro is hoping to “capitalize on its adjacency to the Silver Line Greensboro Metro station,” which is slated to start construction next summer.
The Washington Post (6/24, Duggan, 5.03M) in continuing coverage reports on the second day of the public hearings into the Metro Jan.12 smoke incident, which raised “more questions,” according to NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “There were a lot of contradictions,” he said, adding, “When you hear different stories from different people, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone is lying.” He explained, “People have different perspectives... . There’s one side of the story, there’s another side of the story and the truth is somewhere in between.” He continued, “Our job is to put that all together.” In addition, a lack of coordination between the FTA, the oversight committee and other agencies monitoring Metro was criticized. “Where the regulatory structure is ambiguous and confusing, I think that adversely affects the safety of the whole system,” Hart said. “Who’s in charge here is not clear. Who can do what is not clear. . . . I think that lack of clarity exacerbates the problem,” he added. USA Today (6/24, Jansen, 5.01M) reports that FTA regulators on Wednesday said they don’t conduct safety inspections on subways like railroads or airlines. Thomas Littleton, associate administrator for transit safety and oversight at the FTA said that his agency only has two safety inspectors, against 365 for the FRA and 7,200 at the FAA. He told the NTSB that the FTA aims to boost the safety culture in subway and bus systems. “We think WMATA is a safe system and it could be made safer,” Littleton said. Although Metro has an anonymous reporting tip line for safety concerns, workers were initially reluctant to share their concerns in fear of retaliation, James Madaras, a member of the Confidential Close Call Transit Safety Reporting Committee said. “It is our hope that this hearing and the subsequent final report will yield recommendations, which if acted upon, will improve safety not only for WMATA but through the passenger rail and transit community,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart.
WUSA-TV Washington (6/24, 95K) reported that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe criticized Metro and called for the transit agency to hire a competent, “strong, effective” leader as the NTSB hearing continued today, focusing on the company’s culture. James Madaras, who is also chief safety officer at Amalgamated Transit Union Local 899, said that the agency encourages employees to come forward with safety concerns. But a disciplinary program was put in place, “which makes me apprehensive about wanting to talk to you about anything, because I’m fearful that there’s going to be some type of retaliation,” Madaras added. Metro’s deputy general manager Robert Troup for his part said that his agency’s first concern is safety. WRC-TV Washington (6/24, Tuss, 433K) also reports that Metro employees shy away from reporting safety issues due to fears of retaliation. Metro’s acting General Manager Jack Requa told NTSB hearing attendees, “I haven’t heard that specifically, but I would think that if you expressed a concern about a fellow employee that there might be some reason to believe that.” Metro said that according to surveys conducted among employees, some 80 percent feel they can speak up but the remaining 20 percent fear retaliation. “I think it’s a cultural thing within organizations,” Requa said. “We have 13,000 employees. We are trying to find opportunities for employees to express their concerns,” he added. The AP (6/24, Nuckols) reports on the same issue, adding that NTSB member Robert Sumwalt, “said employees should be sanctioned for willful violations of safety rules.” He said, “It might be good to go to school on what a just culture involves.” Meanwhile, Metro’s interim general manager, Jack Requa, said that as the agency works on fixing issues that may cause safety concerns and other repairs, riders will be inconvenienced more often. “It is safe, but we’re going to make it safer,” Requa said.
The AP (6/24, Nuckols) reports that union representative James Madaras, during the NTSB hearing, claimed that Metro bus drivers are forced to urinate aboard buses because there is no access to bathrooms. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel countered that bus drivers have access to restrooms “on virtually every trip,” whether at Metrorail stations, bus stations or hotels and restaurants that Metro has agreements with. The issue was also reported by the Washington Post (6/24, Lazo, 5.03M) in its “Dr Gridlock” blog, which also noted the indignation of lawmakers and officials. But Metro denied the allegation. “In an emergency, any bus operator can simply notify the Bus Operations Control Center and secure the bus to use any available facility along a given route,” spokeswoman Morgan Dye said.
