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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Sears was once the largest retailer in the United States. The company owned a radio station in Chicago with the call letters WLS, which stood for World's Largest Store. But now Sears is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. NPR's David Schaper reports.

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.

What do you remember about this week, 25 years ago? October 1993. Many of us were watching Seinfeld and the first Roseanne or listening to a Mariah Carey cassette on our Walkman. And one of the top movies that year starred Bill Murray as a TV weatherman, who relives the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over and over again.

"Bill Murray's character [is] getting caught in a time loop," says Carl Davis, research director for the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's message is pretty blunt: If you live in an evacuation zone, hit the road soon.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

If there's one thing veteran Chicago taxicab driver Jay Khawas says he sees a lot of, it's cars with the familiar Uber and Lyft emblems.

"Oh my God. Like, many, many," says Khawas. "They're everywhere."

There certainly are more Uber and Lyft vehicles than taxicabs in Chicago and in most other big cities. Chicago, for example, limits the number of taxicab medallions, or vehicles licensed as taxis, to under 7,000.

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Chicago is famous for its L, the transit system of mostly elevated trains. Soon it might have the X, a high-speed transit system some are calling Tesla in a tunnel. NPR's David Schaper has more.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say the driver of a Tesla using autopilot did not have his hands on the steering wheel in the moments before a fatal crash in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California in March.

Investigators also found that the Tesla was accelerating, with the cruise control engaged, when it crashed into a highway barrier. Walter Huang, the 38-year old driver, was killed.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, 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.

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.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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)

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

Pages