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transportation

A private pilot takes off at Franklin County State Airport in Vermont.
Flickr Photo/Franklin County State Airport (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/KUpsL9

If you thought it could help save the planet, would you give up flying?

A damaged train car is shown on the bed of a truck along I-5 South on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, in Dupont.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Updated 12/20/2017 10:20 p.m.: WSDOT has opened all southbound lanes at Mounts Road near DuPont, including the on-ramp.

Nostalgia is flowing freely in the skies this week as Delta Air Lines takes its remaining Boeing 747 jumbo jets on a farewell tour. They're the last of the iconic jumbos in U.S. passenger service.

The swan song stopped at Delta's main hubs, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It also landed at the jet’s birthplace, Boeing's wide body assembly plant in Everett.

Jim Hamre (left) and Zack Willhoite are shown in a photo taken at Yellowstone National Park in 2005.
Courtesy All Aboard Washington

Two friends who shared a lifelong love of trains, Zack Willhoite and Jim Hamre, had looked forward to the inaugural run of Amtrak 501 from Seattle to Portland.

Friends who knew them said it was a given they would’ve been on this initial trip, likely in a front car as the train followed a brand-new route south of Tacoma.


A view of Puget Sound from the Amtrak Cascades ride. The new view will be of Interstate 5.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Amtrak riders in Pierce County are getting a change in scenery. The roughly 30 mile train ride between Tacoma and Olympia is being rerouted.

Right now the  trip hugs the coastline along Point Defiance with views of Puget Sound. 


KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

A Washington state representative denies sexually harassing anyone, but has resigned from his leadership position.

Do the results of the Alabama special election mean voters are turning away from Republicans? 

Beginning early next year, a group of Washington drivers will be keeping close tabs on the number of miles they drive and how much they spend on gas. They will be part of a pilot program to test out a proposed pay-by-the-mile road tax, similar to what Oregon rolled out in 2015.

UPDATED (Wednesday, Nov. 29, 8:55 a.m.): Washington state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council voted unanimously Tuesday to turn down a controversial oil terminal planned for Vancouver, Washington.

The council’s decision to not recommend the project is another major blow against the massive oil-by-rail facility proposed by Vancouver Energy.

It’s also one of the last steps in a years-long permitting process to develop the oil terminal. The ultimate decision on whether the project goes forward will be up to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

If you're reading this on your phone while driving, stop it. Especially if you're a young neurotic extroverted guy who drives a lot.

Two seconds of attention to the insistent beeping and blinking of our mobile phones or simply changing the radio station accounts for at least 12 percent of car accidents worldwide and 14 percent of them in the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Alaska Airlines is saying "Adios" to Cuba. The Seattle-based airline Tuesday announced it will discontinue flights to Havana after the holidays. Alaska joins a parade of other U.S. carriers who are trimming back flights to Cuba or dropping service entirely.

A prototype of a single-seat passenger drone has arrived at Pendleton, Oregon's airport for flight testing. That according to the Silicon Valley-based Airbus subsidiary A^3—or “A-cubed”—behind the Vahana Project.

The battery-powered, self-flying aircraft has been reassembled after shipping and is now undergoing ground tests.

Tough new laws against handling a cell phone behind the wheel  took effect in Washington and Oregon this year. Each state’s legislature made it illegal to drive while holding an electronic device for most any reason.

Vancouver elected a new mayor this week, Anne McEnerny-Ogle. She talked to All Things Considered host Kate Davidson about her plans and hopes for the Southwest Washington city.

She wants a new bridge over the Columbia River.

Construction continues on the SR-99 tunnel on Thursday, November 2, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The downtown Seattle tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way viaduct is edging closer to completion.

The upper level of the double-decker highway is about 90 percent complete, according to project manager Chris Dixon.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

When the Highway 99 tunnel through Seattle opens to traffic in 2019, state transportation officials plan to charge a toll to drive through it.

That has prompted another idea to gain steam: a toll on downtown surface streets.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Mark Hallenbeck about a pay-by-mile approach to funding roads and bridges in Washington. The state is rolling out a pilot program in January where drivers would pay taxes on the miles they drive, instead of the gas they purchase.

Police in Honolulu on Wednesday will begin writing tickets for people who get distracted by their cellphones while walking in a crosswalk. Honolulu is the first major city in the country to pass such a law, citing a high rate of pedestrians being hit in crosswalks.

"Starting today, texting while walking in a crosswalk can get you a ticket," Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman reports for our Newscast unit. "In fact, a downward glance at a screen of any kind will cost you — a phone, a tablet, a video game."

Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

Republicans in the Washington State Senate say Sound Transit misled them two years ago, and that they have a report to prove it.

Democrats are crying foul, saying that's not true.

As heavy rains move into the Northwest, geologists are watching the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. This summer’s wildfires have made slopes that are already prone to landslides even more treacherous.

Courtesy of Washington Department of Transportation

Bill Radke speaks with Charlie Raines, director of the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, about the wildlife overpass that is being built east of Snoqualmie Pass on I-90.

Self-driving cars would one day take over Interstate 5 to the exclusion of human drivers under a proposal aired out before Washington state transportation advisors Tuesday.

On Saturday, March 19 light rail stations opened serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington (pictured).
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle suddenly seems like a very small town —  at least when you look at the mayoral candidates and their family ties.


Courtesy of Michael Violandi

Many of us spend large portions of our lives in cars. Many of us are annoyed by other people in their cars.

The fact is, human beings behind the wheels of their automobiles are dangerous. In 2015, over 35,000 Americans died in fatal car crashes. With the advent of texting while driving, those numbers are trending up. 

The Seattle area has given birth to aviation icons such as the Boeing 747 jumbo jet and carbon fiber 787 Dreamliner. Could a low-emissions electric jet someday join that hall of fame?

On Thursday, Kirkland, Washington-based startup Zunum Aero unveiled the specs for a hybrid electric jet.

Tesla gets more than its fair share of media hype, but it appears to be stumbling in the spotlight.

Citing "production bottlenecks," Tesla reported this week that it delivered only 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 in September. That's far below some pretty ambitious goals set out by its CEO, Elon Musk.

Big money is pouring into the Port of Vancouver commissioner race from backers of a proposed oil terminal.

On Monday, state election filings showed Vancouver Energy has put an additional $150,000 into the race. It’s the largest single contribution made to any candidate running for office in the state of Washington this cycle. 

The Washington Department of Ecology on Monday denied a permit for a proposal to build North America’s largest coal export terminal in Longview, Wash, citing a raft of concerns about impacts to the region’s environment, transportation and culture.

Millennium Bulk Terminals, the last standing of a half dozen proposals to export coal to Asia from terminals built in the Pacific Northwest, needed a water quality from Ecology to move forward with construction.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabia has reversed its long-standing and widely criticized ban against women driving.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud issued an order on Tuesday that paves the way for women to obtain driver's licenses, according to Saudi state media.

In addition to helmets. proper signaling and the use of front and rear lights are required for bikers in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/iurikothe

It's illegal to ride a bike without wearing a helmet in Seattle and greater King County.

Since three bike sharing companies launched in the city, however, there's been a lot of talk about how that law is enforced.

See that car in the middle lane zipping to the front of the line? You hate that driver, but they're actually doing the right thing, known as the zipper merge.
WSDOT

Three years ago, we ran a story about a little-known traffic tip known as the "zipper merge." 

In short: Drivers should use all lanes leading up to a merge point, rather than clog up one lane. Arrived at the front of the line, drivers in all lanes take turns merging. This is not cheating! (See image above for why the seemingly polite way gunks up traffic.) 

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