Your Dec. 29 Pre-Trip: Latest storm slams Central U.S.

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. The latest storm system is pummeling the Central part of the country, dumping heavy snow and bringing ice, blustery winds, and heavy rains to several states. According to a Fox News report, more than 2,800 flights across the country were canceled – more than half of them at Chicago’s two main airports – and 4,800 flights were delayed. NBC News has compiled a photo gallery of the massive floods, sleet and snow that have torn through the Central U.S.

2. A Brookings report illustrates how the recently passed highway bill may alter freight policy in the U.S. Brookings states that until now, the country has operated without a coordinated freight strategy or investment program, which put a limit on domestic and global economic competiveness. It goes on to list how the FAST Act addresses this shortcoming with multiple freight programs, including a $4.5 billion competitive grant program and a $6.3 billion freight formula program.

3. According to a Government Executive report, the highway bill recently passed by Congress is “pretty anemic" – in its words "barely covering road-repair costs and doing nothing to modernize other infrastructure.” According to the report, the total investment needed through the end of the decade is $1.7 trillion, the American Society of Civil Engineers claims. The report continues to say that the current bill also does nothing to remove the “bureaucratic jungle” that makes these transportation projects slow and costly. Government Executive has more.

4. Dayton Freight Lines recently purchased 33 acres of land in Sturtevant, WI, in what could be a site for a new, expanded facility. According to the Dayton Business Journal, the trucking company already has four service centers in Wisconsin, including one in Milwaukee, and has been investing to upgrade its facilities in recent years. The Business Journal has more.

5. A majority of Canadians think current relatively low retail gas prices will continue through next year, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) research reveals. Only a third of Canadians (34%) believe gas prices will rise in 2016, while 56% say they will either stay the same or decline even further, the survey found. The average retail price of gas in Canada is hovering around 98 cents a liter, down significantly from about $1.15 a liter at the same time last year, and down from roughly $1.20 a liter two years ago. Current and historical data on Canadian gas prices, by city, province and nationally, can be found at getgasprices.caa.ca.

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