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.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

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.

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.

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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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

As some residents of South Texas begin to dry out their homes and belongings, significant challenges lie ahead as the city of Houston and others in the affected area look to recover and rebuild.

Congress is fast-tracking billions of dollars in recovery funding. But just because that down payment on Harvey recovery is on the way, that doesn't mean the rebuilding of Houston and other areas hammered by the storm's high winds and historic rains will go quickly or smoothly.

Here are five challenges ahead for the Harvey recovery:

One of the nation's most influential judges and legal writers, Richard Posner, is retiring as of Saturday from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Posner has written more than 3,300 opinions in nearly 36 years on the bench, along with scores of books. He is known for a sharp wit, clear writing and opinions that could be equally biting and humorous, with occasional references to his cats.

There isn't a city in the United States, and there are probably very few anywhere in the world, that could have handled Hurricane Harvey's 50 inches of rain without significant flooding.

But Harvey was Houston's third flood in three years to surpass the "100 year flood" mark. Urban planners and civil engineers say a combination of natural and man-made factors has created a chronic drainage problem that left the city especially vulnerable to Harvey's torrential rains.

Modern technology has advanced the game of baseball in many ways. Teams use computer models to help strategize, data analytics to find the best players, and even tablets in the dugouts to instantly review plays. But the game itself can move at a leisurely pace — and some traditions may never change at all.

Federal investigators say an Air Canada jet coming in for a landing in San Francisco last month came a lot closer than previously thought to hitting four other planes on a taxiway, in what aviation safety experts say could have been a horrible disaster.

The National Transportation Safety Board says Air Canada flight No. 759 was just 59 feet above the ground at its lowest point, flying over a United Airlines jetliner waiting to take off, before the Air Canada plane pulled up, circled around and then landed safely.

Ten years ago, the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis collapsed, sending cars, trucks and even a school bus that were crawling over it in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic plummeting into the river below and onto the rocky shore.

Thirteen people were killed, 145 more were injured, many of them seriously.

The bridge collapse sparked immediate calls in Minnesota and across the country invest big in repairing and replacing the nation's aging and crumbling infrastructure.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

States are not doing enough to improve safety on the roads, in the workplace and in the home, according to a new report from the National Safety Council.

The group, which graded all 50 states on safety, awarded no state an "A" grade for overall safety, but 11 states received an "F."

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Two juries deliberating in high profile criminal trials this week appeared to be unable to reach agreement on a verdict. The judges overseeing those trials sent the jurors in both cases back to continue deliberations.

In Pennsylvania, four days after getting the case, the jury considering sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby told the judge they couldn't reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts against the 79-year-old actor and comedian. The judge directed them to keep talking and as Thursday evening fell, the panel of seven men and five women were still at it.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In Cincinnati yesterday, President Trump promoted the general idea of American infrastructure.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

President Trump announced Monday a plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system — a move that would remove the job of tracking and guiding airplanes from the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Today we're proposing to take American air travel into the future, finally," Trump said.

Another day and another conflict with airline employees goes viral.

In the wake of recent high profile incidents of customer mistreatment, most notably, the viral video of airport security officers dragging a passenger off a United Airlines plane last month, commercial airlines are scrambling to regain the trust of air travelers.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

The CEO of United Airlines is in the hot seat on Capitol Hill this morning, answering pointed questions from members of Congress about last month's incident in which a United passenger was dragged off a plane.

"It was a mistake of epic proportions," United CEO Oscar Munoz told representatives, as he explained how United has changed its rules moving forward. "In hindsight, clearly our policies broke down."

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