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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  November 27, 2013 7:00am-10:01am EST

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motors gives an update on the u.s. auto industry. host: good morning. a live view of the u.s. capitol as the rain continues in the east. with congress and recess this week for the thanksgiving holiday, it is a getaway wednesday as millions toward planes, trains, and drive to your destination. of the busieste travel days of the year. we want to focus on the terminals, the roads and the rail lines but carry freight and passengers. this question, is america's transportation infrastructure up to 21st-century first century standards. that is the question this
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morning. as always, you can join in on the conversation. you can also join us on facebook or send us an e-mail or send us a tweet. this is the headline this morning, front page of " the wall street journal" --
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we want to focus on the larger issue of transportation infrastructure. earlier this month the president traveling to the port orleans, saying it is time to spend more money. >> one in nine of our bridges is rated structurally deficient. more than 40% of the major highways are congested. so is our airspace. who is sitting on a tarmac wondering right it is you are not taking off and getting aggravated when you buy someplace, heart of the reason is we have the antiquated air traffic control system. we need the next or duration air traffic control. it would reduce time travel, delays, fuel costs, pollution in the sky. we know how to do it, we just have not done it. that should not be a democratic or republican issue, that is just smart to go ahead and do it. president and his
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comments earlier this month from new orleans. getting your comments on our facebook age. am facebook, there is this from wesley grimes -- stephen says this -- there is this from jerry scholz -- --ally, michael anderson good morning. where are you phoning from? caller: new jersey. in about an hour from new
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york city. we used to have a rail line all the way to the pennsylvania line , and it does not run out there anymore. it is crazy. the tracks are still there. we have nothing. host: your recommendation is what? are you still with us? let me share with you what the heritage foundation wrote in a recent report on america's infrastructure next as angelo joining us on the independent line. hello? i am angelo.
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i am calling on the pacific line. the money the president was talking about on this new upgrading for the air traffic control, why can't that be shared by the airlines? they will be in a fitting from it. why do we have to foot the bill for what will boost their ok.ness? host: thank you for the call. asking you about america's infrastructure and whether you think spending needs to increase on transportation. danny joining us from maryland. i just want to say the new trains, the speech reigns in china that travel like 400 miles and ease it would help the traffic on the roads. that, we can at least
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save some money. also, i do not think the .irlines will allow that thank you. robert on thefrom issue of spending more money for america's infrastructure. federal dollars would be a good idea if we can find the money i cutting out other programs, but no more borrowing. more from the president as he spoke in new orleans earlier this month. is investing a lot in infrastructure. europe is investing a whole lot and infrastructure. brazil is. what are we doing? we are doing good things locally here. the state and city are trying to wesome work, but nationally, are falling behind. we are relying on old stuff.
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i do not think we should have old stuff. we should have new stuff that is going to help us grow and keep pace with global competition. rebuilding our transportation and communications networks is one of the fastest ways to create good jobs. president on november 8. live scenes inside reagan national airport in washington, d.c., on what will be a very busy travel day, especially as the weather impacts travel along the east coast. cnn has this story -- " theeadline from gazette" --ost-i this from orange county in california --
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if you are just joining us, we are asking about federal spending for transportation infrastructure. john joining us from alaska. good morning to you. caller: good morning. little early. 3:00. i am in the military. i recently traveled to alaska from colorado springs. the alaska canadian highway is an interesting highway if you have ever heard of it. that has issues, but once you get into alaska, the road are great. all of the roads in colorado are pretty significantly good. i am originally from the east coast, new jersey. the new jersey roads, even though they are congested, are very good. and all upmaryland
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and down. i do not know why we would spend more money on that's when we have significant other issues that need to be addressed. spending money on that would probably not be the wisest course. one of our regular viewers has this -- next is sydney joining us from leawood, kansas. on the issue of federal spending on america's infrastructure. your thoughts on this. caller: i think we should spend more money. i have german in the mountains on both coasts. i think the road are too narrow. they just do not have good shoulders to me.
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thank you for the call. tomorrow the traditional macy's day parade. fox with this headline, wind worries ahead of the macy's day parade. considering tors ground some of the balloons used for the thanksgiving day parade. the inflatable characters that soar through midtown, manhattan, theay not left off if sustained winds sustained 23 miles per hour. forecast called for do highway and. a dress rehearsal had -- held yesterday for the parade that will captivate evil around the country on thursday morning. the numbers to call -- the question, federal spending on infrastructure.
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should we spend more? is this a state issue? richard run virginia. you are on the air. caller: i am actually in the paving industry. it is like everything else, the government cannot run anything. two thirds of what we do is wasted. we bill them for it, but it is totally wasted. the private sector does a much other job and does not waste money like the federal government does. that is just what i want to say. host: front page below the fold in " washington post" --
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all details inside " washington post" -- a story on what is faxed with regards to cuba and whether or not the recent discussions with resumingl lead to negotiations with that island 90 miles off the coast of florida. --iel rivera writes
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that is from fusion tv, available online. the viewer. good morning. good morning. yes, i do think we should spend on improving the infrastructure. i do think america is doing better in terms of the recession. unlike europe, we have been spending our way out. moreme ways it is becoming like a third world country.
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china and brazil are really putting forth great moneys into their infrastructure. our infrastructure is in decline. really help to get america back on its feet. .nd eisenhower this is from richard, this tweet 00 -- today" --ide "usa
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william from elizabeth city, north carolina. good morning. good morning.
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i think spending would be a great idea. we are the envy of the world. spending do create jobs. we are the enemy of the world so we need to spend more money to create jobs. more money for everybody. homeare worse than the grown terrorists. >> thank you very much for the call. president back in washington today after spending three days on the west coast, seattle, san francisco, and outlay. a fund-raising trip as he raised money for the democratic committee in congressional committee. today the one public event, a tradition that dates back more than six decades, the annual turkey pardoning that will take eastern time.15
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live coverage of this tradition. go back afterl being pardoned by president barack obama. mitchell joining us from new jersey. welcome to the program. good morning. i think a lot of the collars are being myopic in terms of what -- listening to the conversation spending.portation you cannot really see the damage going on with the bridges and highways. i live right outside the new york city area. there are chunks of the bridge falling into the hudson river array day. report andngineering engineers are scared to death to right on this thing. by doing the infrastructure repairs now, the people debt,ned about that --
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wind up saving money. these bridges and tunnels and infrastructure repairs will need to be done, regardless of what the financial status is. we will wind up darling the money at a higher interest rates, and that will kill us. with one otheru example. a book written about robert who created a lot of the infrastructure in the new york city area, he built a highway to jfk airport. road in thet this 1930s, people begged him, please leave an area for rail transport that would transport people to and from jfk airport in new york . he refused to do it. years, werd about 60 spent about 2 billion dollars
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doing a monorail system to and from the airport that we could have done for significantly less years ago. we need to look at the overall picture and how it will affect us. thank you for the call. carol has this point -- if you are hitting the roads today, the price for gasoline has been fluctuating, on average reader dollars 20 nine cents per gallon. it has increased nine cents from just a week ago but back to where it was one month ago. three dollars 20 nine cents courtesy of aaa. back to your calls, coral from jacksonville, florida. good morning. because i am calling the roads and florida are not as great as they say they are. awful.cities it is
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i remember when the governor of not to takecided the money the president offered to create a rail system from tampico -- tampa to miami. it was refused. if people would wake up, the state would be a better place to live. the beltway along this morning. and when has this point, where we live in texas the roads are in great shape, but we are one of the few is good roads. some other stories this morning all reporting on laura logan and cbs news who has taken a leave of absence in the wake of the 60 andtes report that cbs news laura logan later rescinded based on misinformation from a primary source. you can read details online.
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more on the congressman who has taken a leave of absence. the governor calls on congressman to quit after his arrest. parker writing his voice to calls for riddell to plead guilty -- to step down after step -- pleading guilty to cocaine charges. details from inside " the new york times" -- one of the closest races ever in virginia has been declared.
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the republican candidate is calling for a recount. a difference of 165 both out of 2.2 million cast. now mark opened chain -- m ark obenshain asking for a recount. been declaredhas the winner. the recount will take place. good morning. i have a lot of experience in land surveying. i am 67 years old now. i am not in the business now. lived inr when i it went in the rockies, through pretty quickly. a couple of exceptions, the continental divide took a while.
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the pace of highway construction these days presently is so much slower. part of the problem is the design engineers are only foot per300 of a linear feet. that is fine if you are doing 300 miles per hour but 70 miles per how are -- per hour, you will not notice in -- any problem. the tolerances are too tight. frequentlyntractors put in cost overruns and it's too expensive. a couple of other comments. was right on.
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that is it for the dead. -- dsaay. host: another story getting a lot of attention today, --
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this is the headline this morning in the front page "of the new york times" -- details available this morning. leno joining us from virginia. good morning. i do not know why they are bellyaching about the
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infrastructure. probably the highway departments of virginia and all the other and other places in the world. host: thank you for the call. looking at live scenes of reagan national airport.
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they will be focusing on all of the issues over the next three hours. phone lines are open. that touches -- tunnels and bridges belong to the state, not the federal government. the siding without over birth control. two of these cases the supreme court agreed to take up. theother note in regard to media. alec baldwin and his short program on msnbc has been canceled.
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msnbc have the final meltdown. robert joins us from ohio. good morning. good morning. didn't we, as far as infrastructure goes, didn't we already passed an 800 billion dollars stimulus package that was supposed to be part of the infrastructure and a whole bunch of jobs?
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this is a coalition of all of them. putpay taxes every time you fuel in your truck or your car. if you drive a big truck on the pay taxes. you the federal government gets enough money. look at the money they are getting off of gasoline. they make were money off gasoline than the people producing it. so no, they do not need to raise taxes to do this. thank you very much for listening to us. we welcome our listeners. the baltimore area. this is from tj who makes this point -- more live scenes from reagan
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national airport as we listen to vernon joining us from annapolis, maryland. caller: good morning. the previous scholars have stolen my thunder about the for the shovel ready projects. i would also like to comment on everyone who thinks we should spend money on the rail system. this is a beautiful system that was built to modern standards. well subsidized by the federal government. isy people use it, and it not inexpensive to ride, but with all that, the system is in decline. when they start talking about spending hundreds of millions of dollars, i just do not think that many people would ride on it. host: harold is next from virginia.
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caller: good morning. i just wanted to say interest rates are low, unemployment is high. the infrastructure really needs a lot of money right now. thank you for the call. most americans unaffected by obamacare. the story points out only 19% of americans say they have been hurt in the affordable care act. theirercent believe family has benefited from the law. 69% believe it has not been affected at all. this is here to remain ambivalent towards the signature health care law. 70% without insurance responding the law has not helped or hurt them. details at politico.com. dan on the independent line from maryland. good morning.
