Travel & Tourism
House Members Should Insist on Proper Deliberation of This Highly Controversial H.R. 4156 Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Kevin Mitchell   
Friday, 11 July 2014 10:15

Airlines Triple Down on H.R. 4156

A House of Cards Premised on A Big Lie

July 10, 2014, Washington, DC – Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today has learned that H.R. 4156, the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, is on the short list in the U.S. House of Representatives for a Suspension Calendar vote prior to the August recess. Suspension of the rules is a procedure used to quickly pass non-controversial bills in the House. H.R. 4156 arguably represents one of the most controversial aviation bills in a generation. (See http://btc.travel.)

The bill was passed out of Committee on April 9, 2014 without any hearings, debate or opportunity for consumer or travel industry stakeholders (other than airlines) to inform Congress of their views and the flaws in this bill. This is not the harmonious naming of a Post Office - the type of bill the Suspension Calendar is used for - but rather, contentious legislation that would harm consumers by reversing a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule implemented in 2012 as a cure to misleading airline advertising. House Members should reject this Suspension Calendar scheme and insist on proper deliberation of this highly controversial legislation.

This week, in a scene right out of NetFlix’s House of Cards, airlines tripled down on their Big Lie and the manipulation of Congress that H.R. 4156 is premised upon. From the trade group Airlines For America, “...consumers deserve to clearly know just how much they are paying in federally imposed taxes and fees every time they purchase a ticket.” (See http://btcnews.co/W0pxMe.)

Likewise, from American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, American Way, the carrier’s CEO asserts, “I can assure you that at American Airlines, you will never be asked to finalize a purchase without knowing the full price of the ticket, including all federal taxes and fees. But with this legislation, you will be better informed to know exactly what you are paying for in advance...” (See http://btcnews.co/1rXoM3d.)

THE BIG LIE; THE TRUTH

“Airlines falsely claimed to Congress, and continue to double and triple down in the press, that the DOT advertising rule forces them to hide government taxes and fees. The opposite is true. Airlines are free to list these amounts in an advertisement or solicitation so long as they are less prominently displayed than the total airfare, stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell. “Moreover, airlines can list all taxes and fees on ticket itineraries and further remind passengers of these costs when printing out boarding passes. They simply choose not to,” added Mitchell.

Some find Frank Underwood’s lies and manipulation in House of Cards highly entertaining. But when it comes to reality in Congress and consumer protections, at least one Member of Congress finds airlines’ duplicity deeply disturbing and has the courage to stand up to them. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a House Transportation Committee member who voted (perhaps alone) against H.R. 4156 succinctly told The Associated Press in a May 8 article: “The bill is ‘a gift to the airlines...’ ‘What you're going to see is $200 for the airfare, and then you're going to be shocked when it turns out to really be $250,’ he said. ‘It's misleading to the consumer. It's just dishonest.’”

At http://btc.travel find relevant foundational documents, analyses and industry statements representing all views on H.R. 4156 as well as press editorials and stories.

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About BTC
Founded in 1994, the mission of Business Travel Coalition is to interpret industry and government policies and practices and provide a platform to enable the managed travel community to influence issues of strategic importance to their organizations.

 
I-74 Lane Closures PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by QCCVB   
Monday, 07 July 2014 08:50

Weather permitting, there will be intermittent lane closures in both directions on the Interstate 74 bridge from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Tuesday, July 8.

The rain date for this work will b Wednesday, July 9.

 
Branstad, Reynolds launch “Zero Fatalities” traffic safety initiative PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Andrea Henry   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:38

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the launch of “Zero Fatalities,” Iowa’s plan to keep every man, woman, and child safe on Iowa’s roadways.

Iowa’s Zero Fatalities program is a multiagency effort currently supported by the Iowa departments of Transportation, Health, and Public Safety through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. The leaders of each agency were on hand today to help kick off the program.

“Last year 317 men, women, and children died on Iowa’s highways. While that is a decrease from years past, we know with simple improvements, we can do much better and prevent traffic deaths,” said Branstad. “If each of us adopts a zero fatalities goal for our families, we can make zero a reality statewide. To achieve this, we all must give full attention to the task of driving when we are behind the wheel.”

The program highlights five dangerous driving behaviors and encourages Iowans to:

1.       Slow down.

2.       Drive sober.

3.       Focus on the road.

4.       Stay alert.

5.       Buckle up. Every seat, every time.

“With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner and summer travel increasing, I join Governor Branstad in fully endorsing this multiagency effort to increase safety on Iowa’s roadways,” said Reynolds. “With just a few proactive adjustments to traveling, we can significantly reduce traffic deaths and obtain our goal of zero fatalities.”

The program includes initiatives from each of the partner agencies working to encourage safe driving behaviors; television, radio, and online spots; and a presence on social media. To find out more about the program, go to www.zerofatalities.com and click on “Iowa” in the drop-down box. You can also follow the effort on Twitter (@zeroiowa) and Facebook www.facebook.com/zerofatalitiesiowa.

Iowa’s Zero Fatalities program is part of a larger campaign that includes three other states, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The Zero Fatalities program supports Iowa Strategic Highway Safety Plan that includes efforts in engineering, law enforcement, education, emergency medical services, and driver attitudes and behaviors to improve the overall safety of Iowa’s roadways.

