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.

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.

Workers in traditional steel towns across the country are rejoicing over President Trump's steep tariffs on imported steel that go into effect Friday.

Especially in Granite City, Ill., where United States Steel is calling back 500 laid-off workers to restart one of its two idled blast furnaces at a mill there.

That mill is the town's largest employer, and for decades, Granite City's fortunes have largely tracked the success of the steel industry.

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President Trump will finally be unveiling his long-awaited $1.5 trillion plan to repair and rebuild the nation's crumbling highways, bridges, railroads, airports, seaports and water systems Monday. But, the proposal will not be one that offers large sums of federal funding to states for infrastructure needs, but it is instead a financing plan that shifts much of the funding burden onto the states and onto local governments.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported Tuesday that engineers falling asleep at the controls led to two recent New York City-area commuter train crashes that killed one person and injured more than 200 others. The investigative agency has sharply criticized the Trump administration for scrapping a proposed regulation aimed at preventing such fatigue-related events.

Updated at 11:59 p.m. ET

Federal investigators say a track switch locked in the wrong position appears to have led to Sunday's deadly Amtrak collision with an idle CSX freight train, and they are hesitant to say this latest wreck — the fourth fatal Amtrak incident in seven weeks — is part of a broader problem with what some have called a "lax safety culture" at Amtrak.

We all need a little emotional support or comforting every now and then. And for many of us, our animals can provide it. Some of us with severe anxiety, phobias, PTSD or other disabilities cannot travel without them.

But one woman took the notion of needing a comfort animal a little too far when trying to bring her rather large peacock, Dexter, onboard a United Airlines flight at Newark's Liberty Airport Sunday. United said no.

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President Trump says now is the time to fix the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. Here's part of what he said last night in his State of the Union address.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2018 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS)

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Government shutdown is partial. And as NPR's David Schaper reports, many government functions will continue.

Attention Drivers: Many of those those freeways you're using may not be free for long. Several states are opening new toll roads this year and rates on many existing turnpikes and tollways are going up.

And the number of toll roads is likely to increase, as the Trump administration's infrastructure plan may force many more states to use them to fund long-standing transportation needs

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Now that the tax overhaul bill has been signed into law, the White House is turning to its next big priority, infrastructure. NPR's David Schaper talked to Rachel Martin.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into whether the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed south of Seattle Monday morning may have been distracted by a second Amtrak employee in the cab of the locomotive.

Investigators also are trying to determine why no brakes were activated by the engineer. The emergency brake activated automatically only as part of the train began to go off the rails.

How much would you pay to avoid traffic jams on your daily commute? $10? $20? How about $40?

That's how much a tollway in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., charged for a short time last week. Outraged commuters call it highway robbery.

But transportation officials say the high-priced toll is less about money and more about changing commuter behavior and reducing congestion, and commuters all across the country might soon see more tolls in the future.

Mayors from across the country say a lack of leadership in Washington on climate change is prompting them to take action themselves.

More than 50 mayors from cities large and small wrapped up a climate change summit in Chicago on Wednesday, at which they signed a formal agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their cities. They also agreed to meet goals similar to those in the Paris climate accord, which President Trump announced earlier this year the U.S. would withdraw from.

There is no need to charter a sleigh pulled by reindeer for your air travel to holiday destinations after all. American Airlines and its pilots have worked out a deal to staff cockpits in late December after a scheduling snafu threatened to cancel thousands of flights.

Because of what the airline is calling "a processing error" in its scheduling system, American mistakenly allowed many more pilots to take time off over the holidays than it should have.

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Updated on Dec. 4 at 6:29 p.m. ET

Some of the nation's 3.5 million truck drivers staged protests with their big rigs at truck stops and a few state capitols around the country on Monday, in hopes of derailing a new safety regulation that is set to take effect later this month.

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It's the end of an era in domestic commercial aviation Tuesday, as United Airlines flies the iconic Boeing 747 one last time.

The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu recreates the airline's first trip taken by the "Queen of the Skies" back in 1970, which helped usher in a golden age of commercial airline flight.

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As fire fighters in California's wine country worked frantically to contain and put out devastating wildfires that killed at least 42 people in recent weeks, and while his officers were still evacuating residents and searching through the burned ruins of homes for missing persons, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano had another problem to address.

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The winds in northern California remained mostly calm over the weekend, allowing firefighters to finally get the upper hand in the battle against at least 15 wildfires. Here is Cal Fire Incident Commander Bret Gouvea.

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As both candidate and president, Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to fix the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Hurricane Irma, which battered the Caribbean with winds up to 185 mph, has its sights on Florida with winds now around 150 mph. according to the National Hurricane Center.

Those are really strong winds. Imagine speeding down the highway at 70 miles an hour with your car window open. You stick your hand out and hold it in the wind.

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