Biden’s big plan: Save Gas and Ride the Train to reduce oil consumption

Rev 6:6 NAS “And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Joe Biden Plans to Take ‘Millions of Cars Off the Road’ to Reduce Oil Consumption
  • The president spoke about public transit during his speech on high gas prices
  • “We’re investing almost $100 billion in public transit and rail, for all the studies show that it will take millions of cars off the road and significantly reduce pollution if there’s a serious transportation system available,” he said.
  • “We will take literally millions of automobiles off the road — off the road — saving tens of millions of barrels of oil, dealing with cleaning up the air,” he boasted during an October event at an electric trolley museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  • During the event, he admitted he was envious of China’s high-speed trains and wanted more of them in America.

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Fully vaccinated people can shed masks in most places and travel -U.S. CDC

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places, updated guidance the agency said will allow life to begin to return to normal.

The CDC also said fully vaccinated people will not need to physically distance in most places. The agency also hopes the guidance will prod more Americans to get vaccinated.

President Joe Biden emerged at the White House for remarks without a mask. “I think it’s a great milestone, a great day,” he said.

“If you’re fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you’ve earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile,” he said, flashing a brief smile himself.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the new guidance just two weeks after its most recent update, was based on a sharp reduction in cases, expansion of vaccines to younger people and vaccine efficacy against coronavirus variants.

“We followed the science here,” Walensky said adding, “a coalescence of more science that has emerged just in the last week.”

Biden earlier shed his mask during a meeting with lawmakers, Republican Senator Shelly Moore Capito told reporters. “We heard all about it. The president took his off too,” she said.

Some journalists at the White House also shed their masks.

The CDC had faced criticism, even from public health officials, that it has been too cautious in its guidance. Critics have said people need to see more benefit of getting vaccinated in terms of returning to normal activities.

“In the past couple of weeks, we have seen additional data to show these vaccines work in the real world, they stand up to the variants, and vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus,” the agency said in a news release.

It added, “We needed to take the time to review the full body of evidence to get this right, and that’s how we came to this decision.”

‘NEED A REWARD’

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he supports the new guidance that many had been calling for.

“People in state health departments and infectious disease doctors have been saying this for some time because they’re so impressed with the effectiveness of the vaccine, and also, they have the feeling that people who are vaccinated need a reward,” he said.

Republican Senator Susan Collins had been critical of the CDC’s delay in revising the guidance.

“Today’s announcement on masks, while overdue, is certainly a step in the right direction,” she said in a statement. “If people find they cannot do anything differently after a vaccine, they will not see the benefit in getting vaccinated.”

The revised guidance is a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, but the agency still recommends vaccinated people wear masks on planes and trains, and at airports, transit hubs, mass transit and in places like hospitals and doctor’s offices.

The U.S. government last month extended mask requirements across transportation networks through Sept. 13. Walensky said the CDC plans to soon issued updated guidance for transit.

The new guidance says vaccinated Americans can resume all travel, do not need to quarantine after international trips and do not need to be tested for COVID-19 if exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic.

However, Americans still face some international travel restrictions, including non-essential trips to Canada.

Masks became a political issues in the United States with then-President Donald Trump resisting mandating masks while President Joe Biden embraced masks and mandated them for transit hubs. Some U.S. states issued aggressive mask mandates while others declined or dropped them months ago.

The CDC said fully vaccinated people should still wear masks where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, and abide by such rules and regulations, including from local businesses and workplace guidance.

In late April, the CDC said fully vaccinated people can safely engage in outdoor activities like walking and hiking without wearing masks, but recommended continuing to use face-coverings in public spaces where they are required.

Walensky said on Thursday immune-compromised individuals should consult doctors before shedding masks and emphasized people who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear them. She added vaccinated people who have COVID-19 symptoms should put masks back on.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Franklin Paul and Bill Berkrot)

Canada sets new speed limits on trains carrying dangerous goods

(Reuters) – Canada on Sunday announced new measures to lower speed limits in trains hauling dangerous goods like diesel, gasoline and chemicals to reduce the risk of derailment, effective immediately.

Trains carrying 20 or more cars with dangerous goods will be limited to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) in metropolitan areas and to 40 mph outside metropolitan areas with no track signals, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/02/minister-of-transport-updates-ministerial-order-to-reduce-the-risks-of-derailment-of-trains-transporting-dangerous-goods.html in a statement.

Last week, Garneau announced a temporary speed limit after a Canadian Pacific Railway train hauling oil derailed and caught on fire near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, the second such derailment in the area in two months.

For higher risk trains, including those with any combination of 80 or more cars containing dangerous goods, the speed limit will be 30 mph for urban areas and 25 mph for areas with no track signals, the statement added.

Canada’s biggest railway, Canadian National Railway Co, said in a separate statement it supported the decision taken by Canada’s Transport Minister.

(Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

New York commuters endure start of ‘summer of hell’

Commuters wait for track announcements at New York's Pennsylvania Station which began track repairs causing massive disruptions to commuters in New York City, U.S., July 10, 2017.