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i am interested only if we have to the asphalt business. there has been so much technology gains and other industries but why not asphalt. we do not see anything that makes this last longer. it is a crude system. reason id be the only would say you have to spend money. let's make this last longer. every seven years you have to re-asphalt stuff. that is not the way to go. another thing is all of our money is sourced out to labor forces. that really does not help our country or people here. are you following me? host: i sure do. thank you for the comments. one caller says --=
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share with us your thoughts and comments. on thequest is based letter sent to the president. a group of seven democratic senators. the offing -- acting director of the office and management director. scheduled to take over in january. senator ofs led by new hampshire. praising the election as an interim leader before highlighting debut as a need for a long-term solution. the project a man leadership in day to day management. someone whose sole responsibility would be an unrelenting focus on the health care website.
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next his mark on the independent line. caller: good morning. i think the federal government should definitely fund infrastructure. the cost overruns would be like $15 million. the two prior collars make great points. that situation does not seem to be going anywhere. the tolls in boston is $10 as well as the gw. host: thank you for the call. this is from another one of our viewers. is the sentiment of the heritage foundation, which issued a report on
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infrastructure spending in this country. in this report, new spending provide questionable spending. infrastructure spending has remained fairly stable for the past three decades. the states know best, highways and priorities. next call is from pennsylvania. the weather is going to be a little messed up, but that is all right. we have to take the way it comes. the governor is going to tax this, i do not have no problem with that. we asoblem i have is americans work hard to build this beautiful country and we send our money all over the world. instead of fixing bridges all
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over the state, the federal government should take care of the outside the world not the inside. the inside is why we have governors. we should let them take care of the states. we have to change the lifestyle. we have to let the state government work together to build our cities as americans. we do have the best country in the world. you and i know that. look at what is going to happen in greece. world.t country in the we have this problem. thank you and god bless you. have a nice thanksgiving. bill from pennsylvania.
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many of you weighing in on the facebook page. this is from my rent is says that is what federal and state taxes is supposed to go for. stephen says that the state decide the gasoline tax levels and how the money is spent. the states can benefit or suffer from oakley elect the officials and their decisions. susie says transportation? getting your calls and comment on transportation infrastructure. you can also send us an e-mail. live at reagan national airport. all of the travelers headed home saturday and sunday.
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some airlines, including u.s. air and jet blue offering passengers who agree to change the flight plan the ability to do so without any penalty. details available on the website. sherry joins us from florida. democrats line. good morning. been questioning for quite a while, we watch china. i am not so sure the roads need to be repaired, but i do believe america for all the money we have spent around the world should have one of the best transportation systems second to no one. when i see china, japan, europe -- they have beautiful train systems. that is what america should have. hours is so dilapidated compared to other countries. is so dilapidated compared to other countries.
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creator, but iob -- thehis super rail trillions of dollars spent in other countries should he spent looking at the union station. talking about amtrak later in the program. john joining us from lancaster, pennsylvania. good morning. what i think of spending money to rebuild the highway infrastructure may not be the way to go. think we need to rebuild the industrial infrastructure. i think local communities could partner with state and federal and can get marketing plans together and rebuild the industrial infrastructure and
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put americans back to work. these lands were factories we would build would be community businesseslly owned not owned by private enterprise and corporations can jump up and leave the country at a moments notice. host: thank you for the call. the front page of "usa today" -- below that, but macy's thanksgiving day parade and weather and winds potentially a fact or. have you ever wonder what happened to the change that you leave as you go to security ?heck point stephen dine in writing about that --
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caller: good morning. i am a big c-span geek.
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d.c. metro. a caller said something about the train to nowhere in california. this would be so good for california. you for calling
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us and for watching on c-span 1, 2, and three. another tweet -- two headlines we want to share with you. front page of " the washington times" -- justices to hear contraception case challenging health law. -- julie have him following the story and joining us on the phone. essentially what will the supreme court decide next year? >> this morning they announced they will take up a controversial part of the affordable care act, which is that most employers offer health insurance, and most have to include a variety of birth control methods. business owners say they are opposed to offer forms of birth control on principle say that is a violation of religious rights.
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essentially it is whether or not the individual's religious freedom extends to the company they are. host: let's talk about hobby andy, a family-run business has 15,000 employees. says it runs itself on christian values and opposed to the health care law that would divide contraceptive care to female employees, correct? guest: that is correct. taking up two different cases. one of them is hobby lobby, arts and crafts store. is from a wood products corporation, which is run by mennonite that makes. they have religious underpinnings. courts, cases. the hobby lobby case one in the
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appeals case. court willlly the take up these cases to look at the limits of how far the federal government can make a business owner in fridge on religious liberty. we havenversely am a heard from administration officials and kathleen sebelius essentially saying no one should get in the wake of a woman's reproductive rights and her doctor. that is the issue the court ultimately will have to decide, correct? absolutely. supporters of the law say it is necessary to protect women's rights, and of -- part of the affordable care act act to make sure women have preventable screenings. they also say leading religious business owners off the hook when it comes to contraception to allowinghe door businesses to interfere with her own personal health care
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choices. there have been a couple of cases working their way through the court system on the issue of earth control mandate. it is not necessarily a surprise that the court decided to take up the case yesterday, but certainly going to be a much cheap-watched case when oral arguments happen next round. on thist me follow up point. obviously the supreme court has taken up the larger issue of the constitutionality of the affordable care act. this creates another political battle for the white house. absolutely. going to be a heated and controversial and probably a pretty tough fight. last june was when they essentially upheld the law and called the individual mandate. typically not a good idea to place bets on how the supreme court will rule, but there are
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analyst that i have talked to that said it is a pretty hard -- high bar at the court has set when comes to making a private individual do something that would seem to infringe upon religious rights. line, the court will decide what? guest: the court will decide whether a person's freedom of religion extends to the business they own? it is parallel to the citizens united case in 2010 when the court basically determined corporations have a right to free speech. one waythe court ruled in that case does not necessarily tell more about this one. some corporations also have the right to have free exercise of religion. host: more details online at thehill.com. writing on this.
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thank you for being with us. happy thanksgiving to you as well. we will continue our program today as we look at trains and planes and automobiles. of next, the auto industry and five years after the bailout. travel.n the u.s. air up next, parbart jansen. our live pictures inside reagan national airport as we continue on this wednesday morning, november 27. back in a moment. >> the 60s were -- the 60s were different. [laughter]
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there were a lot of things happening involving race. the breakdown of structure in society. i was suddenly out of the seminary and in new england. there were no rules. things were falling apart. structure, it is very difficult to navigate. . was extremely fortunate i was extremely fortunate to still have a residual him of the way i was raised and the structure that the nuns had given me, the structure the seminary had given me. i was also extremely fortunate because i had been in predominantly white schools. the transition to a school with very few setks, a of circumstances, i had a jumpstart. game, so i of the
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had something. it allowed me to continue to do well, even though it was very difficult. on c-span.iving hear from clarence thomas at 9:00, all that by elena kagan at 9:45. also, four days of "booktv." threes, american history tv, the 100 50th anniversary of the gettysburg address. helping commemorate the 10 sentences president lincoln spoke at the dedication of soldiers national cemetery at gettysburg at 4:00 and 10:00. c-span, we bring public affairs from washington directly to you, put you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings and conferences and offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house as a private
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industry. public c-span, created by the cable industry 24 years ago. now, you can watch us in hd. journal"hington continues - - reaganhe scene at national airport as airlines for delta, american airlines repair for take off on one of the busiest travel days of the year. we want to welcome bart jansen. mergeregin with the between us airways and american airlines. it now means we will go from 10 major carriers over the past decade 24. ofst: there has been a bunch consolidation. d started joining with northwest . united and continental joined. southwest bought airtran. we are winning for the final
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approval of the american and us airways merger to go ahead. they had been hoping to finish in mid-december but that has been questioned. editorial,e share an calling this merger unwise, simplethis is a concerned the justice department expressed, the four big airlines will have an even greater incentive to raise fares and fees because consumers will have fewer choices. is that the case? guest: that is the greatest concern, prices will go up, go up.-- flights will direct flights being reduced, but 1000 city pairings where perhaps if you are on u.s. airways you want to fly to texas but you connect through charlotte. those sorts of flight could be
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subject to less competition, higher prices. that was absolutely the concern. the remedy now is the airlines will give up permission to fly at some of the key airports across the country. justice thinks even though it does not deal with perhaps the 1000 city pairings that spurring competition at the major hubs is a good compromise as they prepare to merge. about reagan -- reagan national, because not only are we there this morning but a major hub for delta airlines. this means what for southwest or jetblue or other low-cost carriers? guest: the agreement with justice said they will give up 52 round-trip lights out of reagan every day. they were going to control almost 70% of the gates at
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reagan, so they will give up the share of them, something like 15% overall. will 52 round-trip flights go to another carrier. justices said it must go to a low-cost carrier. tend to drawhose down prices in the cities where they operate. the question is delta would like slots andhance of the the question whether other airlines will be able to bid. host: related story that you wrote -- and outre traveling in of small or midsized cities such as rochester, new york on or dayton, ohio or eureka, pennsylvania, what impact will this have on those small cities? the direct impact is
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the concern that flights will be canceled and no longer serve smaller communities. during congressional hearings as the murder was considered, the us airways chief warned that service could be reduced. that those are the flights that might the given up. is, it's southwest or jetblue were to start serving that airport, then would they or go to thein more popular cities they have ?re ready to serve you co smalleron for the communities whether they will lose service. a couple of cities that have suffered, pittsburgh and cincinnati because airlines move comes at of the airport. now among the more expensive places to fly.
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use this as an example. it merged with piedmont and became u.s. airways. it moved its base from pittsburgh to arizona. americanerger with airlines. what does that tell you about the state of the airline industry over the past 50 years? the big change since 1978 has been deregulation. the government no longer has said you need to fly between these different cities, we need to serve the greater variety of .asis since the regulation if you are not fighting between major cities, you will have to connect through major cities, and that has left smaller communities with less service as there has been greater consolidation. what the airlines say is they
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are moving people efficiently, that maybe you have to make a connection, but there are many choices and because of the way the hubs work, but perhaps you have choices that you did not have before. discussing the state of the u.s. airline industry. phone lines are open. live scenes at reagan national airport. one of the busy airport scenes. is it the busiest travel day of the year or a cliché? a cliché.it of even during this holiday season, it is not the biggest day. something like to .4 million people will be getting on planes today, so it is a very busy day. point 5 million.