The Daily Caller (6/24, Fatzick, 366K) reports that NTSB documents on Tuesday showed that the Jan. 12 smoke incident was in part due to “poor communication, slow response time and lack of leadership.” Two Metro Transit Police officers who were sent in to investigate the smoke in the tunnel came back empty after walking 50 feet and heading back to the platform as they operated under the assumption that the smoke was just brake dust; they did not report the incident, according the Washington Times. The article also reports on testimonies by Metro operator James Curley who was manning the train at the time of the smoke incident and another operator manning the train that pulled up behind him taking up a large section of the platform. There were also delays for firefighters to access the train that was trapped in the tunnel. By the time they arrived, Carol Glover, 61, had died of smoke inhalation. A final NTSB report is expected next year. WTOP-FM Washington (6/24, Mollenbeck, 333K) reports that according to testimonies by firefighters that were provided to the NTSB regarding the smoke incident, passenger of the metro train kept their cool as they evacuated with no pushing, shoving, or yelling. Radio communication in the tunnels was also compromised, according to some fire fighters. “It’s definitely an issue if I’m standing there looking at my officer three cars away on a platform and can’t make communication with him,” Jason Woods, a firefighter from Rescue Squad 1, told investigators.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post (6/25, 5.03M) editorializes that the two days of hearings by the NTSB highlight Metro’s “incompetence.” The piece relates the array of problems, failures and bad responses during the incident, which show that “Metro was completely unprepared” for trouble and “coordination was utterly lacking.”
Service Calls To Area Metro Stations Quintupled, Montgomery Fire Chief Says. The Bethesda (MD) Magazine (6/24, Metcalf) reports that Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein told the NTSB at Tuesday’s hearing that a 500 percent increase has been reported in the number of calls for service to area Metro stations since January 2015 in comparison to previous years. Goldstein “said most of the calls have been related to smoke incidents arising from either arcing insulators or brakes,” the article reports. Some 51 calls were received so far this year, compared to 22 calls in all of 2014. “Metro is scheduled to make repairs to the Red Line’s Bethesda tunnel next year to fix cracks that are allowing water to seep through, which may be leading to the arcing incidents,” according to the article.
The Washington Post (6/24, Lazo, 5.03M) reports in its “Dr Gridlock” blog that according to an FTA report released last week, farebox malfunctions are so common they have become “a contributing factor to the rising number of assaults on bus operators.” Some drivers reportedly “told the FTA that broken fareboxes are so routine that some passengers become accustomed to riding for free,” the article reports, adding that when the ride is not free, the riders then get angry and can even turn violent.
Several news sources report that on Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee approved the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, a six-year, $275 billion highway funding bill. Much of the coverage has noted that while the Senate committee unanimously approved the highway measure, Federal lawmakers still have to come up with a plan to fund it. For instance, the Washington Times (6/25, Howell, 641K) says that the Senate Committee’s approval of the bill sets up a “long-term” highway funding solution “if lawmakers can find a way to pay for the package.” The article adds that “Congress is racing to fund” the measure “before the highway trust fund expires July 31.”
Meanwhile, The Hill (6/25, Laing, 533K) reports that lawmakers are “deadlocked on how to pay for an extension” to the Highway Trust Fund.
The Senate panel’s approval of the bill also generated positive coverage, with the Alaska Dispatch News (6/25, Martinson, 216K) describing the development as a “big leap forward in efforts to manage the Highway Trust Fund.” Additionally, in a separate article, The Hill (6/25, Laing, 533K) reports that those who have pushed for a long-term highway funding bill have “expressed optimism” that the DRIVE Act “could become a vehicle that ends the gridlock over infrastructure funding.”
Truckinginfo (6/25, Cullen, 959) notes that the DRIVE Act was the result of a bipartisan effort by four Senators – Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), David Vitter (R-LA), and Tom Carper (D-DE). According to the article, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised the lawmakers for making “a good start on crafting a bipartisan six-year transportation bill.” Foxx is also quoted as saying that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has “advanced the ball toward policy and funding goals that the Administration put forth in the GROW AMERICA Act, but there is still much work to be done.” He added, “Unlike last year, when progress stopped at this point, I hope that the EPW committee’s work this week is just the beginning– not the end– of actions by Congress to address America’s critical transportation issues and bring funding in line with our country’s needs.”
Also reporting on the DRIVE Act, Fleet Owner (6/25, Jones, 1K) quotes Foxx as saying, “The state of our nation’s infrastructure is not a partisan talking point; it is a problem facing all Americans. So I am encouraged that Members of Congress are asking the tough questions about how we will find solutions together.”
Benefits, Drawbacks Of New Highway Bill Examined. Deron Lovaas writes about the proposed highway bill in his blog at the Switchboard (6/25, 116K), highlighting the measure’s benefits and drawbacks. Noting some of the positive aspects of the measure, Lovaas points out that the bill includes new and “useful competitive grant programs,” and “requires that resilience and intercity bus considerations be integrated into metropolitan planning,” which helps to “prep transportation infrastructure for climate change” and bring “a greener mode of transportation to the planning table.” In his critique of the bill, Lovaas notes that “despite the fact that the last transportation bill had” several provisions, which “undermine environmental reviews which have yet to be fully implemented by U.S. DOT,” this new measure “has more such provisions.” He also criticizes the new bill for being too “highway-focussed.”
