House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., says the House will not vote on the Senate's six-year highway transportation bill. The House has already adopted a short-term bill that pays for transportation construction through mid-December. The stumbling block appears to be the provision to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank that's included in the Senate bill. House members will leave for their August recess on Thursday, and funding for Highway Trust Fund expires Friday. It's not clear what the Senate will do next in this "legislative game of chicken."
Engineers at Audi and BMW are working on customized tablets to help the automakers better compete with iPads and Android tablets that passengers may opt to use in their vehicles. The customized tablets will run Google Android and connect to the car's Wi-Fi and electronics and will be designed to safely withstand crashes, as well as extreme temperatures.
TomTom has partnered with auto parts manufacturer Bosch to create high-detail maps for use in connected vehicles. The companies hope to have mapping of major roads in Germany completed by the end of this year, after which they plan to move on to the rest of Europe and then North America.
Following July 1 legislation that required ride-sharing drivers in Virginia to register with the state's DMV, statistics show that 402 vehicles in the Virginia Peninsula are registered as ride-sharing vehicles, compared to only 351 registered taxis.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has approved a bill that will create a committee to oversee financing and performance of the state's Department of Transportation to ensure sales tax revenue pledged to road projects is spent responsibly. "Our intention is not to provide TxDOT with a $5 billion blank check," said Rep. Ron Simmons, noting that the new law accounts for transparency and accountability.
Stricter government standards for safety and navigation in off-highway vehicles will cause the global telematics market to double over the next five years, a Future Market Insights report says. "Overall awareness of off-highway vehicle telematics has considerably increased in recent years as the technology is now perceived as a convincing solution for improving total vehicular cost of ownership," FMI said.
Amazon Fresh, the grocery store delivery service already in Seattle, California and New York, will launch to U.K. homes in September using Amazon Logistics. "One difference between Fresh and already-established U.K. services such as Ocado is that Amazon typically teams up with local businesses such as delis and bakeries to widen the range of local produce available and can also deliver other Amazon orders," said David Jinks of ParcelHero.
Many states are taking it upon themselves to find funding for transportation projects, and several have passed gas-tax increases as money available from the Highway Trust Fund has declined. "I'm moving on, with or without the federal government, knowing that we have a responsibility," said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, summing up the feelings of some other governors.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used the Republicans' weekly address to the nation to promote the DRIVE Act, a six-year transportation package. He said the 33 short-term bills passed by Congress in recent years have forced states to focus on maintenance and not long-term projects. The DRIVE Act "provides the needed long-term funding certainty so that the major construction projects can get off the ground -- projects that aren't possible with short-term extensions," he said.
The "once gleaming interstate highway system is in crisis" in the U.S., writes Benjamin Preston, who drove from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Los Angeles and recounts the travel and road conditions in this article. "The U.S. currently has a $740 billion backlog in improvements needed to restore the nation’s roads, highways and bridges to the level of condition and performance needed to meet the nation’s transportation demands," said Rocky Moretti, director of policy and research for Trip.