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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation That Will Allow Quad Cities – Washington DC Air Service Take Flight PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 30 June 2014 13:53

Legislation Will Clear Way for Direct Flights to Nation’s Capital

MOLINE – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that clears the way for daily flights from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC. Today's action will enhance transportation and economic development opportunities in the Quad Cities area and is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“Getting a daily flight from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC has been a priority I have shared with area leaders for several years,” Governor Quinn said. “These flights will help established businesses in the region as well as those who are considering a move to the Quad Cities. This new law serves as a jobs-producing investment in the northwestern Illinois economy.”

Senate Bill 220, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, expands air carrier recruitment grants to provide the seed money that will make the flights possible. The legislation increases from two to three years the Illinois Department of Transportation’s I-FLY air carrier recruitment and retention grants and increases the yearly grant amount from $1 million to $1.5 million. These increased subsidies were necessary to attract air carriers to airports like Quad City International and commit to providing daily passenger service, in this case to Washington, DC. The legislation is effective immediately.

House Bill 6097, one of the additional budget bills awaiting Governor Quinn’s signature, includes an appropriation of $1.5 million for a grant to the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County for the first year of the three-year grant program. The Governor will take action on this bill before July 1.

“It’s a great day when we can all work together to ensure that Illinois jobs remain open and available,” State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) said. “Under the new law, residents in my district no longer have to worry that the Arsenal might be shut down and how they may put the next meal on the table.”

"When I heard that the Rock Island Arsenal needed a direct flight to DC, I knew we had to act,” State Representative Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) said. “We were able to put aside party and regional differences and create a bipartisan solution. I'm proud to say that this legislation will help us keep the thousands of families that rely on the Rock island Arsenal employed.”

“I thank Governor Quinn for signing this legislation that provides the Quad Cities area with a great tool to help retain one of our largest employers,” State Representative Patrick Verschoore (D-Milan) said. “Having a daily flight between the Quad Cities and Washington, DC ensures future support for the Rock Island Arsenal the next time federal BRAC realignment decisions are made.”

Senate Bill 220 also makes the necessary changes to numerous state programs to implement the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Among other things, it increases the personal care allowance for people at long-term care facilities and in Community Integrated Living Arrangements.

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HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS® OPENS IN MOLIINE, IL PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Robin Krogman   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 14:26

Moline, IL (June 19, 2014) — IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms, announced today that the Holiday Inn Express®, Moline-Quad Cities is open for business. The hotel brings 100 guest rooms and 35 job opportunities to Moline, IL – Quad Cities area.

The visibility from Interstate 280, Interstate 74, and the Quad Cities International Airport make this truly a gateway hotel,” Dan Huber, Owner/President Frontier Hospitality Group says.  “We believe the Holiday Inn Express brand will have broad appeal to business and leisure travelers who will be able to easily access this very visible hotel,” says Huber.

“Frontier Hospitality Group is grateful to the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island, Rock Island County and the City of Moline for their support and partnership in helping bring this project to fruition,” Huber says.  “It feels good to be able to do a project in our very own regional community.  Both Bart Baker and Dan Huber are long-time Quad City residents.

Located at 2100 69th Ave, the four-story hotel offers amenities featuring a dynamic lobby and custom designed great room with a modern décor. The great room will also function as a social hub for hotel guests where they can work, relax and network. The hotel also features an expanded fitness room, swimming pool, guest laundry, meeting room, outdoor patio and ten guest room suites.

The Holiday Inn Express brand delivers a comfortable and smart environment with preferred guest upgrades to ensure a productive stay while traveling for business or leisure. The brand’s newly enhanced complimentary Express Start® breakfast bar features both hot & cold options, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, bagels and muffins, fruit, yogurt and the brand's exclusive cinnamon roll. Beverages consist of milk and juice, along with its own "Smart Roast" coffee.

“Holiday Inn Express is a very popular brand and we are pleased to bring a very contemporary Express to the Quad Cities,” says Bart Baker, co-owner of the hotel.  “What will set this hotel apart is the custom design of the lobby/great room area and the expanded fitness area.  This is a hotel that has great curb appeal and will fit in nicely with the modern facilities found at the Quad City International Airport,” says Baker.

Holiday Inn Express hotels participate in IHG’s guest loyalty program, Priority Club® Rewards. The industry’s first and largest guest loyalty program has 43 million members.  Priority Club Rewards membership is free and guests can enroll by logging on www.priorityclub.com, calling 1-888-211-9874 or by inquiring at the front desk of this hotel or any of IHG’s more than 4,200 hotels worldwide.

The Holiday Inn Express Hotel, Moline-Quad Cities is owned and operated by Frontier Hospitality Group, under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.

About Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express hotels are modern hotels for value-oriented travelers. Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express hotels offer competitive rates for both business and leisure travelers. Guests Stay Smart® at Holiday Inn Express hotels where they enjoy a free hot Express Start® Breakfast Bar, free high-speed internet access and free local phone calls (US and Canada only). There are currently more than 1,900 Holiday Inn Express hotel locations around the globe. For more information about Holiday Inn Express hotels or to book reservations, call 1-800-HOLIDAY or visit www.hiexpress.com.

About Frontier Hospitality Group

FHG is owned by Bart Baker and Dan Huber. FHG owns and operates the Best Western Plus SteepleGate Inn in Davenport, Iowa which features Prairie Grille and 1 Hundred West Bar & Dance Club; the Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel & Conference Center; and Champps Americana Restaurant & Bar in Dubuque, Iowa. FHG formerly owned and operated the Best Western Frontier Inn and Country Inn and Suites in Clinton, Iowa

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