By Barbara Goldberg and Gabriella Borter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City commuters endured the start to a “summer of hell” on Monday, when track repairs at the nation’s busiest rail hub caused rerouted trains, packed platforms and lengthy delays for tourists, financiers and the working class in the U.S. business capital.

Thousands of riders were funneled into chaotic train depots, but the more apocalyptic warnings proved overstated as other commuters sailed into midtown Manhattan with relative ease, in part because of a substantial public awareness campaign.

State Governor Andrew Cuomo had predicted the partial shutdown at New York’s Pennsylvania Station would cause a “summer of hell” for the 600,000 who ride the train in and out of the station beneath Madison Square Garden.

The national passenger rail corporation Amtrak and regional commuter train operators New Jersey Transit Corp and the Long Island Rail Road all converge on Penn Station. All three canceled some services, rerouted others, and warned travelers to expect delays throughout the duration of the repairs, which began on Monday and are scheduled to be done Sept. 1.

“Welcome to hell,” read the front page of Monday’s New York Post.

The upgrades created disruptions which are expected to cost Manhattan employers about $14.5 million for each hour that commuters are delayed, according to an estimate by the Partnership for New York City.

Rerouted trains dumped masses of passengers at transfer stations such as Hoboken, New Jersey, as many sought alternate routes into the city, including buses, ferries and cars.

“Compared to Europe, I feel like we’re living in the Third World,” said Mark Van Wagner, an artist and art dealer who takes the Long Island Rail Road from Bellport, New York.

The commuter crunch highlights lagging investment in U.S. infrastructure, and especially in New York City, which is dependent on mass transit.

Getting into the city had already been problematic for those who live in the suburbs and in some cases made worse by service interruptions in the city’s creaky subway system.

Even so, Amtrak reported most of its trains ran on time or close to it, and travelers heeded the increased public service announcements and Amtrak representatives who were posted in Penn Station.

While congestion and delays were evident at some points, those on unaffected trains reported a relatively smooth ride.

“I didn’t feel any change. I’ve been using LIRR for the past 11 years and it’s been good,” said Tamer Seoud, chief financial officer for the non-profit Lutheran Social Services of New York.

NJ Transit workers use tape on placards as people arrive to the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, U.S., July 10, 2017.

NJ Transit workers use tape on placards as people arrive to the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

At Hoboken station, transit workers bellowed instructions such as “tickets out!” and “this way to 39th street ferry!”

“The plans we put into effect seemed to be working,” New Jersey Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia said. “And most importantly, our customers seemed to have done their homework and made their choices quickly this morning and got about their business.”

Social media users made a meme of the summer of hell, with J.H. Swanson (@jh_swanson) predicting it would be followed by the “autumn of purgatory.”

Arielle K. (@NYCMermaid1121) tweeted her summer of hell survival kit: “water, oatmeal pack, phone charger & Xanax.”

 

(Additional reporting by Andrew Hofstetter and Amy Tennery; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

 

Ahead of storm, U.S. planes, trains and trucks diverted, canceled

Cars are seen along Deerfield beach near Coral Springs while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Florida

By Nick Carey

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Hundreds of flights have been canceled, Florida airports are being shuttered and train services suspended as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the U.S. southeastern coast, with passengers and goods likely to be stranded or delayed through Saturday.

Atlanta-based Delta Airlines said 130 flights were canceled on Thursday after the airline halted operations at southern Florida airports including Miami. A further 150 will be canceled on Friday as Florida airports further north such as Orlando are affected. Additional cancellations are expected for Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday, the airline said.

A spokeswoman for Chicago-based United Airlines said the company canceled 180 flights from Wednesday through Saturday affecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Jacksonville.

“This is a very fluid situation, so we are ready to change and cancel more flights as needed,” she said.

American Airlines has canceled flights in southern Florida starting Thursday afternoon, which should resume by midday on  Friday. The airline said Orlando flights will cease late on Thursday afternoon, with a reduced service resuming Saturday morning. Jacksonville flights will cease on Friday morning and  reduced service will resume on Saturday.

Southwest Airlines Co said it had canceled 60 flights for Thursday due to the hurricane.

A FedEx spokeswoman said the package delivery company is implementing unspecified contingency plans but warned of potential service delays or disruptions.

“Contingency plans are being implemented to ensure that shipments arrive at their final destinations as quickly as conditions permit,” said Glenn Zaccara, a spokesman for rival United Parcel Service Inc.

Operations on No. 3 U.S. railroad CSX Corp’s main Florida line from Auburndale into Jacksonville would cease late on Thursday afternoon, spokeswoman Melanie Cost said.

Services from Florida into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina would be curtailed until after the storm passes, she added.

No. 4 U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp is moving equipment away from Southeast coastal areas and transferring shipments inland to secured rail yards. Traffic en route to affected regions is being held at yards throughout the Norfolk Southern system to alleviate congestion in those areas.

Miami-based trucking and logistics company Ryder System Inc will close its headquarters during the storm, spokesman David Bruce said. But he added that Ryder is “repositioning rental trucks to the affected areas and working to ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply for our customers in the days after the storm passes.”

(Reporting By Nick Carey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)