Construction Industry News

Nelson Statement on Takata Remedy Update

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) issued the following statement on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Update on Takata Recall Remedies:

“I’m glad that NHTSA has finally released a more complete list of vehicles and repair timeline for this snail’s paced recall,” said Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee. “But the fact remains that a number of these dangerous airbags won’t be replaced until the next decade.  Drivers should not have to wait that long to get what could be a ticking time bomb out of their cars.

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NHTSA 33-16

Friday, December 9, 2016

Contact:  Bryan Thomas

 

U.S. DOT Accelerates Replacements of Takata Air Bag Inflators

 

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an amended order today to continue the acceleration of recall repairs for millions of U.S. vehicle owners affected by the Takata air bag inflator recalls. The Amended Coordinated Remedy Order sets requirements for when automakers must have replacement parts available for customers and sets progress and completion deadlines for replacements of the defective parts which have been responsible for 11 deaths and approximately 180 injuries in the United States.

“The Department of Transportation is maintaining its aggressive oversight of the efforts to recall Takata air bags as quickly as possible,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The amended order will speed up the availability of replacement air bags, and continues to prioritize the highest risk vehicles to protect the traveling public.”

The Amended Coordinated Remedy Order issued to Takata and the 19 affected automakers requires replacement parts to be obtained on an accelerated basis and made available first to the riskiest vehicles. The order sets new requirements for automakers to certify to NHTSA when they have obtained a sufficient supply of replacement parts to begin repairs, and requires automakers to coordinate consumer messaging using best practices identified by NHTSA, industry and the Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program. This action builds on the Coordinated Remedy Program initiated in November 2015, incorporating the additional tens of millions of inflators recalled or scheduled for future recall since that date, most of which were included in the May 2016 recall expansion.

“NHTSA is doing everything possible to make sure that there are no more preventable injuries or deaths because of these dangerous air bag inflators,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “All vehicle owners should regularly check their vehicles for recalls at SaferCar.gov and go get them fixed at no cost as soon as replacement parts are available.”

There are currently 46 million recalled Takata air bag inflators in 29 million vehicles in the United States. Under the Amended Consent Order issued to Takata in May 2016, automakers will be required to recall additional inflators over the next three years, ultimately affecting approximately 64 to 69 million inflators in 42 million total recalled vehicles. Ultimately all frontal Takata inflators using non-desiccated phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) will be recalled. The full list of vehicles that are currently affected or will be affected by future Takata recalls is available here.

Under the Coordinated Remedy Program, NHTSA has committed to seeking a 100 percent recall completion rate from the vehicle manufacturers to protect the motoring public. As of Dec. 2, automakers reported they have so far repaired approximately 12.5 million inflators.

Before establishing the schedule for the expanded Takata inflator recalls announced in May 2016, NHTSA and its independent expert reviewed the findings of three independent research organizations into the Takata air bag ruptures and confirmed the findings on the root cause of inflator ruptures. A combination of time, environmental moisture and cycling high temperatures contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators. Such degradation can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, rupturing the inflator module and sending shrapnel through the air bag and into the vehicle’s cabin.

The recall and remedy schedule mandated by NHTSA ensures that vehicles with defective air bag inflators are recalled and have replacement parts available before they present a significant risk to vehicle occupants. This is the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.

NHTSA has worked to increase consumer awareness of the recalls and encourage vehicle owners with open recalls to take action. The Agency launched its Safe Cars Save Lives campaign in January, and conducted a five-state, ten-city bus tour—through the highest risk areas for Takata air bag ruptures—to find vehicle owners with open recalls and raise awareness of the SaferCar.gov VIN lookup tool.

The Takata recalls currently cover frontal inflators that do not include a chemical desiccant that absorbs moisture. There have been no reported ruptures of desiccated inflators due to propellant degradation. Under the Amended Coordinated Remedy Order and the May 2016 Consent Order, Takata and automakers that use desiccated PSAN inflators are required to research their safety. Absent proof that the desiccated PSAN inflators are safe, they will also be subject to recall. Takata is required to prove the safety of these inflators by the end of 2019.

Consumers can find complete information about the Takata air bag inflator recalls here.

Additional resources:

 

Commerce Committee’s Sexual Assault Prevention Reforms for NOAA, Merchant Marine Academy Head to President’s Desk

The U.S. Senate today approved reforms adopted by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to protect midshipmen at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees and contractors from sexual assault.

