David Schaper

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.

In this role, Schaper covers aviation and airlines, railroads, the trucking and freight industries, highways, transit, and new means of mobility such as ride hailing apps, car sharing, and shared bikes and scooters. In addition, he reports on important transportation safety issues, as well as the politics behind transportation and infrastructure policy and funding.

Since joining NPR in 2002, Schaper has covered some of the nation's most important news stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and other mass shootings, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other disasters. David has also reported on presidential campaigns in Iowa and elsewhere, on key races for U.S. Senate and House, governorships, and other offices in the Midwest, and he reported on the rise of Barack Obama from relative political obscurity in Chicago to the White House. Along the way, he's brought listeners and online readers many colorful stories about Chicago politics, including the corruption trials and convictions of two former Illinois governors.

But none of that compares to the joy of covering his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, and three Stanley Cup Championships for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent almost a decade working as an award-winning reporter and editor for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, NPR's Member station in Chicago. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems and progress — financial, educational and otherwise — in Chicago's public schools.

Schaper also served as WBEZ's Assistant Managing Editor of News, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing the reporting staff while often still reporting himself. He later served as WBEZ's political editor and reporter; he was a frequent fill-in news anchor and talk show host. Additionally, he has been an occasional contributor guest panelist on Chicago public television station WTTW's news program, Chicago Tonight.

Schaper began his journalism career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a reporter and anchor at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM. He has since worked in both public and commercial radio news, including stints at WBBM NewsRadio in Chicago, WXRT-FM in Chicago, WDCB-FM in suburban Chicago, WUIS-FM in Springfield, Illinois, WMAY-AM in Springfield, Illinois, and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Schaper earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He lives in Chicago with his wife, a Chicago Public School teacher, and they have three adult children.

This isn't exactly the golden age of airline travel, but it's a pretty good time to fly by a lot of measures. Flying has never been safer. Airfares are historically low when adjusted for inflation. Technology makes it easier to search for fares and book flights while also helping airlines lose fewer bags and improve their on-time performance.

But if there's one thing air travelers still love to complain about, it's the size of economy class seats.

Relief supplies and critical life-saving equipment and personnel are heading into areas of Florida's Panhandle ravaged by Hurricane Michael, but officials say the severity of the storm's devastation is limiting their ability to get into the most heavily damaged areas.

Air travelers frustrated by having very little legroom and narrow seats might finally see some relief under legislation passed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate. A bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which passed on a vote of 93-6, includes a provision requiring the FAA to set a minimum size for commercial airplane seats, including a minimum pitch, or distance between seats.

Airlines have been shrinking that distance in recent years in order to cram more seats and passengers onto planes and squeeze more revenue out of each flight.

Many seaports and airports along the southeastern U.S. coastline have been shut down, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled, and some highways and bridges in low-lying coastal areas could close soon, as Hurricane Florence gets closer to making landfall.

Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.

The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

The Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border is not just heartbreaking to other immigrants but also terrifying. Even immigrants who are in the country legally are beginning to worry that their families could be broken apart, too.

The anti-immigrant threats and actions have many Hispanic Americans in particular living on edge.

Tears immediately start streaming down the cheeks of Sarah, a Mexican immigrant, when she is asked about watching recent news stories on TV.

If you've already tried to get away for the long holiday weekend or are planning on leaving soon, you probably know this: the highways, airports and train stations are packed with like-minded folks trying to get out of town for the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Planes, trains and automobiles are overrun with Memorial Day weekend travelers and those who study traffic analytics say even people who slipped out on Thursday to beat the traffic were greeted by gridlock in many cities.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's Infrastructure Week again. Since President Trump came into office, it sometimes feels as though every other week is Infrastructure Week. In some circles, this has become a running joke.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The country's leading airplane manufacturer, The Boeing Company, is caught in the middle as the world's two largest economies, the U.S. and China, inch closer to an all-out trade war.

In retaliation for President Trump's proposed $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made products, China has announced it would impose steep tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products, including some aircraft.

Another top adviser to President Trump is leaving the White House. An administration official tells NPR that DJ Gribbin, architect of the president's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, "will be moving on to new opportunities."

This latest staff departure comes as the infrastructure plan hits a roadblock in Congress.

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