A vacation journey season like no different

Editor’s Observe: Weekly Transportation is a weekly model of POLITICO Professional’s each day Transportation coverage e-newsletter, Morning Transportation. POLITICO Professional is a coverage intelligence platform that mixes the information you want with instruments you should utilize to take motion on the day’s largest tales. Act on the information with POLITICO Professional.

A CRITICAL WEEK: Neglect discussing politics on the household dinner desk: This Thanksgiving vacation journey interval goes to trigger lots of hand-wringing because the nation grapples with a raging second wave of Covid instances. As your hosts reported final week, the CDC’s advice that People keep put for the vacation has compelled the struggling journey business into the place of attempting to guarantee the general public that flying is secure whereas additionally attempting to not brazenly encourage journey.

One thing to sit up for: New steering from the CDC on Saturday recommends pre- and post-flight testing for worldwide air journey, renewing hopes that federal testing protocols might substitute necessities for prolonged quarantines within the coming months.

We’re not there but: Whereas testing may assist scale back Covid transmission on planes, well being consultants proceed to warn People to stay cautious. Former CDC head Tom Frieden reminded these getting examined forward of the vacation that it could possibly take 2 to14 days to develop into infectious after publicity. “You possibly can take a look at adverse within the morning and be extremely infectious within the afternoon,” he tweeted. The upcoming distribution of efficient coronavirus vaccines must also be a purpose for People to “double down” on preventive well being measures like avoiding gatherings, based on Anthony Fauci, the nation’s main infectious illness skilled.

However, tens of millions of folks are anticipated to criss-cross the nation this week. Already, TSA is seeing a surge at airports. The company screened greater than 1 million folks on Friday, spokesperson Lisa Farbstein mentioned. It’s simply the second time that’s occurred for the reason that begin of the pandemic, she tweeted.

Additionally: Well being officers from New Zealand launched a case research on Friday detailing how a pre-symptomatic contaminated air traveler — who examined adverse for Covid-19 earlier than a flight — contaminated no less than 4 different passengers on a flight from Dubai to New Zealand in September. The research highlights “the dangers of touring on long-haul flights throughout the coronavirus pandemic, even when adverse coronavirus checks are required earlier than the flight,” per The Washington Submit.

WHAT COULD LIE AHEAD: The speedy unfold of the coronavirus in Canada following its Thanksgiving vacation journey season might provide some clues as to what may occur right here within the coming weeks. Within the six weeks since Canadians gathered for Thanksgiving celebrations, the nation “has gone from diagnosing greater than 2,000 instances per day in mid-October to a median of 4,776 instances each day prior to now week,” POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner reported. The spike occurred regardless of Canadians being much less doubtless than People to “fly to grandma’s home for a turkey dinner,” she writes.

ON RELIEF: Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn on Friday urged lawmakers to increase the Payroll Assist Program for airways to make sure they’re ready to assist distribute Covid-19 vaccines as soon as they’re accessible. The aviation business has “suffered immensely” throughout the pandemic and the “mandatory cost-cutting measures taken by the airways imply they don’t presently have the infrastructure or the manpower to distribute the vaccines rapidly throughout the nation,” he mentioned.

IT’S MONDAY: Thanks for studying POLITICO’s Morning Transportation. If it strikes, we cowl it. Get in contact with ideas, suggestions and track lyrics at [email protected] or @samjmintz.

“See ‘trigger y’all be drivin Jaguars, and the Bentleys, and the Rolls Royce / Taking part in hardball with them platinum Visa.”

Rock out to our transportation playlist on Spotify.

RETURN OF THE MACK: Home Democrats are planning to carry again earmarks subsequent yr, the chamber’s second-in-command Steny Hoyer instructed Roll Name in an interview on Friday. After the subsequent Appropriations Committee chair is chosen (all the candidates are on board with bringing again earmarks), they will start soliciting Home lawmakers to “ask for congressional initiatives for his or her districts and their states,” Hoyer mentioned. It is going to be the primary time earmarks have been in impact since they have been banned by Speaker John Boehner in 2011.

