Miles Bryan

Many of us begin our day by watching the garage door open.

It’s creaking sound usually doesn’t mean anything special: time for another morning commute, or maybe some yard work if it’s the weekend. But for Jack Schulte, the sound of the garage door opening inspires brings up far less mundane feelings.

“It makes me ready,” he says. “To break the surly bonds of gravity.”

Wyoming Department of Transportation

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working with federal officials on a project to make driving safer. The plan is to use interactive technology to tell drivers about road and weather conditions as well as safety information. Wyoming is focusing on making travel safer along Interstate 80. 

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Wyoming saw a large year-over-year increase in worker deaths in 2014. Thirty-seven workers died on the job last year, according to newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 26 in 2013, and is also higher than the three-year average.

The numbers are preliminary, so the Bureau did not calculate fatality rates that could be used to compare Wyoming to other states.

Courtesy of Ken Lund, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no secret that late summer is a great time to visit Yellowstone National Park. And, that means lots of traffic. With many people celebrating the Labor Day holiday, park officials say safety is a big concern. Park spokesman Amy Bartlett says that’s why park rangers and local law enforcement are working together to post traffic safety checkpoints along the park’s hundreds of miles of backroads.

Flickr Creative Commons

You’ve seen them on the side of the road… junker cars with orange tags warning they’ll be towed. But who pays for that towing? Or is it just stored until the owner can pick it up? And what if it never gets picked up?

As many as 2,300 vehicles are abandoned around the state every year. And it’s the towing companies and wrecking yards that often end up paying. A bill proposed by a transportation subcommittee would change the rule to allow vehicles valued under $1500 to get crushed, up from $600 now.

Dan Boyce

It’s no secret that America’s roads are in trouble.

Our highways, interstates and bridges are crumbling and there's an estimated $90 billion dollar annual shortfall in funding to make the fixes. So, now would be a good time to raise gas taxes, right? That’s the main funding source for road infrastructure, has been for decades. Wyoming, and Iowa have raised theirs in recent years, other states are considering it. But, as Dan Boyce with our Inside Energy team tells us, gas taxes are not a long-term solution.

Wyoming ranks among the worst states for auto safety laws. That’s according to a new report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Eight other states were rated as red in the report, which means they have less than half of the organization’s recommended laws like mandatory seatbelt enforcement and required helmet use for all motorcyclists.

Bunky Loucks is a Representative from Casper and says he sees no need for state laws to change.

Miles Bryan

Correction: a previous version of this web story, as well as the audio story, states that Congress raised the number of flight hours needed for a commercial pilot's license from 250 to 1500. That is wrong. The requirements for a pilot's license was unchanged; the new rule requires co-pilots to hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which requires 1500 hours of flight time.

Airports in Cheyenne and Riverton are on track to fall short of a Federal target for traffic this year. That means they’ll lose almost a million dollars each in federal funding. Jim Schell is the manager of Cheyenne’s regional airport. He says the level of traffic at the airport this year is the lowest it has been in almost three decades.

“Our passenger numbers are down to about 6,000 enplanements this year. Typically they would average 12,000 to 14,000.”

Robert Verzo via Flickr

Governor Matt Mead is proposing adding passing lanes to some of the state’s highways including Highway 59 between Douglas and Gillette. Mead’s budget proposal would use 21 million dollars in state funds for the upgrades.

Jim Willox is the Chairman of the Converse County Commissioners and says the proposed lanes would ease the surge in energy traffic on the 170 mile highway.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol issues quotas for the number of stops and citations its troopers need to make in a given year.

An internal document obtained by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle newspaper shows troopers in Southeast Wyoming’s District One need to make at least 732 traffic stops and issue at least 55 seat belt violations per year to be considered “competent.”

Those ratings directly affect troopers, as they play a role in determining state worker’s salaries.

Flickr Creative Commons

Six of Wyoming’s ten airports have seen declines in traffic this past year, according to a new Wyoming Department of Transportation report. But full flights at Jackson’s airport, by far Wyoming’s biggest, means that the state’s overall air traffic is actually up slightly from 2013.

jacdupree via Flickr

Wyoming ranks first in the nation for its overall road system. That’s according to a new study from the Reason foundation, a Libertarian-leaning think tank.

David Hartgen is a professor at the University of North Carolina and the author of the study. He says Wyoming ranked so well in part because it budgets wisely. The cowboy state has over 7000 miles of roads to maintain, but spends about half as much as the average state does to do it.

Construction will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne on a new quiet zone at West Lincolnway and Southwest Drive’s railroad crossing, where train noise will be kept to a minimum. The area around the intersection is home to several hotels and motels. New railroad crossing gates and a barrier wall will block cars from sneaking around the shut gates and across the tracks.

Wikipedia Commons

A new survey by ranks Wyoming as the most expensive state in which to own a car. The survey calculated the cost of gasoline, insurance, and repairs to come up with the rankings.

According to the survey, Wyomingites typically spend about $2700 a year on expenses related to their car, with about $1600 of that going to gas – the most of any state. The wide distances between communities in Wyoming, as well as the many opportunities for hiking, camping, and activities outside city limits increases gas consumption.

Miles Bryan

Last April Cheyenne’s WYDOT ID Services moved into a new building. Its bigger than the old one, with more staff and faster lines. But it’s also a few miles out of town. There isn’t an easy way to walk there, and, unlike the old building, it’s not connected by bus service. The move probably isn’t a big deal for most Cheyenne residents. But it’s had an outsized effect on some in the city.

Doug Mahugh via Flickr

The federal pot of money that’s supposed to keep local roads and bridges intact may soon be empty, yet lawmakers on Capitol Hill are miles apart from each other. It remains unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gulf. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on how the Wyoming delegation is weighing in on the debate that’s sucking the air out of Washington this summer.

credit Andrew Goodson via Flickr

Another rail loading facility for crude oil opened in Wyoming last week, bringing the total to at least seven.

Seventy- thousand barrels of Wyoming oil rolled out of the Black Thunder terminal in the Powder River Basin, headed for a refinery on the East Coast.

“We believe that the location of this particular terminal may be a little more unique to the business as it is in the heart of the basin," says  Steven Huckaby, CEO of Meritage Midstream, the company behind the crude loading facility. "It has a great location advantage to some other terminals."

Grace Hood / KUNC

The transport of crude oil by rail has spiked dramatically in recent years. From 2012 to 2013 the amount carried by the country's major freight railroads increased nearly 75 percent, according to the American Association of Railroads.  Even though crude oil accounted for just over 1 percent of overall rail traffic last year, there's growing public concern about the potential oil spills and other hazards.

Teton County drivers will soon be able to buy compressed natural gas at a filling station in Jackson.  The State Loan and Investment Board granted $766,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the project.  

Wyoming Stands to Lose $700 Million in AML Funds

Jul 3, 2012
Wyoming AML


Wyoming leaders are shell-shocked after learning that Congress has arranged to take hundreds of millions of dollars money from the Abandoned Mine Lands program to fund a federal transportation bill.

Wyoming coal producers have paid $2.9 billion into the program, and the state was guaranteed $1.9 billion back for reclamation efforts. The cut would reduce Wyoming’s share by about 700 million dollars over the next decade. That money is used for a variety of projects.