Airline lost your luggage?

Notes on transportation: Lost luggage, cell phones on flights, Obama’s oil tax. When the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets on Thursday, it is expected to consider a bill to extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, including some measures that would delight many air travelers.

One provision would ban cell phone calls on flights and another would allow passengers on domestic flights to recover checked baggage fees if the airline does not deliver their luggage in 24 hours. The FAA measure isn’t given much chance in this lame duck year by Washington observers, but Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, the sponsor of the provisions, is undeterred.

“Right now, passengers who go through the inconvenience of lost and delayed baggage do so without the right to a refund,” said, Lipinski, a committee member.  “My legislation is just common sense.  If you pay for a service, you should get that service or get your money back.”

Meanwhile, President Obama is proposing his lame-duck budget Tuesday, which includes more than $300 billion over a decade for infrastructure improvements. The measures would be paid for with a $10-a-barrel oil fee, but Republicans say that has zero chance of happening.

Something new for Chicago

Hello, Chicago. This marks the debut of a new source of information for the millions of Chicago area residents and businesses who must get around the metropolitan area each day, whether by car, bus or train (and bike, too). Just a few years ago, there were at least five reporters working for Chicago newspapers and radio stations whose “beat” was transportation and who provided this information. Not any more.

While those beats have disappeared, the news has not. Chicagoans still need to know the best ways to get around. They need to know how their expressways and tollways are being managed and maintained. They need to know if their buses and trains are operating properly and on time. They need to know who runs the transit agencies, and why those officials make the decisions they do. They need to how their tax money and fares are being spent. They need a watchdog.

The Chicago Transportation Journal’s goal is to address those needs. We’ll do so by providing in-depth coverage of issues unavailable elsewhere. For example, if your bus or train is consistently late, we’ll tell you why and what’s being done to fix the problem. We’ll delve into the decision-making behind the policies and actions taken by transportation agencies. We’ll also provide a forum for transportation users, providers and experts. We welcome other voices.

Transportation is a multibillion-dollar industry, and Chicago is the transportation hub of the nation. All the major freight railroads, Amtrak, and many of the key interstate highways pass through the region. We have two of the nation’s busiest airports, O’Hare and Midway. This site also hopes to keep an eye on the freight rail, trucking and aviation industries, areas not covered by other media.

The Chicago Transportation Journal is making a…