Further particulars: “I anticipate that the Home will pursue secure, clear, and accountable Congressionally-directed spending within the subsequent Congress,” Hoyer mentioned in an announcement to MT. He added {that a} return to earmarks is “essential to reasserting Congress’s constitutional energy of the purse whereas making Congress work higher and restoring the sort of comity we used to expertise within the Home.” A spokesperson for Home Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio mentioned he “is absolutely supportive of bringing earmarks again.”

In transportation: The Congressional Analysis Service has a useful information up to date earlier this yr on how transportation funding labored earlier than and after the Boehner ban. Earmarks “directed a big quantity of federal transportation spending previous to the ban,” it says, though it largely doesn’t have an effect on system funds, which make up nearly all of DOT’s output. One inspector common report discovered that in fiscal 2006, roughly 13 % of DOT’s complete budgetary sources have been earmarked.

The ban gave DOT extra energy to determine how one can spend its discretionary funds. “If Congress doesn’t act in different methods to set funding priorities inside the discretionary packages, then the job of setting priorities is left to DOT, topic to the grant choice standards set forth in regulation and regulation,” the CRS report says. Bringing again earmarks, or “congressionally directed spending” as they’re generally known as, would return that energy to the Hill.

The argument for earmarks: They permit members of Congress to immediately legislate for funding in tasks that might do probably the most for his or her district, and so they give lawmakers one other technique to discover compromise that might make the legislative course of smoother.

The argument in opposition to: They’re doubtlessly a pathway to corruption. Take the case of Duke Cunningham, who was a California consultant till 2005 and went to jail for eight years after being paid off by protection contractors to slip favorable earmarks into spending payments.

WHISPERS IN THE DARK: Prime advisers to President-elect Joe Biden mentioned he plans to start out naming Cupboard secretaries on Tuesday. With that in thoughts, right here’s what we find out about a very powerful decide (no less than to MT readers):

The frontrunners, or no less than the candidates who’re getting probably the most press, appear to be Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Obama chief of employees and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In Emanuel’s case, the press is likely to be self-generated, as a number of current stories have quoted folks aware of the scenario as saying he’s . Garcetti has been much less vocal about wanting the gig, perhaps as a result of he’s coping with an inside scandal in his workplace. He mentioned earlier than the election that he “doesn’t have a secret plan to get to Washington” and that it’s “extra doubtless than not” that he’d nonetheless be LA’s mayor in 2022.

Phil Washington has been quietly main the Biden administration’s transportation company assessment workforce, which might really be a nasty signal for him, since transition leaders are hardly ever chosen for Cupboard positions. Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s probabilities appear diminished by the political calculus for Democratic leaders within the Home, who’ve an settlement with the Biden workforce that “they should tread fastidiously” given the slim margins within the chamber. Beth Osborne is providing up recommendation to the Biden administration about what to keep away from in choosing a DOT chief. Sarah Feinberg is constant to guide NYC Transit via a few of its darkest days in current reminiscence.

A FEW TWEAKS: DOT needs to replace its rules for complying with the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act, based on a Federal Register discover slated for publication at the moment. The proposed rule “would modernize the Division’s procedures and promote collaboration and effectivity within the implementation of NEPA” in addition to replace “categorical exclusions” in order that they’re in line with Council on Environmental High quality rules, per the discover.

DOT appropriations run out in 18 days. The FAA reauthorization expires in 1,041 days. The floor transportation reauthorization expires in 311 days.

— “Trump exits Open Skies treaty, strikes to discard statement planes.” The Wall Road Journal.

— “Editorial: Rahm Emanuel in President-elect Joe Biden’s Cupboard? We might see it.” Chicago Tribune.

— “Useless TSA agent’s household asks People to remain dwelling for the vacations.” Day by day Beast.

— “Boeing 737 MAX jets bear round the clock effort to clear stock.” Reuters.

— “MTA to Mnuchin: Borrowing ’not an choice’ to repair debt.” POLITICO Professional.

— “Over 80 COVID-19 instances in Minnesota traced to Sturgis rally: CDC.” ABC Information.

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