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even on the holiday weekend, not quite the biggest. there are a couple of bigger weekends in july when everyone is out of school. it is among the biggest days of the year. host: " the wall street journal" reporting because of the weather and the ice, the u.s. air and jetblue saying to the passenger if you change your flight, you can do so in will not be charged a penalty. guest: i believe all of the major airlines think they withoutnge the flights the penalty. rain delays and snow delays in pencil they do -- pennsylvania and new york state and new england, so if people have problems with their flight this weekend, they ought to at least be able to change them without
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fees. the concern is the planes are full nowadays. seven out of every eight seats full. if a flight is canceled, you need seven more flights. flights just to move the flights that were already canceled. it has been predominately delays. atlanta had something like one out of three flights delayed yesterday. the question is whether there will be cancellations today. i want tojansen, ask you about the fees. if you are about to board a plane and the flight leaves in our earlier and it is open, airlines still charge you 150 dollars to change, even though you are are ready at the airport host:. why is that? host: the ability.y like predict
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they want to know ahead of time how many people will fly, which cities they are flying to so they can arrange the plane and the cruise way need to fees, if all of these you want to change her flight, or the baggage fee, then, of course, for drinks on the plane, except for soda. guest: generally, what they are trying to do as they compete over fares it is called un bundling or making à la carte for all of the services they offer. that is another way to charge
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people. that way the people that use the what they would like to. you can pay to upgrade your room, as youe leg say, for food. the fees now total billions of dollars a year, so they are becoming more à la carte rather than one of their. host: is it a good idea or a bad idea? guest: many consumers are upset because the fees are not always the easiest things to figure out and people do not like to be surprised when they find out .hey have to pay extra for bags being told you have to pay an extra $100 at the gate is frustrating. there are moves to make the fees more obvious.
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it is a big hustle now in the department of -- counsel -- tussle now in the department of transportation on whether to order the airlines to make the fees for baggage, seat assignment, part of the initial fare that you see advertised upfront. the rule is being developed, and it is not clear if they will force that. the airline say they do not need to be forced. that competition will force them, or it is difficult to sort out what some people have to pay. host: we are talking to bart jansen of "usa today." he has worked in a number of state capitals, including annapolis, maryland, and he has written for "congressional newspapers gannett
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and has spent the last few years with "usa today." jerry in new york. caller: i work for the airlines. jetblue, southwest, we call them low-cost carriers, but the cost to fly those airlines are not much less than traveling on the legacy airlines. i think airfare is relatively cheap. if you try to book your ticket today to fly tomorrow, it is relatively expensive, but if you book way in advance, it is relatively inexpensive and a good deal. host: jerry, thank you for the call. guest: the airlines would love to have you know the cost of an airline ticket has dropped over the last decade compared to ,nflation, but the fares
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measured directly, do not count the extra fees, and i am not familiar with anyone totaling the fares plus the fees and how they stack up. the airlines contend they provide an affordable service, especially when you think that their cost is fuel and fuel prices have risen dramatically over the last few years. as to low-cost carriers -- you are right. southwest is now the biggest domestic airline, flying more flights will -- than anyone else in the united states. theld they be considered upstart or the low-cost carrier? hasjustice department suggested that southwest and jetblue, when they locate near they drive down
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prices, and it may be a language problem. they want someone to offer competition. whether low-cost carrier is the best phrase, we do not know. let us compete, and we can drive down prices. jan -- talks from about how they overbook and cancel at the flight -- drop of a hat. are 80% full on average. airlines routinely sell more tickets than there are seats on the airplane because they know people will not show up. they are trying to keep him as full as they can, arguing that makes the system most efficient, and keeps, essentially, prices as efficient, or as low as possible. in terms of cancellation, it is
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frustrating because the planes are full and it is difficult to find your next flight if the flight is canceled. the department of transportation keeps track of those statistics. the airlines have been doing better in the last year or two in not canceling flights, but they happen occasionally. personalill share one experience in trying to catch a flight to the northeast. after a five and a half hour delay, the flight was canceled because of mechanical problems. what rights do passengers have under those circumstances? guest: the rights very by by airline.ary on a long delay like that, they would at least try to book you on another flight. it tends to be when there is a mechanical problem that the airline would have to, perhaps, put you in a hotel or provide other compensation. delay, theyeather
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say -- when it is a weather delay, their control is much less, and they would try to rebook you on another flight. host: marge. michigan. caller: good morning. i just wanted, how does the commercial -- wondered, how does the commercial cargo they carry fit into their net profit? i heard for many years that the that theytickets charge for do not really cover their expenses. commercial freight does. i will listen off air. guest: you are right that the airlines do carry a bunch of cargo along with the luggage. i am not familiar at my fingertips with how much cargo airlines tovide their bottom line, but i am sure they would not be doing it if it were not lucrative.
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if they would say it is cargo you do not notice, and if that keeps down the plane prices, folks should not mind. host: related to security checkpoints, one of our viewers says until they stop strip searching the citizens -- i travel only for business. it is too much hassle, not fund. guest: you hear a lot of complaints about the transportation security administration in running the checkpoints, screening people before they get on flights. the overall number of complaints seems to be less now than in recent years. of that a new head agency, a man named john pistol, who came from a 26-year career in the fbi, and many in the industry think he brought greater professionalism to tsa,
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but yes, frustrations remained. they get more than 300 complaints per month about courtesy at the checkpoints. they say they do review complaints. they are professional. a try to treat people with respect, but there are many people, particularly on the east coast, that perhaps turn to the train between washington and new york because by the time you get to security, wait for your flight, it might be easier to take a train. host: we'll be talking to frank n. wilner to discuss rail transportation and infrastructure. this is something we read in the first half-hour, but in case you is that, from "the washington " -- a bill to make the tsa
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give up all of the loose change. passengers have left as much as half of a million dollars over the last two years. under existing law, tsa is allowed to keep all of the loose change (plastic bins at their scanning machines. a congressman wants to change that, turning the money over to nonprofit agencies to provide travel assistance to military troops and their families. guest: i covered the congressman in one of my previous jobs. he has tried to get this money turned back to the government somehow. tsa says it is not that they are just pocketing the spare change, but that they use it in their budget, and it basically reduces the need for greater government taxation ortiz to flow into their government -- taxation
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fees to flow into the government. commerce and miller is interested in shifting -- congressman miller is interested in shifting that money to something other than tsa, and his bill for veterans has cleared committee, but i do not believe it has cleared the house. host: you are correct. it has not cleared the house. peter. the lucky. we welcome your calls. -- no walkie. we welcome your calls. peter, good morning. caller: good morning. i work for a fortune 50 company. we sell to many corporations and world,ents across the and services specifically to the airline industry, one thing we take into account is their ability to purchase those
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, and airlines are operating at very slim gross profit margins. what you see is if you take the , the cost of sales divided by total sales, you will see their gross profit margins are maybe less than 1%, where most businesses have double , 30% gross profit margin. as someone advise internationally three or four times a year -- that flies internationally three or four times a year, i do not like the fees myself, but the airlines, trying to make their prices transparent, they are still not as healthy as you would think. host: thank you for the call
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from brooklyn, new york. would let airlines you know their profit margins are pretty small. in recent years they have made a few pennies per customer. they now are having a slightly better year and making them i believe it -- making, i believe it is a little over one dollar a year. yes, they will tell you their budgets, their profitability is very narrow and that is why their experiment with these different fees, figuring out how to charge people, and make offers that are more desirable to their customers. is from "the wall street journal" -- as baggage fees soar, thrifty fires get creative, and to begin with --rit airwaves, calling it
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airwaves, calling it stingy spirit. someoint from the story is travelers are dressing in layers to avoid baggage fees. guest: i guess that seems extreme. i know a lot of people do try to carry on bags to avoid checked luggage fees. at spirit, they parcel out their fees, where'd you buy your ticket, would you print your boarding pass, how much luggage are you bringing. for the thrifty customer, maybe they can thread the needle and keep their fair low. another aspect of spirit and allegiance if they serve cities that are not served as thoroughly as the other major carriers. from cedar rapids, -- five from cedar rapids, iowa.
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>> almost -- host: almost 10% of the profits come from seat assignments, selecting them in advance. select in5 to advance, otherwise it is done by the airline. guest: when you sit in the five on a long flight, you know that might be uncomfortable, so people are willing to pay for more legroom or for an exit row where there is more leg room. even the legacy airlines are increasingly charges -- charging assignments, spirit is leading the pack in parceling out each piece of the trip. host: bart jansen covers aviation for "usa today."
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ohio. good morning. caller: i think we are being charged a per bag fee is because they are using more space for commercial flights. fee,se to pay one baggage and you can carry three bags in the cargo, and now we are not allowed to carry more than one bag without paying an additional fee for each bag. how is that fair? guest: you certainly would not want to pay more for your cargoe thinking that the customer is getting some advantage in the hold. i believe those baggage fees were created to make up the gap, they have not been able to raise in the affairs themselves. thehe affairs themselves -- fares themselves. that is what is advertised.
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you can fly across the country for $199, and if you do not know you pay $50 each way, it would be $250. they want greater transparency on the fees so you know what you are looking at. how much will it cost to fly to los angeles? i have not heard as much about the idea that cargo is shouldering aside the luggage of paying passengers, but that is an interesting question. host: from jan -- i have noticed on the smaller planes they check your carry-on bag at the door. there is no bin room for each person to have a bag. typically, they do not charge you for that. guest: that is correct. there is not as much overhead space, or if it is limited, they call that a gate check.
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you might be able to slide the bag under the seat. typically, the gate checks do not cost the same or as much because it is considered more of a carry-on, and you have the inconvenience of them having to take it away and retrieved it as you're getting off the plane. host: gene in pennsylvania. caller: good morning. i think you addressed this issue, but i did not hear it, but i am concerned that i pay for my baggage before i get on the airplane. then, there are those people taking baggage on the airplane that do not fit in the compartment, and they are being taken from the baggage handlers down to the cargo, and they are not paying for their baggage like i am. i am wondering why that is. guest: you are right.
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that does not seem fair. it basically boils down to the measurement from the bag. if the bag looks small enough to be carry-on, you would think the airline would say it looks like a carry-on bag, but as the roll- on get bigger and bigger, sometimes they won't out -- bulk out depending on much you cram into them. sometimes you get to the plane, and youbins are full, are right, they put them into the same hold as the checked baggage. woulduld think that they be checking you as you are checking in to see if the bag is really a carry-on size because they should be to their tch the bag ata the check-in point. the question would be why they are not being stricter at the check-in.
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--arry a checked in -- check i carry a bag, and there is no question it would fit, but those that do not, there is a question about why they are not being checked at the check-in. host: sarasota, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. my concerns about -- are about the upgrade of the navigation system, which is decades old. saying theyhearing were running three years behind schedule and $4 billion over budget. they expended about $9 billion trying to upgrade to gps navigation. on questions from the congressman, they mentioned it would be another $20 billion.
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that was eight months ago. do you have any upgrade on one converting over to gps navigation is? guest: a bit. it is behind schedule and over budget. the faa and airlines would like to be moving faster. the system is called nexgen, next-generation, and it is both shifting from ground-based radar, that keeps track of where airplanes are as they fly between cities to satellite- based navigation. it is much more precise, like you can check on your smartphone now. they hope to bring the technology onto planes. $20 are ball parking billion. they are only projecting right now to spend $1 billion a year, so this will still take decades, perhaps.