GSA Awards Construction Contract for New Federal Courthouse

GSA news releases - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:00am
New U.S. courthouse to help meet Judiciary's needs

Commerce Ranking Member Bill Nelson

I want to thank Chairman Fischer and Ranking Member Booker for calling this hearing about protecting our nation’s transportation networks from terrorist attacks. 
A series of attacks over the last year or so – from attacks in France and Belgium to those right here in the U.S. – have rung the alarm bell that we cannot be complacent.  
Transportation remains a very real target for terrorists and those wishing to do harm.   
This committee has heard that call.  Last year, the committee took an important step to improve aviation security by moving the Airport Security Enhancement and Oversight Act of 2015.  
This bill took common sense steps to prevent an insider threat to our aviation system by improving the background checks for aviation workers. It also increased random physical screenings and covert, red-team testing. 
And while these steps are essential, the threat is ever changing.  
I am concerned that our current strategy does not sufficiently address the vulnerabilities exposed in Brussels and in the pipe bombs in New York and New Jersey. 
Those incidents highlighted the vulnerability of our surface transportation networks.
That is why I worked with Chairman Thune and Senators Fischer and Booker to introduce the Surface Transportation and Maritime Security Act.  
The legislation addresses deficiencies in TSA’s efforts to secure our rail, transit, highway, port and freight transportation systems.  
It also responds to recent concerns raised by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. 
The Inspector General found that TSA has yet to complete several important and overdue requirements from the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
For example, it’s been 8 years, and TSA has yet to develop rules to ensure that surface transportation workers have sufficient security training, or that railroads have clear standards for their security plans.
In addition, the Inspector General identified serious gaps in TSA’s program to provide credentials for workers accessing secure areas of ports.  
More than a decade after TSA first established its Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, the agency still struggles to prevent fraud in the vetting of workers.
This legislation addresses deficiencies identified by the Inspector General and requires TSA to make changes. 
Importantly, the legislation also takes steps to respond to the recent pipe bomb attacks by immediately adding 70 additional canine teams. 
It also gives TSA the ability to add up to 200 teams over time. 
Canine teams provide a powerful psychological and physical deterrent to potential threats. 
They also have an unparalleled ability to identify detect explosives  
I believe it’s time to reexamine our transportation security strategy and refocus our efforts, and this legislation helps us get there.  
I want to thank the witnesses for coming today and I look forward to hearing from you on these issues. 

Executive Session - Ann Begeman Nomination

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an off-the-floor markup on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, in room S-216 of the U.S. Capitol.  The committee will consider Ann Begeman's nomination (re-appointment) to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board.

Click here for more information on the nominee.
 
Agenda:

Nomination of Ann Begeman to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board

* Nomination approved by voice vote
 
Executive Session Details:
 
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Room S-216 of the U.S. Capitol

Commerce Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

I want to thank Chairman Fischer and Ranking Member Booker for calling this hearing about protecting our nation’s transportation networks from terrorist attacks. 
A series of attacks over the last year or so – from attacks in France and Belgium to those right here in the U.S. – have rung the alarm bell that we cannot be complacent.  
Transportation remains a very real target for terrorists and those wishing to do harm.   
This committee has heard that call.  Last year, the committee took an important step to improve aviation security by moving the Airport Security Enhancement and Oversight Act of 2015.  
This bill took common sense steps to prevent an insider threat to our aviation system by improving the background checks for aviation workers. It also increased random physical screenings and covert, red-team testing. 
And while these steps are essential, the threat is ever changing.  
I am concerned that our current strategy does not sufficiently address the vulnerabilities exposed in Brussels and in the pipe bombs in New York and New Jersey. 
Those incidents highlighted the vulnerability of our surface transportation networks.
That is why I worked with Chairman Thune and Senators Fischer and Booker to introduce the Surface Transportation and Maritime Security Act.  
The legislation addresses deficiencies in TSA’s efforts to secure our rail, transit, highway, port and freight transportation systems.  
It also responds to recent concerns raised by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. 
The Inspector General found that TSA has yet to complete several important and overdue requirements from the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
For example, it’s been 8 years, and TSA has yet to develop rules to ensure that surface transportation workers have sufficient security training, or that railroads have clear standards for their security plans.
In addition, the Inspector General identified serious gaps in TSA’s program to provide credentials for workers accessing secure areas of ports.  
More than a decade after TSA first established its Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, the agency still struggles to prevent fraud in the vetting of workers.
This legislation addresses deficiencies identified by the Inspector General and requires TSA to make changes. 
Importantly, the legislation also takes steps to respond to the recent pipe bomb attacks by immediately adding 70 additional canine teams. 
It also gives TSA the ability to add up to 200 teams over time. 
Canine teams provide a powerful psychological and physical deterrent to potential threats. 
They also have an unparalleled ability to identify detect explosives  
I believe it’s time to reexamine our transportation security strategy and refocus our efforts, and this legislation helps us get there.  
I want to thank the witnesses for coming today and I look forward to hearing from you on these issues. 

Good Afternoon.  I am pleased to

Good Afternoon.  I am pleased to convene the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security for our last subcommittee hearing of 2016 titled, “Assessing the Security of Our Critical Transportation Infrastructure.”

 

Securing our nation’s transportation system is critical to keeping Americans safe.

 

Over the past year, we’ve seen an increasing threat of terrorism to vital surface transportation networks.  On September 17, a bomb exploded in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood injuring thirty-one people.  Two days later, police in Elizabeth, New Jersey, removed from a public trashcan a backpack filled with pipe bombs. The devices were discovered near the town’s train station. Fortunately, no one was killed in either bombing.

