Friday, December 10, 2010

FAA Lost Track of Majority of General Aviation Aircraft

Posted By on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 8:36 AM

In November, BW reported how there were little to no security restrictions for some 200,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States and how the Transportation Safety Administration asked operators to "police themselves" (BW,News, "High Anxiety," Nov. 17, 2010).

Friday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration reported that it was missing key information on who owns 119,000 GA aircraft, a gap the agency fears could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.

"Anybody with a roll of duct tape can put any number they want on an airplane," GA operator Steven Lathrop of Ellensburg, Wash., told the Associated Press.

AP reports that to update the FAA registry, the agency announced it would cancel all aircraft registrations over the next three years. Owners will have three months to re-register. Those who fail to re-register will lose their certificates, and their planes must be grounded.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hearing Officer: Parties Have a Right to Intervene on Mega-Loads

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 3:50 PM

In a stunning decision late Wednesday, a specially appointed hearing officer recommended to the director of the Idaho Transportation Department that full public hearings should be granted to opponents of four mega-loads. The oil-processing equipment has been sitting at the Port of Lewiston since early spring while ConocoPhillips made several attempts to get permits to traverse Idaho's U.S. Highway 12.

In a 19-page document, hearing officer Merlyn Clark wrote:
"Because there has been no final order in this contested case, the department must hold formal contested case hearings before the applicants' over-legal loads are allowed to travel under the permit. To allow the loads to travel before a formal contested case hearing is conducted would contravene the right of the parties to intervene and be heard upon the issues as provided under the Rules of Administrative Procedure."

Bill Stephens, spokesman for Conoco said the oil giant was disappointed.
"We do not believe the recommendation adequately accounts for the careful planning by ConcoPhillips, Emmert International [the transport company], the ITD, and other state and local agencies," said Stephens. "The recommendation also could delay an important part of our planned maintenance activities at the Billings refinery."

You can read the full report here.

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Hearing Officer: Mega-load Opponents Deserve a Full Public Hearing

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Opponents of mega-loads won a battle late Wednesday. The ultimate issue of whether ConocoPhillips will be allowed to haul four giant pieces of oil refinery equipment across Idaho's U.S. Highway 12 is still to be considered, but a specially appointed hearing officer is recommending to the Idaho Transportation Department that opponents deserve, and should be granted, a full public hearing on the matter.


Hearing officer Merlyn Clark presided over a special hearing on Nov. 19 where attorneys representing Conoco and ITD argued that they should be allowed to proceed with a permit to allow the mega-loads to crawl across U.S. 12. But Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West told Citydesk late today, "In short, we won."

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pilots Get the All-Clear to Avoid Body Scans

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Late Friday, The Transportation Security Administration agreed to let uniformed airline pilots skip the controversial body scans and aggressive pat-downs at the Boise Airport and commercial airports across the nation.

The change comes in the wake of a firestorm from pilots, airline attendants and passengers, all upset over the TSA's ramped up security.

In this week's BW, we talk to the TSA and we learned that in spite of the new measures at commercial airports, feds don't mandate security for general aviation aircraft, which represents three of every four planes in the skies.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Chief: Pat-Downs are Invasive

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Even the head of the Transportation Security Administration admits that the new pat-downs are more invasive.

TSA Administrator John Pistole testified Wednesday morning before a Senate committee that he received the new pat-down as part of ramped up security measures. The pat-downs have been introduced along with new body-scanning technology at airports across the country, including Boise. Pistole said, yes, travelers have told him the new inspections have become too private, but he said the government must provide the best security for air travelers.

In this week's BW, read about how the TSA has increased security at commercial airports, while guidelines are not mandatory for general aviation aircraft, which represent three of every four planes in the skies.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

High Anxiety Preview

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Officials at Boise Airport expect another record-breaking day on Wednesday, Nov. 23, which is predicted to be the busiest travel day of the year. Thousands of Boiseans will shuffle through the strictest security measures in history, but the Transportation Security Administration has two sets of rules: one for commercial travelers, and another—not mandatory—for general aviation aircraft such as business jets and private planes.

In this week's edition of BW, we'll talk to the TSA and local pilots about the haves and the have-nots when it comes to securing the skies.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Air Connection Between Boise and City of Angels

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM

American Airlines is flying back into Boise. American announced Wednesday that it would add two daily flights to Los Angeles from Boise, effective April 2011. The routes mean a new air carrier for the Boise market.

The announcement comes in the wake of Horizon Airlines elimination of a Boise-Los Angeles connection earlier this year.

The American route is joined by nine other new connections by the airline to Los Angeles International Airport.

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ITD Agrees with PETA to Add Warning in Manual About Pet Safety

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 5:11 PM

How often do you see PETA and the Idaho Transportation Department in the same sentence, let alone the same news story?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals regularly lobbied the ITD regarding the issue of leaving animals in hot cars, and earlier this month, Edward Pemble, ITD's driver services manager informed the activist group that a warning will be added to the Idaho driver's manual about the danger of leaving cats and dogs in parked cars.

"Death from heatstroke is slow, agonizing and terrifying," said PETA vice president Daphna Nachminovitch.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Bit Slower on State Street

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 10:11 AM

One of the Treasure Valley's busiest commutes got a bit slower Thursday. The speed limit on State Street / Idaho 44 between Idaho 55 and Glenwood dropped from 55 mph to 45 mph Thursday morning.

Officials with the Idaho Transportation Department said they conducted a speed-limit review of the stretch of State Street this past spring. ITD determined the speed limit needed to be reduced by at least 10 mph.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing the Bike Barn

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Anybody who commutes by bicycle knows: it ain’t always easy bein’ green. Now, Boise State is trying to offer solutions for those who choose to ride on two wheels to work or class.

With more and more people switching to cycling as a primary, or even secondary means of getting around, Boise State’s campus has sought to focus more on cyclists. They’ve installed dozens of new bike racks, providing hundreds of spaces, Still, it seems every time a new rack is installed, a dozen more bikes rush to fill it. Some people worry about the safety and security of leaving a bike chained up on campus.

“I think one of the things we’re missing right now, largely, is long-term secured bike parking,” said Casey Jones, the director of Parking and Transportation at Boise State.

Enter the Boise State bike barn, installed in the Brady Garage off University Avenue. Essentially, the barn is a caged-in section of the garage where students and faculty hang their bikes in a secure location. The cost will be $15.00 per semester, and will accommodate up to 65 bicycles, stored in a vertical position on the wall.

“We think it’s going to be very successful,” said Jones. “We’re so sure, we’re planning a second bike barn in the parking addition across from the student union building.”

Boise State also reached out to attendees last weekend's Oregon State football game, providing a valet parking corral for cyclists.

“I noticed probably 500 bikes locked to just about everything that you could possibly imagine,” says Jones of the days before the corral. “It’s a great need on a day when weather’s really nice to provide for bikes.”

Jones foresees providing the service in bigger and better ways from now on.
“Any major event, we think there’s a place for valet bike parking,” said Jones. “If it’s the right kind of concert, where we think we’ll get quite a few bicyclists coming to campus, we’re going to offer it.”

Expect cycling and transit to be a big part of Boise State's future. With an increased focus on shuttle services, the push for bus use by students, the recent ZipCar addition, and the dwindling number of parking spots, the campus is also constructing a transit center on the West side of the Student Union Building. The facility is designed to be multi-modal, providing plenty of bike racks, and access to shuttles and buses.

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