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the question in the congressional debate over spending with sequestration, with the budget cutting we have seen over the last year, it at you can either cut the development of a new program like that, or personnel. as we saw last april, there were furloughs of air traffic controllers, but if you do that, it leads to flight delays, people get upset, and they ended .hose furloughs the concern is as there are continued budget fights, the $8 billion or so they hope to spend on nexgen could get frittered away. the problem with something as complicated as nexgen is the lanes have to have new equipment on them so that they can -- planes have to have new equipment so that they can navigate by gps rather than
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radar. they have to have data communication systems to talk to the towers in the cities where they are going to land. they also have to develop new flight paths. right now, they tend to land in a stare step pattern. under nexgen, they will glide in smoother with a shorter horse, and that will save fuel, and -- shorter course, and that will save fuel. that is the incentive. some of this is in place, as in seattle. if you do not adopt the equipment and changing the fight plans, the sort of stuff the faa has to do for its $1 billion a year, maybe the airlines would not buy the equipment for the airplanes to upgrade, as they would need to do to cooperate. as it slows down, the slowdown could snowball.
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this is something the faa is behind. the airlines want to do this to save fuel, which is one-third of their costs, so the question is if congress races as highly as the industry does -- rates this as highly as the industry does. host: the use of cell phones on weairplane -- received -- saw a statement from commerce and lamar sanders, -- congressman lamar sanders. how likely is that. marshals -- air marshals are armed, and they fly on some fractions of flight basically there to prevent hijackings, terrorism, so they are not supposed to step in for drunkenness,anes,
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but occasionally they have stepped in when there is a scuffle with a flight attendant. in terms of cell phone calls, for two decades now, the federal communications commission has the use of cell phones for calls aboard planes because they do not want the phones trying to connect with towers all across the country and overwhelming each tower as they fly over head, dropping the call, and confusing ground systems. so, what is new is the fcc just announced they are going to consider lifting the ban because there is new technology that, basically, if you put a cell phone tower, a communications tower on each plane, which is how they do wi-fi -- you can search the internet on certain
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, if you pay an extra fee, the cell phone could connect with them tower, not connecting with a ground station, which is presumably the end of the fcc concern, and it does not interfere with the communication from the cockpit, so there should not be a technical reason to prevent it. the fcc will hold a meeting on december 12 to talk about lifting the ban. if they move forward, there would be a public comment peri od, and then they would take months longer to discuss it among themselves and perhaps lift the ban. i'm sorry. host: no. that is all right. guest: if they lift the ban, it to decidehe airlines whether they want calls on
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planes. business travelers have been against this because of the noise, the distraction, listening to somebody for an entire flight. that are that to it would cost a fee -- wi-fi fees right now might be nine dollars an hour just for internet access. phone calls might be one dollar a minute. there are places in europe, the middle east, that already allow calls. the range from one dollar a minute, to as much as $12 a minute. the question is would the fee discourage usage? the airlines could just prevent not clear how many or ifes would allow it, they would just make you turn it off if it is an overnight flight
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-- that sort of thing. it is early in the debate, it but the discussion -- but the disc -- it is early in the debate, but the discussion has begin -- begun. host: the other issue, if you are at an airport, you buy a cup of coffee, you are going through the terminal, and you want to board the plane, you cannot take the beverage. arenews and others reporting that in europe it is possible to take the liquid through the planes and security checkpoints. how likely is that here in the u.s.? what technology is there to determine the coffee is not a threat to the passengers or the airplane? story, too,d that and europe is beginning to dip its toe in the water on whether to allow liquids through the
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checkpoints. the problem up to this point has been -- there was a liquid bomb scare in 2006. that is why there has been a prohibition since then to -- you have to put containers up to 3.4 ounces in a clear plastic bag, send them through the scanner separately in carry-on luggage. in checked baggage, you can have your large bottles of shampoo or whatever. there has been this limit for several years now. the problem has been next meeting machines have not been able to detect which liquids are explosive verses which is just your soft drink. so, the machines have become theer now, and better to point where they are detecting explosives, and not giving a -- giving off so many false alarms. better.ines have become
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europe is beginning to test machines where if you put a jar, your soda bottle, or your shampoo, it says explosive, not two,sive, in a second or very quickly, but one bottle at a time. ,ther machines can also do this and perhaps if they get an alarm, you take a closer look at the specific container. these machines are not giving up so many false alarms, so europe, starting in january will allow .ou to carry duty-free liquids if you buy a bottle of liquor, that has been a problem up to now. you can now transfer, go back through a check oink, and keep it with you. if there is a question of -- checkpoint and keep it with you. if there is a question, it can
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be tested. tsa has been watching this, working collaboratively with the europeans, and top officials say they would like to allow liquids. it is a hassle for them to have people told them out of their bags. they say half of the stops are for a bottle of water that you have to toss in the can before you go through the checkpoint. they are monitoring this experiment in europe, trying to get to allowing liquid and .arry-on bags entirely tsa is watching closely and could follow if these steps prove successful. host: bart jansen who covers transportation and aviation issues for "usa today," thank you for sharing your expertise. guest: thank you for having me. host: we move from airplanes to trains on "washington journal."
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frank n. wilner from "railway will be joining us. later, we turn our attention to automobiles with justin hyde from yahoo! news. first, nancy callow is keeping track of headlines. u.s. update on the two bombers that flew across china's newly declared air defenses on. the chinese defense ministry says it monitored the flights. the b-52s flew over disputed islands in the east china sea without announcing themselves, define new rules. opposedd the u.s. are -- japan and the u.s. are opposed to the new rules. it covers disputed islands controlled by japan. the situation in syria
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-- the syrian government announced it will participate in u.n.-wanted peace talks aimed at ending the country's civil war, they insist they're not going to the conference to handover power. this follows an announcement that the long-delayed peace talks will begin january 22 in geneva. the meeting would be the first face-to-face talks between resident bashar assad and his opponent since the syrian civil war began. playbook has this exclusive -- top officials from past presidential campaigns have formed a group to push for major changes in the general election debates, with recommendations expected by late-spring, questioning the debate format, moderator selection process, and locations. makesay a major goal is to more allowance for changing technology and the rise of social media.
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they were advisers for each of nominees. those are the latest headlines on c-span radio. ♪ [gunshot] on november 25, 1963,
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approximately one million people lined the route of president kennedy's funeral procession and millions more watched on live television coverage. beginning at 1:00 p.m., watch thanksgivinge on of jfk's funeral. " continues.journal unionthe scene from station, as we continue our focus on transportation this day before thanksgiving. frank n. wilner is a contributing editor for "railway age magazine," and the author of the book "amtrak -- past, present, future." created to deal with america's rail transportation infrastructure. how has it been doing?
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deal: it was created to with a railroad crisis at the time. passenger railroading was divided by privately owned freight railroads from the creation,il amtrak's but after world war ii, america began spending excessively, almost, on highways and aviation, and passengers started moving from trains to their cars, which are quite convenient, two airplanes. also, because of the building of highways, a lot of great started to move from the railroads to the highways, and america's railroads suffered financially. they started going bankrupt, and one of the solutions was to take from the freight railroads the obligation to operate passenger trains because they were losing almost $1 billion a year at the time. that translates to almost $10
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billion in losses today. they were unresolved of the responsibility to operate passenger trains and amtrak was federally-owned entity, and sadly, it has struggled since. , is of the problem, steve that congress does not look at transportation as a single entity. it looks at it in a stove pipe fashion in that aviation, amtrak, highways, are dealt with separate bills in separate budgets. the traveler does not say i am exclusively a railroad traveler. a traveler on any day might use highways, aviation, railroads, and what would certainly help america's transportation to fundn today would be all of the modes to a
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multimodal, single transportation budget, which is not being done. what we are doing today is lobbyists from each of the modes are coming to capitol hill and fighting for their share of the pie. is relatively poor, does not have a political action committee, it does not fare as well as the other modes do on the hill. host: i want to come back to that in a moment, but let's look at amtrak by the numbers. 300ny given day it operates passenger trains daily. it has more than 21,000 miles of roots. it connects more than 500 destinations in 46 states, washington, d.c., and three canadian provinces. a top speed is 150 miles an hour. service began on may 1, 1971. the first trade was from
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philadelphia in new york. looking at total ridership guest: america wants you to ride amtrak. they are setting records every year for ridership, but there just are not enough coaches, enough track slots for the trains required, and there certainly is not sufficient funding to keep amtrak where the public would like it to be. what is really interesting is in conservative his tricks in america, some of the most can -- districts in america, some of the most conservative districts where the opinion of president obama is very low, or obamacare is deplored, in public opinion polls, the same voters are saying i support subsidies for amtrak.
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those numbers are striking and rather high in terms of support for subsidies, yet on the hill there is a continuing drumbeat to cease providing subsidies for amtrak. a significant amount of executive time -- joe boardman, for example, the ceo, has to spend it on capitol hill for his budget, rather than trying to operate his railroad. when you divert those resources on an annual basis, and add additional hearings where conservative congressmen enjoyed beating amtrak over the head and having a jolly rotten time, it is difficult to operate the railroad. it is the perils of pauline, or sisyphus trying to push the rock up the hill and it keeps rolling down on him. ask -- let me ask
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about excel at, made to compete. how is it doing? guest: it is doing very well. in only portions of the northeast corridor is it able to achieve speeds of near 150 miles an hour. the vision for amtrak, and this is probably worth talking about, the vision is to have 220 mile an hour trains between washington and boston within the to-30 five years, at an incredible cost of $117 billion. it is a wonderful vision. is it going to be funded? amtrak has a difficulty obtaining $1 billion, so the obtaining a $117
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billion, and shaving travel time between boston and new york, it is going to be a difficult challenge, steve. a bigger question, and i was discussing this with a friend at dinner, cliff, who used to be deputy minister, administrator,- and we were talking about how important it is to shave time off of a train trip between boston and new york. when you get to new york, you line in a 10-minute cab anyway. if you have the amenities, more comfortable seats, the ability to walk around the train, electronic devices, is the businessman, the businesswoman perfectly comfortable on a trip of today's links with better
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infrastructure, more modern repair?amtrak in better do they really need to shave that 35, 40 minutes, off of the trip? host: our discussion is with frank n. wilner, who writes for "railway age." we can take your calls or you can send us an e-mail or share a tweet. today is one of the busiest travel days for amtrak. a few years ago, amtrak said .ecord ridership let's look at the numbers.
