WXXI AM News

David Schaper

Just how bad is the state of the nation's highway infrastructure? So bad, tires on FedEx trucks last only half as long as they did 20 years ago, as they deteriorate rapidly from crumbling pavement and get more flats from gaping potholes.

"We're using almost 100 percent more tires to produce the same mileage of transportation," FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith told the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday. "Why is that? Because the road infrastructure has so many potholes in it, it's tearing up tires faster than before."

Many travelers were detained in airports after President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily prohibits people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The order caused widespread chaos and confusion at airports as protesters crowded terminals and agencies struggled to interpret the new rules.

Caught in the middle were the airlines, which were not only dealing with passengers denied entry, but with their employees who might violate the travel ban, too.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There's no question the tragic and intransigent problem of gun violence weighs heavily on Chicago residents, but for some there's resignation as well.

"This is nothing new in Chicago," says Keith Muhammed, while waiting at a bus stop on Chicago's west side.

He's right, but it has been getting worse: More than 760 people were murdered in Chicago in 2016, the highest total in nearly two decades, and this year is shaping up as more of the same.

The incoming Trump administration will look to tap private investment funds to help rebuild and expand the nation's highways, railways, seaports and airports.

That's what Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to be transportation secretary, told a panel of senators in a rather friendly confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Beginning in 2017, United Airlines will offer cheaper airfares for budget-conscious travelers.

"Basic economy" will be lower priced than regular fares, allowing United to compete head to head with discount airlines such as Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant Air.

But there's a trade-off for passengers who will be giving up some of the few remaining perks of air travel, like putting a carry-on suitcase in the overhead bin or getting an assigned seat.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

You might not know his name but you undoubtedly know his famous sandwich, and many of us remember singing its ingredients along with a commercial in the 1970s: "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun."

Michael "Jim" Delligatti, the McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac, died Monday. He was 98.

Federal regulators say the nation's railroads are making slow and uneven progress in installing positive train control, technology that could prevent train crashes, and there is growing concern that several railroads may not make the government's deadline for implementing the system.

On a night that the national election results had her discouraged, Seattle resident Anne Johnson had at least one ballot measure to celebrate: ST3, which will raise the local sales tax in the Seattle-Tacoma area to help pump $54 billion into expanding the region's rail and bus systems. It passed by a wide margin.

"That is awesome, and we've put a lot of work into that, and I'm excited for the direction that that will take Seattle," says Johnson, who adds that the transit improvements will help people get to their jobs, to school and will have environmental benefits, too.

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