Regulatory

Amtrak: A Marx Brothers revival

Watching Washington, July 2018: When everybody owns something, nobody accepts accountability or responsibility. Such is the circumstance of Amtrak, a near-50-year-old orphan wandering in a public policy wilderness, dependent on grudgingly provided public assistance often provided with conditions and objectives so conflicted as to suggest a Marx Brothers comedy.

Truck size and weight: Transparency vs. deception

If you tell a kindergartener that he or she can have ice cream for breakfast with no ill effect and that it will make the lima beans at lunch taste better, that kid will hug your leg and tell you that you’re the best. They don’t see the tummy ache coming or know that you’re lying about the lima beans.

BNSF PTC: We’re ready—but you’re not

BNSF announced in December 2017 that it had fully installed and was operating under Positive Train Control (PTC) on all mandated subdivisions in advance of the Dec. 31, 2018 interim federal deadline. However, on June 13, it submitted a request to the Federal Railroad Administration for an alternative schedule, a two-year extension to Dec. 31, 2020, because “full implementation status cannot be achieved until all non-BNSF trains and/or equipment operating on its PTC-equipped lines are also PTC-compliant.”

Let me off this plane—no, train

I am a frequent flier. Since very few commercial airliners crash, I naturally assume that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airlines themselves are doing everything possible to ensure that flight crews are medically fit to fly commercial airplanes.