The Washington Post (6/25, Wiggins, 5.03M) reports that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to make a “major announcement about ‘transportation infrastructure’” this afternoon, “raising speculation that he has made a decision on” the Purple Line project. According to the article, an aide did not confirm yesterday if the scheduled press conference “would address the future of the Purple Line.” The governor’s office said earlier this week that that Hogan planned to make an announcement about the Purple Line before the end of June.
The Baltimore Sun (6/25, Dresser, 802K) similarly reports on the story.
In a 1,100+ word article, the Chicago Tribune (6/25, Hilkevitch, 2.74M) reports that on Wednesday, Chicago’s new Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans spoke about her plans to make O’Hare International Airport more attractive and competitive to travelers. According to the report, Evans said that “outdated management of facilities” at the airport, “misguided attempts” by carriers to “jam more flights into the airport during the busiest travel hours and a shortage of gates that often adds to passenger delays have contributed to” O’Hare losing business. Later, the report notes that “there is virtual unanimity among airline pilots and FAA air traffic controllers” that the airport needs more gates.
New York Times:
Families Hope Words Endure Past Shooting
Most US Attacks Are Homegrown And Not Jihadist
Saudi Bombing In Yemen Is Seen As Only Fanning The Flames
Pursuit Of Cash Taints Promise Of Gene Tests
A Quiet Apology In Boston, And A Death Sentence
New York Escalates Its War Against A Perennial Foe: Rats
Dominican Immigration Rules Spur Painful Exodus For Haitians
Obama Claims A Major Victory With Trade Bill
Boston Bomber Says In Court: “I Am Sorry”
Jindal Announces Bid For GOP Nomination
Gay-Marriage Supporters: Think About The Children
North Korea Behind Global Network Of Businesses
Flames Of Hope: European Majors In Iran Oil Talks Ahead Of End To Sanctions
German Hotel Group Offers Ultimate Luxury – The Chance To Drop Off The Grid
Iran Bullies Region, Broadens Influence Outside Persian Gulf
Congress Ponders: OPM Data Breach Could Total 32 Million Americans
Fracking Appears To Be Losing Legal And Political Momentum
Sen Rand Paul To Sue IRS, US Treasury
Shoppers Shrug As Retailers Pull Confederate Flag
Virginia Leaders Looking To Recapture State’s Business Momentum
Story Lineup From Last Night’s Network News:
ABC: Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Confederate Flag Debate; Severe Weather; Weather Forecast; California Wildfires; New York-Prison Break Manhunt; FBI-Ohio Murder Mystery; White House Hostage Policy; Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement; Vanderbilt Rape Case Mistrial; Virginia-Doctor Mocks Patient; Shark Attacks; Whole Foods-Overcharging Accusations.
CBS: Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Charleston Church Massacre-Clementa Pinckney; Charleston Church Massacre; Confederate Flag Debate; Severe Weather; California Wildfires; White House Hostage Policy; Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement; Backseat Seat Belt Research; Obama-White House Heckler; UK-Scheduled Buckingham Palace Repairs.
NBC: Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Charleston Church Massacre; Confederate Flag Debate; White House Hostage Policy; Severe Weather; New York-Prison Break Manhunt; Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement; Pancreatic Cancer Study; Sleep Report.
Network TV At A Glance:
Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing – 8 minutes, 50 seconds
Confederate Flag Debate – 7 minutes
White House Hostage Policy – 6 minutes, 25 seconds
Severe Weather – 6 minutes, 15 seconds
Charleston Church Massacre – 3 minutes, 55 seconds
New York-Prison Break Manhunt – 2 minutes
Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement – 1 minute
California Wildfires – 40 seconds
Story Lineup From This Morning’s Radio News Broadcasts:
ABC: Texas-Cyclospora Parasite Outbreak; California Wildfires; Charleston Church Massacre-Bible Study Resumes; Charleston Church Massacre-Clementa Pinckney; New York Prison Break-Second Employee Arrested; New York-Prison Break Manhunt.
CBS: New York Prison Break-Second Employee Arrested; Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Fast-Track Authority Bill Clears Senate; Obama-Hollande Phone Call; California Wildfires.
FOX: Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Charleston Church Massacre-Unity Rally; New York Prison Break-Second Employee Arrested; Syria-Car Bombing; Fast-Track Authority Bill Clears Senate; Wisconsin-Gun Buying Policy Changes.
NPR: New York Prison Break-Second Employee Arrested; Boston-Tsarnaev Sentencing Hearing; Colorado Theater Shooting Trial; Bobby Jindal Presidential Announcement; Asian Stock Market; Wall Street; Obama-Hollande Phone Call; Obama-LGBT Pride Reception.