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frank n. wilner? guest: it is strained with capacity. it needs money. congress will have to make the decisions. 441 years,e from -- executives from amtrak going to begging, and from some presidents we have had statements,mtrak with ronald reagan, and george out, buting to zero it interestingly, we had positive statements from bill clinton, submitted his budget, he tried to zero it out. it is a popular target. we do not do that with highways
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or aviation. as long as we treat transportation funding and all transportation receives subsidies -- amtrak is just more visible -- as long as we continue in a stove pipe fashion were amtrak is more visible on the hill, it will continue to struggle for its annual budget and we are not going to make progress. the american people say overwhelmingly they want the subsidies for amtrak, yet we have a handful of politicians that are driving the anti-amtrak drumbeat. we need more congressmen stepping up to the plate, saying look, it is time to listen to constituents. let's provide the money. let's treat transportation as transportation, and not single- funding, and let's look at
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developing a multimodal transportation fund, where you would have primarily user charges. the highway trust fund is primarily supported by fuel taxes that we pay at the pump. spendingay, we're $3.22 -- in the vicinity -- for a gallon of gasoline. if we added a one-penny height to thegasoline -- hike gasoline tax, it would bring in $1 billion annually, which is about what amtrak requires from the hill, so small increases in the gasoline tax, and increases in aviation tax. paying 20 -- people are paying $25 for baggage fees. what if we added one dollar or two dollars? we could fund all of our
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transportation modes to user charges. they would not be taxes, per se. they would be taxes on the users, not the general public, and we could have a more modern, more competitive multimodal transportation system as a result. host: our guest is frank n. wilner and ryan joins us from cincinnati, ohio. caller: good morning. happy thanksgiving. host: thank you. guest: i am in cincinnati. i have worked on a lot of trains and rails and i know a lot of the history on railways, and i timet sure that at any during the western expansion under the monroe doctrine did we ever collect taxes to build trains.ivate venture anytime i watch an old black- and-white spy movie, there is always a train, and it is clear
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the definition of fascism is when government incurs business business, or to raise funds for private business, or forces rules to use this private business. initialertainly, the transcontinental railroads were funded through land grants. america has substantial land that was not used, unpopulated through the central united states. if you look at early maps from , it is called the great american desert. nobody lived out there. railroads were given parcels of theirn exchange for raising funds through bond sales, and the idea was to sell that land after the railroad had been constructed. that is precisely what they did. they received land grants in exchange for building of the
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railroad, and in subsequent years, the railroads actually paid those land-grant back. so, railroads have a history of being privately owned, but trying to make comparisons from the 1800's in the 21st century is not very efficient, i do not think. host: this is from a viewer who says the new york to tampa trains are not that nice -- they are old, rickety, and slow. may be.he very well if amtrak had greater subsidies from congress, the equipment, certainly, could be renewed, but they are operating and have been operating on a shoestring, and it is difficult to add equipment. i know they are purchasing new coaches over the past few months, and more and more coaches will be going into service.
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it is something we have to deal with, we have been dealing with, and we saw that with airlines over a number of years. look at the airlines that went bankrupt. host: kathleen. saint augustine, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to see amtrak sold into private hands. almost anything the government and operates at a loss expects the taxpayers to subsidize it because many of those employees are union- protected and they do not have any incentive to do above and beyond kind of things. i think private industry encourages that because of competition. i think that if amtrak was sold and became a private entity, a private business venture, i should say, it would probably be profitable within three-2-5
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years. guest: many refer to amtrak as an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism, but there is no public transportation anywhere in the world turning a profit, and to suggest the entire route system could be privatized and profit is not feasible. study after study has been done. now, could we take a segment of amtrak, or have the northeast corridor, and operate trains profitably? perhaps that could be done, but that we would have to give up the rest of the amtrak route structure that is not making money. we buy into the whole package. lott and kay bailey hutchison, two republican senators were in the senate, they both made very clear that if if any portion of amtrak's
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route system were cut off, and the money was just put into the northeast corridor, where we would privatize just certain portions of amtrak, that would be the end of amtrak because senate-support for system-wide subsidies would end at that point. it has been tried all over the world. we cannot operate passenger trains without a subsidy. we also give subsidies to highways. we give subsidies to aviation. it is just not possible to privatize everything in our society unless we want to get some things up. americans say we do not want to give up our trains. we do not want to give up our highways that are also subsidized. host: our guest has written six books on rail economics, labor relations, and his most recent is on amtrak. is the former director for the public transportation unions
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public relations. he is a graduate of virginia tech. mike. pennsylvania. good morning. caller: how are you doing? guest: good morning. got stolen.hunder i wanted to have you explained to the people that there is no passenger rail service anywhere in the world that makes a profit and they are all subsidized by the government, almost like a utility. guest: that is the point that i just made. caller: right. host: there is this from scott -- amtrak and acela are overpriced for the northeast corridor travel. pat and new jersey transit are the way to go. and new jersey transit do not operate between new york and washington.
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more importantly, it is intermediate stops where amtrak is also dependent on by bysengers -- depended on passenger. njt is a commuter railroad serving a much smaller community. -- amtrak from ken wastedes equal another work spending. there is no passenger rail in the world able to pay for itself. host: let me share the comments of congressman john mica, who has been critical of amtrak, including its reported loss in excess of $70 million in part of because the rail service provided free wine and cheese on long-distance trips. here's what he had to say at a recent hearing. [video clip] lossesou know, amtrak's
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continue to mount, not only for food and beverage services, but the federal government has had to underwrite the total operations of amtrak last year in excess of $1.3 billion. now, during the last 12 years, and track lost nearly $1 billion in food service. i think i have that little slide up there. lossesat $999 million in in one dozen years. unfortunately, those losses continue to mount. last year, amtrak reportedly million on food and beverage services. amtrak claims that some significant improvements -- and they have testified before congress -- have been made over
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prior years. if you look at amtrak's financial statements, it would appear that amtrak has reduced byir losses, as they claim, $33.2 million since 2006, but in reality, and, again, if you look at this report and also dig into their books -- sometimes it is you cant to you that -- see the reduction in losses that they have claimed to congress and the american public is, in fact, the result of an accounting gimmick. host: the comments of republican horseman john mica. frank n. wilner, the author of "amtrak, past, present, future." your comments. john mica has called
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railroad.munist he has a fun time beating amtrak over the head. at the same time, he has not been critical of not having to take general tax dollars, not provided by fuel taxes, to bailout the highway trust fund. for whatever reason, he enjoys picking on amtrak, the price of a ham sandwich, of a glass of wine, but he does not enjoy the same comments for highways and aviation. it is what it is, and john mica seems to enjoy being an annoying hemorrhoid to amtrak. [laughter] i am sorry. i have never quite had it put that way. we will go to reaction from congressman jerry conley,, credit of virginia, at that same hearing.
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[video clip] >> significant work remains. however, they have achieved cost-saving, and i deserve to have them at their five-year plan before we start second- guessing. negative headlines highlighting food and beverage losses from service --distance nevertheless, business is booming. 2013, amtrakr received a record 31.6 million riders, are presenting their 10th annual ridership record out of the last 11 years. boasted 4.8 million passengers on long-distance routes. posted home, my constituents -- closer to home, my constituents contribute it with 11.4
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passengers traveling between washington and boston the easy -- this year. this amounts to ticket revenues of two point $1 billion this year, another record for amtrak. andly, america's support reliance on passenger rail is alive and well in the 21st century, and it would be regrettable if we try to retard that progress. host: congressman gerry connolly, democrat from virginia. , the numbers that i want to put some otheren -- numbers i want to put on the screen for this year -- -- this week shad, oakland, new york. caller: -- brooklyn, new york. caller: good morning. first time caller. -- i am a big-time
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rail supporter. i returned from europe. passenger train from barcelona to madrid that got there in two and half hours. it is lights out compared to the united states. amtrak, one problem in the northeast corridor, the acela, while significant higher price to the passenger really it's time travel is not significantly better than the usual northeast direct service. i think between north -- new york and boston, only a half an hour shorter. i am wondering if the issue is roadver -- are not the beds owned by the private railways that's -- communal lines? guest: northeast corridor amtrak owns as custody and control the entire corridor.
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even though it is not the majority user. a majority user of the northeast corridor or are commuter railroads like new jersey ,marct, metro-north, mdta , but amtrak does own and control the entire northeast corridor from washington, d.c., to boston. elsewhere in the united states, amtrak has to operate as a guest over freight railroad owned track. host: the next caller is roberta calling us from san diego. calling in for frank wilner. caller: i just wanted to make a couple of points here. i have traveled amtrak different times over the past few years. i have gone from san diego to , returned home. the electricity came out and we had to have no food.
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thatcould not use the food was there because of the time the electricity being out. i paid for a sleeper car. i am a handicapped person. not only do i have to purchase the food off of the train, i have to pay for it, whether ie did or not -- i.e. to it or not. on the trip we -- it went out and we got mcdonald's and all kinds of fast food. not when we got home, i was only approached by amtrak to say, gee, we charged you an arm and a late for this trip so we would like to subsidize you. i had to call and explain and go through all kinds of things as far as i am concerned should have been on record. i have also been on the amtrak when it went from seattle to san diego. off its had cut sacramental and got back on. when i got back on, the train betweenbreakdowns seattle and sacramento and then
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i get to san diego and we hit a worker, a farmworker. we were like nine hours late getting in. once again, i had to go and beg for amtrak to do something. guest: that is certainly unfortunate. .here are trips from hell i don't represent amtrak but if i did, i would certainly say that amtrak is very sorry. it doesn't happen that frequently. aen it does, it is obviously disaster for the traveler. host: entrapped her -- in chapter one, he asked the question, who shot passenger train? how do you answer that? train was shotr by technology, really. the advent of the gas powered automobile, first a propeller driven aircraft and then jet aircraft and then also subsidies to those of their mall -- modes.
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travel inou switzerland, germany, almost anywhere in europe, you could pretty much set your watch in that the train will leave on time and arrive on time. guest: for the most part you can set your watch by amtrak's northeast corridor or service. spending more money. historically they spent more money on passenger trains. have thealso don't extensive road network we have in this country. a wonderful story about -- this goes back about 20 years but i think it is apropos today. associationt the for american railroads, we had a delegation from france that came in to talk about the freight railroad industry. they wanted to go to chicago. they asked if they could get a flight to chicago. when they were told that they had the choice of three airlines and at least three flights every single hour from reagan airport to national -- national airport
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at the time, to o'hare, they were absolutely dumbfounded because they don't have that sort of aviation availability in europe. we are different -- our needs, our mobility needs, mobility demands, are different than they are in europe. but the bottom line always is, how much do you want to spend on your rail network and historically the europeans have spent far more -- the japanese have spent more and the chinese are spending far more than we have chosen to do in this country. host: i should point out your comments on congressman micah getting a lot of attention on our twitter page. anchorage you to check it out and share your thoughts. -- i encourage you to check it out. from angel -- guest: absolutely. host: caffe is next joining us
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from california. thank you for waiting. -- cathy is next. all her co- caller: i live in the central valley and i like to go the los angeles to visit my family and in bakersfield we have to get out and ride a bus. it takes the fun out of it. i would love to take the trains over the mountains to union station. guest: it certainly would be nice to add a lot of routes, a lot of extensions to amtrak weird -- amtrak. but it all comes down to the availability of funds. host: another issue on the table. onthe worst happened september 11, 2009 -- 2001, as were used airplanes as missiles. how are rails a secure and what protection do we have against terrorism? guest: i am not able to speak specifically and i do not work for amtrak and i am not privy to
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what is going on. what one could certainly google security and amtrak. i know from talking with amtrak officials, they certainly take it very seriously. but security is really not my area. host: david from new brunswick, new jersey. good morning. caller: first of all, peace to the world. i must say that if the budget of the pentagon was scrutinized the way the amtrak budget is scrutinized, we would not have any problems with excess money. we would have more than enough money to have a rail system that would be you quibble into the rest of the world. one of the problems i have -- i live in the northeast corridor. it is a coldrolled issue with the united states of america. even in new jersey, people still want to stay in their cars. we have more cars per capita on our roads. now you are seeing people because of the cost, a are
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switching to new jersey transit and using amtrak and so forth. what i would like to know, how do we work to get people to understand culturally how it is more important for people to use rails then to use cars, which i think the rest of the world gets. when you look at the subsidies we are giving to the automobile, which the auto industry from day one, we are actually spending so much more inefficiently because our roads are not as good as most places in europe as well. host: thanks for the call. guest: you are absolutely right. there are so many other hidden subsidies. when did anyone ever see a greyhound snowplow on a highway? applyng companies do not snowplows. police protection is provided through general taxation. amtrak has its own police force. amtrak has to maintain its own track. it has to remove the snow.