 

But earlier this year, in Nice, France, a member of ISIL drove a commercial truck into a crowded promenade, killing 84 people.  And in March, 16 individuals were killed in a bomb blast at a metro station in Brussels, Belgium.

 

These tragic events underscore a dangerous reality: our surface transportation, rail, ports, pipelines, and mass transit systems are at serious risk of attack. 

 

Unlike TSA aviation security checkpoints at our airports, TSA does not directly manage surface transportation security.  Instead, TSA is responsible for providing guidance, oversight, intelligence and assistance to system operators and law enforcement so that they can ensure security across our nation’s surface transportation network.

 

However, recent reports by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security have questioned the TSA’s management of our nation’s surface transportation security programs and resources. 


A September 2016 IG report found that oversight of a critical TSA port access program (otherwise known as TWIC) had inadequate oversight.  TWIC impacts nearly 3.5 million port and freight workers.  The IG’s office found that the program’s fraud detection techniques were not monitored and key internal controls were missing from the terrorism vetting process.

 

A second, even more alarming IG report from September found TSA “lacks an intelligence-driven, risk-based security strategy that informs security and resource decisions across all transportation modes,” beyond aviation.  The report further noted that, “TSA lacks a formal process to incorporate risk in budget formulation decisions.”

 

The TSA’s annual budget is approximately $7.3 billion.

                                 

When Administrator Peter Neffenger testified earlier this year before this committee, he pointed out that TSA spends just 3 percent of its budget on surface transportation security initiatives. This fact may come as a surprise to most Americans.  Congress must evaluate the adequacy of these resources and demand that they be spent based on the threat risk to our transportation network. It’s clear that our ports, highways, pipelines, and railways are at risk. 

 

Today’s hearing convenes a panel of multi-modal stakeholders and experts to discuss how we can enhance the security of our transportation system and ensure the TSA is effective.


This fall, Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, Senator Booker, and I introduced the bipartisan Surface Transportation and Maritime Security Act to address our concerns. 

 

This comprehensive bill would instruct the TSA to establish risk-based budgeting, expand the highly effective canine explosive detection teams for surface transportation, and authorize computer vetting systems for passenger railroads. 

 

Among other provisions, this important legislation would address management inefficiencies raised by the Inspector General as it relates to the TWIC program.  In May 2015, the Senate Commerce Committee passed the Essential Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act, which compels the TSA to fully assess the TWIC program and work with the Inspector General to resolve vetting, oversight, and other major security loopholes.

                                                                         

I am pleased to convene this hearing with the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security and leading experts from the pipeline, trucking, and passenger rail sectors.  I look forward to learning more about how you advance all aspects of security in your daily operations and how we can work together to strengthen transportation security.                 

     

I would now like to invite my colleague and this Subcommittee’s ranking member, Senator Cory Booker, to offer opening remarks.

GSA Announces Cost-Saving Shared Services Vision

GSA news releases - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Announces Cost-Saving Shared Services Vision

Infrastructure, Innovation Top Thune Discussion with Designated Secretary of Transportation Nominee Elaine Chao

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump’s designated nominee for Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao.

Thune Talks Business with Designated Secretary of Commerce Nominee Wilbur Ross

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump’s designated nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

GSA & Adobe to Deliver Streamlined Data Security, Electronic Signature Solutions for Government

GSA news releases - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 12:00am
GSA & Adobe to Deliver Streamlined Data Security, Electronic Signature Solutions for Government

Senate Approves Bicameral Weather Forecasting Reforms

The bill as amended, which leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Science Committee negotiated, adds other weather forecasting and research reform provisions from three bills (S. 1331, S. 1573, and H.R. 34), including reforms championed by Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Thune Congratulates Rep. Walden on Selection as Next House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) congratulated Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) on his selection as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Senate Commerce Presses FAA for Answers on Air Traffic Control Modernization

Third party audits, including a recent Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General report requested by Chairman Thune, have continued to indicate that the FAA is not implementing NextGen in a sufficiently timely and effective manner.

Moran Bill to Improve Consumer Access to Entertainment Events Passes

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Subcommittee, commended last night’s Senate passage of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, S. 3183, bipartisan legislation he led to end duplicative practices of “ticket bots” that monopolize tickets for entertainment events.

GSA Reveals High Bid for the Sugar Grove Station in West Virginia

GSA news releases - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:00am
Sealed bids publicly opened and high bidder declared

GSA announces $136M Congressional authorization for Southeast federal courthouse projects

GSA news releases - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:00am
GSA announces $136M Congressional authorization for Southeast federal courthouse projects

GSA Auctions the Cotton Annex Building

GSA news releases - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:00am
Bidding now open for the 118,000 gross square foot six-story building

Fischer to Chair Transportation Security Subcommittee Hearing

The hearing will examine potential security vulnerabilities in the U.S. transportation system and efforts to guard against the threat of terrorism targeting surface transportation infrastructure.

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