: News

Federal Furloughs Could Bring Layoffs At DDOT

Play associated audio
Some highway construction projects in D.C. have been halted because Congress failed to pass key transportation legislation.
Some highway construction projects in D.C. have been halted because Congress failed to pass key transportation legislation.

By David Schultz

Construction crews on dozens of highway projects across the country are idle today because Congress failed to approve a crucial piece of legislation.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is blocking an extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for - among other things - federal safety inspectors. Without those inspectors, work had to stop yesterday on dozens of projects, including the 9th Street Bridge over New York Avenue in Northeast D.C.

Gabe Klein, head of D.C.'s Department of Transportation, says construction crews at 9th Street will be reimbursed when the shut-down ends. He says that means they'll be paid $10,000 a day to do nothing.

"If this doesn't get fixed this week," he says, "$50,000... gone."

Bunning says he doesn't want Congress to increase the federal debt by passing the bill without first identifying its funding source. But the bill could be passed as early as tomorrow afternoon, over Bunning's objections.

Klein says if it doesn't get passed soon, he could be forced to make widespread layoffs at DDOT.


Peruvians Love Their Chicha Street Art. The Government ... Not So Much

Walk down a street in Peru and you'll likely see an example of the glow-in-the-dark posters and murals. Lots of people love them. But the upper crust — and the government — aren't impressed.

Tea-Infused Sweets: Chocolate + Jasmine Tea Is A Match Made In Heaven

Smoky and floral brews can provide a kick of flavor to desserts, especially when blended with chocolate. Pastry chef Naomi Gallego shows us a few tricks for surprising the palate with tea.
WAMU 88.5

America's First Ladies

They walk a tricky line: closest adviser to the President of the United States and hostess in chief. A new book examines the evolution of the role of first lady of the United States.

WAMU 88.5

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Last week, the D.C. Council voted to designate e-cigarettes and "similar vapor products containing nicotine" as tobacco products. That means that their sales tax will jump from the regular 5.75% sales tax to the 70% tax that's tacked onto sales of products like cigarettes and cigars. We explore what this means for the evolving public health debate surrounding e-cigarettes.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.