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it doesn't have a hidden subsidy. it is all out front for everyone to see. with highways and aviation, there are so many hidden subsidies. so a lot of people say, look, airlines are privately owned. i could use my car. i am paying high fuel taxes to use my car. you are not paying the old cost. so, that's it you are not paying the full cost. amtrak has been the convenient target. host: are you able to comment on hyperloop transportation? what is that? guest: art of new technology. older people may remember going to department stores and the cashiers would send the sales slip along with their money through a pneumatic tube that would go to a counting room where the change would be made and the tuba would come back again. ,yperloop is a pneumatic tube the equivalent of a passenger coach in a pneumatic pressurized tube and sending it along.
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technology -- technological development of hyperloop. it is not too different in terms of speed than magnetic levitation. is theople say this stuff of star wars. you know, steve, you can't stop technology. technology has given us things we never dreamed of 10 or 15 years ago. cell phones, the use of twitter. we can't really predict what technology is going to give us tomorrow. but it is something to keep our eye on today. so when we talk about spending $117 billion, for example, over the next 25 years, to create 220 mile an hour trains on the northeast corridor or, one thing we have to wonder about is how will technology change over the period. will people will -- be traveling
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differently? one aspect to consider is videoconferencing. could it be in 15 years, 20 years, that business people no longer travel but take care of business through videoconferencing? most 20 year olds today, teenagers, in 20 years they are going to be our commercial leaders in this country. they trust what they see on the screen. their nose is in their smart phone all day long. will they be more comfortable not traveling and having face- to-face meetings but doing all of their business over electronic means without travel? which would mean that perhaps it is only those vacationing or going on leisure travel that will use airplanes and trains. do a lot of research into where we are going transportation-wise in this country and the future.
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host: if you are joining us on c-span radio, which is heard areonwide, xm 120, we talking rail transportation, frank wilner is our guest. we are focusing on transportation issues. a quick comment from dean who sent in this tweet -- a doubt, studies show trains are environmentally preferable to automobiles and also in some regard to aircraft. reviewers saying, yeah, i can go for the vacuum tube train. staten island, new york. good morning. are you with us? guest: hello. i just wanted to ask you a question. in transportation system this country is always competing with each other. the airlines want you to take the planes, amtrak wants you to
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take the train. why can't one of the airlines or all of the airlines step up and work together with amtrak to try to get people to use both? areas like the other caller said did -- you can take the train only so far and then you have to take the bus. it seems like we are going in circles. people want to get from a to b and they are always fighting either a private entity or government subsidized program, and you can't get there. guest: understood. you can do more efficiently is aviation, rail travel, buses together into a single multi--mobile station. that is being done more and washington, d.c. who have flown into baltimore-washington airport know the difficulty of moving from the airport over to the train station to take amtrak. wouldn't it be nice if in more or as we had amtrak
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commuter train going directly into the airport and bringing all of these modes together under a single roof? it costs money, but it is certainly something to achieve in the future. host: this one tweet and then recap some of the numbers. from stephen hall who says amtrak is an indefensible part of -- indispensable part of americana. how much does the government subsidize amtrak and how much do you think it needs in the future? guest: it is in the vicinity of a billion dollars a year. and it hasn't changed much the past 10 or 15 years. that is important because if you look at it in inflation-adjusted terms, amtrak's buying power has gone down over the years with the subsidy remaining fairly stable. -- past, present, and future was quote and our
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guest is frank neil wilner. thanks for being here. guest: steve, one thing we have not talked about his amtrak has numerous lines of business and they do compete to operate commuter trains around the business, and there is a bidding periodically for operation of the commuter trains. we have other organizations that compete with amtrak, so that is another line of business, and then there are corridor trains. states have stepped up to the subsidize iosen to state or sometimes multistate trains and amtrak actually operates of those trains under contract to the states. amtrak reaches about 500 communities in the united states.
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someperates trains on 20- routestes, long-distance in the united states. but let's put it in contract. during the 1920s, the heyday of railroad passenger transportation, about 1.2 ilya and passengers rode trains every single year. around 31 million -- about 1.2 billion passengers rode trains every year. every day during the 1920s -- trainshe number of those is under 100. growth offlects the highways in the united states and aviation. host: thank you for making those added points. present,mtrak -- past, and future." think you for being with us. an estimated 40 million americans expected to travel 50 miles or more this thanks giving holiday, according to aaa.
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as we continue our show on planes and trains and automobiles, we will turn to automobiles. will be -- justin hyde from yahoo! autos will join us. and we are keeping track of the weather and delays in other news . c-span radio is heard nationwide xm 120. >> jobless numbers are in and it shows the number of americans picking up benefits dropped last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000. the labor department said the less volatile four-week average fell 7500 to just over 331,000. but the weekly jobless claims in the average return to previous session levels. as for long-lasting factory orders, the commerce department said they fell last month as businesses spend less on machinery, commuters -- computers, and most other items. the decline suggesting companies may be reluctant to invest during the 16 day russian government shutdown. some international news -- a political party opposed to the
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u.s. drone strikes in pakistan is revealing what it says is the name of the cia station chief in islamabad. the party's information secretary in remarks today are calling for the station chief and the head of the cia to be tried for the recent drone strikes. dean -- the cia spokesman boyd would not confirm the name and declined to comment. the associated press, is not publishing the station chief name because it cannot verify authenticity. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. weekend since 1998, booktv has brought you the top nonfiction authors, including hannah rosen. >> increasingly women's identities are tied up and working away we may not like, in a way which we may find disturbing and unnatural, but it is in fact, two. that's true. when i look at marissa mayer,
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recently chosen as the ceo of yahoo! when she was visibly pregnant and was asked how much maternity leave that you want to take and she said basically none. like, the fact that such women exist -- it is not the way i would -- i took plenty of maternity leave, but i feel like that is a growing -- that is the kind of women that there could be . and the fact that there are some stay-at-home dad who are very happy -- not all entirely live in portland, oregon, that is ok, too. >> the only national television network devoted exclusively to nonfiction books, and what the fall, we are marking 15 years of booktv on c-span2. host: "washington journal" continues this wednesday, november 27, and we turn our attention to the auto industry.
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justin hyde is managing editor of yahoo! autos. of the about the news day, transportation along the east coast especially. an estimated 40 million people hitting the roads. gas prices relatively stable. about $3.29 a gallon. what can we expect today on the weekend? guest: at the moment the forecast is gas prices to remain low to moderate for the remainder of the year. that decline in gas prices has caused a difference in buying from what we have seen in years past. americans are still tending to choose medium to larger sized vehicles over hybrids or more fuel-efficient cars. there is healthy sales are compact and fuel-efficient vehicles, but those sales seem to have hit a bit of a slowdown. families tend to choose things like five-passenger suv's one of the most booming section of the market. and it cuts -- all three of the detroit automakers are putting
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pick up strongly and expect good sales through the year as well as 2014. host: let's talk about the auto industry and the bailout five years since it was put in place. i want to put up some numbers. the inspector general of the tarp program, the troubled asset relief effort that was put away by the bush and the mott -- and the obama administrations. federal government investment and the amount still owed. for general motors, the federal government providing about $50 billion in still only $15 billion. gmac, the financial arm of general motors, was given $17 billion and still owes a vast majority of it, $14 billion. chrysler was given about $11 billion and a weighing $3 billion now. chrysler financial was given $1.5 billion and it paid off. guest: general motors to the largest section of the total billion.f about $80
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treasury said it is looking to divest its final stake in general motors by sometime early next year. does notoes so, it give back the money -- should lose about $10 billion of the investment and put in general motors. from the beginning, both the obama and bush administration, there was a sense that this would not be a moneymaking operation. the goal was to save general motors and not necessarily maximize treasury's return. it is not then surprising that the losses of that nature. the other money that you mentioned there, the biggest remaining -- gmac, which is now financial, there are still a tangled path getting them fully back on their feet. there is a back and forth between treasury and ally on how it will be able to recoup some of the investment. better still somewhat of a?
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. the gm side, though, is the one -- the the most firm largest remains to be done. host: saddam, no longer produced. did gm need federal dollars and could have survived without washington intervention? to have some had kind of rescue back in 2008. around the executives capitol hill this period five years ago going from committee to committee trying to get some kind of rescued together. without intervention from someplace, gm and chrysler would have collapsed. and there is an open question how much the auto industry could have been brought down with us, suppliers and even perhaps automakers. today, gm is back toward profitability. it is supposed to have record profits. the detroit three as a whole will make more than $12 billion in profit this year. it is clear that without a government intervention of some
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kind, that at least chrysler and probably gm would not exist today. host: what about fort? didn't get federal dollars? took advantage of low-cost loans through the energy department and took advantage of some of the federal reserve lending that was made available during the worst of the crisis, that was handed out to wall street and other banks. not nearly to the same degree gm and chrysler did. it never went through bankruptcy. add to a large degree, it was able to come back faster and it is though -- it is still more profitable than gm and chrysler. host: our guest is justin hyde as we look at the auto industry and the bailout five years later. the president traveling to a ford plant in missouri this year in september and here's what he had to say. [video clip] >> five years ago plans like this one were closing their doors. i said the american auto industry, the heartbeat of american manufacturing -- [applause]
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the heartbeat of american manufacturing. the auto industry was flatlining. was standing on its own two feet and made some smart decisions, but allen will tell you, if gm and chrysler had gone down, suppliers would go down, dealers would have gone down, and all of that would have had a profound impact on ford. that happen, so we worked with labor, we worked with management and everybody had to make some sacrifices and everybody put skin in the game. we bet on the american worker. we bet on you. and today that that has paid off because the american auto industry has come roaring back. host: justin hyde, as you hear the president earlier this year, is the accurate? guest: he is mostly accurate. it is certainly a favorable explication of what happened in the time. but it is mostly accurate. they have come back.
