David Schaper

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There's no question the tragic and intransigent problem of gun violence weighs heavily on Chicago residents, but for some there's resignation as well.

"This is nothing new in Chicago," says Keith Muhammed, while waiting at a bus stop on Chicago's west side.

He's right, but it has been getting worse: More than 760 people were murdered in Chicago in 2016, the highest total in nearly two decades, and this year is shaping up as more of the same.

The incoming Trump administration will look to tap private investment funds to help rebuild and expand the nation's highways, railways, seaports and airports.

That's what Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to be transportation secretary, told a panel of senators in a rather friendly confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Beginning in 2017, United Airlines will offer cheaper airfares for budget-conscious travelers.

"Basic economy" will be lower priced than regular fares, allowing United to compete head to head with discount airlines such as Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant Air.

But there's a trade-off for passengers who will be giving up some of the few remaining perks of air travel, like putting a carry-on suitcase in the overhead bin or getting an assigned seat.

On a night that the national election results had her discouraged, Seattle resident Anne Johnson had at least one ballot measure to celebrate: ST3, which will raise the local sales tax in the Seattle-Tacoma area to help pump $54 billion into expanding the region's rail and bus systems. It passed by a wide margin.

"That is awesome, and we've put a lot of work into that, and I'm excited for the direction that that will take Seattle," says Johnson, who adds that the transit improvements will help people get to their jobs, to school and will have environmental benefits, too.

If it's true that misery loves company, then the heartbreaking failures of the Chicago Cubs over the last century certainly cemented bonds through generations of fans.

The Cubs are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years, and they haven't won the fall classic since 1908.

That makes this year's success somewhat bittersweet for many fans in Chicago, who remember parents, grandparents, spouses and other loved ones who didn't live long enough to see this day.

Our cars and trucks are being made with more safety features. New technologies such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, vehicle stabilizers and anti-lock brakes can, and do, save lives.

Yet more people are dying on the nation's roadways — nearly 18,000 in the first six months of this year. That's a huge jump of 10.4 percent over the same time period in 2015, and it's part of a disturbing trend, according to federal officials, because traffic fatalities rose significantly last year, too.

Many travelers have resigned themselves to paying $25 or more to check a bag when flying. But that fee becomes especially onerous when the bag doesn't show up on the carousel at baggage claim.

The White House is proposing a new rule that would require airlines to refund the checked baggage fee if luggage is "substantially delayed," though it does not define "substantially."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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