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right now the u.s. economy people in auto00 -- almost exactly the same five years ago. without intervention, tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands of jobs would've .isappeared host: why is the tesla car so popular, although it has had bombs recently? interesting case. i had a chance to drive and test the model s. extremely popular. tesla is selling as many as they can build, which is roughly 20,000, 30,000 a year. host: at what price? up to $50,000 and go $100,000. they are very expensive. they are all-electric and the only electric vehicle that offers a significant gasoline tight range up to 200 and 70 or
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280 milestone charts. also in network of free charging stations around the country so if you live in d.c. d.c. you could make the trip to new york and back to using the tesla charges which are much faster and cut down on repowering time. it is fascinating technology. it lay -- allows owners to make a statement saying they are trying to help the environment without having to take compromises in terms of their own comfort or luxury. popular car among wall street. a lot of stock buyers who think that elon musk and tesla will be the future of the auto industry. they have a long way to go. they have had a few bumps in the past months but it will be a fascinating story to want. host: our phone numbers that our phone lines will be open. compare it to the chevy volt.
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guest: it is in response to the toyota previous, essentially. gm's way to try to leapfrog over the hybrids and say what is next, what is the technology we can get ahead with? is a combination of electric car and hybrid. it has a battery pack that allows you to travel about 35 miles on electricity only and then a gas engine under the hood that, instead of turning the wheels, recharges the battery. with the gas engine you can go another 300 miles. it is kind of a compromise. not as nearly as expensive as the tesla model, and you can got -- can get a lot of federal and state tax credits. volts talkbuyv about going weeks and months without having to buy a gallon of gas because they can use the recharging to make trips they take. it is more of a compromise than the tesla model s, it is less
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expensive, but not quite as much popularity. i think part of it stems from the bailout. part of it stems from the anger some parts of the public cap for general motors for taking government money and it is still a fairly expensive technology for the benefit it offers. you have to have a way to plug the car in. if you live in an apartment and don't have off street parking it may not be for you. ringing the cost down is one of the key challenges general motors has going forward to make it more widely adopted. host: our guest justin hyde has covered the auto industry for 15 years and has written for the associated press, reuters, "the detroit free press" and is now managing editor for yahoo! autos. from our viewers -- if gm had collapsed, the bush depression would have found the new bottom that would have heard far beyond detroit. signs there is a lot of to say that things would have been unimaginably bad. there was one estimate in this period vitae years ago from a
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think tank in the detroit area estimating that if gm collapsed along with chrysler, you could have seen 1.3 million jobs lost in the u.s. economy. -- i think the opposite case the way they are performing now gives some idea of what was saved. this month, for example alone, americans will buy $30 billion in new cars according to estimates of analysts who watch the figures. more they have ever spent in any month on new vehicles. production in the united states the model makers hit a new high in october, even though the workers are about the same. they managed to squeeze more vehicles out of the production they have. the auto industry is running on full steam right now and it is hard to see how that would have been the case had the government not intervened in the fashion. from richard is joining us minneapolis for justin hyde from yahoo! news. good morning. caller: good morning. it is true you can power these small cars with batteries, but
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you cannot power a big semi truck or these big trucks with batteries. now, the future in trucks and possibly cars is natural gas. is selling ahonda natural gas car and since we have a lot of cheap natural gas in the u.s. and probably will for a hundred years, i would is one verify that honda selling a natural gas car because i certainly would buy one right away. guest: that is true. honda has sold natural gas vehicles, typically only in california. but they are not alone. ford and gm and chrysler also offer some variety of natural gas vehicles. general motors the couple of months back said it would offer a natural gas version of the la in places impa where they can install a home natural gas station. but how far natural gas vehicles can go in the economy -- they
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less pollution and less carbon emissions than typical gas vehicles. larger size vehicles like cars -- trucks, buses, things that work in fleets where they may not travel very many miles in a given day that they carry a lot of weight and they carry a lot of passengers. i think there's a lot of interest there because of the natural gas in the united states and there are protections the -- projections the natural gas supply will increase. host: a question from one of the viewers. i thought i heard the news about the government sold off the remainder of gm stock recently. guest: they sold off most of it. there is still some they are holding onto. they expect the sales of the leader sometime first quarter next year. host: why not hold onto it if the stock is increasing? guest: the stock has been up- and-down and little bit over the past several years. the idea behind treasury's
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investment was to be gm back up on its feet and not necessarily maximize it as an investment. also as long as treasury holds onto its shares, general motors has to abide by some of the restrictionsand -- on executive pay that have been in place since the bailout began. there is a lot of motivation both a general motors and treasury to be done with this, to sort of finally close the book and say we are done, we are dusted. holding onto it i think from the treasury side, it does not guarantee that the gains are going to come back -- be that much greater than was already achieved. general motors aside, there is still the stigma of government motors that they would very much like to get rid of at this point. they have said in the past that the captain executive pay have limited their ability to recruit new executives. host: this headline from automotive news that gm investors expect buyback and dividend after u.s. exits. guest: jihad and has a sizable
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cash -- gm has a sizable cash and it is limited on how to deploy to investors. once treasury exits, gm could go back and try to more aggressively marketing the market. host: chrysler. its stock was supposed to be an ipo this fall and it has been delayed until next year. given the history because chrysler used to be on the big order and then was taken down. guest: eissler had the very famous c stock symbol from back of the day in wall street -- chrysler have a very famous stock symbol. benzt merged with daimler in germany. after a little less than 10 years of ownership daimler goodness -- could not do more with chrysler and it was dragging down the rest of the firms they sold it to cerberus were thend cerberus ones that has as for the bailout. the company was not only on the verge of bankruptcy but elapse without government investment.
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-- collapsed without government investment. there were people at the time who argued chrysler should disappear. there was no good sense in bringing it back. administration, was 50-50 with obama himself saying we should say chrysler. it involved partnering with fiat from italy. and management including chief executive marchionne i do plan to have both company's work closely. five years on, that land still makes sense for the most part it has led chrysler to be profitable. chrysler has made more than a billion dollars this year and is on pretty firm footing. challenges have been twofold. one, the plan thatmarchionne laid out in products have been scrambled. a lot of the models he promised back in 2008-2009 have been delayed or pushback. eissler has been able to put out he models, ram pickups and jeep
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grand cherokee but it is been struggling. the government arranged for a health care trust fund representing uaw retirees to take a major ownership stake as part of the bankruptcy. years, past couple of fiat and the uaw trust have been haggling over how much this ache is worth. the trust wants to maximize its return so they can pay that health care, and the yet -- fiat wants to minimize the return because it wants the best deal it can. worthnow the trust -- about 5 billion dollars, fiat thinks it is worth $4 billion or less. they reached an impasse to the point where the union as part of the bailout has the right to ask for an ipo. so we had a very strange approach to wall street earlier this year we're chrysler was
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essentially offering an ipo that its executives really did not want to offer, and it was a strangely passive-aggressive approach of an ipo. usually companies welcome to the market and they are proud and they are boasting about their outlook to investors and this ideal had warnings about what might happen if there was not a deal, that fiat could in theory walk away from chrysler. it, theo plan technologies, the response from the market, lukewarm, combined to push it back to 2014. there are court cases about the valuation. the state will be sold at some point. there will be a value put on it. fiat will try to combine the companies. the question now is how much money and in what time frame. host: the u.s. auto industry and -- and automobiles in general. justin hyde who covers this for yahoo! news. nick is covering this from
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columbia, maryland. caller: how are you doing today? here is my concern about the electric cars because i have a couple of friends who have the volt and the couple who have the leaf. retail --what is the resale value? i could walk into a a dealer with no job and get a car loan at a pulse. is it taken into consideration with the bailout? guest: the electric cars do have a bit of a challenge and resale because they are so new and we do not have a lot of experience and how their battery packs last and whether there might be some kind of larger charge for restoring the battery packs in the future. down to it also comes fuel costs and driving style. if you are the type of person who drives 30 miles a day and it be -- in heavy traffic may make sense especially when you include some of the incentives involved, tax credits and so forth. longer trips, for people who
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drive -- if you do not have a home charging station, the electric cars are tougher. the challenge is the batteries themselves -- the price of the batteries in the batteries themselves and whether they can decline last enough for a larger audience. right now automakers have to build a lot of electric cars mainly because of regulations in california that require some sort of electric vehicle automakers of most sizes. a lot of the vehicles will have very slow rollouts and limited availability in part because automakers is simply do not see a mass market for a lot of electric vehicles at the moment. the key challenges the technology of the battery, how much it costs new and how much it last. you are right, because lending has gotten easier right now and because your stated vehicle has gotten more fuel-efficient even $.50 a gallon, a lot of people when they sit down to pencil out their budget, a new compact gas powered car would make more sense than a new electric vehicle still. host: joe has this question.
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again, you could send us your? tweet. how are the unions doing? ? guest: they still stabilize their losses -- the uaw, i should specify, and is still smaller than the peak in the late 1970s. but it has started picking up new members from other industries. the big question in the union world right now revolves around volkswagen's plan in chattanooga, tennessee. volkswagen as a european automaker has a much different relationship with unions than american companies. on this a union seat equivalent of the board of directors. of the uaw and volkswagen has been in talks about volkswagen inviting the uaw into chattanooga to set up what would be one of the first union shops at a new wholly owned foreign plant. at the last time it happened actually was a volkswagen plant in pennsylvania that close the back in the 1980s. there is a lot of political drama.
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a lot of opposition in tennessee to the idea of these lamps could unionize. how it might affect the growth of factories in the south. a lot of these factories from foreign automakers went to the south in part because of the idea of lower wages, lower operating costs, and that they unwelcometionally could unions. host: from a viewer -- guest: there is a lot of activity around car sharing now. i lot of efforts like zipcar, you see larger rental companies get into the market. in a sense there is a space slightly below holy owning a car for city dwellers where you may not need a car on your daily life but on a weekend or every so often you may need to borrow one for a couple of days. a growing market. a lot of automakers -- experimenting is
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using its onstar system to allow gm owners to share their cars independently of any other card sharing service, kind of an ad hoc network and that is an experience -- experiment going on. host: wilmington, north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? i am a retiree from general motors. i think the bailout was the right thing to do. do you hear me? fit -- your you question, how long did you work for gm? caller: 38 years. host: where? and what did you produce? vegar: vans along with the and the smaller cars. host: at its peak, how many employees were there roughly? i remember correctly, a van plan, car plan and stamping plant and i believe the stamping land is still there and
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i think at the peak was 12,000- four 2000. host: when did you retire? caller: 2006. host: do you benefit from the pension plan? collect yes, i do. host: your question. i just wanted to but that on the table. think the bailouts were the right way to go -- to go. i did not like them but i thought it was important it needed to be done pretty the only thing that irks me is when that with the government cap on executive salaries and so forth, we can't hire the best and brightest. itl, before the caps seems like you didn't have the best and brightest then or you would not have gotten to the trouble you have gotten into. that is the only thing that kind of irks me about the whole situation. guest: i think you are not alone in that. it is interesting because as part of the bailout, as you probably know, unions had to agree to a period of enforced pe
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ace they cannot have a debate about executive pay versus union compensation. it is hard to know exactly how much these executive limits have heard to gm. we don't know the executives they might have missed out on had they been able to offer more money. the truth is, we don't often see outside executives coming into the auto industry at a very high level. is theceo alan mullally exception. he came in from boeing. he has done a fairly remarkable job at ford because he was an outsider. a lot of people who come in are not nearly as successful. it is hard to know whether it is an issue of culture, management, or compensation. host: are you still with us? can i ask you, what do you receive each month in terms of your gm pension? caller: how much? taxes and so forth, little over $1500. host: i asked that question
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because, justin hyde, if you purchase a gm car, $30,000, how much goes to the pension program? the pension program is accounted for so separately from the rest of the company. is not pitching in a few pennies per car, per se. the pension plan exists essentially as your 401k, a giant fun, and they take a measure every quarter to decide whether the contributions are coming ahead or in some cases where the make and use of the gains in other ways and want to your they may make a contribution of a couple million dollars -- couple billion dollars to the pension fund. gm still doesn't have a large pension shortfall so it will have to put money for the pensions at some point in the future beyond what the market is able to produce for it in terms of returns. the question will be -- and i think the plan over the years has been that retirees like bill to represent a high point for that plan, and that future
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retirees will not get nearly the same kind of benefit to that retirees in the past enjoyed, and those cost will diminish over time closer to what the company -- host: steven rattner, who headed up the president's task force on the auto bailout spoke about what it meant for the industry. we will have it in just a moment but first we'll go to marvin from ohio. i would like to know how many people are put out of work by the importation of american cars? i a red a figure of about six. i also would like to know how ma branded cars are actually built outside of the united states and brought back and sold as u.s. cars? let me take the second question first. when you are talking about u.s. branded vehicles, i am assuming vehicles built in canada or mexico and then sold here as
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opposed to vehicles from foreign naturallyt are imported from, say, europe or japan or korea. -- for example, october, the united states built about one million vehicles. north american production was about 1.6 million vehicles. not all of that is headed to the united states. from mexico is exported to other nations as well. it is hard to kind of make a firm statement about exports and imports and how they affect jobs in the united states because it is a very fluid situation. a couple of years ago, a lot of japanese automakers were moving production back to the united states and in some cases exporting cars back to japan theuse of the value of japanese yen. in recent months, the yen has completely switched. it has been weakened as an effort to revive the japanese economy by the japanese government, much to the chagrin
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of detroit who feels it is a -- this is manage. european automakers have a similar issue. a small amount of vehicles in the united states but the largest gains in production the last couple of years has come in mexico because mexico is a lower cost base to build cars right now and it allows automakers to export to south america and other parts of the world. host: what about american cars shipped overseas? nott: a significant but major number. most of the production of the auto industry happened in the country where vehicles are sold. exports of u.s. vehicles -- more of a rounding error but not something any company really relies on as a core part of the business. host: let's go back to pensions and wages and the comments of steven rattner from the -- from one year ago. [video clip] want to save the johns, it is really a huge conundrum here to we can savor the jobs,
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but at what price? wages. today when general motors hires most of the new workers, they get paid $15 an hour plus or minus in cash plus about the same and benefits. artie thousand dollars a year. those are not great middle-class jobs -- $30,000 a year. class jobswer middle at best. host: your comments from steven rattner's talk one year ago. guest: he is absolutely correct. the $15 an hour wage is kind of now the standard starting wage throughout the u.s. auto industry, not just general motors but ford and chrysler and even some of the foreign automakers in places like georgia where hyundai and key operated. the difference, after bankruptcy, the path for workers to increase their pay is far longer and slower than it was in the past. when a worker started out 10 years ago in a detroit
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automaker, they had a pretty rapid rise where they could get up to 20, maybe $30 an hour in cash wages. that is not a path that is viable now. the increases will be far longer. it will be far slower. some of them may not even get it. have lot of plants, you do issues with temporary workers and one of the issues in some of the seven plants >> some of the debates have been temporary workers not employees who are paid an even lower rate for doing even the same work. the question being how can workers like that build a career or build up their way up to the middle class. host: this is a headline from "the detroit free press" and you up the stories related to the economic situation. this dealing with the detroit institute of arts and the bankruptcy. warren buffett pledging $20 million for the city of detroit. the larger issue of what the city and this region in michigan has been facing over the last 10-15 years and what we can expect over the next 10 years.
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guest: a very fascinating case study about the benefits and disadvantages of the auto industry. i did a story recently looking at some of the issues around detroit. in the bailout was front and center trying to save general motors and chrysler. downtown detroit, still about 7000 factory jobs in detroit building cars and trucks for gm and chrysler. over the years, in order to keep those jobs, the city has had to forgo and give away many of the tax receipts they would otherwise get. to the point where before the bailouts, the city of detroit could take in about $50 million a year in terms of income taxes on automotive workers. this year it is looking well when the 10 alien even city is bankrupt and struggling for cash. it is a situation, i believe, where a healthy auto industry is necessary for detroit and not --
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but not sufficient. detroit has to have a revitalization in several different aspects. it has to be able to sort out ,he burden of pension costs that decision over the finances over the years that is going through bankruptcy court. an issue that has, with the -- creditors are exploring how the city might be forced to sell some of these treasures that it has been given over the years that date back to the heyday, the early ages of the auto industry, some the barons that to the city itself. host: a follow-up on your earlier point about general motors, this tweet saying the gm moved -- use the bailout money to move factories to china question michiko know, chinese investment -- gm has a huge presence in china and sells more cars in
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china than the united states under its brand partners and it does see it as a major area of growth. but the funding for the factories, things like cadillac, is coming from the money make -- made in china proper. host: new mexico with justin hyde, managing editor of yahoo! autos. caller: can you hear me ok? i have you on speakerphone. my question is this. noteneral motors is profitable, and i think you say that they are profitable, why is it that they have not paid the government back? i mean, you know, the whole idea was to help them pay the bills. guest: well, that is a very good question and one that a lot of people have asked. the issue right now is the shortfall is so large, to the tune of about $10 billion, that even if gm wanted to pay it back, it would blow a sizable hole in its balance sheet.
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g m has more than $30 billion of cash on hand. in general, it believes it needs billion-at least $10 $12 billion just to keep going -- it is capital intensive, they have to pay suppliers. if they wrote a government a check for $10 billion it would buy a lot of good will. it would permanently erase the government motors label it is so worried about. at itsit looks financials and the public reaction there is a calculation that says the trade-offs are not there. there has not been pressure from the obama administration or the bush administration to gm saying you have to pay back every last cent. i have a theory that were the cap a little smaller than $10 billion, gm would be more motivated to try to write a large check for the last sure that the government owns but at $10 billion, i think the market would react poorly if gm simply
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handed it over. host: this from jim who says -- us but my next vehicle may be a high-end korean car. host: hyundai and kia are growing by leaps and bounds and they are expanding their market, i was just down at the ellie auto show where kia unveiled a new luxury car. in january.sis they have had a bit of a slowdown from the rapid growth but they are basically selling every car they can build your in the united states is doing very well for reasons like that comment notes. in washington.t good morning. i take a perfectly good suv in the dealership and put something in the engine and ruined it on purpose -- part of the cash for clunkers deal. host: who is they?
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caller: original equipment dealership -- toyota dealership to be specific. guest: back in 2009 if you were trading the old cars to get a new efficient when you had to destroy the engines to make sure they could not just come back on the road and keep burning gas. host: why? guest: part of the trade-off for the cash for clunkers. a billionpay people dollars and use it as a sales incentive to get people to treat them very old and polluting cars and have them by nowhere and far less polluting cars. as part of the deal, the old vehicles, 10-15 years old, had to be destroyed and not merely recycled. the engine had to be permanently damaged. there have been buddies looking back that suggests -- studies looking back to suggest the cash for clunkers was not a very good deal for the economy and cost a lot of money for the jobs are created. host: gerald from new york. good morning. caller: justin, i recently heard
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an announcement on the news that i believe hyundai was coming out with a hydrogen fuel cell car. what do you know about that? guest: a good question. there are automakers who will come out with fuel car -- fuel cell cars again. hyundai announced it will be the first to offer a fuel-cell across the united states but hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle uses highly compressed hydrogen come it goes for you -- it goes through fuel cells and they used it in the apollo mission. it creates electricity and more importantly, no pollution. the only thing out of the tailpipe is being. automakers have been trying to make fuel cells work for decades and for a long time the technology was always around a decade away. the main issue has been fuel, hydrogen, finding a way to transport hydrogen which is
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highly flammable and hard to carry around the united states. there has been a new push, i think, an alternative battery. to battery powered vehicles, in a sense that some automakers seeing that if you could solve some of the infrastructure issues around selling hydrogen, building hydrogen agent, you might have a ramp up it is much faster than what you need for electric vehicles. even back several years ago gm was saying if you spend roughly $10 billion across the country as an infrastructure project you citiesake most of livable for hydrogen powered fuel-cell vehicles. the range is similar. driving patterns are similar. the carsvery much like that we drive today with no pollution. that is why automakers are so fascinated. host: tom is joining us next from crystal falls, michigan, with justin hyde from yahoo! news. caller: i just wanted to clear something up.
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thinksds to me everybody gm went under because of the car manufacturing. i don't believe it was the case. they went under because of the financing. gmac financing is what got them in trouble. they know how to make cars. they always did and they always will. investing in pension funds -- and all their money was going into the financial part of their business and nothing into the production. and then they got in trouble and now we bailed them out. host: we will get a response. guest: i think it was a little more complicated than that. you are right -- the financing side certainly played a role. remember back around 10 years ago if you turned on the tv you would see an ad from dytech,com offering a cheap mortgage and that was gmac and in the housing boom that was a moneymaking machine.
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hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the company. when the downturn came, several problems at once. one was the financing side. when from a moneymaker to a giant money loser and started to pull down the rest of the company. the car business itself was not that healthy. yes, gm would make profits when a truck or suv sold but when the vehicles were not new or one sales slow down and they had to offer rebates, and the rest of the company struggled. and they were still dealing with some of the bad decisions of the past, including the pension load. several years before the bailout, gm decided to raise the largest bond issue in u.s. history and put all of the money into pensions. what happened was when 2008 rolled around gm did not have the resources to go back to the market and get the tens of aliens of dollars it made to keep going on like ford who mortgage the entire

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